We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“Dad and son 13th Birthday experience! Fantastic!!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Reef Encounter

Best prices for -
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
Show Prices
Compare best prices from top travel sites
Reef Encounter
Certificate of Excellence
Brisbane Australia
Level Contributor
19 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Dad and son 13th Birthday experience! Fantastic!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 April 2012

I was recommended this trip from a mate who did what I did to celebrate his boy becoming a teenager. I decided to take the plunge (excuse expression) and do the same. Worked a treat for a Dad and son trip. We lived aboard for 3 days and 2 nights and ate like kings and even though my son was 13 he did 7 dives off the boat including a night dive in our 3 days and 2 nights. He had a smile from ear to ear . He was so excited about what he had done and what he had seen. We hired a very good camera and the instructor Pat was kind enough to take photos for us. They turned out great and we have some great shots to remind us of this trip. He was accompanied by a fully qualified instructor who looked after him the whole trip and as a father it was the professionalism and confidence that I enjoyed. My son had no ticket at the time of this trip, however after this trip he was so inspired he has attained a dive ticket. The trip out was fun right from the boat leaving from Cairns where we sat upstairs and enjoyed the exclusive use of the upper deck. When we arrived at the reef we transferred to the big ship that seems to rotate around a few different anchorages subject to weather and dive conditions. I would not say it is a great place to go if you did not enjoy snorkeling or diving or sunbathing on top of the boat. If you want to value add to the trip catch a chopper (might be expensive) from the boat back to shore as this was the least pleasant part of the trip as you return your own little group of 10 or so people who you know quite well to a group of100 plus depending on day etc etc. I am sounding precious, however food great (lots of it) and we needed it as we put out the energy swimming and diving and staff interacted as was appropriate. Look them up it was great.

Room Tip: Its a ship and never asked which room and we had a good one that was air conditioned with a view of...
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MrBigSpoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review

786 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    686
    68
    17
    8
    7
See reviews for
143
350
123
1
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (133)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Walwa
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 April 2012

Our family of 4(two teenagers ) stayed on the Reef Encounter for two days/ one night in July and we cannot praise the owners and staff highly enough. What a fantastic way to experience the reef. From the moment we stepped onboard in Cairns to the end of our trip the level of service and care was exceptional.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Robyn C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maryland, USA
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 February 2012

I did a live-aboard trip and got my first diving certification. In short, it was unbelievably great!!

The instructors were all fantastic, especially Lucy. I really can't say enough good things about the dive instructors -- every single one of them was knowledgeable, helpful, and fun -- and Lucy was simply stellar -- a great communicator and really a great teacher!

Personally, this trip to the Great Barrier Reef was a life-long dream. I saw amazing sea-life, the water was warm but not too warm, the boat was nice, the boat crew was wonderful, and the fellow passengers were a wonderful mix of nationalities.

Among many things I could rave about is the cook. I have a gluten allergy and the cook accommodated this nicely -- very good gf bread among other things, and a couple of really terrific desserts. All in all, my food was at least as good as everyone else's, and it was very good by any standard.

One other thing. I booked my trip through Joel Groberg (joel@divethereef.com) at DiveTheReef.com. Joel helped me make all the key choices and made arrangements for my hotel before and after the diving trip as well as some side excursions.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank SundayCoder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mountainside, New Jersey
Level Contributor
26 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 February 2012

There aren’t enough stars to rate Reef Encounter – I would recommend it to anyone and I hope I make it back someday.

My wife and I spent 3 nights/4 days diving on Reef Encounter and had the time of our lives. We opted for the top deck package, which ended up being the best decision we could have made. We booked it to have a personal dive guide so we didn’t miss anything on our dives, but what we got was an individual who went out of his way to make sure EVERY moment of our Reef Encounter was an absolute pleasure both above and below the water (thank you, Jon G.)

I’m not going to go on with a long winded review of every remarkable moment of our trip, nor am I going to go on about the spectacular diving (it IS the great barrier reef!) I think it best to provide the important points I believe other travelers should note:

1. Do the top deck package. Jon was friendly, helpful, and a great dive guide, and Britt’s customized dinner menu was exciting and delicious!
2. The staff is what makes Reef Encounter absolutely exceptional. Each and every member of the crew we interacted with was friendly, accommodating, and fun - but also very safety oriented.
3. The ship itself looks a little tired on the outside, but Nigel and his crew are excited that she is going into drydock in a few weeks for a refit. I wasn’t expecting a Carnival cruise ship, so this didn’t bother me at all. Plus, once we were on the boat I didn’t notice until we left.
4. If you’re not a diver, DO the introductory dive. I was very encouraged by the level of attention the staff gave to the introductory divers and those who I spoke with really enjoyed it.
5. The rooms were spacious, clean, and quiet. Between the diving and the gentle rocking, I slept like a baby.
6. Don’t overpack. I didn’t wear anything but t-shirts and bathing suits for 4 days.

If you have any questions before you book with Reef Encounter, feel free to send me a message. I’d be glad to help!

Room Tip: 301 and 302 are the forward rooms. They seem to be the largest and definitely have the best views!
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank gregstrick9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 February 2012

Amazing liveaboard dive experience. Great reef locations & delightful staff. I enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere & the Skipper Nigel was quite friendly & witty! The night dive at Norman Reef was fantastic. I enjoyed the experience so much I arranged to stay another day on reef encounter. Thank you for the phenomenal memories, Cheers!

  • Stayed January 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank HaleyNaylor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maplewood, Minnesota
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 February 2012

Great staff and laid back atmosphere. Very flexible and accommodating. My wife was very nervous about diving for the first time, but dive staff did a great job with taking us down. We ended up doing 6 introductory dives - 5 day dives and 1 night dive. They were all great and staff let us set the pace.

Loved the experience and would highly recommend them. Food was fine on the boat, nothing too fancy but plenty adequate.

Rooms were plenty big for sleeping and the on-suite bathroom was a must for us. Boat had plenty of outdoor space and indoor common area so minimum time spent in room.

The dive trip was one of the highlights of our australian vacation.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Luke S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lake Mary
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 January 2012

The wife and I spent our 10 year wedding anniversary on a trip to the South Pacific. We chose reef encounter for our plan to dive the great barrier reef. We chose the top deck option and it was well worth it. We spent three days and two nights on the Reef Encounter live-aoard, we dove 10 times and snorkled 3 times. On the night dive we were surrounded by a half-dozen Grey reef sharks and we will never forget that feeling. The reef, fish, turtles, rays, and sharks were absolutely amazing, Our guide Lance made us feel like VIPs all the way. The food, room, and service were fantastic on top deck. Our Captain went out of his way to ensure we saw every reef possible and had the most complete dive experience. When we go back to Cairns we will definately choose Reef Encounter again.

Room Tip: pay the small extra cost for top deck, the room, food, drinks and service are well worth it.
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank John G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Travellers also viewed these Cairns hotels
0.4 mi away
Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina, Cairns
0.5 mi away
Pullman Reef Hotel Casino
1.0 mi away
Reef Palms
Reef Palms
#3 of 65 in Cairns
4.5 of 5 bubbles 545 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
0.1 mi away
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns
0.2 mi away
Cairns Plaza Hotel
Cairns Plaza Hotel
#10 of 65 in Cairns
4.0 of 5 bubbles 1,039 reviews
0.5 mi away
Hilton Cairns
Hilton Cairns
#6 of 65 in Cairns
4.0 of 5 bubbles 2,083 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Reef Encounter? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Reef Encounter

Property: Reef Encounter
Address: 100 Abbott St, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia
Phone Number:
Region: Australia > Queensland > Cairns Region > Cairns
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 89 Speciality Lodging in Cairns
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Reef Encounter 4*
Number of rooms: 52
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Reef Encounter,Great Barrier Reef, Cairns Liveaboard is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef’s floating luxury boutique hotel. Spend one night or several nights on one of the Natural Wonders of the World. Transfers departing from Cairns, Queensland daily, offering guests a unique opportunity to enjoy the ultimate reef experience. Enjoy the sunsets, relax, snorkel or scuba dive the crystal clear blue waters. ... more   less 
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Hotels.com so you can book your Reef Encounter reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
Also Known As:
Reef Encounter Hotel Great Barrier Reef

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing