The beginning of the day started out rocky, as our bus forgot to pick us up be sure to watch the clock and have reception call if they are more than 5 minutes late!, and boarding the ship was jumbled, unorganized, and rushed.
Before boarding we were told there were cookies and coffee aboard for us, but as soon as we stepped foot on the ship we were hurried up to the top into a lonely VIP room for those who chose the helicopter option. It was cold, stinky, and it was a small room of 6 of us with no idea what was going on. They told us nothing as the other decks were getting briefed. About 10 minutes later I finally decided to leave the room and look around, apparently they were all out of cookies by that time which was frustrating since I had not had breakfast and figured there would be enough especially for us who paid extra to opt for the heli experience. I also felt that there were SO MANY crew members everywhere, as if half the ship was just crew and it was pretty crowded.
BUT the lovely sea life, snorkeling, and helicopter ride over the reef made up for it ALL. I was able to see a reef shark, a ton of beautiful coral, and a whale on the ride back up from the heli. It was an amazing experience I'll treasure a lifetime.
Side note: Wish they didn't pack the helicopter so full. I was able to enjoy the window and view, but my husband was sandwiched in the middle of a few of us in the back seat with no true window view.
Boat was comfortable. Food was great. Helicopter over the reef was amazing.
most expensive tour for our trip but worth doing it, great fun, program well covered from the sun to the sea, signature tour for short stay in Cairns
I would recommend the Helicopter Tour to everyone!! It was the most amazing experience to see the reef from the air. In retrospect, the catamaran return was nice but would have preferred to return on the helicopter because the view was so amazing.
This tour was amazing and very well organized! Will recomend this to everyone who wants to do a tour of the GBR. Boat was big and new, bbq lunch was very decent. The reefs that we went to were beautiful! And all staff were professional, helpful and friendy. No hassles at all.
The helicopter ride over the reef was incredible. It was well-guided, very smooth ride, and the landing on the wooden dock near the reefs was exciting.
The views from the reef are magnificent. The water was unusually choppy the day I went, which made swimming and accessing the reef fully a challenging proposition. I also felt the water was a tad overcrowded, which meant frequent collisions with nearby snorkelers. All in all, for what I paid and making the most of the challenging weather, it was a great experience to see the famed reef
The boat ride back was comfy, and the staff were excellent
I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone. The whole trip from loading on the helicopter to the safety briefing and snorkelling on the boat to the boat ride back to the reef terminal was run very professionally and by a group of pleasant and friendly people
Christine S Australia
Well organised tour. Fantastic experience from the helicopter to snorkelling to food and the boat ride back. I would recommend this tour to family and friends
Betty J R Canada
This Cruise out and Heli back tour was everything we had hoped for. The staff and crew were all so helpful and attentive. The BBQ lunch was great and we recommend this full day tour to everyone.
russ United Kingdom
The boat is huge! And new. With 120 pasengers you would have thought it would be too big. Nope! The whole day was run with military precision. Everyone gets allocated their kit and a pigeon hole to put the stuff in. There are plenty of seats for all and lunch was really well organised and heaps of it.
The safety breifings were very good indeed: for novices, snorkellers, intro divers and certified divers. Each group was taken care of at the appropriate level. Whatever you could do, they did it!
For novices there were floating aids and the marine biologist tour allowed for them too. The back of the boat lowers for easy access in and out of the water.
The crew were smartly dressed and each of them very knowledgeable.
There is a professioanl photographer on board and you can buy pictures from their shop by the Reef Terminal later on. However you could take your own pictures - and this seemed to be encouraged.
There was a glass-bottomed boat tour but I opted for a transfer home by helicopter so couldn't fit it in.
The helicopter was actually a bit boring as the Reef from above isn't much to see that hasn't been seen on a postcard - the whole Reef thing is being there and doing it. So worth it only if you like helicopters.
Scuba or snorkel? I have to say the boat picked such good spots on the reef that just snorkelling gave you brilliant views and would be adequate. Diving just meant you could go deep and explore more. I think you can buy intro diving sessions on board.
I have done other Reef tours and this tour stands out to be the best by a long shot: reef views, organisation, friendliness, the food, the boat, the kit.
Definitely go for the longest stay option as you'll want to keep dropping in for another smorkel every few minutes.
Oh, and Australian money is waterproof which makes it so much easier to pay for things on board.
The Reef was amazing! The boat was extremely nice along with the staff, gear and snorkeling. Lunch was great. The ride home in the helicopter was not 25 minutes- more like 15 minutes. We arrived so early that we had to wait 15 minutes for our shuttles that were taking us back to our hotel to show up.
Great experience- The reef is amazing, the people were very professional and knowledgable.
mike United Kingdom
Definitely the best way to see the reef if you are restricted on time. This is an half day tour which starts around noon and finishes back at your hotel by 6pm. You get taken to the airport in Cairns where you get on your helicopter for a thirty minute flight out to and over a good area of the reef. You all get a good view and photo ops before setting down on a small pontoon next to the boat. A quick ride later and you are on the boat getting your snorkels and flippers for a 40 minutes swim around the surrounding reef. Then for a small extra fee got to do the same trip around the reef in the submersible which enabled us to take better photos of the reef up close. We then had lunch which could have been better because we only got the leftovers from the people who had done the boat trip both ways plenty of meat but my wife, who only eats fish, had to go without.
The boat trip back was enjoyable with plenty of cheese and biscuits and wine which made up slightly for the poor lunch. Even so it was a great trip and a very good 6 hour tour.
Would highly recommend this amazing tour. Everything ran smoothly, the tour guides were exceptional, the helicopter was exceptional, the reef just beautiful....loved every minute!
Best experience ever! Beautiful reefs, nice boatride, great snorkling equipment and friendly staff. The view from the helicopter is fantastic.
Very professional and friendly crew, both on the helicopter side and on the boat. Beautiful flight out to the reef. After a safety briefing on the boat we were in the water within 10 minutes. Great lunch on the way back on the boat. Highly recommend.
A once in a lifetime experience. It was incredible. Great value for money. Amazing knowledge from each member of the crew. Accessible for all abilities of swimmers. Brilliant food. Great entertainment. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
By far the best tour I have ever experienced. To Elvis and crew: Much thanks for your professionalism and hospitality.
The whole day was amazing, from the staff on the boat to the barrier reef and snorkeling.
And of course the helicopter return.
We booked this trip for my son's 21st literally 12 hours before we flew to Cairns for a 24 hour round trip. the booking was so easy and the staff helpful when our first option wasn't available. I cannot recommend and rate this trip option highly enough and would use viator again in the future.
The booking team were awesome, the aviation team in Cairns really worked with us to make sure we got to our outbound flight. the staff on the cruise were fantastic, they helped to make my son's first experience on the reef and his 21st one to never forget. excellent crew all very friendly and the food was actually good, great kitchen hands. very well organised, the day just ran so smoothly with lots of laughs along the way. very knowledgeable staff. we will see you again sometime soon....
Helicopter ride was excellent great picture taking opportunity. Boat ride was very nice. Service very good staff very attentive. If u aren't a snorkel not sure you want to do. But overall very pleasant day.
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