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fvandewouwer

great barrier reef need advice

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snorkeling the GBR was on top of our bucket list for such a long time and now we are getting close

cruise explorer of the seas from Sydney to Singapore in March /April

visiting Airlie Beach from 7 till 6 april 2

and Cairns from 7 till 6 april 4

there are a lot of tours on Royal Website we can book but we have already so many people on the ship that we would love to do this one day

in a lifetime experience on our own or in a small group and we are looking to go to the most beautiful part of the GBR with lots of coral fish

sharks and rays

can anyone give me advice which tour to pick of which company to contact in the area ?

these are the tours Royal provides

from Airlee Beach

 

1. 7h Experience one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Set sail on an exclusive catamaran for a two-hour ride to the Great Barrier Reef where you'll board a large floating platform on the outer reef. Enjoy approximately three hours surrounded by an abundance of tropical marine life and colorful coral. Indulge in a variety of activities including snorkeling, a reef tour on a semi-submersible vessel and a walk through underwater viewing chamber

 

255 usd pp ( only 2 hours of snorkeling so a no for us )

 

2. The ultimate sailing experience and world-class snorkeling create a memorable day as guests explore beautiful remote bays, islands and beaches. Sail around Whitsunday Islands National Park on one of the fastest, most graceful commercial catamarans available. Enjoy a sumptuous BBQ lunch, idyllic scenery and sun-dappled seas from spacious decks as the skipper provides colorful commentary. Then dive into the Whitsunday’s favorite maritime playground for approximately 2 hours snorkeling in a protected reef teeming with life.

 

239 usd pp ( 2 h snorkeling )

 

3. Visit Whitsunday Islands' "wild side." The uninhabited islands offer beautiful natural scenery brimming with marine, bird and animal life. Learn about the protected areas during an educational tour. Then skim across the ocean waves in an inflatable vessels designed and built as rescue crafts and powered by 450hp engines. Cruise past breathtaking islands and enjoy a refreshing swim in the tropical water

 

179 usd pp

 

from Cairns

 

1.Experience one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Board a catamaran for the one and half hour transfer to a pontoon at the Great Barrier Reef. Then explore the biggest single structure made by living organisms for approximately 4 hours. Engage in a wide range of activities on the outer reef that include diving, snorkeling, a tour on a semi-submersible vessel, and a walk through an underwater viewing chamber.

 

258 usd pp

 

2. Great Barrier Reef wonders beckon advanced snorkelers and divers during this full-day exclusive charter trip. Experience the best the area and conditions can offer. A maximum 100 guests depart Cairns to enjoy 4 amazing hours spent exploring a mooring from a purpose-built reef vessel. Tour includes buffet lunch, morning and afternoon tea and Lycra suit. Scuba diving is an optional extra; guests should book on the ship in advance to reserve tanks and dive masters.

 

100 people ????? they mention advanced which is good but 100 people

 

price 299 usd pp

 

thank you all for your time to help me sort out what to book or where to look

from Belgium

Frieda

 

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On 12/4/2018 at 7:34 AM, fvandewouwer said:

snorkeling the GBR was on top of our bucket list for such a long time and now we are getting close

cruise explorer of the seas from Sydney to Singapore in March /April

visiting Airlie Beach from 7 till 6 april 2

and Cairns from 7 till 6 april 4

there are a lot of tours on Royal Website we can book but we have already so many people on the ship that we would love to do this one day

in a lifetime experience on our own or in a small group and we are looking to go to the most beautiful part of the GBR with lots of coral fish

sharks and rays

can anyone give me advice which tour to pick of which company to contact in the area ?

these are the tours Royal provides

from Airlee Beach

 

1. 7h Experience one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Set sail on an exclusive catamaran for a two-hour ride to the Great Barrier Reef where you'll board a large floating platform on the outer reef. Enjoy approximately three hours surrounded by an abundance of tropical marine life and colorful coral. Indulge in a variety of activities including snorkeling, a reef tour on a semi-submersible vessel and a walk through underwater viewing chamber

 

255 usd pp ( only 2 hours of snorkeling so a no for us )

 

2. The ultimate sailing experience and world-class snorkeling create a memorable day as guests explore beautiful remote bays, islands and beaches. Sail around Whitsunday Islands National Park on one of the fastest, most graceful commercial catamarans available. Enjoy a sumptuous BBQ lunch, idyllic scenery and sun-dappled seas from spacious decks as the skipper provides colorful commentary. Then dive into the Whitsunday’s favorite maritime playground for approximately 2 hours snorkeling in a protected reef teeming with life.

 

239 usd pp ( 2 h snorkeling )

 

3. Visit Whitsunday Islands' "wild side." The uninhabited islands offer beautiful natural scenery brimming with marine, bird and animal life. Learn about the protected areas during an educational tour. Then skim across the ocean waves in an inflatable vessels designed and built as rescue crafts and powered by 450hp engines. Cruise past breathtaking islands and enjoy a refreshing swim in the tropical water

 

179 usd pp

 

from Cairns

 

1.Experience one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Board a catamaran for the one and half hour transfer to a pontoon at the Great Barrier Reef. Then explore the biggest single structure made by living organisms for approximately 4 hours. Engage in a wide range of activities on the outer reef that include diving, snorkeling, a tour on a semi-submersible vessel, and a walk through an underwater viewing chamber.

 

258 usd pp

 

2. Great Barrier Reef wonders beckon advanced snorkelers and divers during this full-day exclusive charter trip. Experience the best the area and conditions can offer. A maximum 100 guests depart Cairns to enjoy 4 amazing hours spent exploring a mooring from a purpose-built reef vessel. Tour includes buffet lunch, morning and afternoon tea and Lycra suit. Scuba diving is an optional extra; guests should book on the ship in advance to reserve tanks and dive masters.

 

100 people ????? they mention advanced which is good but 100 people

 

price 299 usd pp

 

thank you all for your time to help me sort out what to book or where to look

from Belgium

Frieda

 

 

Hi.  I am sorry, but I don't look at the scuba/snorkeling boards very often so I didn't come across your post until now.  I hope it is not too late to answer your questions.

 

We took a 12 night Great Barrier Reef cruise out of Sydney last year.  It was on a Celebrity ship (Solstice) which is owned by Royal Caribbean so both companies have the same shore excursions.  It was a great trip.  

 

Here is a photo review of our trip that I wrote that goes into detail on our scuba diving and snorkeling.  I also wrote a "Live On Board" narrative that I posted as well.

 

Here is my review of our day at Airlie Beach.  We took the #1 excursion that you listed for Airlie Beach.  The reason that the snorkeling is so brief is because it takes something like 2 hours to get to the floating platform (a HUGE amazing pontoon) and then another 2 hours to get back to the ship.  Here is the first of a series of posts that I wrote on the trip to the pontoon.

 

Here is my review of our 1st day at Cairns which we used the #2 shore excursion you listed.

 

Here is a post I wrote that discusses the differences between shore excursion #1 & 2 at Cairns.

 

Snorkel/scuba-wise, Cairns is much better than Airlie Beach.  I would highly recommend an air tour of the reef at Airlie Beach.  

 

Let me know if you have any questions

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It is very difficult to book a snorkeling trip independently thru another company. 

 

Many snorkeling companies will not talk to you when they find out you are on a cruise. 

 

The reason is that it takes a long time to tender to shore. There are long lines to get off and the ship will give priority to their passengers that have purchased shore excursions through them. The tender ride is about half an hour long. At Cairns, you are tendered to a spot called Yorkey's Knob which is a 20 minute taxi ride to Cairns. 

 

The snorkel boats often leave early from Cairns because it takes about an hour or more to get to the outer reef. Most likely you will get there too late to catch the boat. The boat will not wait for you if you are late. 

 

So the independent snorkel companies know this and will discourage you from booking with them because they don't want the headache. 

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My apologies first for this late response, we just returned home and I did not have any internet while on holiday.

Your information, pictures and reviews are amazing, I have been reading them just now with some tears as we did not visit Cairns neither Airlee Beach due to high waves so tendering was, for our captain, out of the question. What was the intention of our cruise, snorkeling the GBR, has fallen literary into the water.

Still I am very happy with your post and will keep it for the future, GBR is put ‘again’ on top of my travel bucket list so it will one day become handy.

Thanks again for your time, we wish you a marvelous day

From Belgium

Frieda

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On 4/17/2019 at 12:01 PM, fvandewouwer said:

My apologies first for this late response, we just returned home and I did not have any internet while on holiday.

Your information, pictures and reviews are amazing, I have been reading them just now with some tears as we did not visit Cairns neither Airlee Beach due to high waves so tendering was, for our captain, out of the question. What was the intention of our cruise, snorkeling the GBR, has fallen literary into the water.

Still I am very happy with your post and will keep it for the future, GBR is put ‘again’ on top of my travel bucket list so it will one day become handy.

Thanks again for your time, we wish you a marvelous day

From Belgium

Frieda

 

Frieda,

 

I am sorry to read that you were not able to get off the ship to enjoy the GBR.  That is such a shame and I can imagine the disappointment that you and the other passengers experienced with missing the two GBR ports.  You are right, you simply have to put it back on your list.

 

On the other hand, I hope you were able to enjoy the other ports including Singapore and Sydney!

 

David

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Thanks David, yes we did have an amazing time in Australia NZ and Singapore. If we do go back ..

And we will I will certainly post it on this topic. 

Have a great day.

Frieda

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I am super late to this discussion, but I did your Airlie Beach #1 activity when I did a land tour of Australia a while back.  Except if you go on land they have ~10 spots a night to sleep out there, and you get hours and hours of snorkeling, private scuba diving if you want it, etc.  I would highly recommend it!!  It was one of my top 3 things that I did in all of Australia. (feeding kangaroos and watching the Sydney NYE fireworks being the other two)

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2 hours ago, celoplyr said:

I am super late to this discussion, but I did your Airlie Beach #1 activity when I did a land tour of Australia a while back.  Except if you go on land they have ~10 spots a night to sleep out there, and you get hours and hours of snorkeling, private scuba diving if you want it, etc.  I would highly recommend it!!  It was one of my top 3 things that I did in all of Australia. (feeding kangaroos and watching the Sydney NYE fireworks being the other two)

 

Your suggestion is a good one.  However Celebrity (and Royal Carib) offer an excursion that involves overnighting on a pontoon out in the GBR

 

So it doesn't have to be a land tour.  But the cruise ship itinerary has to include an overnight (usually at Cairns) to do it.  Many, but not all, the GBR itineraries include an overnight stop.  It was offered during our GBR cruise and it was run by Sunlover Reef Cruise at their pontoon anchored at Moore Reef.  It's expensive and the number of passengers that can sign up is very limited.

 

BTW, coincidentally like you we also got to feed kangaroos (not in the wild) and we rang in 2018 on a boat in Sydney Harbour!

 

02F9DF6B-067E-44CE-BFF9-5CBDDF3858F9.jpeg

Sydney Harbour, Jan 1 2018, taken from the Galene

Edited by mahdnc

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