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Choosing Your Liveaboard Trip

Because there are so many trips offered to the Great Barrier Reef, they all compete with various inclusions, extra services, gimmicks etc.

The only thing is that they call them different things which really only confuses us. So the following list basically covers every option or extra that is used by local operators.

Have a look through and see which items are important and not important. This will make things easier when you come to selecting your own trip.

Method Of Propulsion Is the vessel sailing or motor driven. This may be important if you do not like engine fumes. However also think about time, and sailing takes time. Also be aware that even if it is a sailing vessel, if there is no wind they have to use engines.
Transfers Do they include or charge for accommodation transfers? Check where you are staying as some charge more if you are further out.
Boarding Photograph A souvenir picture whilst boarding vessel. They usually charge extra.
Breakfast Some early departing vessels offer something light
Snacks Morning tea and afternoon tea are sometimes coffee or tea with something to eat, and sometimes just the beverage. Complimentary return journey beverage, sparkling wine or similar offered on return journey are a nice touch
Reef Education Reef Teach is a separate presentation done on land which enhances your appreciation of your reef trip. Some operators include it for all passengers the day prior to departure. Slide shows and video presentations are also usually provided as an introduction to, or an explanation of, the Great Barrier Reef
Snorkelling Float Coats, also known as Snorkelling Jackets, are used to assist in flotation for snorkellers that are a little apprehensive. The level of equipment provided can range from Basic (mask, snorkel and fins) to Professional (mask, snorkel, fins with booties, wetsuit, and weight belt). Snorkelling lessons are a basic lesson for beginners, while Snorkelling Tours are a guided tour of reef whilst snorkelling, usually with marine biologist or marine naturalist.
On Site Tours Glass Bottom Boat Tours are an above water auxillary vessel with glass at bottom to view coral, usually with a guided commentary. Semi-Submersible Tours use an auxillary vessel with large hull/chamber underwater where one can sit and view marine life, usually also with guided commentary.
Beach/Naturalist Walk When the vessel visits an island or cay and where one can view birds, shells, etc.
Touch Tank/Aquarium A tank or aquarium where basic marine creatures are exhibited and sometimes able to be felt. This is usually on a pontoon type structure
Prescription Masks These are masks especially for people who wear glasses. They are masks with an assortment of lenses prescriptions, some companies include the use of these and some charge extra and some do not offer them at all
Dive Gear Tanks and Weights Dive Gear is when you bring your own equipment and only need to use the operators tanks and weights. Full Dive Gear is when a diver needs to use the all operators equipment including mask, snorkel, fins, booties, weight belt, BCD, wetsuit, tanks. Also remember that some operators include a dive computer and others will charge extra. The wetsuit may also be a short sleeved and short legged, and you may prefer a long legged one.
Underwater Cameras Professional outfits including a film, for hire either for a entire day or for only one dive. Disposable waterproof cameras for sale on board - check the maximum depth with these before jumping in!
Torch Batteries Sounds stupid but some companies will loan you a torch for night diving but make you purchase your own batteries (which of course they sell on board)
Cyalume Sticks Fluorescent tubes which you attach to back of your tank whilst diving at night. It is a safety item which some companies include with all night diving.
Diving Style   · Introductory Diving - a first time dive experience for non-divers
  · 1 x Certified Dive - one dive only, for certified/qualified divers
  · 2 x Certified Dives - two dives, for certified/qualified divers
  · 3 x Certified Dives - three dives, for certified/qualified divers
Accommodation   · Multi share - On overnight trips this usually means 4 or more to a room, and it is usually in bunk beds
  · Twin Share - Two to a cabin, usually in bunk beds
  · Double - Two to a cabin but in the one bed
  · Bed linen - most overnight companies do not allow sleeping bags on board
  · Towels - some include towels and some do not
Meals 'All meals' includes breakfast, lunch dinner and snacks.
Dive Video A souvenir video for sale usually of below and above the water activities. Companies usually play it whilst vessel returns home
Live Entertainment Games or music on homeward journey to entertain and relax passengers
Discounts Some companies offer a discount to passengers who wish to travel with them on more than one occasion.
Merchandise The usual necessities like sunscreen, hats, t-shits, and general souvenirs are for sale
Honesty System This means you can help yourself to drinks and snacks but you need to write down what you are having
Insurance Some of the more reputable companies think Dive Insurance important and have blanket policies that cover any passenger travelling with them. These policies cover any type of emergency related to being on the vessel
Reef Tax The Australian Government charge all visitors to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park a tax which helps to manage it. Operators collect this for the Government. The fee is $4.00 per person per day, with a maximum of $12.00 for overnight trips. Some operators include it in their fare others charge it on top of the fare so that they keep the cost competitive. Some operators even word the tax differently to make it sound better to the customer. It could be worded like this 'A portion of all fares collected by this company are donated to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, for reef preservation'.
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Diving Cairns

Diving Cairns - Cairns, Queensland 4870 Australia | Phone: (07) 4041 7536 | E-mail:
Diving Cairns - The ultimate guide to a diving holiday on North Queensland's Great Barrier Reef