TUSA Reef Tours vs Reef Experience vs Aqua Quest vs Silverswift Cairns which is the best Cairns Day Dive Trip?

TUSA Reef Tours vs Reef Experience vs Aqua Quest vs Silverswift Cairns which is the best Cairns Day Dive Trip? In this article, we explain the main points of difference between these 4 wonderful dive boat operators that visit the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns.

Let’s get into it!

Each one of these day dive trips offers a unique reef experience, if you are looking at one of these dive boats then chances are you are perhaps an already certified diver with a dive license like the PADI open water license. Or maybe you are comfortable swimming in the water, you have perhaps been snorkeling before and you would maybe love to try a first-time introductory scuba dive. If this is the case, then you are looking in the right direction. If you are a non-swimmer, then we would recommend one of the outer reef pontoons these are more suited to non-swimmers.

Ok let’s get into it!

VIEW SELECTED TOURS BELOW:

Lady enjoying the water-slide at Moore Reef.

Sunlover Cruises

Great day tour for people of all ages. Visit Outer Reef Pontoon at Moore Reef, with lots of inclusions: snorkelling, glass bottom boat and semi-sub tours, underwater observatory and more.
TUSA Reef Tours Boat from Cairns Australia

TUSA Reef Tours

TUSA Reef Tours provide small group Certified Diving and Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. One of newest day trips from Cairns with over 5 hours on the reef, visiting 2 locations. Outstanding Customer Service!
Silverswift At The Reef

Silverswift Dive & Snorkel

Only Cairns Great Barrier Reef day tour to visit 3 different reef sites in one day! Part of the Quicksilver Cruises fleet. Comfortable, high speed catamaran. Up to 5 hours at the reef.
Evolution Dive Boat Cairns

Down Under Dive: Evolution

Well priced Great Barrier Reef day tour, including BBQ lunch. 5 hours on the reef at 2 reef sites. Introductory and certified diving are available at extra cost. Brand new boat.

Do you need help choosing?

Can't decide? We have personally been on every Cairns reef and diving trip. We can help you choose the best tour, to suit your experience and budget.

All four day dive boats from Cairns offer a chance to dive and snorkel on beautiful parts of the Great Barrier Reef, all four boats have slightly different reef permits from each other, so you will have a wonderful time on any of them, but there are reasons to choose one over the other all depending on your abilities as a swimmer, if you are a certified diver or if you want to try the first-time introductory dive and of course how much money you wish to allocate to your reef trip!

Read on to learn the main differences that set each trip apart:

Silverswift Dive & Snorkel: this is the only boat in Cairns to visit three outer reef sites in one day. This means the boat will physically move to three outer reef sites all in one day. If you are a certified diver and would like your dives guided by professional dive instructors and you wish to see as much of the Great Barrier Reef as you can in one day then Silverswift is a great option, as it is the only boat in Cairns to visit three sites in the one day. There are some downsides thou, as this boat does move to three separate reef sites it does mean the day is busy, the crew is constantly moving all day as the boat does need to dock up and Moore at three separate sites. Something to keep in mind, there is not a lot of time to just sit around and relax due to the need to move the boat around to 3 different sites. Something to consider if you are deciding between the day boats. What are the Highlights: All dives are guided by professional dive instructors, and you get to explore three outer reef sites all in one day! No other boat in Cairns does this.

TUSA Reef Tours: this boat offers beautiful small passenger numbers, maxed out at 40 passengers on the boat for the day. A high crew to passenger ratio allows wonderful customer service interaction. The boat will only move to two outer reef sites in the one day, this means you can complete a total of three dives (2 x dives on one site with 1 x dive on the second site). This trip is more relaxed than the others as there are not as many people getting in and out of the water. Lunchtime is more relaxed with table service, breakfast is also included, and due to the low passenger numbers, the whole trip is more relaxed. This boat also allows up to 1-hour dives, for professional divers, this is fantastic as it gives you the freedom and time to explore the Great Barrier Reef! Keep in mind you can also dive unguided in your buddy pairs or dive with a professional dive instructor (You can choose on the day). On this boat, you can either complete 2 long dives or three shorter 40-minute dives. It is up to you as to how busy or relaxed you wish to be on the day. The downside of this trip would be the price, it is more expensive than all the other day trips, but that does come down to the high crew-to-passenger ratio, excellent customer service, and low passenger numbers.  What are the Highlights: 1-hour long dives and the ability to dive unguided for those who are experienced and would like to spend their time exploring the reef in their buddy pairs. Perfect for underwater photographers!

Reef Experience: for those craving beautiful diving but are a little more budget-conscious then this trip would be for you. If you look at all the inclusions on this trip it is hands down the best value for money day trip to the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns. The boat visits two outer reef locations in one day, the trip includes a hot cooked breakfast, morning, and afternoon tea, and hot lunch. The crew gives detailed dive & snorkel briefings and best of all one scuba dive is included in the price! That’s right they include 1 x free introductory first-time dive or 1 x certified dive. Keep in mind for the certified divers all dives are unguided, this gives you the freedom to buddy up and explore the reef in your buddy pairs. You can still get a dive guide if you wish they do charge extra for this. The boat does visit beautiful dive sites on Norman, Saxon, and Hasting’s reef systems. The downside to this trip is you can only do a maximum of 2 x dives in the day and a small part of the day is spent docking up to a liveaboard to unload passengers on a mothership liveaboard called Reef Encounter, this is for passengers who wish to spend a night or two at the reef. What are the Highlights: Reef Experience offers fantastic value for money when you look at all the inclusions, the boat dives on beautiful reef sites and includes 1 x free dive per person!

Aqua Quest: This dive boat sits right in the middle of all the other day boats in terms of pricing. They offer a chance to complete up to 3 x certified dives all in one day, they also have the option for experienced divers to go unguided and buddy up by themselves and explore the reef at their leisure, great for underwater photographers or those that like to dive independently. The crew gives fantastic dive briefings with charts and maps to show you the dive sites. Keep in mind you can still get a dive guide they do charge extra for a guide just talk to the crew on the boat to arrange a dive guide.  The boat is modern, and fast, and sits in the middle of the price point differences between all four dive boats. The downside, it does spend a small amount of time docking up at a liveaboard to allow passengers to embark on overnight trips on their mothership Ocean Quest. What are the Highlights: The ability to complete three certified dives unguided in your buddy pairs. If you are a single traveler, they will buddy you up with another certified diver on the boat, and the two of you can go off and explore the reef in your buddy pairs.

Dive Boat Specifications:

See below the different boat specifications of each vessel. This will inform you on how many people can travel on each boat, the actual boat size (if you are worried about seasickness, the larger the boat the better stability), the vessel speed how fast it travels, the boat dimensions, and general vessel information like how many toilets and showers on each. This information should assist you in determining which day dive trip might best suit your needs.

Silverswift Dive & Snorkel Boat Specifications:

Length:                               29m

Width:                                8.3m

Hull Type:                          TWIN Hull Aluminium Build

Traveling Speed:              32knots

Passenger Count:           90 PAX

Toilets / Showers:           3 x toilets + (3 Separate Change Rooms)

Reef Sites Visited:          Flynn, Milne and Pellow Reefs

Dive Group Size:             5 or 6 divers

TUSA Reef Tours Boat Specifications:

Length:                               24m

Width:                                7.66m

Hull Type:                          TWIN Hull Aluminium Build

Traveling Speed:              25knots

Passenger Count:           40 PAX

Toilets / Showers:           4

Reef Sites Visited:          Norman, Saxon and Hastings Reefs

Dive Group Size:             5 or 6 divers

Reef Experience Boat Specifications:

Length:                               24m

Width:                                7.66m

Hull Type:                          TWIN Hull Aluminium Build

Traveling Speed:              30knots

Passenger Count:           70 PAX

Toilets / Showers:           6

Reef Sites Visited:          Norman, Saxon and Hastings Reefs

Dive Group Size:             5 or 6 divers

Aqua Quest Boat Specifications:

Length:                               26.07m

Width:                                9m

Hull Type:                          TWIN Hull Aluminium Build

Traveling Speed:              26knots

Passenger Count:           130 PAX

Toilets / Showers:           4

Reef Sites Visited:          Norman, Saxon and Hastings Reefs

Dive Group Size:             5 or 6 divers

Using the above information, we hope this has been a helpful guide/tool for you to plan which dive boat trip will best suit your needs.

If you have any questions or are still unsure as to which is the best option for you, please contact our dive crazy reservation team, we have dived on all four boats multiple times and can give you our best recommendation based on your traveling group requirements.

Our dive team has logged over 686 scuba dives on the Great Barrier Reef our team is here to help with any questions you may have please contact us by Phone: at +61 7 40411638 or by email: reservations@cairnsdiveadventures.com

Lady enjoying the water-slide at Moore Reef.

Sunlover Cruises

Great day tour for people of all ages. Visit Outer Reef Pontoon at Moore Reef, with lots of inclusions: snorkelling, glass bottom boat and semi-sub tours, underwater observatory and more.
TUSA Reef Tours Boat from Cairns Australia

TUSA Reef Tours

TUSA Reef Tours provide small group Certified Diving and Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. One of newest day trips from Cairns with over 5 hours on the reef, visiting 2 locations. Outstanding Customer Service!
Silverswift At The Reef

Silverswift Dive & Snorkel

Only Cairns Great Barrier Reef day tour to visit 3 different reef sites in one day! Part of the Quicksilver Cruises fleet. Comfortable, high speed catamaran. Up to 5 hours at the reef.
Evolution Dive Boat Cairns

Down Under Dive: Evolution

Well priced Great Barrier Reef day tour, including BBQ lunch. 5 hours on the reef at 2 reef sites. Introductory and certified diving are available at extra cost. Brand new boat.
ReefQuest

Deep Sea Divers Den: Aqua Quest

Value for money Great Barrier Reef dive tour. Visits 2 reef sites. Perfect for snorkellers, certified divers and those wanting to try an introductory dive. Buffet lunch included.
Reef Magic Outer Reef Scuba Diving

Reef Magic Cruises

Up to 5 hours at the reef. Outer Great Barrier Reef pontoon with fabulous coral gardens. Meet Wally! Lots of inclusions: snorkelling, glass bottom boat, semi-sub, underwater observatory and more.
Great Adventures Green Island & Reef Package

Great Adventures: Green Island & Great Barrier Reef

This is the only Cairns day tour to combine time on Green Island with a visit to a Great Barrier Reef pontoon. Best of both worlds. Suitable for snorkellers and divers.
The Passions of Paradise boat Cairns Australia

Passions Of Paradise

Australian Tourism Award Winner. Daily dive/snorkel trips to Paradise Reef, Hastings reef, and more on 25m sailing catamaran. Free scuba demonstration & guided snorkel tour. Hot / cold buffet lunch.
Fully inclusive Great Barrier Reef day tours with Reef Experience

Reef Experience

Cairns' only fully inclusive day tour, including: city hotel transfers, trip to Great Barrier Reef, 6 hours on reef, 2 reef locations, meals, free scuba dive, marine biologist presentation & equipment.
Ocean Freedom the quickest Great Barrier Reef day tour dive in Cairns

Ocean Freedom Cruise

Locally owned & operated. 5 star service. Up to 6 hours snorkel / dive time at 2 Great Barrier Reef locations. Best reef tour lunch in town. Friendly crew, glass bottom boat tour & much more.
Great Adventures Day Boat

Great Adventures: Outer Reef Pontoon

Leaves later than most (10am) and provides up to 3 hours at their outer reef pontoon. Enjoy the sun deck, underwater observatory, semi-submersible and many optional extras.

Silversonic Dive & Snorkel

Silversonic provides daily reef tours departing from Port Douglas and visiting the ribbon reefs at Agincourt Reef. 5 hours at reef and up to 3 dives.

Ocean Spirit Cruises

Ocean Spirit Cruises provide a luxury sailing catamaran to Michaelmas Cay. This trip is suited to swimmers, snorkelers and families. Often Sea Turtles are seen from the beach. All meals included.
Poseidon Dive Boat with Divers

Poseidon Snorkel and Dive

Poseidon provides daily tours from Port Douglas to the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs, visiting three (3) separate reef sites. Suitable for scuba divers and snorkelers. Great passenger to crew ratio.
Quicksilver Cruises Boat from Port Douglas

Quicksilver Outer Great Barrier Reef Cruises

The Ultimate Great Barrier Reef Cruise - Quicksilver Cruises provides the only Port Douglas Great Barrier Reef pontoon tour, departing Marina Mirage daily. Can snorkel and dive, Semi-Submarines & Underwater Observatory.
Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel Reef Boat

Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel Cruises

Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel offers a great value for money option that spends 5 hours at a beautiful reef location. Free guided snorkel tour, glass bottom boat tour and marine presentation.

Search for Tours:

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Search in posts
Search in pages

Cairns Reef Information

Click the links below to find out more.

Do you need help choosing a trip?

Can't decide? We have personally been on every Cairns reef and diving trip. We can help you choose the best tour, to suit your experience and budget.

Special

FREE UNDERWATER CAMERA HIRE*

Cairns Underwater Camera Hire Service

Spend over $550.00 AUD on your Great Barrier Reef tour with us and receive the latest Digital Underwater Camera Hire. Take amazing High-Resolution images and 1080 HD Video.

Not available for any tours to the Islands as fine white sand damages the seals on the cameras and makes them leak!

You need to come into our shop located on the Cairns Esplanade the day before departure to pick up the camera before 5:30 pm. You also need to supply your own SD Camera Card and drop the camera off back at our shop before 5:30pm.

 

Please Remember there is no other way to collect our cameras! All passengers must come into our shop the day before departure day before 5:30 pm.