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“Highlight of our Australian tour!”

Seastar Cruises Reef Day Trips
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Seastar Cruises premium reef cruise combines the outer Great Barrier Reef with a coral cay island. In only 1 1/4 hours the fast air-conditioned Seastar 1 can take you from Cairns to magnificent Michaelmas Cay, the largest of the local uninhabited coral cays. Cruising past Green Island, Upolu cay and Oyster reef Seastar is the first boat to arrive. After an enjoyable time here it is a short 20 minute cruise to the splendid Hastings Reef sitting on the very outer edge. This is where the corals thrive, well out from the coast away from the influence the rivers and streams, adjacent to the clear waters of the Pacific Ocean. You will have 2 1/2 hours at each location. Plenty of time to go snorkeling, do a introductory dive, relax on the beach of the Island or join a tour in the Glass Bottom Boat at Hastings Reef. The day cruise on Seastar inlcudes Morning/Afternoon tea, high quality snorkel equipment, Wetsuit or Lycra suit (depending on the time of year), Glass Bottom Boat Tour, Hot & Cold Buffet Lunch, Reef Interpretation & Guided Snorkel Tours on each spot.
Useful Information: Stairs / lift
Reviewed 3 May 2013

We would thoroughly recommend the Seastar – a first class service which deserves all the praise on this site. There were around 35 people on this tour, which may sound a lot but Seastar provides a big crew who all make sure everyone, including less experienced swimmers (neither of us had snorkelled before and they were very attentive to nervous customers), is well looked after. While a handful of our group had a go at the scuba option most, like us, were happy with snorkelling and were far from disappointed. The Seastar visited two areas – an island-based middle reef spot which was a good place for us all to get used to the equipment, followed by an outer reef spot using the boat as the base.

Having also done a cheap-rate trip to an inner reef with another company, we would strongly recommend paying the extra for a tour that goes to the outer reef, where both the coral and the fish were even more stunning. A glass-bottomed boat trip was included for anyone who wanted it; this was OK though not nearly as good as getting into the water and seeing things close-up. The crew gave a brief but helpful presentation on the coral and sea life during the journey, including welcome advice on how to stay safe - repeated at each site (something woefully missing on another cheaper tour we took).

At both sites there was a "tour" where a guide pointed out particular coral and identified some of the best fish. The buffet lunch included was fine – nothing special but no complaints. We thought in retrospect it might have been worth bringing an underwater camera (lots of shops in Cairns rent these out for a minimum of around AUD50) but that might equally have given poor results and been a distraction from the main objective of actually looking at the amazing underwater sights. In any case the crew took photos of the guests, including underwater shots, and some of the fish throughout the day and then posted them all for free on their website and Facebook page – a great service that made a refreshing change from the usual tour operator practice of stinging your customers for an overpriced CD.

A great experience was had by all, not even marred by the boat breaking down for half an hour on the homeward journey while they fixed something. Only scuba equipment and training cost extra – everything else was thrown in (including flotation aids for nervous swimmers) and all the equipment was of a high standard. We would recommend this tour to anyone wanting to get the best out of a visit to the Great Barrier Reef, which was the highlight of our entire three-week Australian visit.

1  Thank P_n_R_Herts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 May 2013

We dove the GBR with Sea Start in Jan 2013.

The staff were amazing! Especially Kiana who had such a great sense of humour and made everyone feel comfortable.

It was "stinger" season, so we had to wear "stinger suits", which were provided at no additional cost. All of the dive and snorkel gear were clean and in great condition. The staff were very knowledgeable and looked after all divers/snorkelers.

We did 1x Snorkel and 2x Dives. The staff recommended this too because one of the spots is actually not great for diving.

We were amazed at how much wildlife we saw (reef shark, giant moray eel, spotted stingray, 2 sea turtles, and countless fish). The reef is not as colourful overall as we'd expected, but full of life. Definitely a bucket list item. You're allowed to bring a camera with you onboard and underwater. The staff also go around and take photos throughout the day and they're available for free later on their Facebook page.

If you're prone to sea sickness, you may wish to take some meds. When moored for diving, the boat tended to rock quite a bit, and a few people got nauseous. Don't mind the Cairns forecast of rain. It rains nearly every day there because of the daytime heating and high humidity. But the showers don't last long, and they can be very isolated (ie Raining in Cairns, but beautifully sunny on the reef).

Snacks and lunch were great! They have excellent catering and there was no shortage of food (meat, salad, pasta, bread). It's all included as part of the tour. The only thing that cost extra was alcohol.

Thanks to Sea Star Cruises for making this a trip of a lifetime! No Penny-Pinching from this company, and 5-Star staff and service!

Thank MacTheCat24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2013

I am a VERY critical tourist and found this tour as the TOP rated Reef Tour out of Cairns on this site. Did it live up to the hype?

110% it did.

I was blown away by friendliness of the staff, their professionalism and their knowledge. My dive day was April 17, 2012 and all the staff were memorable. The staff trying out for a spot also were top notch. The food was great and a great time was had by everyone. Vini, my dive leader, was fun and made sure I was good at all times. Showed me some cool things and even took photos of me with my camera. Kiana: tireless never ending smiles for everyone making sure we all were enjoying ourselves. Selva: new to the crew who fit right in with excellent service. Jack - great attitude and a wealth of knowledge about other regions to dive. I forget the others(I am bad with names) but the only thing this crew has no control over is mother nature. Book your days accordingly. Also saw a note about the lack of food on the boat. There was enough to keep me satisfied so I didn't starve. Also their prices are VERY reasonable, saving you some $$ to have a dinner outside near one of the great places to eat in Cairns. I did a dive tour with another company and I was FLOORED at all the excess food they had was thrown in the garbage! However, that is the case when food doesn't get eaten. Either way, I always bring snacks just in case. Besides, why fill up when you are going to be back in the water? Eat smart so you know you won't be cramping up in the water.

PS:
Kiana was very adept at driving the glass bottom boat. Top notch navigation skills ;)

Thank Alex A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2013

The Crew of Seastar were great and very friendly. They had a great mix of experience on board ranging from dive instructors to a marine biologist.
The boast is small which means your not crowded on the boat or in the ocean with huge numbers of other people. We were the only boat at both our snorkeling/diving locations too. The areas that you are taken too to snorkel are beautiful and full of marine life. The crew give you a little guided snorkel at each location and teach you a few things about the reef which was great.
The food was good too.
Definitely recommend this company!

Thank Mady245
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 April 2013

Seastar cruises have it all figured out. Well organized, great staff, and great service. We were contemplating going with a different tour operator based solely on price but going in a small group was the way to go. Doing the initial snorkel tours with the crew felt almost crowded, so I can only imagine how it would have felt in a much larger group. In a small group there is so much more room to spread out once you're exploring on your own, and I feel that is the way to go. I would not hesitate going with Seastar again.

Thank neila193
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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