Spirit of Freedom ~ FAQ's
When and where does the Monday Trip Depart?
Boarding is from 11.15 -11.30am Monday morning, for a 12.00 noon departure. The vessel is located at Trinity Wharf at the end of Lake Street. Taxis and coaches can drive up onto the wharf to locate the vessel, which is usually berthed under the clock tower.
When and where does the Thursday Trip Depart?
You will need to check in at Hinterland Aviation by 8.00am, for an 8.30am departure flight to meet the Spirit of Freedom boat at Lizard Island. Hinterland Aviation is located on Tom MacDonald Drive, on the General Aviation side of the Cairns Airport, just off Captain Cook Highway.
I'm flying into Cairns on the morning of departure, will you pick me up from the airport?
Spirit of Freedom strongly recommend arrival into Cairns at least the day prior to your trip, as flight delays or lost baggage may cause inconvenience or you may even miss the boat. However, if you must fly into Cairns on the departure day, please note that you will need to make your own way to the departure point.
Are transfers included?
Spirit of Freedom offers return courtesy transfers from all Cairns City hotels. If you are staying outside the central district, or at the Northern Beaches suburbs, you will need to arrange your own transfers. We also do not offer airport pick-ups, but can drop you to the airport after your Spirit of Freedom trip.
What are the luggage weight restrictions onboard the flight to Lizard Island ?
Due to the light aircraft flight, guests on the 3 day and 4 day tours are limited to a total baggage allowance of 20 kg per person or 45 lbs including carry-on luggage. If possible, please bring only soft sided luggage, allowing for easier stowage on the plane.
Do you have somewhere I can store excess luggage when I am away on the dive trip?
If you have additional luggage that you wish to have stored whilst you are on tour with Spirit of Freedom, we have storage facilities at our office at no extra cost. Simply advise the driver when he picks you up from your hotel and he will label your luggage for you. He will return your luggage to you on the day you return to Cairns. Please note that while all due care is taken to securely store your luggage, Spirit of Freedom does not accept responsibility for theft, loss or damage.
What is not included in the trip price?
The Marine Park Levy, Gear Hire, Nitrox Fills, any courses taken on board, drinks outside of the evening meal time, Seasickness tablets, and any souvenirs purchased
Ship Shop - onboard purchases
Spirit of Freedom has an onboard Ship Shop offering a range of clothing, souvenirs, and personal toiletry items available for purchase. The Ship Shop is open for guests on Wednesdays and Sundays.
How can I settle my bill for on board expenses?
We can accept AUD cash, Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Please note Amex incurs a surcharge.
What about tipping?
Tipping is not mandatory in Australia, although it is becoming a more common practice in restaurants and with tourism related services and tour operators. It is not governed by any percentage, and any tip for good service, is always appreciated by our hard-working dive crews. Any tips received on Spirit of Freedom go directly to the crew and are divided amongst all crew on board your trip.
Do you have age limits?
There is no maximum age on board Spirit of Freedom, and if you are fit and healthy to dive, we’d love to have you join us. The minimum age on board is 10, and our Child Policy states:
- “Our minimum age for children on board Spirit of Freedom is 10 years. Children must be accompanied by a parent at all times, including when diving or snorkelling. We cannot guarantee that a crew member will be available to dive with a Junior open water diver (limited to 12m depth) on all dives. Spirit of Freedom does not supply child sized scuba equipment or wetsuits. Diving in ill-fitting equipment is not allowed.”
What rental scuba gear is available?
The following scuba gear is available for rental either individually or you can hire the complete set as a package: BCD, Regulator with integrated Dive Computer, wrist mount Dive Computer, Wetsuits, Torch and Cylume sticks, Mask and Snorkel and Open-heeled fins with wetsuit booties. Torchs and Cyalume sticks are provided for the night dive, however you can hire a torch for the remaining dives.
My Partner is a non-diver, will they enjoy the trip?
Non-divers can enjoy movies, games, the resource library, and relaxing on sun lounges on the top deck. We recommend the Cod Hole and Ribbon Reefs itinerary for those who like to snorkel. There are many shallow coral gardens offering fantastic snorkeling, and the waters on the inside of the Ribbon Reefs are generally much calmer than the more exposed Coral Sea reefs. The Coral Sea reefs are not recommended for snorkellers.
What are your recommendations for flying after diving and what time is the last dive?
Spirit of Freedom recommends a minimum wait of 24 hours before flying after multiple dives. The last dive of the trip will generally be around 5:00pm the day before we return to Cairns. 24 hours is a guideline only and for maximum safety give yourself as long as possible. Please be aware that skydiving or a trip to Kuranda or the Atherton tablelands will include going to altitude. Please Note – Individual airlines have their own policies (24 to 48 hour minimum), and you should check with your air carrier.
Do I need Travel Insurance and Dive Insurance
Travel Insurance is strongly recommended. In the event the trip is cancelled due to inclement weather, deeming it unsafe to travel, the company does not offer refunds for cancellations for reasons beyond the company’s control (Force Majeure). Comprehensive Travel Insurance covering trip cancellation due to poor weather is strongly recommended in this case, particularly during the Australian summer months (November to May) when cyclones and high winds can affect our trips.
We strongly recommend travel insurance to cover you against any unforeseen eventuality, as our policies do not allow for refunds on cancellations within 21 days.
Also, should you experience any flight delays or cancellations, lost luggage, etc which may result in you missing the vessel departure, Travel Insurance should cover these issues.
We strongly recommend all passengers (divers and snorkellers) have evacuation and medical cover for scuba diving. Please be aware that scuba diving and in-water activities are not covered by all Travel Insurance Companies, and it is advisable to check with your insurance agent regarding your cover for scuba diving. It is important to note that in a medical emergency the costs involved for an evacuation, vessel relocation or medical expenses are the responsibility of that diver.
Divers Alert Network (DAN) and Dive Assure offer comprehensive insurance packages specifically for Scuba Divers www.danap.org/main/membership/DAN_coverage_spirit_of_freedom.php. (Dan Travel Assist)n Dive Assure (US Residents) Dive Assure (non US Residents)
How many passengers and crew on board Spirit of Freedom?
Spirit of Freedom can accommodate a maximum of 26 guests and operates with a minimum 10 crew.
What are the different cabin types?
Ocean View Deluxe/ Ocean View Standard/ The Stateroom/ Standard Double or Twin share / and Quad share. Details of each of these cabins can be found on our Cabins page.
Please note the Ocean View and Stateroom cabins have just one Double/Queen size bed and are suited to couples, or you can take as a sole occupancy arrangement. Please enquire about our Sole Occupancy Rates.
Individuals are able to book a single berth in a Double/Twin share or Quad share cabin. Other people will be allocated to share the cabin. Same gender share is not guaranteed.
Is there an option for three of us to share a cabin?
Most of the Double/Twin cabins have a double bed under with single bed over, and although we usually only allocate two people to this cabin type, we can place three of you in on your request.
Are towels provided?
Deck and cabin towels are provided on board. While you are given one cabin towel in a 3 or 4 day trip and 2 cabin towels in a 7 day trip, extra towels are always available on request should you require.
What is the dress code on board?
Casual attire during the day and smart casual for evening wear. For safety and comfort we encourage no shoes to be worn on board.
What essential items should I bring on board?
Personal items and toiletries (personal soap for each guest is provided), swimwear, hat, and sweatshirt in the winter (May – September). There is a ‘Ship Shop’ onboard the vessel which stocks some toiletry items and souvenirs available for purchase.
Will I need a power adaptor/ converter?
Australian domestic power standard is 240V @ 50htz, with 3 pronged power sockets.
110V outlets are available in the lounge for charging your batteries and laptops.
Should you wish to use electrical appliances in your cabins that are not 240V you will need to bring your own power CONVERTER and adaptor. Should you plug your appliance into the ships power without a converter, you will burn out your appliance (it may also catch fire) and trip the breakers on the boat.
Do you have hair dryers on board?
Yes we have hair dryers that you can use while you are on board. Please ask the crew for one when you board.
What food and beverages are provided?
Lunch and dinner are provided on the day of departure, with 4 meals a day on ensuing days, and breakfast on the day of return to Cairns. The 4 meals include continental breakfast followed by a cooked breakfast after the first dive of the day. Most special dietary requirements can be catered to with prior notice. Tea, coffee and fountain water are always available for self-service. Australian wine and soft drinks are served complimentary with the evening meal. Outside of this time we operate a ships bar with beer, mixed drinks, wine selection. Drinks can be placed on a tab for payment at the end of your trip.
What is the food like?
Our chefs serve a variety of fine quality healthy meals. You will find a mix of international influences in the meal selection that cater to most every taste. If you have a special dietary request, please be sure to note this on your ‘Diver Information’ form, so that our chefs can be prepared in the event you require a unique meal.
Is smoking allowed on board?
Smoking is not allowed inside the vessel or on the Dive Deck. However, there is a designated outdoor smoking area located on the Sundeck.
Do you accommodate for mobility impaired passengers?
Due to lack of accommodation on the main deck, steep stairwells, and hatch combings, the Spirit of Freedom is not a suitable vessel for people with mobility impairments.
Is there internet access on board?
While on board Spirit of Freedom you can enjoy access to free WiFi when we are in range along certain sectors of the Ribbon Reefs. While at the Coral Sea, we are out of range, and can only rely on satellite communications.
What arrangement do you have on board for photographers?
There is a separate camera wash tub, camera table and air gun on the back deck. There is also a work station provided in the forward lounge, with 240V and 110V outlets for charging, and laptop computers for downloading.
Do I need a dive medical?
As a certified diver, generally a dive medical is not required. However, if you have a history of a medical condition contraindicative to diving (eg asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, heart or lung disorders) or you are taking prescription medication, you are required to provide a medical certificate, stating you are ‘fit to scuba dive’, in consideration of the medical condition or medications. It is helpful if the Doctor can name the condition and list any recommendations regarding medication or management of the condition should the condition deteriorate whilst in a remote location (i.e. On a live-aboard boat 200km’s from shore). We do recommend that the Physician or Doctor have an understanding of or training in Hyperbaric Medicine, Please check with our office well in advance if you are unsure.
The Dive Supervisor may limit the number of dives you participate in, if the conditions are considered unsuitable for your medical and/or physical health. If you require assistance with your equipment on entry or exit, if the swell is more than 0.5m, risk of injury is considerably increased.
Our itinerary includes diving in open water exposed to wind, swell and currents and can be physically challenging. Due to the remote area, medical assistance is 3 to 12 hours away.
What equipment is provided?
Tanks, weights and weight belts.
What size are the tanks?
12 litre (80 cubic feet) aluminium tanks. We also have 10.5 litre (65 cubic ft) tanks for our smaller guests and a few 15 Litre Steel tanks
Is it required that I use a dive computer?
Yes, all divers must dive with their own (or our rental) dive computers.
What is the recommended weight wetsuit?
Lycra skin to 3mm in the summer (Oct – March) and 5mm in the winter (Apr – Sept). Vests and hoods are recommended to bring for extra warmth if you are not sure. Depending on the season, on board the rental suits are 5mm and 3mm full length suits.
Is there night diving?
Yes, there will be one night dives dive on the Cod Hole trip and one night dive on the Coral Sea trip. On the seven day trip, there will be two night dives available.
How many dives a day are offered?
This varies depending on the day, and from two to five dives are available including the night dives. The 3 Day Cod Hole tour offers up to 11 dives, the 4 Day Coral Sea tour offers up to 15 dives, and the 7 Day tour offers up to 26 dives.
When is the best time of year for diving in Cairns?
During Cairns’ winter (May to August) the water is a little cooler and offers great visibility and beautiful clear days, but sometimes stronger winds. From September through December the water warms up a little, and generally, conditions are clear with light winds. Many coral reef species breed at this time. January through April is considered our wetter season with amazing feeding and marine action following the breeding season. Refer to our ‘Diving Seasons’ page for more information.
How is the diving conducted?
As a guest on board Spirit of Freedom you may dive with your buddy to your pace and interests with no set limits on depth or style of diving outside of normal safe diving practices. An orientation dive is offered on the first dive, and a safety instructor will be in the water on most or all dives. Our guests are welcome to dive with our divemasters and instructors, should they feel more comfortable with this option.
Is Nitrox available on board?
Yes, nitrox fills are set at 32% which you can purchase by the fill or opt for a package price for all dives on nitrox. Nitrox certification cards must be produced upon boarding and regulators need to be O2 approved by the manufacturer..
Can I complete my Open Water Course on board?
Unfortunately no we don’t offer Open Water training on board Spirit of Freedom. Our goal is to provide the very best service to our divers, which can sometimes require the attention of all our dive crew. We suggest that you complete your open water training dives at home or in Cairns with Tusa Dive, allowing you to enjoy the freedom of diving with us as a certified diver.
What level of diving experience is required?
For the Cod Hole itinerary the minimum level is Open Water diver (Scuba Diver is not accepted)
For the Coral Sea we recommend a minimum of Advanced Open Water Diver with 20 ocean dives including 5 dives dives within the last 12 months. Less experience may result in limited diving due to environmental conditions and remote isolation of dive sites. We recommend a Scuba Diver refresher course prior to your trip.
For all diving, if you have less than 15 dives or have not dived within the last 12 months we recommend you take a Refresher course with your local dive centre or here in Cairns prior to the trip. All our itineraries include diving in open water exposed to wind, swell and currents. Sheltered calm water suitable for ‘easy’ diving is not available.
Where is the nearest hyperbaric chamber?
The nearest recompression chamber is in Townsville, 450km to the south of Cairns. Spirit of Freedom recommends all passengers to carry insurance to cover for a medivac from the reef. DAN Travel Assist will cover emergency evacuations and time in the chamber.
Do I need a Visa for Australia?
This will depend on your nationality and you will need to check with the Australian Consulate in your country of residence. To find the Australian Consulate in your country visit the Australia Government Department of Immigration website at www.immi.gov.au/contacts/overseas/
The citizens of some countries are eligible for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) as an alternative to a visa. To find out if you are eligible for the ETA visit www.eta.immi.gov.au
I need assistance with accommodation and tours in Cairns
If you do not have a travel agent to assist you with hotels and tours in Cairns, we work closely with Cairns Tourist Information Centre. Please contact them as below:
Cairns Tourist Information Centre
Tour & Accommodation Bookings
Telephone: + 61 (07) 4047 9125
Sh 6, Cnr Aplin St & The Esplanade