Frequently Asked Questions

About Spirit of Freedom

Spirit of Freedom can accommodate a maximum of 24 guests and operates with a minimum of 12 crew members.

Spirit of Freedom is a COVID-19 Safe business and we are committed to the health and safety of all of our staff and customers. Our safety measures include:

  • All passengers must fill out a COVID-19 declaration form before travel.
  • All passengers must comply with Queensland State Government entry requirements.
  • All staff on board Spirit of Freedom are fully vaccinated.
  • Onboard hygiene precautions are in place throughout the vessel, including our dive deck.

To find out more about COVID-19 safety measures click here.

We offer Ocean View Deluxe, Ocean View Standard, Standard Double or Twin share, Quad share and one Stateroom. You can see details of each of these cabins on our guest cabins page.

Please note the Ocean View and Stateroom cabins have just one double/queen size bed and are best suited to couples, or you can take as a sole occupancy arrangement. Please enquire about our sole occupancy rates.

Individual travellers can book a single berth in a Double/Twin share or Quad share cabin. Other travellers will be allocated to share the cabin. Please note that same-gender share cannot always be guaranteed.

Five of our seven Double/Twin cabins have a bunk bed style arrangement, with a double bed on the bottom and a single bed on top. Although we usually only allocate two people to this cabin type, we can place three people in these cabins upon request.

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. For guests over the age of 65, a current dive medical is requested for your own safety and for our duty of care.

Our minimum age on board Spirit of Freedom is 10 years. All guests under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian 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, so any child-sized scuba equipment required will need to be supplied by the traveller(s).

Absolutely! We recommend the Ribbon Reefs liveaboard trip for those who like to snorkel. There are many shallow coral gardens offering fantastic snorkelling views, and the waters on the inside of the Ribbon Reefs are generally much calmer than the more exposed Coral Sea reefs*. Please note: Spirit of Freedom does not offer snorkel guides.

Non-divers can also enjoy games, the resource library, and relaxing on sun lounges on the top deck. Non-divers also receive a discount on their trip cost.

*The Coral Sea reefs are not recommended for snorkellers due to the remote location and environmental conditions.

Your trip price includes everything except gear hire, Nitrox fills, any courses taken on board, drinks outside of the evening meal time, seasickness tablets, and any souvenirs purchased.

It is recommended (but not limited to) packing the following items:

  • Personal items and toiletries (personal soap for each guest is provided)
  • Swimwear
  • Sunhat
  • Warm clothing especially if you are travelling in the winter months (May – September)
  • Quick-dry towel or chamois for the dive deck

The dress code recommended on Spirit of Freedom is casual attire during the day and smart casual for evening wear. For safety and comfort we encourage shoes not to be worn on board.

Cabin towels are provided on board Spirit of Freedom. We supply you with one cabin towel for a 3 or 4-day trip and two cabin towels for a 7-day trip. However, extra towels are available on request should you require them. We recommend you bring your own chamois/quick-dry sports towel for use after water activities.

Yes! Spirit of Freedom has an onboard shop offering a range of clothing, souvenirs, and personal toiletry items available for purchase.

We can accept AUD cash, Visa, and Mastercard payments on board. Please note AMEX is not available.

Australian domestic power standard is 240V @ 50 Hertz, with 3 pronged power sockets. 110V outlets are available in the lounge for charging your batteries and laptops.

If your electrical appliances are not rated to use 240V, you will not be able to charge your devices in your room due to safety risks.

Please refer to our info sheet on compliant chargers, travel adaptors, and power supplies.

Yes, we have hairdryers that you can use while you are on board. Please ask the crew to supply you with one if desired.

There is a separate camera washtub and camera table on the back deck. There is also a workstation provided in the forward lounge with 240V and 110V outlets for charging.

While onboard Spirit of Freedom you can enjoy access to free Wi-Fi when in range.

Our satellite internet connection has limited bandwidth and is only suitable for general messaging and emails. It is not possible to upload photos, videos or use streaming services. High-speed broadband is not available.

Lunch and dinner are provided on the day of departure, with four meals per day on ensuing days, and breakfast on the day of your return to Cairns. The four 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.

We will serve you one complimentary drink (house wine, beer, or a soft drink) with your evening meal. Outside of this time, we operate a ship’s bar with a selection of Australian beers, wines, and soft drinks. Drinks can be placed on a tab for payment at the end of your trip.

Our chefs serve a variety of fine quality healthy meals. You can view a sample menu of the food we serve across the week.

You will find a mix of international influences in the meal selection that caters to almost 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 before departure in the event you require a special meal.

We always endeavour to provide safe food for all our passengers. When given sufficient notice, alternative foods may be provided to cater to Food Intolerance and Food Allergy requirements. Our hospitality staff (Chef, Purser, Host) can identify which menu items are most suited to your dietary requirements. Please ask regarding menu ingredients or to see food packaging if you have concerns.

Our food service has strict risk controls regarding sanitisation, cross-contamination and food storage procedures. However, due to logistical constraints in regard to provisioning and limited food preparation areas, we cannot guarantee a 100% safe environment for anyone suffering from a severe food allergy (anaphylaxis), including exposure via cross-contamination or airborne allergens.

All persons with a known allergy, especially those with a previous medical history of anaphylaxis, must travel with sufficient medication and a pre-prepared action plan to manage their condition. Risks include isolated itineraries and are not within areas of immediate medical help. In some circumstances, a person who has a severe food allergy may request to bring their own pre-prepared meals.

Yes, Travel Insurance is strongly recommended. You can get a free quote for liveaboard dive insurance here

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.

Due to steep stairwells, hatch combings, and a lack of accommodation on the main deck, Spirit of Freedom is not a suitable vessel for people with mobility impairments.

Smoking is not allowed inside the vessel or on the dive deck. However, there is a designated outdoor smoking area on the sundeck.

Our crew’s only agenda is ensuring your enjoyment and safety. Tipping is not mandatory in Australia and is completely optional on Spirit of Freedom. If you choose to recognise the service provided, please give your gratuity at the end of the trip to the Trip Director. Any tips received on Spirit of Freedom are equally distributed to all the crew on board for your trip.

Departures, Transfers and Luggage

For the Thursday trip, boarding is from 11.15 am -11.30 am Thursday morning, for a 12 pm (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.

For the Sunday trip, you will need to check-in with Hinterland Aviation by 8 am, for an 8.30 am 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.

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 at the airport after your Spirit of Freedom trip.

Due to the fuel requirements for the light aircraft flight, guests on the 3-day and 4-day tours are limited to a total baggage allowance of 20kg (45lb) per person including carry-on luggage. If possible, please bring only soft-sided luggage, allowing for easier storage on the plane.

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 they pick you up from your hotel and they will label your luggage for you. They 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.

We strongly recommend arriving in Cairns at least the day prior to your trip, as flight delays or lost baggage may cause issues with departure, or may even cause you to 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. We cannot operate pickups from the airport.

Diving

For the Ribbon Reef itinerary the minimum level is Open Water Diver, with a minimum of 10 ocean dives including 5 dives in the last 12 months. (Scuba Diver is not accepted).

For the Coral Sea the minimum certification level is Advanced Open Water Diver, with 20 ocean dives including 5 dives within the last 12 months and a good level of physical fitness.

For your safety, your diving may be limited if your experience, physical fitness, or skills do not match our dive site conditions. All our itineraries are in isolated, remote areas and include diving in open water exposed to wind, swell, and currents. Sheltered calm water suitable for ‘easy’ diving is not available.

For all diving, if you are inexperienced 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.  Learn more about Cairns dive courses

This varies depending on the day, but generally, two to five dives per day are available, including the night dives.

The 3 Day Ribbon Reef 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. 

See our comparison of the the best Cairns Liveaboard dive trip

Yes, there will be one night dive included on the Ribbon Reef trip and one night dive included on the Coral Sea trip. On the seven day trip, there will be two night dives available.

As our guests, you are free to enjoy your own diving style, within the boundaries of safe and responsible diving. As such, we set no limits on time, depth, or style of diving outside of normal safe diving practices. You and your buddy are in charge, planning your own dive and diving your own plan. Buddy teams may follow one of our inexperienced groups, led by a Safety Diver, and come and go as you please.

Every dive begins with a detailed dive briefing. The dive staff are on deck providing surface support including a safety lookout. When available, dive staff may be in-water offering support with photography and critter spotting. Spirit of Freedom does not offer a full guided dive service. Our Safety Divers are assigned to those divers who are at risk or to assist students.

Spirit of Freedom provides divers with a mask, snorkel, boots, fins, tanks, weights, and weight belts. We also supply safety equipment including surface marker buoys, whistles, and Nautilus LifeLine Marine GPS. Cyalume sticks and torches will also be provided for night diving.

For more detail on what equipment is available aboard Spirit of Freedom, visit our equipment rental page.

Yes, all divers must dive with their own (or our rental) dive computers.

The following scuba gear is available for rental either individually or you can hire the complete set as a package:

  • Buoyancy compensator (BCD)
  • Regulator with integrated dive computer
  • Wrist mount dive computer
  • Wetsuit
  • Torch and Cyalume sticks (already provided for the night dive, however you can hire a torch for the remaining dives if desired)
  • Mask and snorkel
  • Open-heeled fins with wetsuit booties

For more detail on what equipment is available aboard Spirit of Freedom, visit our equipment rental page.

We recommend Lycra skin of 3mm in the summer (October – March) and 5mm in the winter (April – September). Vests and hoods are recommended to bring for extra warmth if you are not sure. Depending on the season, the rental suits on board are 5mm full-length suits.

The majority of our tanks are 12 litre (80 cubic feet) aluminium tanks. We also have a limited number of 10.5 litre (65 cubic feet) tanks for our smaller guests and 15 litre steel tanks.

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. Nitrox courses are available on board.

For guests over the age of 65, a dive medical is requested for your own safety and our duty of care. There is no maximum age on board Spirit of Freedom, and if you are fit and healthy to dive, we would love to have you join us.

As a certified diver, generally a dive medical is not required. However, if you have a history of a medical condition that contraindicates 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 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.

Spirit of Freedom recommends a minimum surface interval of 24 hours before flying after multiple dives over multiple days. The last dive of the trip will generally be completed around 5:00pm the day before you leave the vessel. 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.

The nearest recompression chamber is in Townsville, 450km to the south of Cairns. Spirit of Freedom operates in remote and isolated locations north and east of Cairns.

Spirit of Freedom recommends that all passengers carry insurance to cover for a medivac from the reef. DAN Travel Assist will cover emergency evacuations and time in the chamber.

Unfortunately we do not 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 recommend the highly accredited Divers Den for your Cairns Open Water Course. You can either complete the entire course in Cairns or via PADI’s eLearning Courses which allow you to complete the theory online and then the practical parts of the course in Cairns. Feel free to ask our team for more information. 

General Travel Information

Diving the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea is great year-round! During Cairns’ winter (May to August) the water is a little cooler and offers great visibility and beautiful clear days, but sometimes can bring stronger winds. During this season it’s a great opportunity to swim with minke whales.

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 Great Barrier Reef Diving Seasons and Weather page for more information.

If you need assistance booking or getting information on hotels and tours in Cairns, our Concierge would be happy to help with a free advice.  Learn more about our free concierge service.

This will depend on your nationality and you will need to check with the Australian Consulate regarding your country of residence. To find out if you require a visa to enter Australia, visit the Australia Government Department of Immigration website.

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.