Frequently Asked Questions

What is the itinerary for the day?

Ocean Spirit operates daily, some times and scheduled activities may vary subject to conditions on the day.

7.30am Check-in at Ocean Spirit’s counter inside the Reef Fleet Terminal for boarding passes.
8:00 am Boarding commences. Complimentary tea and coffee served until departure.
8:30am Depart Cairns for Michaelmas Cay and the Great Barrier Reef
9:00am Safety demonstration, reef brief and snorkelling demonstration..
9:30am Informative Marine Biologist slide show presentation.
10.00am Dive brief for introductory divers.
10:30am Arrive at Michaelmas Cay. Reef Activities commence:
- Fish feeding presentation
- Snorkelling
- Semi-submersible coral viewing tour
- Scuba diving for introductory divers. (Dive session times are 11:00am, 12:15pm & 1:30pm)
12:00-1.30pm Buffet lunch served onboard.
Time to enjoy more Reef Activities!
2:30pm Afternoon tea is served onboard
On completion of safety head count we depart Michaelmas Cay for return journey to Cairns.
Glass of complimentary sparkling wine served on the homeward journey, cheese and crackers.
5:00pm Arrive Cairns.

Do you offer coach transfers from my hotel?

Our coach service picks up from most major hotels and accommodation in Cairns and the Northern Beaches. If the hotel you are staying at is not one that we pick-up from, we can arrange coach transfers from a pick-up point nearby. We are unable to offer Port Douglas accommodation transfers. Pick-up times are advised at time of booking.


Is there parking located close by to the Reef Fleet Terminal?

Ocean Spirit is located at the Reef Fleet Terminal, 1 Spence Street Cairns, which is adjacent to the Shangri-La hotel at the Pier Marketplace. There is parking available outside or undercover at the Pier. Please ensure you have coins for parking if using the outside area. Other nearby parking is available at the Reef Casino or Cairns Hilton Hotel. The Cairns Cruise Terminal on Wharf St is another parking alternative however is a little further to walk to the Reef Fleet Terminal.


Do you still go out if it is raining?

Yes we do. When you are going out to experience the reef you are more than likely going to get wet anyhow! Often when it is raining in Cairns, it can be fine offshore. If you are worried about the weather please call our reservations team as they will be able to let you know the latest conditions. You can change your date of travel without incurring any fees.


Do I need to check in before travel?

Yes. You must check in at the Ocean Spirit/Great Adventures counter at the Reef Fleet Terminal to get your boarding pass. You can check in after 7.00am and we recommended checking in no later than 8.00am. Boarding commences at 8:00am and the vessel departs at 8:30am sharp.


How long does it take to travel to Michaelmas Cay?

Travelling time from Cairns to Michaelmas Cay is approximately 2 hours.


Will I get sea sick? Do you offer sea sickness tablets?

Hopefully not. Where there is motion, whether a car, bus, plane or boat, some people will suffer from motion sickness. Motion sickness tablets are available onboard for purchase. We offer ginger tablets as a natural alternative motion sickness medication on a complimentary basis. To be effective, motion sickness medications should be taken immediately on boarding.


Do you have credit card facilities on board the boats?

Yes, we accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners, China Union Pay and JCB. (Minimum spend may apply).


Does the lunch cater for vegetarians?

Yes our daily buffet lunch provides food options for vegetarians. All menu options are labelled with ingredients list. Please contact us directly if you have specific dietary needs.


Do you supply towels?

We recommend you bring your own towel. We do have limited towels available for hire however we cannot guarantee availability.


Does it cost anything to change our travel date, and what is your cancellation policy?

We have a penalty free cancellation policy. If the weather takes a turn for the worse or if your plans change, you can cancel or change the travel date, as long as you let us know by midday on the day prior to travel. Follow this link for more information on our cancellation policy.


Is Michaelmas Cay suitable for young children?

Yes! As Michaelmas Cay is a shallow sandy cay area, it is perfect for children and families. Guests are only allowed in the allocated area on the island which makes it easy to keep an eye on children whilst they are playing on the island. The water is quite shallow so it is also suitable for children swimming off the cay.


How is the snorkelling operated on this cruise – from a boat or the beach?

Snorkelling at Michaelmas Cay is conducted from the beach. You are able to catch a short glass bottom boat shuttle between the boat and Michaelmas Cay. Once on the island you can snorkel out to the coral, right from the beach (it is only a short distance!)


Can I scuba dive with no experience? What is the minimum age?

You certainly can! In fact most people who scuba dive with us are doing it for the first time! We have highly qualified dive instructors who will teach you all you need to know about scuba diving in the shallow waters of Michaelmas Cay before you venture out into the deeper waters. Certain medical conditions may preclude some people from Scuba Diving and the minimum age to participate is 12 years. For further advice, please contact our office.


What is the temperature of the water?

The warm waters of Tropical North Queensland range in temperature from 22-29 Celsius (75-85 Fahrenheit) and make for year round comfort for water activities. As a guide, average water temperatures are :

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Average ocean water temp.(C) 29 29 28 26 26 25 24 22 23 26 26 27
Average ocean water temp.(F) 85 85 83 79 79 77 75 72 73 79 79 81

* Air temperature is approximately 1 to 2 degrees higher than water temperature.


What do I bring?

All you need to bring for your cruise is the following:

  • Your camera
  • Towel, swimmers, hat and comfortable shoes
  • Sunscreen (SPF 30 +) and sunglasses
  • Cash / credit card for onboard purchases
  • Change of clothes (if swimming)


Can I smoke at the reef or on the boat?

Due to government regulations and comfort of all passengers, smoking is not permitted on board any of our vessels. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas on the island, the crew will instruct you as to where these areas are.


Can we sit anywhere on board the boat?

Yes, there are no allocated seats on board – you are free to sit wherever you wish.


Are there toilets on the boat?

Yes we do have toilet facilities on board the vessel. There are no facilities on the Cay.


How long are we at Michaelmas Cay?

We are at Michaelmas Cay for a full four hours which gives you plenty of time to explore the cay with all of the included activities - and time for some relaxation too!.


Are there any sharks at Michaelmas Cay?

Yes, like every ocean there are sharks in the Great Barrier Reef. Although, don't be afraid – we don't encounter Great White Sharks as they prefer the cooler waters of the Southern Ocean! We mostly see small reef sharks which pose no threat to divers or snorkellers. The common species of sharks that we encounter include black or white tip reef sharks and wobbegong sharks. These sharks are generally very shy and only grow to about 5 foot in length.


How do I get from the boat to Michaelmas Cay?

We offer a free beach buggy transfer from the boat to the Cay. It is a glass bottom vessel so you may even catch a glimpse of some marine life in the short trip out to the Cay. This transfer takes approximately 5 minutes and is conducted throughout the day.


What is served for lunch?

We have a deluxe hot and cold buffet served on board for lunch. As well as some scrumptious morning and afternoon teas – all included in our cruise.


When will I arrive back in Cairns?

We return to Cairns at approximately 5:00pm.