The Coral Sea Dreaming Yacht

coral sea dreaming

When researching overnight snorkel and scuba excursions on The Great Barrier Reef, a challenging aspect was understanding what the ship is like. In this post, we attempt to give a perspective of what it is like on the boat. If you are looking for information about the entire excursion, read our Coral Sea Dreaming Experience.

The boat is 52 feet long (16 meters) and can sleep 12 (plus 3 crew members) for a total of 15 people.  Those numbers may lead you to believe it is a larger yacht, but it isn’t. Between the scuba and snorkeling gear, sailing rig and the necessities needed to keep 15 people going for 2 days at sea, the feeling is intimate.

Above Deck

Most people spent their time above deck. Not only because of the breathtaking views, but because of the limited space to move around below deck. The experienced Coral Sea Dreaming staff takes strides in effort to keep things comfortable, heavily considering the weather conditions and surroundings.  I imagine it being pretty tough if you had inclement weather.

The Bow

The forward dive deck of the ship housed all of the scuba equipment, with limited room to maneuver.  Without seating or shade from the sun, it was a great place to take photos, not to lounge. However, in the evening when this deck wasn’t busy with active divers, it was a nice space to spread out.

coral sea dreaming deckThe bow housed all of the diving and snorkeling equipment.

The Equipment

Coral Sea Dreaming is equipped with SCUBAPRO and AQUALUNG dive gear, including the computers. On board, there is a Bauer 3200 diver compressor to fill the tanks. A variety of quality 5mm wetsuits, fins for diving and snorkeling, masks and snorkels, and all the equipment needed for the best water experience were provided for this tour.

Amidship (the middle of the boat)

The middle part of the ship had a raised platform where we stored our snorkel gear. The crew strung up a hammock when anchored and it became a popular spot to relax in the evening.

coral sea dreaming hammock sunset
Sunset on the Great Barrier Reef while lounging in a hammock captures the essence of the Coral Sea Dreaming experience.

The Sides Of The Ship

Wetsuits tied and stored on both port and starboard sides of the ship for quick access, drying, and cleaning.

The Stern (back of the boat)

The rear cockpit was the most spacious area of the boat, easily holding all 12 passengers plus the crew, and our gathering area for instructions and sailing. Depending on the weather, the sides can zip up to provide protection from the elements. It was very comfortable and allowed great viewing of our surroundings.

coral sea dreaming crew instruction
Deck hand, Raz, coaching first time divers on safety at the stern gathering area.
coral sea dreaming community table
The “community table” in front of the helm had sunblock, sea sickness tablets (for purchase), and always some sort of snack for everyone.

Everyone was assigned a plastic cup that was stored in a tethered box inside the rear cockpit with their name on it. Next to our cups was a cooler beverage dispenser with plenty of fresh water to drink for the excursion. There were also coolers stored under the tables containing bottled water, cans of soda pop, beer, and wine at an additional purchase. The crew made it convenient with a paper and clipboard to log items purchased and then pay out after returning to the dock.

coral sea dreaming tender
Coral Sea Dreaming vessel totes along a four passenger tender to use in case of an emergency.

Below Deck

Captain’s Quarters

As you descend the steps, the first landing you come to is the captain’s quarters. This contains access to the ships navigational equipment and engine room. Two mats on either side of this room serve as sleeping quarters for the captain and first mate.

coral sea dreaming captains quarters
First flight of stairs down lands you inside the captains quarters. It is a humble space with quick access for manning the ship.

The Saloon

The seating area on the right was used a few times by a family with small children for eating. Otherwise people came down here to get their food (set out on the table on the left) and ate their meals upstairs.

coral sea dreaming dining area
The third level of the Coral Sea Dreaming vessel had the galley, dining area, the guest quarters, two toilets, and one fresh water shower.
coral sea dreaming galley kitchen
This “off limits” space is the impressive galley kitchen. The food that was prepared was delicious and plentiful.
coral sea dreaming coffee tea
Coffee and tea available for guests on the Coral Sea Dreaming vessel.
coral sea dreaming doorway
The halls and doorways were tight and narrow, as you would expect on a smaller yacht.

Our family is rather tall, with our oldest son being 6’8″. Walking about the interior of this vessel was tight, but manageable. Our youngest son (pictured above) is only 6 feet tall. Mentioning this hopefully brings a greater perspective of the halls and doorways.

Guest Quarters

There are several options for bunking in Coral Sea Dreaming’s quarters. They offer 3 different private cabins with a double occupancy, a shared cabin for 4 guests (single bunks), and a bunk bed with 2 single bunks in a hall.

The two bathrooms are located on either side of the ship. One is near the bunk bed and 2 private doubles, the other is near the shared cabin and 1 private double.

We requested the 2 private double cabins and 1 of the bunks located at the back of the ship. Our family of 5 shared that space with one other guest (who was wonderful and kind) and was grateful for the conveniently located toilet and shower nearby.

coral sea dreaming double cabin
For your comfort, each quarters has two fans, touch lights, and well ventilated doors. There is only enough room for small carry on bags (standard backpacks are okay) and a narrow aisle around the bed.
coral sea dreaming double bed quarters
The back of the ship has two double capacity quarters with double beds and one bunk bed at the entrance to those rooms.
coral sea dreaming top bunk space
The bunk bed is located just outside the doors of other guest quarters. Even with it’s tight space, it is still comfortable enough to get a good night’s sleep.


coral sea dreaming toilet
There are two toilets aboard the Coral Sea Dreaming ship. The crew will give specific directions on how to operate each one. This one could not be utilized while the ship was sailing. When flushing, you need to hold the button down and count 10 to 15 seconds. Even with the worn look, the toilet rooms were very clean.
coral sea dreaming shower
There is one limited fresh water shower inside the Coral Sea Dreaming boat. It is a small closet located near guest quarters.  An outdoor shower is located on the deck to rinse off after diving.

Views From The Deck

Obviously, the views underwater at the Great Barrier Reef are breathtakingly extraordinary. But let’s not dismiss the views from the deck.  The colors of the clear blue waters change as it shallows on top of the beautiful reef. The water clarity is so great, that you can stand on the edge of the boat and view sea turtles, fish, and the human swimmers circling about.

The crew helps keep a close watch for visiting dolphins and migrating whales. Look to the sky for the dazzling sunrise and sunsets, or the 40 different species of birds. (We were lucky enough to spot a bright blue Ulysses Butterfly circling the sails.)

At night, ask the crew to turn off the lights and get a show in the sky featuring millions of stars or the spotlight of the moon. There is so much more to enjoying the GBR than what is below in water.

coral sea dreaming snorkeling
Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef.
coral sea dreaming surface turtle
Sea turtles were curious about the boat and would swim around the surface before diving into the depths.
coral sea dreaming whale tail
Whales migrate during Australia’s winter months to the Great Barrier Reef. If you are lucky, the massive Humpback Whales will perform a show while viewing from the ships deck.
coral sea dreaming sunset
Gorgeous views of the setting sun from the deck of Coral Sea Dreaming.

You can tell the crew loves what they do, giving quality work ensuring their guests are safe and have a great experience. Even with the tight quarters, this adventure shouldn’t be missed! How many people can say “we visited Australia and slept on a yacht over the Great Barrier Reef”? We can!


  • Bring small car air fresheners to hang inside of your quarters.
  • Pack extra hand and body wipes to clean and refreshen.
  • Be prepared when showering. There is no place to hang a towel inside the shower closet.
  • Make sure to utilize the fans in the quarters. It can get stuffy and hot if you don’t.