Thanks for the info on the WC GBR tour. That's crazy that you all had to hike to get to the boat. I remember you all saying you weren't happy with the Viking excursion. Those massive tour boats are annoying. I hope it was at least only Viking people not a mix with families with children 😱. Although any boat with that many people trying to get in and out of the water is not a good time, particularly if they are new to snorkeling. Madness! Interesting to know they had a scuba option. One person on our cruise asked Viking about that and was never able to get an answer - then the excursion was full, anyway, before he had a chance. Sadly, other than the handful of us who could book a heli tour, there are really no other options to get to the GBR from Cairns given our limited time there. I'm not counting a half-day to Green Island because it sounds like the snorkeling there is terrible.
Oh, good. I'd planned on having to wear a stinger suit. I had not heard they were terrible to get on and off. UGH, another thing to dread. It's tempting, but they'd probably frown on me bringing scissors to use to extract my mom from their stinker suit. Hah
Strange that it sounds like there were enough spaces available to go to the GBR for the WC but not for our cruise. I agree it sounds like the Viking GBR tour sucked but I'd rather do that than not to get to see the reef at all. Interesting that the 2020 WC will be there longer. That arrival will be too late for most of the regular full day tours (unless there is a helicopter involved) but at least something should be available to work with that later departure time.
Did any of you snorkel/dive out of Bali? That would be another option but the popular snorkeling places off Bali get very mixed reviews online. To me it sounds like the people who like Blue Lagoon, etc. might not have experience snorkeling elsewhere to compare it to whereas the conditions off the neighbor islands sound far more impressive but require a full day tour to get there. Unfortunately, I doubtful we'll have that much time in Bali given we already have one full day and one half day of land tour scheduled seeing some temples, etc.
We'd still want to see the GBR, however. It was the main reason why we selected the Bali to Sydney itinerary. I looked at Whitsunday but the port times/logistics didn't seem to work for private tours and the Viking cruise/snorkel there is $599! 😲. The only other place that seems possible is when we're docked in Townsville. Then we could ferry over to Magnetic Island where there are two snorkel trails that are a swim out from shore or there are some small boats that do snorkel tours around the island. A $1K heli trip to Orpheus Island is beyond our budget.
Thanks, everyone, for all the information and insights. If any of you have more suggestions, your help is most appreciated! I feel so bad for the folks on our cruise who haven't found any way to make it out to the GBR.