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Choose between Seastar and Passions of Paradise for our reef trip

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We will arrive in Cairns on 7/29 and plan to go on a reef trip on 7/30. We have ten people in our group from age 19 to 56. The young adults want to do introductory dive and some of the older one want to do snorkeling and two people don't want to go in the water at all. Since the majority of us are not very good swimmers so we decided to go on the boat that will go to a sand cay and a outer reef site. After reading the forum and reviews from Fodor"s and Trip Advisor, we narrow down to choose between Seastar and Passions of Paradise. I am more lean toward choosing Passions because seems like the interior of the boat will be more comfortable for the two who don't want to go in the water and also it may be easier for a group of 10 people to change date if the weather is not good. The only thing make me hesitate is Passions take up to 80 people compare to Seastar take up to 35 people. Some people describe 80 people is a small group but for me it seems like a lot of people to get in the water at the same time. If we need to take turns in groups to get in the water, dose it mean less time to spent in the water? I can not find any picture which shows the interior of Seastar but I imagine a smaller boat must have limited space to relax. Does anybody have comment of Seastar's interior?

I also want to know that how far ahead can we find out the weather? What is the website for checking the weather and condition of the sea? What is a good measure for a calm sea? Your information would be greatly appreciated!

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