by Kevin Griffen writing for cybercruises.com
The newly built 254-berth passenger-cargo ship Aranui 5 arrived in her home port of Papeete, Tahiti, on November 9 and is now preparing for her maiden voyage on December 12. The custom-built Aranui 5 is a dual-purpose ship designed for the regular trades from Tahiti to French Polynesian islands of the Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society Islands.
She will maintain the 14-night itinerary of the twelve-year-old Aranui 3 that she replaces.
Aranui cruises serve as a lifeline to the inhabitants of the Marquesas Islands, bringing supplies to the principal villages and several remote valleys seventeen times a year.
Passengers board in Papeete, and sail 800 miles north to some of most spectacular and remote islands in the world, where they will find themselves fully immersed in Polynesian culture.
Aranui 5 visits Takapoto and Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Archipelago, Bora Bora in the Society Islands, and Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Hiva Oa, Fatu Hiva, Tahuata and Ua Huka in the Marquesas Islands.
The ship features 103 cabins, especially designed with added space for passengers, while the ship’s interior decor reflects the Polynesian heritage.
Travellers can select from eight cabin categories with accommodations ranging from Premium outside staterooms (more than 90 percent with their own private balconies) and Standard outside staterooms (with a picture window or porthole) to Class C shared dormitory style cabins with occupancy for four to eight people.
Public areas include a pursers lounge, casual restaurant, four bars, including the Sky Bar with panoramic views, dance hall, two conference rooms, two lounges, library, video and computer room, boutique, outdoor swimming pool with whirlpool, fitness room and massage room. The ship also features two elevators.
The ship’s decor features Marquesan designs, Paul Gauguin prints and original paintings by Erhard Lux, a German artist who lives part-time in Moorea.
Aranui cruises include shore excursions, with awe-inspiring hikes past waterfalls and sacred ritual sites, encounters with local artisans, a visit to Paul Gauguin’s grave, snorkelling in translucent waters, island picnics and restaurant lunches featuring local food and a visit to a pearl farm, among others.
The cruise includes complimentary wine with lunch and dinner, shore excursions, picnics and meals on shore. Optional excursions such as scuba diving, horseback riding and fishing are available at an additional charge.
Featuring a primarily Polynesian crew from the Marquesas and other Tahitian Islands, and with expert lecturers and guides, Aranui 5 provides an aspect of hospitality that combined with enchanting scenery will create a totally unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience.