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Aranui 5 - Authentic Marquesas Islands Cruise

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A journey of a lifetime! For the past 60 years, Aranui, which translates as ‘The Great Highway’, has maintained a vital lifeline between the remote Marquesas and the outside world. Aranui is such an important part of the Marquesas that locals often refer to the ship as the seventh inhabited island.
Tahiti
Cultural
Nature
Independent Holiday Packages
Ocean

Highlights

Enjoy a 11-night authentic cruise to the most remote islands of the world, including shore excursions to remote villages and archaeological sites.  

Experience the distinct features of Aranui 5, including spacious lounges, panoramic bar (Skybar), outside swimming pool, shop, and massage room.

At every port, guests can enjoy an array of included excursions. 

Aranui 5 is a dual-purpose passenger and working freighter that makes a regular 3800 kilometre round-trip voyage from Tahiti to the Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society Islands in French Polynesia. On the 13-day, all- inclusive cruise, passengers visit nine islands and discover why the likes of artist Paul Gauguin, novelists Robert Louis Stevenson and Herman Melville, and musician Jacques Brel were so captivated by this enchanting part of the world. 

The once-in-a-lifetime adventure includes nine French Polynesian islands where guests have the chance to take 4WD adventures through winding mountain tracks, hike to sacred ritual sites, visit villages and churches and immerse in the local culture.

While passengers relax aboard the custom-built ship, its muscular and proficient sailors take control of the freight. With skilful precision, Aranui 5’s sailors and crew unload and load cargo at remote docks to an audience of waiting villagers. Food, fishing equipment, building materials and vehicles are replaced with a bounty of island produce including limes, coconuts, copra (dried coconut), fruit and fish, for the return journey to Tahiti.

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Included

SATURDAY DEPARTURES
11-night cruise on-board the Aranui 5 in a Stateroom
3 Meals Per Day
Wine during onboard lunches and dinners
All Aranui 5 planned Shore Excursions
English Speaking Guides
All Port Charges/Taxes

Upgrade your Voyage to:

Deluxe Stateroom with Balcony +$1,465pp

Superior Deluxe Stateroom with Balcony +$2,120pp

Junior Suite (with/without Balcony) +$2,518pp

Premium Suite with Balcony +$2,899pp

Royal Suite with Balcony +$3,354pp

Presidential Suite with Balcony +$6,599pp

 

Itinerary

Expand Collapse  all days
Day 1
Papeete, Tahiti

Depart from Papeete in the morning, receive a warm welcome onboard from the crew and sail to Fakarava atoll in the Tuamotu archipelago.

The day is spent getting to know crew and fellow guests while exploring the vessel that will be ‘home’ for the next 12 days.

 

Lunch, Dinner
Day 2
Makatea or Mataiva (Tuamotu)

Surrounded by spectacular cliffs, rising 260 feet above sea level, this second largest raised atoll in French Polynesia is a sharp contrast from the typical low-lying corral-reef formation with a lagoon in the middle.

It is also the only atoll in the Tuamotu with potable water which comes from its underground caves. Once a thriving island due to phosphate mining in the first half of the 20th century, it was mostly abandoned with only a few families remaining to keep watch. Today, the fewer than 100 inhabitants live from the culture of copra, fishing and the trade of coconut crabs.

(depending on the weather, Makatea may be replaced by Mataiva)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3
At Sea Crossing Tuamotu to Marquesas

There are many ways to while away a day at sea on Aranui 5 from immersing in the Polynesian culture during workshops on weaving, dancing, cooking, wrapping a pareo, playing the ukulele, language, and even ‘tatau’ or relax on deck, in one of the bars, attend a lecture, browse the boutique, work out in the gym, be pampered In Aranui’s Polynesian spa, take a dip in the pool or just gaze out at the sea.

When it arrives in the waters of the Marquesas, you will have to set your watches forward by half an hour. 

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4
Ua Pou (Marquesas Islands)

Legend refers to Ua Pou as the “pillars of the archipelago” and it is often called “The Cathedral Island”. These names become clear as the ship docks at Hakahau Bay surrounded by 12 basalt summits soaring as high as 1100 metres.

Every island has its own special ambience and Ua Pou’s is one of mystery and magic. You are sure to see familiar looking faces as many of our crew members are from here. Energetic early risers can hike up the hill to the Cross for breathtaking views of the valleys and village below. The artisans’ centre is a short stroll into town and the offerings include works featuring the unique flower stone and a variety of carvings and children’s clothes.

Before enjoying a Marquesan lunch, take in an excellent dance show, including the Bird Dance, a traditional Ua Pou performance.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5
Nuku Hiva (Marquesas Islands)

This island is the administrative centre of the Marquesas. The village of Taiohae stretches along the beach, which is like a magnificent amphitheatre created by the successive eruptions of three concentric volcanoes and dominated by towering cliffs streaked with waterfalls. In the small village, all of the government services and residences, the hospital, bank and schools, are close by.  A lovely handicraft centre is located on the beach road.

Your adventure in Nuku Hiva will include a tour of the Cathedral Notre Dame, famed for its stonework and wood sculptures.

In Hatiheu, you will visit the archaeological site known as Tohua Kamuihei, where public festivities once took place. Here you will see the paepae, immense stone platforms on which houses were built, and huge boulders carved with enigmatic petroglyphs. Under a giant banyan tree, enjoy a performance of traditional songs and dances, including the “Pig Dance”, which originated in Nuku Hiva.

For lunch, try a traditional “Umu”, a Marquesan specialty where food is cooked in an underground oven.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6
Ua Huka (Marquesas Islands)

This island, the least inhabited in the Marquesas, is largely arid and home to many wild horses, goats and pigs. It is also a refuge for two endemic birds: the pati’oti’o and the pihiti, which are only found here.

In the early morning, the Aranui will execute a point-to-point 180-degree turn in the narrow mouth of Vaipaee’s Invisible Bay. With only metres to spare on either side, it is a skillful operation undertaken by the captain and the crew and is not to be missed. From the dock, travel by 4WD to the village of Hane.  Along the way, you will stop to explore the Botanical Garden, the cultural centre Te Tumu, featuring a small museum with exquisite replicas of Marquesan artifacts, and a petroglyph museum and local woodcarvers’ studios in the fishing village of Hokatu. Look for the unusual carved black and white coconuts.

In Hane, where a Marquesan lunch will be served, visit the Marine Museum beforehand and in the afternoon, hike to view red tuff tikis overlooking the bay.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7
Hiva Oa (Marquesas Islands)

Atuona, principal village of Hiva Oa and the second largest in the Marquesas, was once the capital of this archipelago. Sweeping views of the harbour can be seen after a walk up the hill to the cemetery where Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel are buried.

Explore the Gauguin Museum, a replica of his “House of Pleasure”, and the Brel Museum, which showcases his plane JoJo, which was often used for medical emergencies.

After lunch onboard, enjoy a lazy afternoon on a beautiful white sand beach or take a refreshing dip in the Pacific Ocean.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8
Hiva Oa (Marquesas Islands)

A morning drive by 4WD takes you to Puamau to visit the most important local archeological site for tikis in French Polynesia. The guides will show you through the mysterious ruins at Mea’e Iipona and share stories of these haunting statues and an ancient civilisation.

In the afternoon, you will visit the impressive church of Tahuata which was built by the Vatican and decorated with beautiful carvings and a stained glass window featuring the Marquesan cross. Though the smallest of the inhabited Marquesan islands, it is historically one of the richest.

Tahuata has experienced it all — it was the first island in the archipelago to be discovered by Spanish explorers, who opened fire on a crowd of curious islanders in 1595, saw the arrival of missionaries in 1797 and then became the first French settlement in the Marquesas in 1842. The locals carve exquisite tikis, sea creatures, bracelets, necklaces and more from horse and cow bone, fossilised bone, tusks and pink helmet shell.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9
Fatu Hiva (Marquesas Islands)

Fatu Hiva is the most lush and remote island in the archipelago, and is also a centre of Marquesan crafts.

In the village of Omoa, women will demonstrate the making of tapa by hammering mulberry, banyan or breadfruit bark on a log. It is then dried and painted with traditional designs. Another demonstration will show the making of the kumuhei, a bouquet used by the local women to perfume their hair. The adjacent craft centre offers tapa, carvings, hand-dyed pareo and some of the finest monoi coconut oil found in these islands.

Following the visit of the village, active passengers may choose to hike from Omoa to Hanavave, a 16 km hike offering spectacular views of towering cliffs. A picnic lunch will be served at the summit.

Non-hikers will sail on the Aranui to Hanavave’s Bay of Virgins, considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Go ashore for a visit of the village and to welcome the hikers.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10
At Sea Crossing from Marquesas to Tuamotu

Enjoy a day at sea to relax by the pool and participate in one of the lectures or activities offered by the guides.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11
Rangiroa (Tuamotu Islands)

Rangiroa or “huge sky” is the largest atoll in French Polynesia and the second largest in the world. The seemingly endless blue lagoon attracts divers to snorkel, scuba or shoot the pass surrounded by fish of every size, colour and shape.

Rangiroa is famous for its majestic manta rays. It is also home to stunning pearls in all shades and local artisans known for their fine shell jewellery. While in Rangiroa, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent lagoon on a glass bottom boat tour or swimming, snorkelling or diving. You can also visit one of the finest pearl farms in the Tuamotus to learn about these rare gems and see how they are grown.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12
Arrival in Tahiti

This is the end of our journey. It’s time to say Nānā! (Goodbye) to your travel companions, to the Polynesian staff and Aranui guides.

Morning arrival into Papeete by around 7:00 AM and guests disembark.

Breakfast

Additional information

Official language
French
Currency
CFP franc
Book now for 2022

Book a journey of a lifetime today!

11 nights
from AUD6,794
per person, twin share
Tahiti
Cultural, Nature
Independent Holiday Packages
February - December 2022

Important notes

This itinerary may be modified due to technicalor meteorological reasonsor freight constraints.In the case of bad weather, disembarkment maynot be possible for safety reasons.

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