15 Nights: Friday 16 August - Saturday 31 August 2024
Cruise in comfort among some of the most remote islands on earth, with spectacular volcanic landscapes and a rich Polynesian culture that has ancient connections to New Zealand. For decades a Tahitian family business has provided a lifeline for these islands, and now its latest, modern ship conveys adventurous travellers as well as vital supplies and traded goods. The crew, mostly Polynesian and many from the Marquesas, are proud of their culture and history and keen to share it with you.
This cruise takes you to most of the inhabited islands in the Marquesas, sometimes more than once, as well as two different atolls in the Tuamotu Archipelago. The contrasts are great. The Tuamotu atolls rise just a couple of metres above sea level, and encompass tranquil lagoons. On other islands craggy cliffs rear out of the deep ocean, and the centre of these small islands might be 1,000 metres or more high. Small villages nestle in sheltered bays, some so narrow that entering by ship requires impressive feats of navigation. The Aranui's arrival is a red-letter day for each community it visits. The crew go to work unloading goods ranging from groceries to motor vehicles, and collect produce for transport to market or supplies going to another island. Watching the unloading and loading, sometimes onto a wharf and sometimes onto tenders, is part of the adventure.
The locals also come out in force with their 4WD vehicles to take you to sites of interest - ancient archaeological sites almost reclaimed by the jungle, impressive churches that indicate the influence of missionaries, and spectacular viewpoints. The islanders also put a lot of effort into cooking meals and performing traditional music and dance. You will have time to stroll around the small villages, meeting locals and shopping for unusual souvenirs.
Life on board is really comfortable. The Aranui 5 entered service in 2015 and designed so the rear half is a cruise liner and the front half a freighter. With only 103 cabins spread over eight decks, it feels compact. It has a restaurant where the meals are served in a casual setting, lounges, conference rooms where guest lecturers provide presentations on topics related to the Marquesas, bars with sweeping panoramic views, an outdoor pool, a shop, fitness room and spa. Excursions are well organised, and on-board activities are also offered. The owners and crew take pride in providing a vital link for the Marquesan people, and showing travellers from around the world this unique part of the Pacific. Before boarding the Aranui, you will spend three nights in Papeete with time to explore Tahiti.
Please contact Calder & Lawson Tours if you are interested in a single occupancy place.
GROUP SIZE Minimum 10, maximum 18