Last updated: 04:18 PM ET, Thu November 05 2015

New Aranui 5 Ready to Cruise

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Theresa Norton | November 05, 2015

New Aranui 5 Ready to Cruise

PHOTO: The Aranui 5, set to depart on its maiden voyage Dec. 12, will accommodate 54 more passengers than the Aranui 3. (Rendering courtesy of Aranui)

Aranui, which operates passenger-freighter ships in French Polynesia, will launch its newest vessel, the Aranui 5, on its maiden voyage Dec. 12.

The new 254-passenger ship will replace the 200-passenger Aranui 3, which began service to the Marquesas Islands in 2003. (If you’re wondering where the Aranui 4 was, the company explains that there were actually two Aranui 2’s, so the number 5 will even this out.)

Aranui, which means “the great highway” in the local language, brings supplies to village and remote valleys in the Marquesas Islands 17 times per year.

“Many of our voyages have been filling or reaching near-full capacity upwards of a year prior to departure. The launch of the Aranui 5 will better accommodate the demand for our one-of-a-kind experience with more spacious and comfortable quarters,” said Jules Wong, marketing director of Aranui.

The Aranui 5 will follow the same 14-day itinerary as the Aranui 3, with an additional stopover in Bora Bora on the return trip. The ship features 103 cabins with more balconies in the suites and superior deluxe staterooms and more common spaces with an interior decor reflecting the Polynesian heritage. (Fun Fact: An even earlier Aranui ship was used in the 1994 film "Love Affair," starting Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, which was a remake of the 1957 tear-jerker "An Affair to Remember.")

The eight cabin categories include Premium exterior staterooms (more than 90 percent with a private balcony) and Standard exterior staterooms with a picture window or porthole. What makes the vessel unusual is the Class C dormitory style cabins with occupancy for four to eight people. There also are several suite categories.

Public areas include a reception area, casual restaurant, four bars including the Sky Bar with panoramic views, dancing room, two conference rooms, two lounges, library, video and computer room, boutique, outdoor swimming pool with a whirlpool, fitness room and massage room.

In 2016, the Aranui 5 is scheduled to depart from Papeete, Tahiti, on Jan. 16, Feb. 6, Feb. 27, March 19, April 9, April 30, May 21, June 11, July 2, July 23, Aug. 13, Sept. 3, Sept. 24, Oct. 15, Nov. 5, Nov. 26 and Dec. 17.

The ship sails 800 miles north to some of most spectacular and remote islands in the world, such as 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 cruise includes three meals daily with complimentary wine for onboard lunches and dinners, guided excursions as outlined in the itinerary, picnics and meals on shore. Optional excursions such as scuba diving, horseback riding and fishing are available for an additional charge. Fares start at $2,781 per person and do not include port tax, cruise tax and tourism tax, which may total up to $243. 

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