Aranui Prepares to Celebrate 30 Years of Cargo Cruising
18 November 2014, 3:53PM
MG Media Communications
Photo caption: The first Aranui in Papeete 1959.
Aranui 3 at Fatu Hiva. Credit Lionel Gouverneur.
Thirty years ago, Tahiti freighter Aranui 1 became the first modern ship to carry cruise passengers and cargo across the South Pacific marking the beginning of a long-running cruise operation which has seen 44,750 passengers and 484,900 tonnes of freight carried between Tahiti and the remote Tuamotu and Marquesas Islands.
The Wong family, which runs the Aranui freighters through Compagnie Polynesienne de Transport Maritime (CPTM), has offered a cargo service since 1954, occasionally providing passage to Tahitians who slept on the main cargo deck under the stars and sheltered under a tarpaulin during the day.
Sensing a market for a soft adventure cruise experience in the region, the company spent several years in the early 80s modifying its freighter to a mixed cargo and passenger vessel with the introduction of 12 cabins, a new galley, dining room, dormitory and other basic amenities.
On November 22, 1984, Aranui 1 made its first historic passenger cruise, departing from Papeete with 24 international and local passengers, and cargo, bound for the northern Tahiti archipelagoes.
Thirty years and three ships later, Aranui has announced it will celebrate the anniversary during Aranui 3’s April 25, 2015, departure, with passengers in cabins offered an onboard credit of up to 15,000XPF* per person (approx. NZ$200) and treated to a special dinner show, firework display and giveaways.
Packages for the April departure are priced from $9399* per person twin share in a standard cabin including return economy airfares from Auckland with Air Tahiti Nui, luxury car transfers to the nearest international airport, four nights’ accommodation at Manava Suite Tahiti with continental breakfast, taxes and all transfers in Tahiti.
Aranui’s Regional Representative Australia New Zealand Laurent Wong said while the onboard product had evolved a lot in the past 30 years, the spectacular destinations were as untouched and beautiful as when Aranui 1 made her historic first calls back in 1984.
“For 30 years, Aranui has been offering discerning travellers the adventure of a lifetime across three French Polynesian archipelagoes – the Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands – and with transport, meals, accommodation and tours all included, it’s still one of the best value ways to see Tahiti,” Mr Wong said.
In 2015, Aranui’s 14-day roundtrip cruises from Papeete will visit Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Tahuata, Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Huka in the Marquesas, Takapoto and Rangiroa in the Tuamotus and the famed Society Island of Bora Bora.
Aranui 3 accommodates 200 passengers in air-conditioned cabins including suites with private balconies and deluxe and standard twin rooms. The freighter line dispenses a lifeline of food, fuel and other staples to remote island ports while passengers disembark and explore lush Garden of Eden landscapes on a range of complimentary excursions including hikes and 4WD tours. Throughout the journey, guests enjoy the comforts of a cruise ship, from a spacious sundeck to a freshwater swimming pool, a gym and a library.
In late 2015, the 256-passenger Aranui 5 is set to replace Aranui 3 which has been in service for more than a decade. (There won’t be an Aranui 4 as the number is considered bad luck by the Chinese-owned cruise company.)
For more information on Aranui visit www.aranuicruises.com.au or call 03 9449 3778. To book the package, call Ultimate Cruising on 0800 485 846.
*Subject to availability, conditions apply. Prices are in $NZD, per person twin-share. Single occupancy attracts a 50 per cent surcharge.
Add $300 for flights from Wellington or Christchurch.