Once every three weeks (including a voyage that spans Christmas Day) the freighter/passenger vessel Aranui 3 sails out of Papeete harbour on a 14-day journey to deliver vital suppliers to residents of the Marquesas - a cluster of wildly beautiful islands in French Polynesia. Guests onboard the Aranui 3 will enjoy 14-adventure filled days exploring the islands' unspoilt nature by foot and in four-wheel drive vehicles driven by locals while the ship unloads and loads at each destination.
Once every three weeks the freighter/passenger vessel Aranui 3 sails out of Papeete harbour on a 14-day journey to deliver vital supplies to residents of the Marquesas - a cluster of wildly beautiful islands in French Polynesia, around 900 miles northeast of Tahiti and the remotest archipelago in the world.
Of the 15 islands in the Marquesas, six are inhabited and only four of these have airstrips; two islands are only accessible by boat and do not even have a dock! The Aranui 3 – a cargo filled ship complete with cruise ship comforts – is a lifeline to the residents of these six isolated islands. The vessel delivers everything from four wheel drive cars and cement to schoolbooks and livestock. They ship back copra (dried coconut kernel) and noni, a yellowish fruit that has become the basis of a fashionable health drink marketed in the US.
Guests onboard the Aranui 3 will enjoy 14 adventure-filled days experiencing the islands’ strong local culture and exploring the unspoilt nature: the black sand beaches and steep volcanic peaks blanketed with thick forests are a stark contrast to the traditional French Polynesian fringed atolls. While the ship loads and unloads at each destination, passengers are taken ashore onboard a fleet of whaleboats for land-based sightseeing excursions in four-wheel drive vehicles driven by locals - all included in the price.
The Marquesas Islands have been an inspiration to many writers and artists. Gaugin painted his masterpieces on Hiva Oa and is buried under a gardenia tree on the slopes of the local cemetery. His grave is only a few feet from the Belgian musician and songwriter, Jacques Brel. On nearby Nuku Hiva, Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, jumped ship and was trapped by a tribe of cannibals before escaping to write Typee, the best-selling novel based on his capture.
Purpose built in 2003 Aranui 3 is uniquely designed for its dual role as a freighter and passenger ship, carrying up to 2000 tons of cargo and 200 passengers. There are 85 fully air conditioned cabins ranging from top of the range suites with balconies to deluxe and twin-bedded cabins, with well-priced dormitory style accommodation on a lower deck. There are two comfortable lounges, a swimming pool and gym and a full program of lectures on Marquesan history, culture and art.
A 14-day adventure cruise starting and ending in Tahiti costs Euros 3445 per person sharing a standard twin-bedded outside cabin with private facilities, including fuel surcharge and taxes. Dormitory style accommodation with upper and lower berths and shared facilities is Euros 2000 per person. Flights to/from Tahiti are not included in these prices.
Departures are approximately every three weeks from 10 February to 19 December 2009.
For bookings and further details, contact Ultimate Cruising on (Australia) 1300 662 943