insights from the ultimate cruising team

Our most popular ship, Aranui 5: What you need to know

Our most popular ship, Aranui 5: What you need to know

Cruising on the Aranui 5 to Tahiti’s Marquesas Islands is not the same as lapping up luxury in The Bahamas. The ship operates as a freighter with cruise facilities for a select number of guests and soft adventure is the name of the game. So when booking a trip on the Aranui 5, it makes sense to ensure the voyage is going to match your requirements and expectations.

We’ve put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions:

  1. What meals are included?

    The cruise includes all meals onboard (breakfast, lunch and dinner). We’ve never had reports of anyone going hungry so there’s not really any need to bring food onboard, although there’s no regulation against doing so. If you do bring some snacks, keep in mind there is no fridge in the rooms.

  2. What drinks are included?

    Wine is provided with lunch and dinner (one bottle per table). Tea, coffee and water are free. Any other drinks such as soft drinks, beer and spirits are payable onboard. Wine outside of lunch and dinner is also at passenger's expense.

  3. How mobile do you need to be?

    The Aranui 5 is a freighter vessel and a soft adventure cruise, therefore mobility is very important. To get on and off Aranui 5, you will need to be able to negotiate the gangway and steps unassisted and reasonably quickly. Tenders are sometimes used between ship and shore. Also so you need to be able to step across to the tender.

    There is a lift aboard the Aranui but this does not operate in rough weather, in these ciircumstances the stairs are the only means of moving between deck levels. The stairs are quite steep so if you are not able to use the stairs, you’ll be restricted to your cabin/deck on those days.

    Shore excursions often involve a fair amount of walking – sometimes on uneven ground - so you really do need to have a reasonable level of mobility to enjoy your cruise.

  4. What are the shore excursions like?

    Shore excursions include walks, visits to archaeological sites, markets, snorkelling, 4WD drive to the mountain top etc. More details of the excursions are available from the Ultimate Cruising team. Shore excursions are complimentary unless you wish to partake in activites such as scuba diving, para-sailing etc in which case they are payable direct.

    Time in each port is determined by port authorities and cargo operations so they can range from a few hours to a day.

    Whilst excursions are not compulsory, Aranui like to encourage passengers to participate for a couple of reasons – 1. As the Aranui is a working freighter, the crew all have other jobs and responsibilities to attend while passengers are ashore. 2. Getting off the ship and experiencing the destination is what the voyage is all about. It’s a remote part of the world so make the most of it!

    Another note: The restaurant is not open during the time passengers are ashore and dining locally.

  5. Do the cabins have baths or showers?

    All Cabins have showers – Aranui 5's predecessor, Aranui 3, had showers over baths but to make it easier for the cruisers to get in and out the baths were removed.

  6. Is there a shop onboard if I forget something?

    There is a boutique onboard selling various sundries, stamps, clothing and souvenirs.

  7. Is tipping expected?

    Tipping is “not encouraged” on Aranui, however Tahiti is French Polynesia so European customs are strong. Many passengers on Aranui are from Europe and USA so no doubt they will tip but it is not expected. In saying that, if you encounter service you feel is worthy of a tip, we’re sure they would appreciate it. If you are not comfortable offering a tip, you certainly won’t have offended anyone.

    At the Manava Suite Resort, tipping is more expected than on the Aranui. Restaurant meals are all inclusive, but you may find one where a note has been placed indicating any tips would be welcome.

  8. Is the ship air-conditioned?

    Yes, all cabins and guest areas are air-conditioned, however there are no individual controls.

  9. What electricity plugs are used?

    The ship uses the 2 pin European plug. Voltage is the same (or very close).

  10. Can I get mobile reception?

    This part of the Pacific is not well covered by satellites/commuications so there’s next to no mobile coverage. The ship has a satellite phone in case of emergency.

  11. Are there laundry facilities onboard?

    Yes, there are washing and drying machines available for passenger use. They also offer a complimentary laundry service on select days (but don’t take underwear or socks).

  12. What currency should I take?

    Central Pacific Francs are the best way to go. Some people take US$ but you’ll end up paying conversion fees twice as many places don’t take US$. Restaurants in Papeete will often take credit cards but markets, les roulottes, souvenir shops etc usually don’t.

    If you have other questions about cruising with Aranui 5, feel free to contact our reservations team (0800 485 846) or click here to view available packages.