On 8 August 2020 the passenger-cargo ship Aranui 5 is restarting cruises for international passengers to the remote and enchanting Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia in the South Pacific.
The move follows the lifting of travel restrictions to French Polynesia on 15 July and a special one-off cruise for local passengers, which departed on 18 July.
Despite the pandemic the historical links and supply-chain, which Aranui Cruises has provided to the islanders of the Marquesas for several decades, has been maintained by a monthly service, whilst upgrading the company’s health protocols and keeping crew and islanders COVID free.
Under these enhanced health protocols, and agreed by the State Sanitary Authorities as efficiently protective of both islanders and guests, Aranui Cruises will be among the first cruise companies worldwide to resume a cruise programme and will offer a reduced number of guests (from 254 to 230) the opportunity to participate in supporting the economy of these small, secluded islands.
The 13-day Marquesas Islands Cruise (from Euros 4,581pp) will make a total of nine scheduled cruises to the unique culture and landscape of the Marquesas during the remainder of 2020, with a further 18 cruises planned for 2021.
Highlights include exploring the archaeological sites of the Taipivai Valley on Nuku Hiva, which is dotted with stone tikis and rock art; traversing the mountains of Ua Huka by 4X4 or riding one of the famed Marquesan horses that roam wild on this island. On Hiva Oa there’s a visit to the former home of the artist Paul Gauguin and on Fatu Hiva, the most lush and distant of the islands visited on the voyage, there is an opportunity to watch the sunset in the UNESCO World Heritage Bay of Virgins.
Expanding the reach into 2021
For 2021 Aranui 5 is to add two new itineraries on specific dates, as well as continuing her regular cruise to the Marquesas and her annual call at Pitcairn.
Kicking off the year, from 9-21 January 2021, Aranui 5 will venture to the far-flung British outpost of Pitcairn, calling in at the Tuamotu islands to the east to Tahiti and the Gambier Archipelago.
Departing 4-16 September 2021, a further option sails west from Tahiti to reach the Cook Islands and south to the unspoilt beauty of the Austral islands.
Alternatively, departing 8-19 May 2021 there is the option for a more detailed exploration of the Society Island archipelago and the Tuamotu islands to the east of Tahiti, including time on the usually hard to reach island of Makatea.
Aranui 5 has 103 comfortable suites, staterooms and dormitory-style rooms, some with balconies. An onboard programme of insightful talks about life in the Marquesas takes place in the two spacious lounges, and there are also four bars – including the panoramic Skybar for relaxation. Meals are served in the dining room, where after the three-course dinners, the Aranui band performs. There is also an outdoor swimming pool, fitness room and boutique.