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Freighter and Other Non-Traditional Cruise Travel

Share your interest & experiences in Freighter Cruises and other unusual forms of leisure passenger ship travel

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  #1  
Old October 23rd, 2008, 05:09 PM
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Question South Pacific Aranui 3-new reviews?

Hi
Can't seem to locate any recent feedback or links to feedback from travelors who have recently sailed with the freighter Aranui 3 - any takers on this topic?

Many Thanks!
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  #2  
Old October 28th, 2008, 12:08 PM
captainmcd captainmcd is offline
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Default Aranui 3

I, too, have been intrested in this trip for many years, and would like to hear of any recent experiences. I know their website http://www.aranui.com/vessel.htm is up and running, as well as Travltips advertising the trips.
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  #3  
Old December 28th, 2008, 02:30 PM
ariellejesse ariellejesse is offline
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Default Aranui experience

We cruised the Aranui 3 years ago. Although not super recent, I doubt the experience would be significantly different unless the owners segregated the Germans and French to separate cruising dates.

I found the atmosphere totally WWII mentality with pushing and shoving between the two groups in any group venue. This was not my idea of a carefree cruise. One might read the more than candid book account written by a former passenger that is given out ( why, I don't know) when booking. It is absolutely shocking and had we known the details we would never have booked the cruise. I no longer have this book, otherwise I would give the title, etc.

The standard cruises of Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, etc. are infinitely better; beautiful beaches, good swimming--things lacking on the Marquesas cruise.
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  #4  
Old December 30th, 2008, 12:22 PM
rogerc1944 rogerc1944 is offline
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The name of the book is Manuiota'a and was written by Robert C. Suggs and Burgl Lichtenstein. The book was published in 2001 and documents a 1999 cruise on the Aranui 2. Manuiota'a is a fabulous book and provides both a well written account of the Aranui experience along with asides on the the natural and cultural history of the Marquesas and Tuamotus. My wife and I sailed on the Aranui 2 in 1998 and the account in the book closely follows our experience. That is to say, the trip was truly magical in its quality. We have never had such an experience aboard any cruise ship. The islands and the experience was just awesome. While it is possible to get to these islands by air and stay in private pensions or a couple of very small (20 room) 5 star hotels, this couldn't possible replace the experience of traveling by freighter to all of these islands (there is no practical way to do this other than the Aranui), watching freight operations (ever seen a horse lifed a hundred feet in the air and swung on board deck or watched a brand new 4wd truck set on a couple of whale boats in heavy seas and brought in to shore on the surf?). Keep in mind that all the excursions are included in the fare (feasting on native foods in local restuarants, 4wd trips over mountain ranges, tours of archaeological sites, native dancers, museums, expert lecturers, etc.). Imagine landing at the dock on one of these remote islands and having all the native people come out to greet you (not just to stare but really welcome you)!

The Aranui experience is not like a regular cruise ship because the Aranuis is a freighter. If you were expecting something like a Princess cruise, you will be disappointed. There are no captain's nites or casinos or Las Vegas style entertainment venues. Instead, you will find adventure that is reminiscent of an earlier time where journeys were made on a tramp steamer in the South Pacific (albeit one that has been upgraded to include AC!). As for competition between the various nationalites, there is some (particularly between the French and the Americans). Yet again, we made some friends on the Aranui 2 that we still get together with today. We've gone back to French Polynesia with some and a big group of us went to the Caribbean together. There are real bonds that form between the passengers.
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  #5  
Old January 15th, 2009, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariellejesse View Post
We cruised the Aranui 3 years ago. Although not super recent, I doubt the experience would be significantly different unless the owners segregated the Germans and French to separate cruising dates.

I found the atmosphere totally WWII mentality with pushing and shoving between the two groups in any group venue. This was not my idea of a carefree cruise. One might read the more than candid book account written by a former passenger that is given out ( why, I don't know) when booking. It is absolutely shocking and had we known the details we would never have booked the cruise. I no longer have this book, otherwise I would give the title, etc.

The standard cruises of Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, etc. are infinitely better; beautiful beaches, good swimming--things lacking on the Marquesas cruise.
...and to rogerc
Thanks for some opionions.
Now that PG is separate from Regent and now has their own website www.pgcruises.com it looks like they have some appealing itineraries and as I understand from reading some other websites (which I cannot mention due to "rules") are offering some reasonable promos for 2010.
As to the German French "issues" -this is NOT the first I have read of the "situation". Although I could live with cruising on a freighter since this travel is all abut the ports & inclusive excursions - I am not sure I could tolerate the pushing & shoving as described on multiple sights - at least not when you're paying those relatively high fares. Aranui II to date has not published their 2010 itineraries to date - perhaps this is their usual practice v. the economy?? Having said that Cruise West another alternative to small ship for Polynesia also have not yet published their polynesia itineraries for 2010 - did speak with them this week and they advised me to check back in April/May this year. Still look forward to any recent return to see if the "environment" on-board has changed.
leah, RN
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  #6  
Old January 25th, 2009, 08:08 PM
BillTheDog BillTheDog is offline
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I took this cruise 2 years ago and it was fabulous. I have no idea what the French vs. German vs. U.S. shoving and pushing stuff is all about; I experienced none of that whatsoever. I would highly recommend this cruise - it has some (trite as it sounds) truly magical moments and most of the guests aboard were very interesting and well travelled. Of course, there are a couple of not so nice ones but they are easy to avoid. It's also a very good value as your only additional cost is liquor but wine is provided gratis and lunch & dinner; all excursions are included.
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  #7  
Old February 1st, 2009, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillTheDog View Post
I took this cruise 2 years ago and it was fabulous. I have no idea what the French vs. German vs. U.S. shoving and pushing stuff is all about; I experienced none of that whatsoever. I would highly recommend this cruise - it has some (trite as it sounds) truly magical moments and most of the guests aboard were very interesting and well travelled. Of course, there are a couple of not so nice ones but they are easy to avoid. It's also a very good value as your only additional cost is liquor but wine is provided gratis and lunch & dinner; all excursions are included.
Bill thanks for the update and more positive experience, this is encouraging.
leah, RN
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  #8  
Old April 13th, 2009, 08:53 AM
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Am also considering the Aranui cruise.
Anyone have a clue as to pricing?

Larry
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  #9  
Old May 18th, 2009, 09:53 PM
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I just booked this vessel for the eclipse voyage in July, 2010.

The current price list follows. Some discounts/surcharges apply, as shown
on the schedule in the brochure - see www.aranui.com
================================================== ====
SUITE
* Cabin E,F,K,G $ 5,445.00 per person
* Cabin A,B,C,D,1,2,3,4 $ 5,198.00 per person
* Cabin J,H $ 4,830.00 per person
DELUXE $ 4,410.00 per person
STANDARD $ 3,675.00 per person
CLASS ‘C’ $ 2,079.00 per person

TAXES:
• Port $ 75.00 per person
• Cruise $ 105.00 per person
• Tourism
. Suite E,F,K,G $ 163.35 per person
. Suite A,B,C,D,1,2,3,4 $ 155.94 per person
. Suite J,H $ 144.90 per person
. Deluxe $ 132.30 per person
. Standard $ 110.25 per person
. Class “C” $ 105.00 per person
. Child $ 105.00 per person
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  #10  
Old May 20th, 2009, 08:03 PM
MMDown Under MMDown Under is offline
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Default Lecturers

I just added the following to "Other Cruise Lines", when I remembered this Section:

I'd appreciate hearing comments from anyone who has cruised on Aranui 3 recently.

Did the on-board lecturer add to the experience?
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  #11  
Old October 6th, 2010, 01:33 PM
Ip Man Ip Man is offline
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I plan to sail on Aranui either Feb. or March, 2011 but I understand that's the rainy season and it rains almost every day. What have others heard?
I plan to travel in the dormatory "C" class. Has anyone tried it? I don't expect luxury. I'm used to backpacking type travel as long as there is some adventure. Can anyone comment on "C" class? Thanks!
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  #12  
Old October 31st, 2010, 12:05 PM
captainmcd captainmcd is offline
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Question Aranui 3 Summer 2011

I just got the brochure in the mail. I would like to go next summer. A travel agent told me that comparing this vessel to the Paul Gaugin was like comparing Motel 6 to a luxury hotel, and that made me like it more! The price for 14 days for a suite on the Aranui 3 is about the same as 7 days on the PG. I would like to see the Marquesas as well. I suspect that the dormatories would be best for single travellers, probably you would get to meet a few locals who live on the islands. I would like to hear from anyone who has made this trip in the past few years.
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  #13  
Old November 3rd, 2010, 12:33 PM
Floridiana Floridiana is offline
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You asked for it, so here it is - a bit long.

I sailed on the Aranui 2 and then on the Aranui 3.

Atmosphere:
The atmosphere was very relaxed. The liveliest table was occupied by a group of Kiwis. There were absolutely no animosities between the French and Germans or any other nationalities for that matter.

Free:
Wine, water, and excursions are included. The (French) doctor did not charge anything for treatments. He went out of his way to treat my husband who had caught an annoying cold virus and bacterial infection, probably on the plane.

Locals:
Locals were passengers on the ship. On the Aranui 2, they were separated from the tourists, but on the Aranui 3, they had booked cabins like everybody else.

Crew:
The crew mingled with the passengers at the bar.

The entire crew is Polynesian, either from the Society Islands (Tahiti) or from the Marquesas. Bernard (see below) was the only non Polynesian Frenchman but with the powerful physique of a Marquesan.

Passengers:
We made friends with passengers in a balcony cabin and with passengers in the dormitories. The dormitory passengers were used to Youth Hostel accommodations, brought along hiking boots, one of them was on a trip around the world.

Other passengers: We took the trip in summer, lots of teachers from France, its territories (Mayotte, Tahiti), Belgium, Germany, and the US.

Dress:
Leave your fancy cruise wear at home; shorts, t-shirts, polo shirts, sandals, walking shoes are just fine. The waitresses wear colorful pareos, flowers and shell jewellery.

Information:
The ship provides a talk in the evening about the upcoming day in English, German and French and lectures about the history etc.

in English: a professor from a US University. Quality changes with whoever travels on the ship for that purpose.
in French: a Frenchman who lives on one of the Marquesas and a lovely Tahitian lady.
in German: Bernard, the trilingual 'cruise and hotel director' and the person who guides the hikes. Whoever speaks German lucks out because Bernard does a wonderful job. I tried all three lecturers for comparison purposes.

Marquesas:
The Marquesas are rugged islands of extraordinary beauty. If you speak French, sit next to one of the jeep drivers during the tours; preferably next to one of the woman drivers because they tell more about customs and family life than many of the men.

One French couple had vacationed on Fatu Hiva and joined the Aranui midtrip. This is the way to go if you want to have closer contact with the local population. I would prefer to do this on Ua Huka or on Nuku Hiva.

Freighter:
All of this said, the Aranui is a working freighter. If you want a more traditional cruise experience with pampering, by all means, book a trip with the Paul Gauguin.
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  #14  
Old November 4th, 2010, 05:56 PM
captainmcd captainmcd is offline
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Default Thanks for the information

Thanks Floridiana for your good information. I have booked the July 16, 2011 (Voyage 10) sailing, and am looking forward to it, since it is something that I have wanted to do for many years. I am used to freighter travel as well as cruises, and can appreciate the benefits of each. I really don't need nightly shows and lavish meals to keep me happy. I was wondering about the dormatories. It looks like there are threre separate cabins on the starboard side of the restaurant deck. Are men and women separated? Does each of the rooms have their own bathrooms? How many people can be put in each of the rooms? That is in case one of our college age children wants to join us. Thanks, John
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  #15  
Old November 6th, 2010, 07:39 PM
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J&DfromTheVillages J&DfromTheVillages is offline
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Default Aranui 3

I am gathering data for a South Seas cruise in 2012 and am seriously considering the Aranui 3. Sounds exciting! We've cruised Princess and Celebrity many times, so for the South Seas, we were looking for a different experience. This sounds like it! One question about the rainy season. When I looked at weather on line it indicated that Dec./Jan. had an average of 12.5" of rain per month vs. June and July having only an average of 1.68" per month. Simply based on that, it looked like June/July is the best travel time. Can any of you who have already traveled there give me some feedback on your weather experiences?
Thanks,
Judy and Dan from St. Louis
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  #16  
Old December 2nd, 2010, 01:26 PM
Floridiana Floridiana is offline
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Sorry to respond so late, I am just back from a two week Princess cruise to the Caribbean - totally different clientele from the Aranui 3. Although the Princess passengers were well traveled, it was mostly on the same routes over and over again. Aranui passengers had been all over the world; they were more international and younger, too, and they did not try to sell me Fox News as the pinnacle of balanced reporting.

On the Aranui, the dormitories are not separated according to gender. If I remember correctly, they have individual curtains to close off the bunk beds. The bathroom has individal shower stalls with a door or a curtain, don't remember which.

A fit college age kid might want to participate in the more strenuous hikes. Passengers who did so brought good sneakers or hiking boots. There were two wet embarkations on beaches, bring water shoes or sandals.

We were there in July and August, no rain at all and calm seas. I have no experience with rainy season weather. Supposedly, the Marquesas have no distinct rainy and dry season, but the Society Islands do. If you have a choice, go in the dry season.

Enjoy this unusual trip!
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  #17  
Old December 2nd, 2010, 01:48 PM
zoncom zoncom is offline
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Default SP freighter

I investigated it several yrs. ago. The negative to me at that time were the possiblity of shorter times in port. Their main job is deliveries of goods. It at that time was not that cheap either. Have prices come down? Prices on PG and Royal/ Ocean Princess sure have. Take a look at excellent Tahiti web site, Tahitiexplorer.com.
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  #18  
Old December 3rd, 2010, 11:47 AM
Jiminkcmo Jiminkcmo is offline
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Default Aranui 3

I've booked on the Aranui for the August 6, 2011 departure.

Have done the "big ship, stage show, art selling" cruises and want something unique as to area and destination.

Looked around a lot and found this type of cruise several years ago and put it on the back burner.

It recently bubbled up to the top.

It should be a real experience and one to remember.

Anyone else around who plans to be on board?

Jim
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  #19  
Old December 4th, 2010, 10:16 AM
captainmcd captainmcd is offline
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Default Aranui Roll Call?

Jim, That's how I feel about cruising. Floridiana, your information makes me feel good about our decision to make a voyage. Jim, It's too bad the ship spends a week in port between voyages, or we could have met. You are on Voyage 11, and I am on Voyage 10. It seems like too few Cruise Critic members have an interest in this type of cruising to have a roll call like the cruise ships do, but it would be nice to know some of your fellow passengers in advance. As a youngster my parents took me on freighter-passenger trips of about a week on the SS Kenora on Lake Winnipeg, the Norgoma on Lake Huron, the North Gaspe on the lower St.Lawrence, and I loved those trips so much I have spent the rest of my life sailing, mostly on freighters. My story is on www.captainmcd.com.

John


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jiminkcmo View Post
I've booked on the Aranui for the August 6, 2011 departure.

Have done the "big ship, stage show, art selling" cruises and want something unique as to area and destination.

Looked around a lot and found this type of cruise several years ago and put it on the back burner.

It recently bubbled up to the top.

It should be a real experience and one to remember.

Anyone else around who plans to be on board?

Jim
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  #20  
Old December 6th, 2010, 01:21 PM
Jiminkcmo Jiminkcmo is offline
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Default Aranui 3

Hi John:

I do wish we could have met next summer on the dock as you were leaving the ship and I was boarding.

You have a lot of information on your website which I'll have to get back to in the coming days.

I grew up just a few miles west of you in a little steel town with 3 rivers surrounding it. <G>

Are you going to be staying pre and post cruise at one of the hotels on Tahiti? I am probably going to do that but haven't committed to it yet.

If you have booked a hotel and have any first hand information about it, I'd love to hear about it.

As to the Aranui, I booked cabin G for the size and balcony. I'm a solo traveler so I'll have lots of room to spare.

In that I'm kind of a "meat and potatoes" guy, I hope there is enough of that kind of food aboard although cooked seafood is good for me also.

I'm surprised that after spending your work life on the sea, you now vacation on the sea.

I worked in the airline business and have seen much of the world from 40,000 feet and now I want to see it from 40 feet.

I'm looking forward to this adventure but it's a long time away.

Jim
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