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
LEFT COAST
1,434 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Construction is nearing completion on a new Aranui ship in a Chinese shipyard. This Aranui 3 will be replaced by the Aranui 5 (since there were actually two Aranui 2 ships). We anticipate to see the completed ship in operation around July to August 2015. The Aranui 5 will be slightly wider (22 metres) and taller with two more decks (total of 9 decks), additional public spaces, have more suites (31), superior & deluxe staterooms (29) and will hold about 256 passengers (verses the current 200 passengers). It will have a cruising speed of 15 knots with a length of 125 meters, about the same as the Aranui 3, so that it can safely navigate the smaller harbors of the Marquesas Islands. Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of the Aranui 5.
http://aranui.ca/itinerary/aranui-5

I want to go in 2016. In 2004, I went to Tahiti on the Tahitian Princess (7 days). I ordered a brochure but I think it is probably for Aranui 3. There is no Aranui 4 because 4 is an unlucky number for the Chinese and Aranui is owned by a Chinese family.

Anyone else going?
#2
France
782 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
My brother currently lives in Tahiti and I'm planning to go visit him and sail with him on Aranui (although probably still Aranui3 since I want to go in the spring of 2015). Thank you for this information and the particularly the dates for 2015 travels, I hadn't seen it before.
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#3
LEFT COAST
1,434 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by SarniaLo
My brother currently lives in Tahiti and I'm planning to go visit him and sail with him on Aranui (although probably still Aranui3 since I want to go in the spring of 2015). Thank you for this information and the particularly the dates for 2015 travels, I hadn't seen it before.
Bonjour, SarniaLo,
It has been over a month since I started this thread. Tonight, I just now saw that there are many threads for Aranui 3. I have some reading to catch up on!
I am so happy for you to be able to go on this wonderful ship and to visit with your brother. He is very charmed to be able to live in Tahiti. Is he near Papeete or on another island?

You can order a brochure here:
http://aranui.com/brochure.php

Cheers,
Donna
#4
France
782 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Yes I have read many of the other threads about Aranui3, which only makes me want to go more! My brother works in Papeete, daily life there is not always the paradise one can think of, but in his free time he tries to take as much advantage as he can of all the magic of Polynesia.
I have tried at least twice in the last few months to order the brochure from the website you mention but I still have to receive it...
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#5
LEFT COAST
1,434 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
That seems really strange that you cannot get the brochure. I received mine in California in about 2 weeks. You can also download it digitally if you want to use up all that ink to print it.

I looked at your website and the photos are lovely. However, my high-school French has left me so I would need to use Free Translation or Google to read it.

If I were you, I would e-mail all of the below addresses in Paris, Papeete, and El Camino Real.

Représentation Europe: PARIS, FRANCE: Tel: 00 33 (0)1 43 31 25 34
e-mail: [email protected]

TAHITI: CPTM, POB 220, Papeete, Tahiti, Tel: 689-42-62-42
e-mail: [email protected]

USA: CPTM, 2028 El Camino Real Soouth, Suite B, San Mateo, CA 94403
Tel: 650-574-2575 or 800-972-7268
e-mail: [email protected]
#6
France
782 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Yes I have looked at the brochure online, which is fine for the moment, but maybe I will try to send an email as you suggest.
Thank you for your appreciation on my blog! Actually, the story of my two latest Hurtigruten trips in Norway (starting here and here) and the cruise in Antarctica last December (starting here, although this story is not completely finished...) have texts both in French and English (the English text appears in italic font).
As you can guess, a trip to Tahiti will take me very far from my usual cruise destinations!
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#7
LEFT COAST
1,434 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
I shall take another look.

After being to all the continents, the Tahitian Islands are still my favorites!

Please let me know when you get booked.
#8
7 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
We traveled last month on the Aranui 3 which was just wonderful. We accelerated our plans to travel before 5 came on line, as we were concerned about the increased size We attended a program about the Aranui 5 one evening while traveling, and learned all about the amenities, specifications, etc. along with an interesting historical overview of the company. We were told that as of right now, they plan to carry the first passengers in September 2015. From the questions asked during the program, it was clear that many of the passengers felt that the company was making a big mistake in building the larger ship and that it's launch signals the end of an era. Many are concerned that the ship will be too large with too many people for the small ports of call.
The new ship will have more suites and less standard rooms, although it will still have space for the dorms and the day passengers. We were told that the desire for more suites is largely driven by the American market. Note that there were 7 Americans out of 162 passengers on our voyage.
According to the Aranui representatives the vendors in the ports are all ready to go to accommodate the increase in passengers. But according to the guides on the vessel, and on shore, they are deeply worried that the islands won't be able to handle the increase and are not at all ready.
The new vessel looks beautiful, but it's overall appearance is like more of a cruise ship that the Aranui 3. I've uploaded a photo I shot of the Aranui 5 during the slide show.
So yes, end of an era - I agree. However, the new vessel looks much luxurious and will probably appeal to many. Bottom line, it will have the same crew - and the MAKES the whole experiece along with the same wonderful islands.
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#9
France
782 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Thank you for your feedback.
Unfortunately at this time I don't think I will be able to sail on Aranui 3 in 2015 as I hoped (I'm still going to Tahiti, but the sailing itself won't be possible). It's a trip I really would like to take, but now it is postponed to the future (very far away future...). I am not at all happy to miss out on Aranui 3's last season. I feel Aranui 5 is too big and your account really comforts this idea Too bad.
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#10
Florida
4,220 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
My husband and I have taken the Aranui 2 which was a real freighter with a few passengers. Food was served in the French home cooking style. The Aranui 3 felt like a cruise ship in comparison. No other cruise ships were anywhere near he islands, but one restaurant had already built on! Nowadays, the people of Nuku Hiva deal with relatively large cruise ships regularly and somehow the other islands will also cope with the size of the new Aranui ... eventually.

I would be more concerned with the passengers expecting Caribbean efficiency in the tourist trade. It's not only the adventurous travelers any more. It's passengers (probably) expecting a typical cruise ship experience. I see it on the board of one of the premium lines where people ask whether taxis and tour offers will be waiting at the port in Nuku Hiva.
#11
Geelong - Australia
2,999 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Anyone got the sailing dates for ARANUI for calendar year 2016 ?
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SUN PRINCESS - Sydney - South Pacific - Sydney . 10/2010
COSTA CLASSICA - Hong Kong - Japan - Shanghai . 03/2010


OCEAN PRINCESS. Rome - Greek Islands - Athens - Venice . 09/2011
SEA PRINCESS. Sydney - Pacific Crossing - San Francisco. 04/2012
OCEAN PRINCESS. Rome - Singapore. 10/2012
RSSC VOYAGER . Bali - Melbourne. 12/2012
REGATTA . Miami - San Francisco . 04/2013
PRINSENDAM. Rome - Fort Lauderdale. 11/2013
QUEEN MARY II Fremantle - Sydney 02/2014
ARANUI III - Marquesas Islands - 06/2014
STAR PRIDE . Piraeus - Greek islands - Istanbul . 08/2015
GOLDEN PRINCESS . Tasmania . 01/2016
INSIGNIA . Sydney - Los Angeles . 05/2016
GOLDEN PRINCESS . Melbourne - Auckland 03/2017
SUN PRINCESS New Caledonia & Vanuatu 06/2017
WIND SURF Sicilian Splendours 10/2017
REGATTA . San Francisco - Alaska - Vancouver 05/2018
L " AUSTRAL Broome - Darwin . 07/2018

#12
LEFT COAST
1,434 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Anyone got the sailing dates for ARANUI for calendar year 2016 ?

http://aranui.com/schedule.php?year_id=15

Strange that they are so far behind, unlike others such as Crystal, who has their 2017 schedule posted already on their website. I, also want to book for 2016 and just sent for a new brochure. I guess we just have to keep checking back on their website or we can call them. It may be 2017 before I can go.

CPTM, 2028 El Camino Real South, Suite B, San Mateo, CA 94403
Tel: 650-574-2575 or 800-972-7268
e-mail: [email protected]
#14
Toronto, Canada
141 Posts
Joined Sep 2010
My husband and I are booked on the Aranui December 12, 2015. Patiently waiting to hear if it will be on the 3 or the 5!!!!

Gail, Toronto
#15
Geelong - Australia
2,999 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
Here is the complete schedule of sailing dates for 2016 for ARANUI V .

http://www.aranui.com/schedule.php?year_id=16
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SUN PRINCESS - Sydney - South Pacific - Sydney . 10/2010
COSTA CLASSICA - Hong Kong - Japan - Shanghai . 03/2010


OCEAN PRINCESS. Rome - Greek Islands - Athens - Venice . 09/2011
SEA PRINCESS. Sydney - Pacific Crossing - San Francisco. 04/2012
OCEAN PRINCESS. Rome - Singapore. 10/2012
RSSC VOYAGER . Bali - Melbourne. 12/2012
REGATTA . Miami - San Francisco . 04/2013
PRINSENDAM. Rome - Fort Lauderdale. 11/2013
QUEEN MARY II Fremantle - Sydney 02/2014
ARANUI III - Marquesas Islands - 06/2014
STAR PRIDE . Piraeus - Greek islands - Istanbul . 08/2015
GOLDEN PRINCESS . Tasmania . 01/2016
INSIGNIA . Sydney - Los Angeles . 05/2016
GOLDEN PRINCESS . Melbourne - Auckland 03/2017
SUN PRINCESS New Caledonia & Vanuatu 06/2017
WIND SURF Sicilian Splendours 10/2017
REGATTA . San Francisco - Alaska - Vancouver 05/2018
L " AUSTRAL Broome - Darwin . 07/2018

#16
Western Canad
9 Posts
Joined Jan 2015
I would like to hear about this trip. I am booked in March for a 2 week cruise and think that hearing about those that have now experienced some time on board would be interesting. What were the highs ..... and the lows (hopefully not too many of these!)

Ann
Calgary, AB
#19
Victoria, BC
1 Posts
Joined Jan 2016
We just returned, 27 Dec. 2015), from the inaugural cruise on the Aranui 5 from Tahiti to French Polynesia ( The Marquesas’). We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves particularly with the beauty of the people, their music and dancing, and the Island scenery. For those who are used to the traditional big box cruise lines then they should not have the same expectations, i.e. Night clubs, shopping malls, theme parks, etc. The Marquesas’ basic contact with outside world are Aranui vessels which transport goods and people between and back and forth among the Islands and one should take note of this and make appropriate allowances.
Our cabin was very comfortable AND air conditioned, as was throughout the interior of the ship, as the climate is very hot and humid. The meals were excellent, 5 stars to the chef and kitchen staff, and if you love seafood then this is the cruise for you (however the kitchen will accommodate you if you wish an alternative, meat, fowl, vegetarian).
Some of my issues were:
• Signage could be improved on, such as arrows for direction, and clear location of muster stations, and layout of the ship on the back of cabin doors,
• better description of each deck, and clear indication of the muster locations
• The video for evacuation, in case of emergency, was a bit confusing, and the life jackets demonstrated appeared to be different than what was on ship
• Cabin numbers (ours was 7205, 7206 across the hall, and the rest of the deck was in the 7300’s, which was confusing at first.
• Life jackets were a bit difficult and confusing to put on
• The phones in our cabin were not hooked up
• Main languages spoken we French and Polynesian (understandable as this is their base) but I feel an increase in English would be an improvement (particularly on the BIG screen tv in our cabin), and many presentations were only in French.
• The sliding glass door to our balcony were heavy and had to be slammed shut to close & lock
• More clocks throughout the ship would be helpful
• The bar staff, of which there were very few, had a great deal of difficulty keeping up with the volume demand for the fancy drinks (Pina Coladas, Blue Lagoons, etc.), particularly in the time frame between next day briefings and meal times. There should also be an “ORDER HERE” sign posted to eliminate confusion, and shoving, with priority of service.
• I was concerned for the safety of the bar staff with the loose bottles, and glassware in the bars as this has all the makings of a potential accident in rough seas. The bars were more like a land bar rather designed for a ship.
A couple of my main issues were:
• Water pooling on the decks and balconies due to poor drainage and insufficiently placed scuppers.
• Diesel fumes occasionally spilling onto the lounge decks, and sometimes into the cabin when docked and sitting on the balcony.
One should bear in mind that this was their inaugural cruise and there were bound to be some bugs many of which had been pointed out to the owners, who were along for the voyage and mixed with the passengers. The staff, who were mostly Polynesians, couldn’t do enough to ensure passengers were welcomed, safe, comfortable, and always had smiles on their faces. In the evenings they entertained us with their music (The Aranui Band) and dancing. Quite often the staff would perform impromptu, on ship and shore, much to the delight and enjoyment of all.
Whenever we pulled into port the ships staff made sure each and every one of us got on and off the ship safely and securely regardless of physical capability, thereby ensuring each passenger would get the full Polynesian experience. The shore excursions were very enjoyable with interesting and informative guides. At each Island, visitors were welcomed by the locals with traditional performances and unique displays, history, and crafts. Visitors had opportunities to snorkel, tour or hike, and shop. The ship also arranged on shore picnics and barbecues featuring the local cuisine and even rented a small island at Bora Bora for our exclusive use.
As we have done a fair amount of cruising I would rate Aranai more a delightful cruising adventure and would recommend this to anyone and far surpasses those big box monoliths. I am sure the Aranai has a great future.
#20
Cape Cod
1,786 Posts
Joined Sep 2005
Originally posted by wozoo
We just returned, 27 Dec. 2015), from the inaugural cruise on the Aranui 5 from Tahiti to French Polynesia ( The Marquesas’). We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves particularly with the beauty of the people, their music and dancing, and the Island scenery. For those who are used to the traditional big box cruise lines then they should not have the same expectations, i.e. Night clubs, shopping malls, theme parks, etc. The Marquesas’ basic contact with outside world are Aranui vessels which transport goods and people between and back and forth among the Islands and one should take note of this and make appropriate allowances.

Our cabin was very comfortable AND air conditioned, as was throughout the interior of the ship, as the climate is very hot and humid. The meals were excellent, 5 stars to the chef and kitchen staff, and if you love seafood then this is the cruise for you (however the kitchen will accommodate you if you wish an alternative, meat, fowl, vegetarian).

Some of my issues were:

•Signage could be improved on, such as arrows for direction, and clear location of muster stations, and layout of the ship on the back of cabin doors,

•better description of each deck, and clear indication of the muster locations

•The video for evacuation, in case of emergency, was a bit confusing, and the life jackets demonstrated appeared to be different than what was on ship

• Cabin numbers (ours was 7205, 7206 across the hall, and the rest of the deck was in the 7300’s, which was confusing at first.

•Life jackets were a bit difficult and confusing to put on

•The phones in our cabin were not hooked up

•Main languages spoken we French and Polynesian (understandable as this is their base) but I feel an increase in English would be an improvement (particularly on the BIG screen tv in our cabin), and many presentations were only in French.

•The sliding glass door to our balcony were heavy and had to be slammed shut to close & lock

•More clocks throughout the ship would be helpful

•The bar staff, of which there were very few, had a great deal of difficulty keeping up with the volume demand for the fancy drinks (Pina Coladas, Blue Lagoons, etc.), particularly in the time frame between next day briefings and meal times. There should also be an “ORDER HERE” sign posted to eliminate confusion, and shoving, with priority of service.

•I was concerned for the safety of the bar staff with the loose bottles, and glassware in the bars as this has all the makings of a potential accident in rough seas. The bars were more like a land bar rather designed for a ship.

A couple of my main issues were:

•Water pooling on the decks and balconies due to poor drainage and insufficiently placed scuppers.

•Diesel fumes occasionally spilling onto the lounge decks, and sometimes into the cabin when docked and sitting on the balcony.

One should bear in mind that this was their inaugural cruise and there were bound to be some bugs many of which had been pointed out to the owners, who were along for the voyage and mixed with the passengers. The staff, who were mostly Polynesians, couldn’t do enough to ensure passengers were welcomed, safe, comfortable, and always had smiles on their faces. In the evenings they entertained us with their music (The Aranui Band) and dancing. Quite often the staff would perform impromptu, on ship and shore, much to the delight and enjoyment of all.

Whenever we pulled into port the ships staff made sure each and every one of us got on and off the ship safely and securely regardless of physical capability, thereby ensuring each passenger would get the full Polynesian experience. The shore excursions were very enjoyable with interesting and informative guides. At each Island, visitors were welcomed by the locals with traditional performances and unique displays, history, and crafts. Visitors had opportunities to snorkel, tour or hike, and shop. The ship also arranged on shore picnics and barbecues featuring the local cuisine and even rented a small island at Bora Bora for our exclusive use.

As we have done a fair amount of cruising I would rate Aranai more a delightful cruising adventure and would recommend this to anyone and far surpasses those big box monoliths. I am sure the Aranai has a great future.
Sounds awesome! I am hoping to go Dec 2016. Did you arrange your flights? Did you go pre cruise? If so did you set that up as well or do they?
Are gratuities included or extra?
Thanks for your review!!