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In the dreamboat category, here is one on which I could see myself embarking one day: the mythical Aranuito go to the Marquesas Islands !
The Arnaui, a lifeline for Marquesans
AranuiIt means "the great way". A well-chosen name for this ship that makes a very long crossing: 1,500 km northeast of Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands are really the end of the world... Impossible to include them in my itinerary, during my first (too short) trip to Polynesia in 2012.
L'Aranui The arrival of the boat is always an event. It is a real lifeline for the islanders.
At the beginning of 2016, I discovered that a brand new ship, theAranui 5has just been put into service. As its name does not indicate, it succeeds theAranui 3, which has been running since 2003.
Explanation? The boat having been built in China, where the number 4 is not good luck, they preferred to go directly to the number 5! 😀
From cargo ship to cruise liner
Since 1984, the particularity of theAranuiwhich fascinates travelers, is that it is a "mixed" cargo ship, carrying passengers as well as goods.
Today, more than thirty years later, the "cruise" part is no longer anecdotal: the new Aranui can accommodate up to 254 passengers! It is now positioned at the top of the range, offering luxurious cabins with balconies.
I looked at the rates... For a full two-week cruise in 2016, it starts at around 2 400 € for a berth in a "dormitory" cabin and it goes up to the presidential suite at more than 7 000 € per person... Moreover, you have to book well in advance. Places on the mythical South Sea liner are in high demand.
Dream of Marquesas
But the idea of arriving in the Marquesas Islands, isolated in the middle of the immense Pacific Ocean, by boat rather than by plane, really makes me dream...
There is plenty to do. The archipelago is made up of twelve high islands without a lagoon (six are inhabited) with vertiginous cliffs, a rugged terrain and unspoiled nature. The Marquesas Islands have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson and Herman Melville, they have bewitched Paul Gauguin and Jacques Brel (who rest on Hiva-Oa). They speak to our imagination and Polynesian culture has its roots there... And you can also dive in!
Anyway, I don't know when I will succeed in organizing such a trip, but I will go to the Marquesas Islands, one day, for sure!