The Aranui is the only ship to sail the 2,200-mile roundtrip from Papeete to six inhabited Marquesas Islands, making it a lifeline to the outside world for their people.
“We are proud to have transported more than 2,400 passengers per annum on around 16 departures each year, as well as delivering everything from cement to brake pads, bulldozers to boats — and even a plane — to the islands,” said Jules Wong, president of Compagnie Polynesienne de Transport Maritime, which operates the Aranui 3.
The Aranui made its inaugural trip on March 1, 2003. The cargo carrier-cum-passenger ship boasts 86 air-conditioned cabins as well as the capacity to carry more than 2,000 tons of freight.
Passengers have access to lounges, a swimming pool, a gym and a program of lectures on Marquesan history, culture and art.
Prices for 2013 start at 3,756 euros per person sharing a standard twin-bedded outside cabin with private facilities. The fares include all meals with wine, all land-based sightseeing excursions and taxes. However, during 2013, four departures are offered at a 10 percent discount — Feb. 23, April 6, June 8 and, for seniors aged 60 and over, Aug. 31, bringing the starting price down to 3,344 euros. Flights to and from Papeete are not included.