Sixty years ago, the Wong family of Chinese merchant traders began cargo-shipping supplies between Tahiti’s capital, Pape’ete, and the remote castaway islands of the archipelago collectively known as French Polynesia. Occasionally the freighter, Aranui 1, offered passage to Tahitians who slept on the main cargo deck under the stars and took shelter under tarpaulins during the heat of the days. Thirty years on, in the 1980s, the company modified its freighter to formalise it for mixed cargo and passenger transport … introducing 12 cabins and a new galley and dining room. In November 1984 the vessel departed the capital on its first passenger cruise, carrying 24 passengers along with cargo on its voyage around the Tahitian islands.
Now, three decades and three vessels later, the Aranui 3 accommodates 200 passengers in air-conditioned cabins: suites with private balconies, and deluxe and standard twin rooms. The freighter line continues to dispense its lifeline of food, fuel and other staples to remote island ports – while its passengers disembark at the various island destinations and explore the lush tropical landscapes on a range of complimentary excursions including hikes and 4WD tours. During the journey guests enjoy the essential on-board comforts of a cruise ship: spacious sundeck, freshwater swimming pool, gym and library.
To mark its anniversary, Aranui 3 is offering passengers on its April 25 2015 departure a special dinner show and fireworks display as well as an onboard credit of up to around $175 per person.