Aranui Pre-Summer Special

Aranui 3The Compagnie Polynesienne de Transporte Maritime is offering a 15 percent pre-summer special discount on the May 20th and June 10th sailings from Tahiti of the passenger-carrying freighter Aranui 3. This only applies to cabin fares (which start at US$3,500 per person double occupancy) and not the "Class C" air-conditioned dormitory which is US$1,980. Extra charges include US$75 port tax, US$105 value added tax, US$105 tourism promotion tax, and a US$75 fuel surcharge. And of course, you'd have to pay for your flight to Tahiti.

For those who aren't aware, the Aranui 3 is a 200-passenger ship which departs Papeete 16 times a years on regular 16-day cruises to the Marquesas Islands, French Polynesia's most remote and most colorful island group. The basic price includes all meals with wine at lunch and dinner, plus a vigorous tour program on the islands. Passengers get to experience almost everything there is to see and do on the six inhabited Marquesas islands.

In my opinion, the Aranui 3 cruises are the simply finest the South Pacific has to offer. Budget travelers may balk at the price, but French Polynesia isn't cheap, and the two 12-bed unisex dormitories bring this trip within range of much larger market than regular cruise ships like the Paul Gauguin.

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