Aranui Seniors Discount

AranuiI've recommended the passenger-carrying freighter Aranui on this blog before. In my opinion, its 16-day cruises from Tahiti to the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia are the best the South Pacific has to offer. I've only sailed on the Aranui once (as a full fare-paying passenger), but I treasure my memories of Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Fatu Hiva, Tahuata, Ua Huka, and Ua Pou.

Currently, the Compagnie Polynesienne de Transport Maritime is offering a 15 percent senior discount on their September 2, 2006, sailing from Papeete for persons aged 60 or over. Unlike other similar promotions, this also applies to the Aranui's two 12-bed "Class C" dormitories, which normally cost US$1,980 for the cruise. Cabins on the Aranui start at US$5,250/7,000 single/double. Add a port tax of US$75, value added tax of US$105, tourism promotion tax of US$105, and fuel surcharge of US$75 to all fares.

This may look expensive until you realize that almost everything is included for the 16 days. A rigorous series of shore excursions are organized in all ports, and unlike many similar cruises, they're included in the basic price. Several of the tours include buffet meals at local restaurants, and that's also included. You get to see almost everything worth seeing in the Marquesas in relative comfort.

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