Adventure and expedition line, Aranui revealed that they will be building a new ship, bound for the southern part of Tahiti.
The new AraMana launching in mid 2022 will be the cruise lines’ first passenger only vessel and will feature a ‘vahine’ (Polynesian woman) on the funnel as well as a traditional design on her livery, a nod to the region she will cruise in.
And she’ll even have a tattoo parlour onboard.
The line, which is known for their half passenger, half cargo sailings, sails its ship around Tahiti’s idyllic Marquesas Islands.
By day, as the crew unload precious cargo to remote islands in the region, passengers will be exploring the land and meeting with communities, as small as 500 people. But by the evening, the guests and crew mingle and talk about their stories from the day.
On a ship visit of the Aranui 5, the three owners of Aranui said the decision to venture to destinations further afield was to attract cruisers who loved the brand but wanted to see more of Tahiti.
“We’ll be offering a number of 10 to 12-day sailings visiting places like the Pitcairn Islands and the Australs, which are two highly sought-after places, for Australian tourists,” said Eric Wong, the Executive Vice President of the Americas.
“We have sailed to the Pitcairn Islands several times before and the sailings were booked out within two weeks.”
The family run business, which is now currently run by CEO Philippe, Regional Representative of Australia and New Zealand, Laurent and Eric in America, was set up by their grandfather.
“Our grandfather moved to Tahiti after the war and set up a freight business. But it was our father who came up with the idea of offering passenger cruises and this is where we are now,” said Eric.
The stunning new ship, inspired by Polynesia, will be predominantly staffed by locals who know the region. The line hires 90 per cent of their staff from Tahiti, and the Wongs said there is a staff member from nearly every island.
“With an observation lounge, a dance floor, a spa, two restaurants, an Amphitheatre, a swimming pool and 11 cabin categories including a new Grand Suite, the 280-guest AraMana has been designed solely with cruising in mind,” said Laurent.
“There are some similarities to Aranui 5 in terms of the layout of the ship but AraMana is our first foray into leisure cruising so the new ship will be all about comfort and relaxation. Opulent public spaces will include a striking staircase, plush booths in the restaurant and an elegant piano bar, while accommodation will be stylish and spacious with Aranui’s signature Polynesian flourishes.”
In line with Aranui’s aim to offer an authentic Polynesian experience, AraMana will have a tattoo room, Polynesian crew, and will visit islands which don’t appear on other cruise line’s itineraries.
While sister ship Aranui 5 continues its regular 13-day itinerary and cargo delivery to the remote Marquesas Islands, the 140-metre AraMana will cruise to French Polynesia’s Tuamotu, Gambier, Society and Austral Islands as well as Pitcairn and the Cook Islands.
Just as Aranui’s freighter ships put the Marquesas Islands on the map, AraMana is set to shine a light on French Polynesia’s southernmost island group, the Australs, with regular calls to Raivavae, Rurutu and Rapa as part of a new Cook Islands itinerary.
AraMana’s Society Islands cruise will combine some of French Polynesia’s most cherished destinations including Bora Bora, Tahaa, Huahine, Moorea and Rangiroa, with less-trodden gems such as Makatea, a tiny tropical paradise just 8km long and 5km wide with a population of less than 100.
Laurent said Aranui Cruises had never had two ships in operation simultaneously and the extra capacity would provide endless possibilities to explore the region.
“We’ve been taking guests to the far-flung corners of French Polynesia for more than 30 years on our special cargo-cruise ships and with the addition of AraMana, we are in a unique position to open up more of French Polynesia to the world,” he said.
“Just as Aranui 5 has become a beacon for holidaymakers wanting to see the beautiful Islands of Tahiti in a different and authentic way, AraMana will continue this legacy with a uniquely Polynesian offering”.