French Polynesia cruise in the South Pacific
Dormitories are available and 8 different classes of cabin.
Description of French Polynesia cruise in the South Pacific
Inspiration for Paul Gauguin and Robert Louis Stevenson, French Polynesia seems to beautiful to be true. It’s time to go there yourself and separate fact from fiction. What better way than on a ship which delivers vital supplies to the six inhabited Marquesas Islands as you cruise?
Ordinarily, French Polynesia’s Marquesas Islands are very hard to reach. Not so for you, on this unusual ship, a cross between freighter and cruise ship, which is loaded with essential supplies. In 14 days you’ll make 14 stops. Whilst the crew are busy unloading cement and dry stores, and picking up mind-boggling amounts of dried coconut meat (copra) and fresh fruit, you’ll be enjoying Polynesian music, and eating slow-cooked dishes pulled from underground ovens and seeing the most important stone tikis outside of Easter Island.
You’ll set off from Tahiti and head north to Takapoto atoll (Fakatopatere), before a day at sea to reach the remote Marquesas, including the islands Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Tahuata and Hiva Oa – where Gauguin was inspired to create some of his most famous paintings.
You’ll know you’re fully in the Marquesas Islands when you see the spiky mountain crown of Ua Pou island, “like the pinnacles of some ornate church,” as Robert Louis Stevenson described them, writing in 1880. Villagers gather on the pier as you approach as visitors are always treated to a warm welcome.
The islands are the settings for many stories. Before Henry Melville wrote Moby Dick, he wrote Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life - an account inspired by the time he jumped ship from a whaling ship here in 1842. You can retrace his daring journey to evade capture on Nuku Hiva Island. On the seventh day, you’ll reach the most remote island: Fatu Hiva. Then, you’ll retrace your steps across the Marquesas, and stop in French Polynesia’s largest atoll, Tuamotu Archipelago, before a day in Bora Bora and then returning to Tahiti.
1 Reviews of French Polynesia cruise in the South Pacific
Reviewed on 01 Mar 2018 by William Bainbridge
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The Marquesa Islands are amazing. The cultural shows and dances superb. The 10 mile hike is very worth doing but is not easy.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
If you are booking dormitory accommodation be aware that the top bunks are very confined. They are difficult to get in and out of (particularly if you are over 65) and only have a clearance of about 30 inches.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes - as the Aranui is also a cargo ship al locals benefit.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Interesting, but an awful lot of free time. If you are an active person trip tends to be a bit boring at times. Particularly as the gym is not very well equipped.
PlanetFrom 2016 these cruises will be run on a brand new, custom made vessel that will be more fuel efficient, quieter and with less exhaust fumes, while having the capability of carrying even more freight and passengers than before, thus exponentially reducing the resources used in relation to the benefits gained.
The ship employs a crew of local people and as these islands are their home, no one understands better than they do how important preserving the local environment is.
All waste generated on these cruises is disposed of in a responsible manner. As much waste as possible is recycled, and otherwise all non-recyclable waste is brought back for disposal at approved sites.
Almost all the food served on board is fresh, and grown locally, especially the fruit, vegetables and fish. Not only does this put money into the local economy, but it vastly reduces ‘food miles’ of the produce served on board, and almost all of those food miles are carried on the vessel we are traveling on.
By providing accommodation on board our ship, we are enabling visitors in healthy, but restricted, numbers to visit the islands without overusing the scarce resources available on those islands.
PeopleThere are few places in the world where the local community relies so heavily on tourism to provide a lifeline to the outside world. The ship is a very unusual blend of freighter, ferry and cruise ship that provides an absolutely vital link to the Marquesas Islands and other parts of French Polynesia, and some of the islands visited have no runway, so this ships is really the only practical way on and off the island. The ship carries freight to the islands, and helps them to export their produce to other islands as we well as further afield.
In addition to the above, by bringing tourists to some of these remote islands the ship is providing an important source of income to the ports she visits and also to some of the enterprises in those ports, including restaurants, craft shops and local tourism businesses.
There is an on board lecturer who, apart from being a great way to fill in time during crossings from one island to another, provides a vast amount of information about the culture and customs of the islands.
Usually the entire crew is Polynesian, either from the Society Islands (Tahiti) or from the Marquesas, which provides employment and income for the islands, but also a great channel of understanding for the passengers, and absolutely vital know-how for the crew, whose intimate knowledge of the area allows the ship to dock in some surprisingly small harbours.