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My Prize Winning Trip Around The Marquesas


This has got to have been one of the best trips I have ever been on, the time spent in the Marquesas was just magical.

I took my sister-in-law along for the adventure with me and our first port of call after leaving NZ on February 19th was Papeete in Tahiti where we stayed for two nights in the Manava Hotel before boarding the freighter, Aranui3, to sail around the Marquesas for the next two weeks.  The Aranui3 is the only supply link and deliverer of cargo to most of this Island Group.


It was very humid and hot at this time of the year due to it being their rainy season, but life, on the Aranui3 was great as the ship was air-conditioned making it very comfortable for us all during our time on board but you certainly noticed it when venturing out on deck or going ashore.  There were 146 passengers on our trip (the ship accommodated 200) and we were divided up into three groups, the English speaking, French and German and each group had it’s own guide who would take us ashore then show us the sights of each Island we travelled to and explain the culture of each to us.  We sailed each night to a new Island arriving early morning so that meant it was early rising for breakfast which was between 6:30 and 8:00 am every morning before we were loaded into the tenders to be taken ashore to look around. Each Islands visit consisted of hikes, jeep rides, visits to archaeological sites, churches or beach visits for snorkelling, you chose the night before which activity you wanted to do.  On the bigger Islands we would have our lunch in one of the local restaurants and be driven around by the locals in their 4xwheel drives to see the sights and while we were doing this the Aranui3 would finish unloading the supplies then up anchor and sail around to the other side of the island where we would have been driven, to again be loaded into the tenders to sail back out to the ship to clamber back up the boarding ladders of the Aranui3 in time for a shower and get ready for dinner.

The food on board was up there with the best Restaurants,  we had a 4 Star Michelin Chef as well as a French Pastry Chef,  and the meals they served up were just amazing and to help all this delicious food go down we were served some great French red wines as well as white.

There were a number of different nationalities on board,  English, Irish, Guernsey, Canadian, American, Polish, French, Germany, Mexican, Spanish, Australian and New Zealanders and we all got on famously even if it was only using sign language.


The crew on the Aranui3 were so friendly, caring and helpful, they couldn’t do enough for you and made you feel very special to them,  they put on the entertainment at night for us and there were also groups we could join to learn the local dance,  singing or ukulele classes (which I joined in) and on our Polynesian night we performed for the rest of the guests, it was a fun night!   

This cruise would not suit everyone, for one thing there is no stabilisation with the ship and you really feel the rocking when the seas are rough, which we struck on our first two days out.  I usually get sea sick standing on dry land just looking at a boat but my GP had advised Sea-sick tablets to take at night and they worked a treat while my sister-in-law was left in bed feeling very unwell, not even managing dinner on a couple of nights.  It took a good week to get my sea-legs and stop hanging onto everything in sight as we walked around the ship and another week once I got back home to get my land-legs.  Secondly, the ship’s tours to shore were mainly aimed at those folk who enjoyed hiking and tramping around each Island we visited, also grading each hike to what level of fitness it would suit, but in saying that, you didn’t have to go on hikes you could visit other places of interest with you guides.   The age group of passengers were around late 50’s to late 70’s and all of varying fitness and mobility levels.  On our first trip ashore when our travels began, I was rather upset as my main camera decided it wasn’t going to function and I couldn’t work out what the problem was but luckily I always carry my Canon G12 around wherever I go in my handbag so ended up using my little point-and-shoot to record all my travels, perhaps this is another good thing to think about when going on a trip, take two camera’s!

I can’t recommend this trip highly enough to all those who want to experience something very different and basic as well as sociable, exciting and friendly, as this trip on the Aranui3 provided.