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Sail the crystal waters of the South Pacific reef system

Austral Islands

Example 13 Day Cruise aboard Aranui 5
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During this 13-day cruise, explore and marvel at the beautiful landscapes of the Austral and  Raiatea while aboard the Aranui 5. Discovered in the 18th century, the Austral Islands are located 600 km south of Tahiti. With breathtaking landscapes, sheer mountains, and valleys, these islands are renowned for their agricultural and artisanal activities, their caves sheltering ancient burials, and whale watching.
Snorkel the vibrant waters of the South PacificWomen wearing traditional dress of the South Pacific.South Pacific islandsWelcome to Tahiti!South Pacific port on Aranui 5 cruiseGolden beachsideSail the crystal waters of the South Pacific reef system
Highlights
  • Learn about the sustainable fishing of Anaa
  • Try your hand at traditional javelin throwing
  • Admire the intricate works of arts and crafts of locals
  • Indulge in relaxing accommodation as the vessel sails
Places Visited
  • South Pacific
  • Tahiti
  • Austral Islands
  • Bora Bora
  • French Polynesia
  • Oceania
  • Papeete
  • Polynesia
  • Raiatea
  • Raivavae
  • Rurutu
  • Society Islands
  • Tubuai
Activity Level: Variable
Activity options vary depending on destination and operator. Activity level is determined by the range and intensity of activities you choose to participate in. Discuss with your Trip Planner which options are best for you.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Papeete, Tahiti | Embark

Embarking on the Aranui 5, a warm welcome awaits as the Polynesian crew initiates the journey to the Austral Islands.

Day 2: Rurutu, Austral Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Rurutu, one of the two largest raised atolls in French Polynesia, is unique because of its geological structure, surprising as one does not expect to discover such landscapes in the South Pacific. Basalt and limestone cliffs dotted with caves where islanders once lived, a volcanic interior with lush tropical jungle, white sand beaches, and beautiful bays offer breathtaking views. Throughout Polynesia, is known for its exceptional quality of basketry, such as beautiful hats, bags, baskets, or rugs made of pandanus leaves and other natural materials. Aranui at anchor, off Rurutu, passengers disembark, after lunch on board, by tender on the “Moerai” dock where welcomed with a performance of local songs. Enjoy some free time in the peaceful village of Moerai.

Day 3: Rurutu, Austral Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
On the second day, a flower welcome, accompanied by Polynesian songs and rhythms on their “ukulele”, guitars, and drums. Board the trucks, time to visit wonders of the island. Basalt and limestone cliffs dotted with caves where islanders once lived, lush tropical jungle, white sand beaches, and beautiful bays offering breathtaking views. The island’s fertile soil and cooler climate are suitable for growing coffee and taro. A traditional and typical Rurutu meal served at the mayor’s house with the opening of the “umu’ai”. Enjoy the white sandy beach of Vitaria and its lagoon. Every year, from August to September, humpback whales can be seen and heard in Rurutu, where they come to mate and give birth. The Aranui 5 being there in September, is a delight for your eyes and ears. This activity is offered as an option with the visit of the Mole’e cave, nicknamed “the mouth of the monster” for experienced hikers (registration at the reception).

Day 4: Rimatara, Austral Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The Aranui disembarks at the “Taanini” dock. A small circular volcanic plateau, Rimatara, the last island of the archipelago to be discovered in the 19th century by Captain Samuel Pinder Henry, preserves its old traditions, including its own dialect. Home to an endemic bird, the amazing and colorful Kuhl’s Lori, the “Ura”, which is also found in the Cook Islands. After passing through a purification smoke ceremony, an ancient tradition of welcome, discover the main villages, Amaru, Anapoto, and Motuaura by mini-bus or truck. In the old cemetery of Amaru, facing the sea, lies the entire lineage of kings and queens who ruled the island of Rimatara. An old legend says that one should never make faces in front of the royal tomb; otherwise, one remains disfigured for the rest of life. A barbecue is served on the beach of Motuaura. Its crystal-clear waters invite a dive with a mask and snorkel. Covered with taro plants and fruit trees, Rimatara is a flower garden with a freshwater well. A bird-watching excursion to discover the red parakeet “Ura” is offered as an optional activity (sign-up at the reception).

Day 5: Tubuai, Austral Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tubuai, the most populated island of the Austral Islands, greets passengers at the landing stage of Bloody Bay. At the town hall, a wreath of flowers and the sounds of local music await. Attend art and craft demonstrations featuring pandanus leaf weaving and shell necklace making, unique to the island. The fertile soil and cooler climate support the growth of cabbage, lettuce, and potatoes. Day activities include visiting cultural sites by truck, such as the marae of "PO TUI TUI," Fort George (the first refuge of the mutineers of the Bounty from July to September 1789), and Bloody Bay, a witness to the fighting between the islanders and the mutineers. Lunch is served on board, and the beach of Bloody Bay invites exploration with a mask and snorkel. Certified diving is offered as an optional activity (sign-up at the reception).

Day 6: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A day to relax on the Pool Deck or in the comfort of the air-conditioned Lounge. Or why not simply enjoy the views of the South Pacific Ocean during the crossing to Rimatara? Lectures on the culture and history of the Austral Islands give a complete overview of this civilization. During the cruise, the spirited Polynesian crew proudly introduces their way of life and entertains with Polynesian songs and rhythms on their “ukulele,” guitars, and drums.

Day 7-8: Rapa, Austral

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As you approach Rapa, only accessible by sea, the Captain may announce: “Welcome to Rapa. Next stop Antarctica”. As the southernmost inhabited island of French Polynesia, this crescent-shaped land mass — with a fjord-like coastline deeply indented by 12 bays —is as remote as it gets. Rapa is Easter Island’s little sister. It has a temperate climate, and no coral or coconut trees, but fruits and vegetables other than tropical ones are plentiful here: apples, peaches, nectarines… The Aranui disembarks at the dock in Ahurei. Passengers are greeted with flower wreaths, to the typical sounds and rhythms of Rapa. Trucks await, heading to the cultural center. Discover how the “mamas” make local crafts: hats and baskets made of reed (a fragile material) and bamboo crafts. A local meal is served on land. On Rapa, a two-and-a-half-hour walk to Fort Morango Uta is proposed. A Polynesian evening with a plancha buffet around the pool (Deck 7) or in the Restaurant (Deck 4) depending on the weather conditions.

Among the other activities on offer during a one-and-a-half-day stopover in Rapa, visit Ahurei, the main village of the island, explore ancient fortresses, visit an agricultural production center, discover local arts and crafts, meet the inhabitants of this isolated island, and share a ma’a over a wood fire in the village.

Day 9: Raivavae, Austral Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
It is said that Raivavae is the “Bora Bora of yesteryear” and that its lagoon is the most beautiful in Tahiti & her islands. A jewel preserved by its inhabitants; the island is a veritable garden of Eden where visitors fall under her spell. When the Aranui is at anchor, passengers disembark by tender onto Mahanatoa beach where passengers are welcomed with wreaths of flowers, to the sound of Raivavae songs and rhythms. Departure by bus for a tour of the island. Do not miss the visit of the “Smiling Tiki” and the marae scattered around the island. Of course, inhabitants serve a typical Raivavae buffet on Mahanatoa beach. Take advantage of the remaining time to walk around the village or discover its lush lagoon with a mask and snorkel. The discovery of Mount Hiro is offered as an option (sign-up at the reception).

Day 10: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A day to relax on the Pool Deck or in the comfort of the air-conditioned Lounge. Or why not simply enjoy the views of the South Pacific Ocean on the return to the Society Islands? Lectures on the culture and history of the passenger-freighter Aranui 5 give a complete overview of the philosophy and valuable contributions made by the company. Faithful to the Polynesian experience, the entertainment remains traditional: initiation to Polynesian songs, and Tahitian dance, without forgetting shows and dances under the stars.

Day 11: Raiatea, Society islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the Polynesian triangle, Raiatea, formerly known as Havai’i, is considered the cradle of Polynesian civilization. As the first Polynesian island to be populated by sailors and navigators, it is here that all migrations to the three points of the triangle, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Easter Island, began. The Aranui disembarks at the dock, and passengers are greeted, with a tiare flower, to the sounds of the “to’ere”. Buses await visitors to explore the most spectacular marae in the Polynesian triangle, Taputapuatea, a 1,000-year-old open-air temple now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is considered the religious and spiritual center of all Polynesia. After lunch, the afternoon is spent visiting the town of Uturoa, its stores, and crafts on the waterfront.

Day 12: Bora Bora, Society islands

  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arriving in Bora Bora’s world-famous lagoon of opalescent blues and greens, greeted by the majestic “Mount Otemannu”, the highest peak on the island. Enjoy a day at the beach and a barbecue on a private Motu surrounded by crystal clear waters, the “Motu Tapu”. Choose from a variety of optional excursions at an additional cost: scuba diving, boat and motorized canoe tours of the lagoon, and swimming with sharks and rays! Bora Bora was an American military outpost during World War II, and remnants of the war such as cannons and bunkers can be seen on a 4X4 tour. Departure in the evening for Papeete.

Day 13: Tahiti (Papeete) | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
Disembark at Papeete, Tahiti, bringing with you the experience of a lifetime and memories to treasure. This marks the end of the journey. It's time to bid Nānā! (Goodbye) to travel companions, the Polynesian staff, and the Aranui guides.

Ship/Hotel

Aranui 5

The Aranui 5
Aranui 5 Reception
Aranui 5 Veranda Bar

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$4,354
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Single Stateroom
100 sq. ft. (9 sq.m) of interior space with a porthole, a single bed, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer.
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Class C
Approx. 135 sq. ft. and 285 sq. ft. Dormitory style accommodations, with two lower and two upper berths or four lower and four upper berths, porthole, one or two private bathroom with shower, wardrobe, sitting area.
Regular Stateroom aboard the Aranui 5
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Double Stateroom
Approx. 120 sq. ft. Exterior cabin with one double bed or two twin beds, one bathroom with a shower, desk, one flat screen TV, and safe.
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Double Stateroom - Obstructed
120 sq. ft. (11 sq.m) of interior space and a picture window with an obstructed view, this exterior cabin offers either, a king size or two single beds, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer.
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Deluxe
Approx. 140 sq. ft. + 45 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with one double bed or two twin beds, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, desk, wardrobe, one flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Superior Deluxe
Approx. 160 sq. ft. + 45 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with one double bed or two twin beds, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, desk, wardrobe, one flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
Junior Suite aboard the Aranui 5
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Junior Suite
Approx. 200 sq. ft. Exterior cabin with a double bed or two twin beds, two windows that cannot be opened, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, desk, wardrobe, one flat screen TV, sofa bed, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Premium Suite
Approx. 200 sq. ft. + 45 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with double bed or two twin beds, semi private day room with decorative screen and sofa bed, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, desk, wardrobe, flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Royal Suite
Approx. 240 sq. ft + 100 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with a double bed or two twin beds, living room with sofa bed, semi-private bedroom with decorative screen, wardrobe, one bathroom with a shower, make up table, one flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.
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Royal Suite - Obstructed
240 sq. ft. (22 sq.m) of interior space and a 100 sq. ft. (9 sq.m) private corner balcony, this exterior cabin offers a bedroom with a king size bed or twin beds and a sitting room with a sofa bed, divided by a decorative filigree screen, a bathroom with shower and hair dryer, refrigerator and safe. In this category, the view of the windows is obstructed.
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Presidential Suite
Approx. 440 sq. ft + 130 sq. ft. balcony. Exterior cabin with a double bed or two twin beds, living room with sofa bed, mini bar, walk-in closet, two bathrooms with a shower, make up table, desk, two flat screen TV, safe, under counter refrigerator, hair dryer.

Notes

- Fares for children traveling with parents is 50% of base fare
- Single Supplement: Not available in Single Stateroom and Class “C” Dorm
- Cruise fare does not include tourism, cruise, or port taxes, which vary by cabin type
- Triple/Quadruple occupancy - third & fourth adult sharing cabin less 25% from full tariff (Quad available in regular stateroom only)
- No one under 15 years old will be accepted in the Class “C”
- Children (14 years old and under) will be limited to no more than 15 per sailing
Included
  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners
  • 12 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Cruise transportation and related taxes (tourist tax, port tax, TDC)
  • A bottle of wine to share among 4 passengers for scheduled onboard meals
  • Lunches in local restaurants
  • Lecturers onsite and onboard
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)

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The trip was terrific with great planning on your part. Most of the adventures were not mainstream and somewhat off the beaten path which made it especially enjoyable!! We felt taken care of and you all were readily available to respond to questions and issues. I would highly recommend your company and friends have already expressed interest based on our pictures and excitement.
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