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Snorkel the vibrant waters of the South Pacific

Austral Islands

Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Aranui 5
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During this 12-day cruise, explore and marvel in 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.  Breathtaking landscapes, sheer mountains, valleys, these islands are renowned for their agricultural and artisanal activities, their caves sheltering ancient burials, and whale watching.
Sail the crystal waters of the South Pacific reef systemWomen wearing traditional dress of the South Pacific.South Pacific islandsWelcome to Tahiti!South Pacific port on Aranui 5 cruiseGolden beachsideSnorkel the vibrant waters of the South Pacific
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
  • French Polynesia
  • Oceania
  • Papeete
  • Polynesia
  • 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

You will be warmly welcomed by our Polynesian staff and will take your bearings on the boat before the great journey to Raiatea. 

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 which is 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. Rurutu is known throughout Polynesia for the exceptional quality of its basketry, such as beautiful hats, bags and baskets or rugs made of pandanus leaves and other natural materials. The Aranui at anchor, off Rurutu, passengers will disembark, after lunch on board, by tender on the “Moerai”
dock where they will be 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 will captivate you. Board the trucks, it’s time to visit the wonders of the island. Basalt and limestone cliffs dotted with caves where islanders once lived, lush tropical jungle, white sand beaches and beautiful bays offer breathtaking views. The island’s fertile soil and cooler climate are suitable for growing coffee and taro. A traditional and typical Rurutu meal will be 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, it should be 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: 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 they will be 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, its inhabitants will serve you a typical Raivavae buffet on Mahanatoa beach. Take advantage of the remaining time to walk around the village or to discover its lush lagoon with a mask and snorkel. The discovery of Mount Hiro will be offered as an option (sign-up at the reception). 

Day 5: Rapa, Austral Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
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, no coral or coconut trees, but fruits and vegetables other than tropical ones are plentiful here: apples, peaches, nectarines… The Aranui will disembark at the dock in Ahurei. Passengers will be greeted with flower wreaths, to the typical sounds and rhythms of Rapa. Trucks will be waiting for you, heading to the cultural center. You will discover how the “mamas” make local crafts: hats and baskets made of reed (a fragile material) and bamboo crafts. A local meal will be served on land. On Rapa, we propose a two-and-a-half-hour walk to Fort Morango Uta. A polynesian evening with a plancha buffet around the pool (Deck 7) or in the Restaurant (Deck 4) depending on the weather conditions. 

Day 6: Rapa, Austral Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Among the other activities on offer during our one-and-a-half-day stopover in Rapa, you will 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 7: At sea

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

Day 8: 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, has preserved its old traditions, including its own dialect. It is 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 you should never make faces in front of the royal tomb, otherwise, you will remain disfigured for the rest of your life. A barbecue will be served on the beach of Motuaura. Its crystal-clear waters invite you to dive in and discover it 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 9: Tubuai, Austral Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Tubuai is the most populated island of the Austral Islands. Arriving by tender at the landing stage of Bloody Bay, passengers are welcomed at the town hall with a wreath of flowers, to the sound of local music. You will be able to attend art and craft demonstrations of pandanus leaf weaving and shell necklace making, specific to the island. The island’s fertile soil and cooler climate are ideal for growing cabbage, lettuce, and potatoes. Among the day’s activities: the visit of the cultural sites of the island by truck, 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, witness to the fighting between the islanders and the mutineers. Lunch will be served on board. The beach of Bloody Bay invites you to dive in and discover it with a mask and snorkel.

Certified diving is offered as an optional activity (sign-up at the reception).

Day 10: At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Enjoy a day at sea to relax by the pool and participate in one of the lectures or activities offered by our guides.

Day 11: Papeete, Tahiti | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
This is the end of our journey. It’s time to say Nānā! (Goodbye) to your travel companions, to the Polynesian staff and 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
$4,295
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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
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 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
  • Cultural dance shows
  • Planned guided shore excursions to remote villages and archaeological sites
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Liquor
  • Shipboard purchases

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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