New Container-Cruise Ship Sails South Pacific
The half container, half ship cruise, Aranui 5, has arrived in Tahiti to begin service.
The vessel will be homeported in Papeete, the island nation’s capital, and will sail between the Marquesas Archipelago and the Tuamotu atolls of the South Pacific.
The vessel was ordered from China by the French Polynesian shipping company Compagnie Maritime Transport Polynésienne.
The 3,300 dwt vessel is 126.1 meters (410 feet) long and has a shallow draft of 5.2 meters (17 feet). There is room for 191 containers, loaded by two onboard cranes, and accommodation for up to 254 passengers in 103 cabins. Besides a restaurant (260 seats) and two lounges, there are also two meeting rooms, three bars, a disco, a swimming pool, a shop and rooms for massages and sport.
The Aranui 5 will complete a circuit of 2,200 miles leaving from Papeete and traveling to inhabited islands in the region. It will be the only vessel to serve some very small harbors in the South Pacific including Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Hiva Oa, Fatu Hiva, Ua Huka, Rangiroa and Bora Bora.
The vessel carries supplies, fuel and other staples to the remote island ports and also receives imports form the islands in the form of dried coconut, citrus and fish.
The Aranui 5 replaces the Aranui 3. The most obvious difference is in the quality of the accommodation. The Aranui 3 looked more like a cargo ship that could carry passengers, rather than Aranui 5 which was conceived to clearly be half a cruise ship.
French Polynesia is divided into five groups of islands: The Society Islands archipelago composed of the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Gambier Islands, the Marquesas Islands and the Austral Islands. Among its 118 islands and atolls, 67 are inhabited. Tahiti, located within the Society Islands, is the most populous island and the seat of the capital.