ARANUI Cruises will start delivering freight on its Austral Islands voyages in 2025.
In the 2025 program, 125-metre mixed freight and passenger vessel Aranui 5 will offer 22 voyages, all carrying cargo to either the northern Marquesas Islands or southern Austral archipelago.
Aranui’s 2025 schedule includes three 13-day Australs voyages. The company said these cruises are the only way to see all five inhabited islands in French Polynesia’s southernmost archipelago – Tubuai, Rurutu, Rimatara, Raivavae, known as the Bora Bora of the south, and Rapa Iti, which is only accessible by sea and Aranui 5 is currently the only local cruise ship permitted to visit.
In 2025, Aranui 5 will deliver cargo to the remote Austral Islands for the first time, while also collecting goods to deliver to Raiatea, Bora Bora and Papeete on the return leg, such as coffee, which grows well in the cooler southern climate.
Aranui Cruises regional representative Australia New Zealand Laurent Wong said the company offers one of the few remaining cargo cruise experiences in the world.
“When we first started offering cargo cruising to the Marquesas 40 years ago, hardly anyone had heard of French Polynesia’s northern archipelago but we have watched on proudly as Aranui became an integral part of the island communities and helped create a sustainable flow of tourism in an isolated part of the world,” Mr Wong said.
“We hope to put the Australs on the map in a similar fashion, working with the remote southern communities to develop their economy and tourism in a slow, sustainable way while also opening up their beautiful islands for a privileged few to see.”
In addition to its expanded Australs program in 2025, Aranui 5 will continue to offer its traditional cargo cruise itinerary to French Polynesia’s remote Marquesas Islands with 19 12-day roundtrip cruises from Papeete delivering freight to the six inhabited Marquesas Islands – Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Tahuata and Fatu Hiva – plus picturesque pitstops at Tuamotu atolls Fakarava, Rangiroa and Makatea, as well as Bora Bora.