Below you will find a compilation of some of the most frequently asked questions we get asked. We separated them into a few categories (Money, Health, Activites, Dining and General) to help you find them easier. If you have any other questions feel free to call us or shoot us a message on the Facebook Community page: Aranui Cruisers Facebook Group
Answer: It is always a good idea to have a small amount of cash in US dollars, Canadian Dollars or Euros when you travel in case of emergency. Having smaller bills can also be helpful. As it is difficult if not impossible to get the local Polynesian Franc in advance of arriving, most people will wait until they arrive in Tahiti to obtain the local currency. The exchange rate with the Euro is a fixed flat rate (1 Euro (€) = 119.33 Pacific Franc). Pre-booking transfers from the airport to your hotel will make it easier to start your trip without having to obtain Polynesian Francs. There are however ATM machines and a currency exchange at the Faaa International Airport, the arrival point for all flights into Tahiti. This currency exchange is open for all arriving international flights. Withdrawing money at ATM machines in Tahiti is the easiest and most convenient way to obtain money at a good exchange rate although most hotels will also exchange money at rates that are less competitive. Credit cards are widely accepted at stores throughout French Polynesia but are not accepted at local markets stalls, street vendors and at roulottes (food trucks) where cash is generally required.
Answer:• There is a money exchange office open once each day to exchange money into the local Polynesian Franc. This is located adjacent to the front reception desk of the ship. The exchange rate is set at the beginning of the cruise for the duration of the cruise. A fee of 500cfp is charged as a transaction fee on all cash exchanges no matter the amount. If using a credit card, an additional 2% is charged.
Answer: Tipping is not customary in Tahiti or French Polynesia so there is no need to tip on board the Aranui. Should you wish to provide tips for good service, you can still do this but it is not required. At the end of the cruise two boxes will be made available upon exiting the ship. One for comment cards and the other for communal tips. These tips will be shared equally among all members of the staff from cargo handlers to servers. If you would like to provide a tip directly to a staff member, you can do this personally at the end of the cruise.
Answer: You will need Polynesian Francs in order to purchase souvenirs from local residents on most islands. The best way to get the local currency is to withdraw money from a bank machine using a debit card. The Aranui cruise includes shore excursions in all ports. There are a few ports where these excursions are simply walking around a village or you will have the opportunity to go on a hike. As tipping is not required, special drinks and sodas on-board the ship and souvenirs may be your main additional expenses. Wine is included at all lunch and dinner dining times on-board the Aranui.
Answer: When you arrive on the Aranui 5, you will need to set up an on board account with a credit card to bill purchases from the gift shop and drinks from the bar. At the end of the voyage you can settle your account by paying cash or with the credit card on your account.
Answer: Port taxes and fees vary depending on the type of cabin being booked but are prepaid and included in the price of each cruise booked. They range from $248 to $443 as of 2017.
Answer: There is a store with varying hours located on the Aranui. The store sells souvenirs, t-shirts, Tahitian bug spray, Internet packages, pareo's, sun dresses, hats postcards, magazines, sandals, black pearls, shell carvings, local jewelry, candles, vanilla, bags, umbrellas, raincoats, sunscreen sundries, sarongs, books, snacks, mugs, Cd's alcohol, SD cards, power converters and much more. Store hours are posted in the lobby outside of the store entrance.
Answer: The Aranui provides three days where clothes are laundered free of charge to guests on-board the ship. Socks and underwear cannot be added to this laundry service. There is a laundry room on the Aranui 5 with 5 washers and 5 dryers for guests to do their own laundry. An iron and ironing board is also available here. Dryers are provided free of charge while washing machines require one token. Tokens can be purchased in the gift shop at a cost of 600cfp ($6). Washing soap can also be purchased in the gift shop or you may want to bring some with you.While laundry days may change, they are on the first Sunday, Thursday and second Monday for Deluxe cabins and Suites and on the first Monday, Friday and second Tuesday for Standard and Class C cabin passengers.
Answer: All private cabins have hair dryers, a mini-fridge and safes. A light switch outside of the washroom beside the light switch, controls the power to the hair dryer as well as the to the 110 volt electric razor plug. Class C passengers will have a lockable drawer and can use one of the 10 safes located in the Manager's office by the front desk area.
Answer: There is a doctor on each sailing of the Aranui. This doctor will change from one sailing to the next. A resident nurse can also be found on each sailing. This nurse can also assist with typical needs at the infirmary located on deck 3 in the hallway behind the reception desk and beside cabin 3502. Waiting area chairs are located outside of the infirmary room door.
Answer: • The Aranui 5 does permit CPAP machines on-board. Power outlets are also located in the cabin although a power converter may be needed depending on the plug on your device. Most power plugs are located on the wall opposite the foot of the bed so an extension cord should be brought if necessary.
Answer: There is one freight and two passenger elevators on the Aranui. During check in and check out the use of these elevators may be busy.
Answer: • Smoking is not permitted in the common areas of the ship or inside private cabins. Smoking can only take place on balconies or in designated outside deck areas of the ship. The designated smoking areas of the ship are on the port side of decks 6, 7 and 8. A tall wall mounted ashtray is located in each of these 3 smoking areas.
Answer: To reduce the incidents of illness that can be passed from one passenger to another, hand sanitizer dispensers are located throughout the ship. Frequently disinfecting hands during your cruise can help keep you healthy for the duration of your cruise.
Answer: • On board the Aranui mosquitoes are not a problem while cruising. Mosquitoes do not like air conditioned rooms as is the case throughout the Aranui 5 nor are mosquitoes found far from shore such as when the Aranui is underway or tendering passengers. The areas where you should be most vigilant about preventing bug bites are when visiting remote jungle areas and archaeological sites.Tropical diseases found in French Polynesia and that are common in many tropical areas of the world include Dengue fever, the Zika virus and Chikungunya. These conditions can lead to severe fever's and joint and muscle pain which can last from 3 days up to multiple weeks. The best way to prevent mosquito infections is to not get bitten by mosquitoes.The most effective way to prevent mosquito bites is to cover exposed skin with loose fitted clothing. Long-sleeve shirts and pants, hats with sun flaps to cover the neck and closed toe shoes will minimize areas of exposed skin. Exposed skin and clothing should also be sprayed with bug repellent.Bug repellent containing the active ingredient of deet is one of the most effective ways to prevent bites by mosquitoes as well as itchy nono/sand flea bites. More powerful concentrations of deet repellent cannot be purchased in French Polynesia and should be brought with you. Repellents with a minimum of 25% deet are recommended. Natural oil repellents also include citronella, lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, catnip, basil, clove, thyme, lemongrass, geranium and lavender but some people do not find these effective in the Marquesas islands.
Answer: • This depends on the extent of your mobility issues or disabilities. It is critical that you be able to mount and descend staircases as this is the manner in which you will be embarking and disembarking from the ship. There are no handicap accessible rooms. While the Aranui does dock to a pier in at least 3 locations, all other transfers to the islands are by tender. Aranui staff are there to spot and assist every person as the board and disembark from the tender. The staff are very skilled at making the tendering process as simple as possible and they are there to ensure that you navigate yourself on and off the boat with ease. For elderly people that are less mobile, you may want to consider traveling from September to May when the seas are less rough. In a few villages there may be a fair amount of walking around unless you choose to hire your own driver. In some cases passengers can be shuttled by pre-arranged transportation. Persons that are visually or hearing impaired should not travel on the Aranui as it can lead to dangerous situations in navigating through the different sections of the ship or decks. Feel free to ask about a particular disability to determine if you are able to travel aboard the Aranui. The Aranui reserves the right to refuse passage if it is determined that serious limitations or disabilities were not previously disclosed.
Answer: There are 30 outside steps going down to the tenders on the Aranui 5. These steps are less steep when the Aranui is fully loaded with cargo at the beginning of the voyage. At times where you disembark from deck 2, you will need to descend a similar number of interior steps from the main lobby on deck 3. Once down these steps you will walk out a door that is at the same level as the tender.
Answer: • Depending on the sea conditions, getting on and off of the Aranui can be difficult. As a result it is recommended that persons taking a trip on the Aranui be in good physical condition, be able to climb and descend staircases easily and be able to step over a 1.5 foot tall emergency exit doorways when required. Multiple elevators are found on the vessel but may not always be available. A maximum of 9 passengers at a time are permitted on the gangway which is used to get on and off of the ship. Both hands must also be free from holding onto any objects during embarkation and disembarkation. If brining a camera, sunscreen, souvenirs or any other item onto or off of the ship, it must be placed into a waist belt or backpack so that both hands can be used to safely get on and off of the vessel.
Answer: Marquesas Deep Sea Fishing (3 hours) 10,000 cfp, Rangiroa Scuba Diving 9,900 cfp, and the following for Bora Bora. Otemanu Snorkel tour of Bora Bora in a 14 passenger motorized pirogue (canoe) 7,000 cfp (3 hours), A 20 to 60 passenger Shark Boy snorkeling with rays and sharks tour 4,500 cfp (2.5 hours), a guided Island Truck Tour for 15 to 40 people 4,500 cfp (3 hours) and a helicopter tour 40,000 cfp per person based on 2 people for 15 minutes - 27,000 for 3 people and 20,000 per person for 4 people. Helicopter tour prices are double for a 30 minute tour.
Answer: Depending on weather conditions, there are two times per day on 4 different days when Aranui passengers can go deep sea fishing. The three hour deep sea fishing trips depart at 8am and 2pm in Ua Po, Hiva Oa, Fatu Hiva and Tahuata. Reservations are required and should be done early at the reception desk as space on each expedition is limited to the first 4 individuals to register.
Answer: If you are booking hotels and/or flights with Far and Away Adventures, the Bora Bora helicopter tour can be booked at the same time before you travel to French Polynesia. The Helicopter Tour is very popular and can sell out as there are a limited number of spaces. All optional activities including fishing trips and helicopter tours can be arranged on your first day aboard the Aranui. The earlier you book when on-board the better chance you will have of being assured a spot for your preferred activity. As helicopters require maintenance after a certain number of hours of flying time and weather conditions vary, conditions must be suitable and these tours cannot be guaranteed.
Answer: There are three opportunities to snorkel during the cruise. The first is in the lagoon of Takapoto although the white sand and blue lagoon location where the included beach Barbecue is located at tends to have limited aquatic life due to there being more white sand and less coral where fish tend to gather. The second and third snorkeling opportunities are at the end of the cruise on the atoll of Rangiroa where aquatic life is plentiful and in the lagoon of Bora Bora.
Answer: There are about 50 sets of snorkel gear that can be loaned out to passengers on the Aranui 5. If you would like to borrow a snorkel set it is best to arrange this with the front desk early as they can book up in advance. If you like to snorkel, you may want to bring your own set of snorkeling gear to ensure that you have a set that fits you and meets your needs.
Answer: There are 5 times during the Aranui's two week voyage where the Aranui band will perform local and Polynesian music. The band consists of members of the crew who love to share the songs and sounds of the islands. The evening's entertainment is located in the Veranda bar on deck 6. On select days usually from entertainers can also be found on the deck around the swimming pool area. On other days movies relating to the islands and destinations being visited, are played in the main lounge on deck 5.
Answer: The Aranui 5 has a swimming pool, conference room, 3 bars, indoor and outdoor lounges, a dining room, wireless internet in common areas, 2 small exercise rooms, a gift shop, library, games room, medical office, reception area and laundry room.
Answer: Scuba Diving is offered on Rangiroa and Bora Bora to anyone certified to dive. Rangiroa is one of the Tuamotu Islands which is also the second largest atoll in the world. It is comprised of a ring of 415 islets and sandbars that range from 5 to 32 km wide across the center of the ring. The Marquesas island don’t have good scuba diving due to the sheer drop offs that are close to shore around the islands.
Answer: Optional Helicopter Tours are available on the island of Bora Bora and the main island of Tahiti.
Answer: Visits are limited to the time that it takes port authorities and cargo operators to finish their duties and varies based on destination. The time in port may range anywhere from 3 hours to a full day.
Answer: We recommend arriving in Tahiti at least one to two days before your Aranui cruise or 3 to 5 days early if you would like to visit the nearby island of Moorea. Tahiti has some 2 and 3 star hotels in the city of Papeete which are great for a short stay where you can walk to the main market and evening roulottes (food trucks) for dinner. 4 star resorts are located within a 10 to 20 minute shuttle ride from the city. Moorea is a short 10 minute flight or 30 minute catamaran ride from Tahiti and is where the Tahitians go to vacation away from the busy port of Papeete. Bora Bora is also stunning and worth spending 3 to 4 nights. We recommend disembarking the Aranui at 3:30pm on day 13 (you only miss one dinner and breakfast as disembarkation is at 8am on day 14). Depending on if you prefer B&B style accommodation, a resort with bungalows or even over water bungalows, we can help put together a variety of extensions to your Aranui trip.
Answer: Dietary requests can be accommodated provided you make arrangements at the time you make your Aranui reservation. Your passenger information form that is filled out and provided to the Aranui also asks questions and clarifies details of your dietary requirements. When boarding the ship, please make sure to reconfirm your dietary needs with the kitchen staff.
Answer: Meals change from time to time depending on the day's itinerary. Breakfasts are usually from 6:30 to 8:30am while on-board lunch and dinner are served with two dining times that are half an hour apart. For passengers that register on embarkation day at the front desk for early dining, lunch is at 12:00 and dinner is at 7:30pm. For passengers that register for late dining, lunch is at 12:30pm and dinner is at 8pm.
Answer: A mini-bar/fridge is provided in each cabin and suite with water and juice. The drinks in the fridge when you arrive on the ship are included. You can ask the front desk to have your mini-bar restocked. Any restocking of the mini-bar will incur a restocking fee for the additional drinks.
Answer: Tea and coffee can be found at the back of the lounge on deck 5. At 4pm on certain days, cookies may also be placed with the tea and coffee. Fresh fruits can be found from time to time in the Sky Bar. A variety of snacks including chips, chocolate bars and candies can be purchased in the gift shop.
Answer: The Aranui 5 provides a few bottles of water and juice in your in room refrigerator upon arrival. Any restocking of the mini-bar incurs a restocking fee. It is recommended that water bottles be used for drinking when going on excursions. Ice machines with built in filtered water dispensers are located on most floors to refill water bottles.
Answer: Yes, the Aranui does provide a variety of beverages for purchase onboard. The lounge not only serves panini's but many other hot drinks such as Expressos.
Answer: There are no assigned tables onboard the Aranui. Individuals can sit where they like and change who they sit with from meal to meal. Passengers wishing to sit together should arrive early to select where they would like to be located as seating can fill fast.
Answer: Complimentary coffee, tea and cookies are provided daily in the lounge area of the ship. Wine is also included with lunch and dinner. Soft drinks can be purchased at the bar and bottled water can be purchased at the boutique. A couple of complimentary bottles of water and cans of locally made juice are also provided in each room at the beginning of the voyage. For breakfast, complimentary juices are served. Passengers may prefer to bring a water bottles be brought with passengers for the voyage.
Answer: Drinks at the bar will vary in price depending on the type of drinks. 4cl Liqueurs are about 750 FCP, Spirits 450 to 750 FCP, 33cl Beers 350 – 450 FCP, Champage 6000 – 11000/bottle, Coffee/Expresso/Tea 250 FCP, 1 litre Water 260 – 400 FCP, Soda 265 – 360 FCP, Fruit Juice 250 FCP. There may also be a Happy Hour before dinner where there can be up to 50% off drinks! Click Here for a copy of the drink menu.
Answer: Yes, you may bring your own alcohol onto the ship from shore. Alcohol is also available for purchase on-board the Aranui 5 in the gift shop or in one of the the bars.
Answer: Two different Internet packages are available while on the Aranui. For 3500 cfp ($35) you will receive 150 megabytes of Internet connectivity and for 300 megabytes the cost is 5000 cfp ($50). Internet connectivity can be slow especially at peak time periods when large numbers of passengers are trying to connect at the same time. Connectivity is not available in staterooms and cabins but it is available in the Verandah Bar, Lounge, Sky Bar, Reception area, Dining Room and Fitness Centre. On some islands internet is also available. This includes villages on Takapoto, Taiohae - Nuku Hiva, Hakahau - Ua Poe, Atuona - Hiva Oa, Omoa - Fatu Hiva and Vaitape – Bora Bora.
Answer: White towels must stay in your cabin. Blue beach towels are provided and laundered daily. These beach towels can be used at the swimming pool and for excursions on shore.
Answer: The staff of the Aranui are locals that live in and come from the islands of French Polynesia. These staff members are proud of and pleased to share the traditions and cultures of the islands. As a result all serving staff, front desk workers and sailors are very familiar with the islands. During entertainment events these same staff members will perform music, song and dance for you. During the last dinner of the cruise following the visit to Bora Bora, you are welcome to invite a staff member to sit at your table to enjoy their company and allow them to share with you the Polynesian culture of the islands.
Answer: On the island of Ua Huka at 1:30pm there is an opportunity to take part in a church service at a local church. Here you will have the opportunity to listen to the mesmerizing spiritual music of Polynesia.
Answer: While we do have a preferred side of the ship to be on, we don't post it publicly so that Far and Away Adventures' clients are more likely to have one confirmed. We do however attempt to book all passengers when possible on this side of the ship. Having said this, a trip on the Aranui is more about the overall experience. Being on the Port side or the Starboard side will not change the incredible experiences you will have.
Answer: Unlike many other areas of the South Pacific, the Marquesas Islands have weather patterns which are very consistent year round. There is only a two degrees change in average temperatures from month to month throughout the year. While September to December has about 30% less rainfall than other months, there is only and average of 2.6 to 6.9 inches of rain per month. Visit the weather page of our website for more details on the average weather patterns by month. As far as sea conditions, from September to May you will notice the seas are less rough than June, July and August.
Answer: Weather conditions from month to month and day to day can be varied and unpredictable. Even when the daily forecasts are posted, it is best to prepare for any type of weather. One island or atoll can have multiple climatic zones with rain on one side and bright sun on the other. For average rainfall, air and sea temperatures visit the weather section of our website.
Answer: While there are some locations where the Aranui docks at a pier, some locations tender from the Aranui to a small pier using a small boat while other locations have a “wet” landing on shore where the back of the boat opens up and drops a ramp down a few feet from shore. You will be advised in advance and have the option to either remove your shoes or wear “watershoes” based on your preference for wet landings.
Answer: There are entrances and exits on both the port and starboard sides of the Aranui. Depending on sea conditions and the location of the Aranui in the harbour or at the dock, announcements will advise passengers on where to go to get off of the ship. If seas are calm passengers usually disembark from by descending inside stairs from the main lobby to level 3, if seas are rough, disembarkation may take place on deck 4 with outside stairs to the tender.
Answer: The bridge is generally open at all times except for the 30 minutes prior to pulling into or out of a port. Passengers wishing to visit the bridge of the ship should make arrangements at the reception desk. A limited number of passengers are permitted in the bridge at any given time.
Answer: European format 220 volt power plugs are located throughout the ship. One North American style 110 low voltage electric razor plug is located in the washroom as well for very low voltage devices. Power adaptors should be brought if your device uses another current. Power adaptors are available for purchase in the gift shop.
Answer: Lecturers change for each sailing on the Aranui 5. These lecturers have different experiences and specialities which will add to the educational opportunities during your cruise. A list of lecturers can be found on our website. In addition, 25 year veteran of the Aranui as a historian and lecturer, Didier Benatar, frequently will join the cruise ship in Ua Pou and stay for 8 days until the ship returns to Ua Pou.
Answer: There is a TV in each cabin. There are 4 French channels, 2 English Channels (CNN & a Movie Channel) and 1 German Channel. There is also one channel in each of these three languages playing information on the Aranui 5 vessel continuously. Standard cabins have a 33” TV while deluxe cabins and suites have large 54” TV's.
Answer: Parents take primary responsibility for their children during an Aranui cruise. While daily kids activities may be arranged by Aranui staff (especially during school holidays), these activities are not guaranteed to operate as they may depend on staff resources. Know however that Aranui staff will do their best to make your family holiday exceptional for both children and adults.
Answer: The Aranui 5 can accommodate up to 30 local Marquesian residents who provide their own linens. This area of the ship is not open to cruise passengers from other areas of the world and includes 10 beds and a number of couches in a large air conditioned room with two washrooms. Local Marquesians may travel on the Aranui 5 to get from one island to the next, to go to Bora Bora or to travel to/from Papeete. They eat in the staff dining area of the Aranui.
Answer: The number of staff on the Aranui will vary but generally will be between 99 and up to a maximum of 105.
Answer: Approximately 2500 kilometres!
Answer: You do not require a visa or vaccination to visit French Polynesia/Tahiti if you are a citizen of Canada, the USA, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and a variety of other countries if staying for less than 90 days and for tourist purposes. Your passport however must be valid for at least 3 months beyond your day of arrival. To check current visa rules or if rules have changed for your country click here.
Answer: Comfortable, informal, and easy to wash clothes are highly recommended. Dining is not formal but some people may prefer to dress up slightly rather than wearing shorts and tshirts to dinner in the dining room.
Answer: Clothing-wise, be sure to pack the following: shorts/jeans/pants, t-shirts/tops, a bathing suit, rain jacket or waterproof poncho, water shoes, bug repellent, sunscreen and a light sweater for cooler evenings.Be sure to pack comfortable shoes suitable for shore excursions as well as water shoes or strap on sandals that can get wet. Additionally, be sure to bring all necessary medications you will need. Some toiletries are available through the boutique or in Tahiti should you run out or forget something, however not all common products will be available, so if you have a preference be sure to bring it with you. Finally sunscreen for sunny days and insect repellent with at least 25% DEET is essential especially when visiting archaeological sites in jungle areas. Make sure to apply sunscreen after applying insect repellent as insect repellent may cause skin to burn much easier than on areas of your body without repellent.
Answer: Towels, beach towels, a shower cap, soap, shampoo and lotion are stocked daily in your room similar to most cruise lines and hotels. Other toiletries should be brought with you or they may be purchased in the gift shop.
Answer: French Polynesia has an extensive network of cell phone coverage throughout the islands including Tahiti, the Marquesas, Tuamotu Islands and Bora Bora. As a result most every port has good cell phone reception on the Vini network. Please note however that charges by your cell phone provider may be high when traveling internationally. If you have an unlocked phone and plan to be making and receiving calls within French Polynesia, it is advisable to purchase a SIM card while in Tahiti which will give you a local number to make and receive calls from. These SIM cards are available at all post offices in Tahiti.
Answer: If you are planning on flying home on the nightly international flights from Papeete, chances are you are not going to want to carry your luggage around with you all day long. You have three options. 1) If you are staying in a hotel they will usually store your luggage after you check out until the evening when you are ready to go to the airport. 2) You can arrange to store your bags following your cruise at the Aranui office. The office closes at 5 pm Monday to Friday so you need to collect your bags by that time. 3) If you are going directly from the Aranui to a flight home that evening or if you do not want to return to your hotel before going to the airport to fly home, the Papeete Airport has a place next to the Hawaiian Airlines office where individuals can store bags for a fee. As of 2016 the fees for up to 24 hours of storage are: 450F for keys, computers and other very small items. 700F for medium bags such as carry on luggage or instruments, 800F for large suitcases, 950 for extra large luggage, golf bags or bicycles, 2200F for surfboards and paddleboards and 2700F for windsurfers .Luggage storage office hours are from 6am until noon and 1:30 to 10pm daily. Visa and Mastercard are accepted.