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Aranui 5 maiden voyage moved up to next month

Aranui 5 departs Papeete for the first time on December 12
The custom-built passenger-freighter Aranui 5 will now make her maiden voyage from Papeete, Tahiti, on December 12.

Earlier this year Laurent Wong, regional representative Australia and New Zealand for Aranui Cruises, announced the maiden voyage would be in 2016.

The new launch date coincides with the Marquesas Art Festival scheduled for December 16-19.

The 254-passenger Aranui 5 replaces the 200-passenger Aranui 3 which began service to the Marquesas islands in 2003.

There is no Aranui 4 as the number is considered unlucky by the owners, the third generation Tahitian-Chinese Wong family.

Aranui, whose name means ‘the great highway,’ will sail from Tahiti to the Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society Islands in French Polynesia on a 14-day all-inclusive itinerary. She will follow the same route as Aranui 3, with an additional stopover in Bora Bora on the return trip.

There are eight cabin categories, with accommodation ranging from premium and standard exterior staterooms to shared dormitories for four to eight passengers.

The fully air-conditioned ship has a restaurant, four bars, including the Sky Bar with panoramic views, lounges, library, video and computer room, conference rooms and boutique.

There are two elevators, an outdoor swimming pool with a whirlpool and fitness and massage rooms.

‘Many of our voyages have been filling or reaching near-full capacity upwards of a year prior to departure,’ marketing director Jules Wong said. ‘Aranui 5 will better accommodate the demand for our one-of-a-kind experience with more spacious and comfortable quarters.’

As well as providing travellers with the opportunity to discover Tahiti and her islands, the Aranui service is also a lifeline, bringing supplies to remote villages in the Marquesas.