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Tahiti’s Aranui 3 to be upgraded before 2012 season

The Compagnie Polynesienne de Transport Maritime’s passenger-freighter Aranui 3, which makes scheduled 14-day round trips from Papeete to the spectacular and remote Marquesas Islands, will undergo technical maintenance and a refurbishment before the start of the 2012 season.

Aranui 3 was custom-built at the Severnav Shipyard in Romania and entered service in 2003.

The upgrade will include new carpets, the re-upholstering of dining room chairs and an engine overhaul. Her hull will be scraped and repainted.

The air-conditioned  200-passenger ship, which flies the French flag and has a Polynesian crew of 60, has a sun-deck, swimming pool, gym, library, dining room, bars and lounges. Complimentary wine is served with meals which feature French and Polynesian cuisine.

The crew teach passengers to weave hats and show them how to wear the pareo and dance the tamure. Activities include snorkelling and diving and guest lecturers discuss the history and culture of the Marquesas, made famous by French painter Paul Gauguin who is buried in Calvary Cemetery, overlooking Atuona Bay on the island of Hiva O’a.

Aranui 3 will operate 16 14-day voyages ex-Papeete from February 4 to December 15 next year.

Tahiti Travel Connection in North Sydney, a preferred partner of Tahiti Tourisme, has 2012 prices. Standard cabins with facilities cost from A$5,463 per person twin-share.