Cruise to the Marquesas – Volcanic Islands and Atolls

Cruise to the Marquesas – Volcanic Islands and Atolls 3314 , 12 Days

Mythical and mysterious and really far away - an archipelago that has attracted explorers, writers, painters and artists. Breathtaking landscapes with mountains, valleys, plateaus and cliffs. A nation of former warriors with their own language and culture.
The Marquesas archipelago, located 1,500 km northeast of Tahiti in French Polynesia, consists of 12 islands, of which only 6 are inhabited and we disembark on 5 of them. After a few days of sailing, they emerge from the Pacific, tall and lush. Nature is raw and its charm powerful. It is a land of stories and legends. Welcome to the Marquesas, the "Land of Men".
The cruise in French Polynesia departs from Papeete in Tahiti, capital and part of the Society Islands. From here, the cruise is set for the Tuamotu Islands, where experiences await on one of the islands of Fakarava, Makatea or Kauehi. Once in the Marquesas Archipelago, the experiences are lined up on the islands of Nuku Hiva- Ua Pou - Ua Huka - Hiva Oa - Fatu Hiva. Rangiroa, the largest atoll in French Polynesia is visited on the voyage back to Papeete.

The ship
For more than 30 years, the shipping company Aranui, as the main transporter of goods to the Marquesas, has maintained the vital sea connection for the inhabitants of the islands. Our cruises are sailed by the Aranui 5 - a purpose-built passenger and cargo ship designed to offer all the amenities a cruise ship should have while still delivering goods. Aranui 5 is French registered and can take approx. 230 passengers in 103 cabins. There are eight decks that reflect the ship's Polynesian heritage and crew in its interior design. There is a restaurant where all meals on board are served in relaxed surroundings; a lounge; two conference rooms where guest speakers will present various topics related to the Marquesas; three bars, including the Sky Bar with a great panoramic view; an outdoor swimming pool; boutique; spa; fitness center and the first tattoo studio at sea.

Cruise highlights:
♦ 3 of 4 island groups in French Polynesia – Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society Islands
♦ Hiva Oa – the island that inspired Jacques Brel and Paul Gauguin
♦ Polynesian folklore – tiki sculptures, "Pig dance", tattoo and pearls


Itinerary: 

Day 1. Saturday – Departure from Papeete (Tahiti)
Depart from Papeete in the late afternoon,receive a warm welcome onboard from our crew and sail to Fakarava atoll in the Tuamotu archipelago.

Day 2. Sunday - Fakarava
Classified as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO for the preservation of rare species, Fakarava is the second largest atoll in French Polynesia. The Aranui will disembark at the “Rotoava” pier. Passengers will have time to discover its small village, the church built out of coral, the local handicraft with a demonstration of the many uses of the coconut. Enjoy a day of relaxation, sun and beach, swimming or snorkeling among multicolored tropical fish. Possibility of scuba diving for certified divers only. Optional activities: bike rentals, E-Bike, Quad, certified diving (sign-up at the reception).12:00 pm Lunch on board and departure for the Marquesas Islands

Day 3. Monday - At sea
A day to relax on the Pool Deck or in the comfort of our air-conditioned Lounge. Or why not simply enjoy the views of the South Pacific Ocean as we sail to the fascinating Marquesas Islands. Lectures on the culture and history of the Marquesas Islands will take you back in time and give you a complete overview of this ancient civilization. During the cruise, you will also have the opportunity to learn how to move your hips like a true Tahitian! You’ll likely spend many evenings socializing at the bar with your fellow adventurers from around the world. The spirited Polynesian crew will proudly introduce you to their way of life and entertain you with Polynesian songs and rhythms on their ukuleles, guitars and drums. Before you go to bed, set your watch 30 minutes ahead as we switch to Marquesas time.

Day 4. Tuesday - Nuku Hiva (Taiohae / Hatieu / Taipivai)
While the Aranui is unloading, you can explore Taiohae, the small administrative capital of the Marquesas. Taiohae Cove is the place where writer Herman Melville, then a 23-year-old sailor, and a friend jumped off a whaler in 1842. After breakfast, the passengers will disembark to pick up the waiting 4WDs for the day’s excursion. Our first stop will be a visit to Taiohae Cathedral. You can visit the cathedral or go to the market to buy handicrafts. Then we will visit the archaeological site of “Tohua Kamuihei” with its giant banyans and petroglyphs. Your first introduction to traditional Marquesan cuisine will be served for lunch. The specialty here is the “umu”, an underground oven where food is cooked for hours. Local music during the meal will provide a great atmosphere. In the small village of Hatiheu, you can visit a museum that displays copies of petroglyphs from unexplored valleys. Your tour will continue south to Taiohae with its spectacular bay, a giant volcanic amphitheater dominated by towering cliffs dotted with waterfalls. Return to the village of Taiohae, where you will also find banks and stores. You can return to the ship from the village on foot or by car.

Day 5. Wednesday - Ua Pou (Hakahau)
From the decks, you’ll see the unique mountain spires of Ua Pou. As the crew unloads supplies, cement, sugar, and loads bags of copra (dried coconuts) and fruit, explore the picturesque village of Hakahau and its church with a hand-carved wooden platform. Meet the island’s talented carvers and artists, climb to the Cross for a breathtaking view of the mountains, lush valleys and main village. Another delicious Marquesan lunch will be served: breadfruit, a Marquesan staple with curried goat (a specialty of the Marquesas Islands), raw fish marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk, taro and red bananas. Enjoy an excellent dance performance, including the traditional UA POU “bird dance”.

Day 6. Thursday - Ua Huka (Vaipe’e/Hane/Hokatu)
This island, which saw the construction of the first airstrip in the Marquesas in 1972, is largely arid and home to many wild horses, goats and pigs. In the early morning, the Aranui will perform an impressive maneuver, a 180 degree turn in the magnificent “Invisible Bay” of Vaipaee. A maneuver that requires all the dexterity of the captain and crew is not to be missed. On the dry land of Ua Huka, visit the small museum with exquisite replicas of Marquesan art where our guides will immerse you in this ancient civilization. Continue in your 4×4 to explore the island, stopping for breathtaking views, visit the arboretum born of the passion of the island’s former mayor, before reaching the beautiful village of Hane. Lunch will be served at a local family restaurant. Discover some of the island’s specialties, handicrafts, wood carvings, and engraved coconut shells. After lunch, return to the boat by 4×4. For the more spirited, a 2 mile walk back from the tree house awaits you. Be sure to be on deck as the Aranui will sail all along the coast of Ua Huka for more great views.

Day 7. Friday - Tahuata (Vaitahu) – Hiva Oa (Atuona)
The Aranui will anchor in the small bay of Tahuata. The only access is by sea, as there is no airport on Tahuata. On this leaf-shaped island, the air is thick
with the scent of Tahitian tiare, frangipani and history. In 1595, Spanish explorers landed in the village of Vaitahu and opened fire on a crowd of curious islanders, killing about 200 people. Tahuata is also the site of the first French colony in the Marquesas in 1842. The large church built by the Vatican, is decorated with beautiful Marquesan sculptures and stained-glass windows representing the Virgin Mary. Tahuata is famous for its exquisite bone and helmet shell carvings. There will be much to choose from in the village.
The Aranui will arrive in Hiva Oa after lunch on board, where you will have plenty of time to explore Atuona, the second largest village in the Marquesas. This is where Paul Gauguin lived and created some of his works. You can also visit the colonial store where he bought his bread, as well as a replica of his infamous “house of pleasure” and the museum. By 4X4, you will visit the largest archaeological site in the Marquesas Islands, “Tohua Taa’oa”. Walking up the hill to the cemetery, you will have a breathtaking view of the motu Hanakee. Under a huge frangipani tree is a tombstone with the simple words: Paul Gauguin 1903. Nearby is the grave of another famous European who also fell in love with Hiva Oa: the Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel, who died in 1978.

Day 8. Saturday - Fatu Hiva (Omoa – Hanavave)
Fatu Hiva, the most lush and remote of the Marquesas Islands, is also a Marquesan craft center. In the village of Omoa, the women will demonstrate how to make tapa by crushing the bark from mulberry, banyan or breadfruit trees, as well as how to make a floral bouquet, “Umuhei”, a mixture made from the island’s plants used to perfume their hair. After visiting the village, the more athletic passengers can opt for a 10-mile hike that will take them from Omoa to Hanavave, offering breathtaking views of the high cliffs. A picnic lunch will be served at the mountain top. Non-hikers will sail aboard the Aranui from Omoa to Hanavave to the Bay of Virgins, considered one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Meet in the village for a demonstration of the making of coconut oil, “pani” and the scented towel, “aeu pipi”. During our departure, partake in the farewell ceremony on deck 7.

Day 9. Sunday – At sea
A day to recover from the emotions experienced in the Marquesas archipelago. During our crossing to the magnificent Tuamotu Islands, conferences and activities will be offered throughout the day. Before going to bed, set your watch back 30 minutes, back to Tahiti time.

Day 10. Monday - Rangiroa or Makatea (Voyage 12, 13, 14 et 23)
RANGIROA : From the open decks, watch our approach and arrival into the largest atoll in French Polynesia and the second largest in the world. We enter Tiputa Pass, one of Rangiroa’s passes. Glass bottom boat and scuba diving excursions are available (sign-up at the reception). Scuba diving here is rated as one of the best in the world (certified divers only). If you decide not to visit, enjoy Rangiroa’s white sand beach and translucent lagoon. The “mamas” stands will have an excellent display of shell necklaces, chains and key chains and other small souvenirs for sale on the beach. The Aranui will depart at lunchtime and sail to the magical island of Bora Bora.

MAKATEA- (V12, V13, V14, V23)
Surrounded by sheer cliffs rising nearly 240 feet above sea level, Makatea is the only atoll in the Tuamotu Islands with potable water, which comes from its underground caves. Once a prosperous atoll due to phosphate mining from 1917 until 1964, it has become almost completely deserted, with only a few families left. Today, the inhabitants live from copra cultivation, fishing and the trade of coconut crab, the “Kaveu”. The Aranui offers the opportunity to visit the remains of Makatea’s past and the phosphate exploitation. Passengers will disembark by tender at the Temao pier and begin the journey across the atoll on foot or by car. Visit the sacred caves of Makatea and picnic under the cliffs or on the beach.

Day 11. Tuesday - Bora Bora
Upon arriving in Bora Bora’s world-famous lagoon of opalescent blues and greens, you will be greeted by the majestic “Mount Otemanu”, the highest peak on the island. In this perfect island paradise, you can enjoy a day at the beach and a barbecue on a private Motu surrounded by crystal clear waters, the “Motu Tapu”. You can also choose from a variety of optional excursions at an additional cost: scuba diving, lagoon tours by boat and motorized canoe, swimming with sharks and rays! Bora Bora was an American military outpost during World War II and remnants of the war such as cannons and bunkers can be seen on a 4X4 tour. Departure in the evening for Papeete.

Day 12. Wednesday - Return to Tahiti (Papeete)
This is the end of our journey. It’s time to say Nānā! (Goodbye) to your travel companions, to the Polynesian staff and Aranui guides.  

* Rates quoted at the time of printing are based on current costs and are subject to change up to and including the date of sailing
* Schedule & Extra cost provision: If, due to weather or other uncontrollable reasons, you are required to spend one or more additional nights, you will be responsible for your own hotel and meal costs. In addition, because the primary function of vessels in the service of Compagnie Polynesienne de Transport Maritime is to carry freight, the departure dates, ports of call, and duration of cruises may be subject to variation both prior to departure and en route. Freighter passengers should have a flexible time schedule and anticipate the foregoing possibilities. While we do everything possible to inform and assist our clients, neither CPTM nor its agents will assume additional expenses, hotel or meal costs associated with delays or changes in itinerary and schedules.
* Itinerary changes: Routes and activities are indicative and can be modified according to weather conditions or availability. Although we  make every effort to operate all cruises as advertised, we reserve the right to alter or curtail the itinerary, or substitute sightseeing, ports of call or conveyances as deemed necessary.


Price Includes:
cruise transportation and related taxes (tourist tax/ port tax/ fuel/ TDC)
shipboard accommodation in dormitory with capacity 4 to 8 persons
3 meals per day
a bottle of wine to share among 4 passengers for scheduled onboard meals
lunches in local restaurants
planned guided shore excursions to remote villages and archaeological sites
cultural dance shows
lecturers onsite and onboard

Not Included:
international and domestic flight tickets
fuel surcharge (125€ per person)
shipboard purchases
liquor
gratuities
port taxes other than those specifically provided for
other personal items

Additional Services:
Upgrade accommodation: on request


Gallery


Cruise to the Marquesas – Volcanic Islands and Atolls (Rated 4.77 / 5 Based on 47 Reviews.)
Price
3314 EUR
Duration
12 Days
Status
Open for booking
Price
3314 EUR
Duration
12 Days
Status
Open for booking
Price
3314 EUR
Duration
12 Days
Status
Open for booking
Price
3314 EUR
Duration
12 Days
Status
Open for booking
Price
3314 EUR
Duration
12 Days
Status
Open for booking
Price
3314 EUR
Duration
12 Days
Status
Open for booking
Price
3314 EUR
Duration
12 Days
Status
Open for booking
Price
3314 EUR
Duration
12 Days
Status
Open for booking

Currency fluctuations might cause correction of price at any time.

Group Size
Min. 1 pax
Reservation System Code
FRENCH POLYNESIA /PITCAIRN ISLANDS
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