Aranui Cruises has will start delivering freight on its Austral Islands voyages in 2025, opening up a new area of French Polynesia to cargo cruising.
In the newly released 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.
On sale now, Aranui's 2025 schedule includes three 13-day Australs voyages, which offer 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.
Rapa Iti 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 offers one of the few remaining cargo cruise experiences in the world and we know how much our guests enjoy this unique way of travelling, so we're thrilled to expand cargo cruising to a new corner of French Polynesia," Aranui Cruises regional representative Australia New/Zealand Laurent Wong said.
"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.
"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 the remote Marquesas Islands.
This comprises 19 12-day round-trip cruises from Papeete delivering freight to the six inhabited Islands - Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Tahuata and Fatu Hiva - plus picturesque pit stops at Tuamotu atolls Fakarava, Rangiroa and Makatea, as well as Bora Bora.
To launch the 2025 program, the boutique cruise line is offering a 15 per cent early-bird discount on Austral Islands voyages booked before February 29, 2024. The 13-day Austral Islands voyages depart April 5, September 6 and November 1, 2025, with discounted staterooms priced from $7411* per person twin share.
As part of the early-bird sale, all 2025 Marquesas Islands voyages are discounted by 10 per cent when booked by February 29, 2024, starting from $7420* per person twin share in a stateroom.
With cargo delivery, as well as local crew, cuisine and culture, Aranui 5 is the most authentic way to explore French Polynesia. An Aranui 5 cruise includes thousands of dollars' worth of shore excursions such as hikes, visits to archaeological sites and local feasts, a weekly laundry service, three meals per day and complimentary French wine with onboard lunches and dinners.
Aranui 5 features a restaurant, conference room, lounge, library, boutique, swimming pool, gym, spa, the first tattoo studio at sea and bars including the panoramic Sky bar and popular.
Visit aranui.com or phone 03-9449-3778 for more information.