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Monthly Archives: July 2017

Experience Polynesia's colourful Marquesas Festival

Posted by Andrew Castles on July 26, 2017

Aranui 5 cruise Tahiti


The Aranui 5, a unique half freighter – half cruise ship, will include a visit to the colourful Marquesas Festival as part of its final voyage for 2017.

The biennial festival is an important cultural event in the Marquesas Islands, the northernmost of Tahiti’s five archipelagoes. The 2017 mini festival will be a four-day extravaganza of Polynesian music and dance from December 18 to 21, 2017, at Tahuata, the smallest of the inhabited Marquesas Islands.

To coincide with the festival, Aranui Cruises’ will make an extended visit to Tahuata on December 20 allowing travellers to participate in a community feast and enjoy the cultural festivities well into the night.

The festival was created to keep the Marquesan culture alive and showcases the vibrant traditions of the remote island group with visitors treated to rhythmical dances, powerful drum performances, games and contests of strength and skill, as well as chanting, sculpting and tattoo demonstrations.


Tahiti dancing

As a regular visitor to the far-flung Marquesas Islands, Aranui Cruises are a unique position to showcase these extraordinary islands to the world and there is no better time to visit than during one of their spectacular festivals. As with any major event, accommodation and flights are at a premium during the festival so the easiest and smoothest way to experience the Marquesas Festival is with Aranui Cruises.

During its 14-day roundtrip cruises from Papeete, the 126-metre long mixed cargo and passenger vessel dispenses cargo while guests disembark and explore nine islands across three striking and distinct Tahitian archipelagoes. Travellers can enjoy Bora Bora and its famed blue lagoon; the chance to walk in the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson, Herman Melville and Paul Gauguin on Nuka Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Tahuata, Fatu Hiva and Hiva Oa in the far-flung Marquesas; and the picturesque Tuamotu ports of Fakarava and Rangiroa.

Departing on December 14, 2017, the Marquesas Festival cruise is priced from $8,670* twin share for a premium suite and $7,970* per person twin share for a superior deluxe room, both featuring a balcony.

Aranui 5 also features a restaurant, two conference rooms, lounges, a library, a boutique, a swimming pool, a fitness room, a spa and four bars including the popular Sky bar. 


aranui 5 unloading

Across Antartica - The Ultimate Voyage

Posted by Andrew Castles on July 17, 2017

A little while ago I was having a chat with Florian from polar specialists Oceanwide Expeditions when he let me in on a little secret; they would soon be releasing details of their long-awaited Antarctic Ross Sea expeditions departing in 2020.

Now, 2020 is still quite some time away and planning an Antarctic cruise almost three years in advance can seem like a brave move, I mean who knows what your personal situation will be in three years time? But in the case of this special voyage, it is one you need to get your name down early for, or risk missing out.


Ortelius Across Antarctica Cruise


So what makes this trip so special? Well, firstly it is the most comprehensive Antarctic peninsula expedition you can take part in. Often, when joining an Antarctic expedition you need to choose to either travel down to the Antarctic Peninsula from Ushuaia in Argentina, or head to the Ross Sea and Commonwealth Bay region from Australia / New Zealand. Rarely do you get to do both sides of the continent during a single trip like this.

And secondly, it’s an itinerary only operated once every four or five years, so there’s always pent up demand. You must book far in advance otherwise it might be 2025 before you will have another chance to join this epic journey.


Ortelius cruising Antarctica


On this 32 day expedition you will be travelling aboard the sturdy Ortelius. She is an ice-strengthened small ship (rated to the equivalent of 1A; the highest ice rating) designed for polar expedition cruises in the Arctic and Antarctica. Limited to no more than 116 passengers and 53 cabins, her size ensures a flexible polar experience with maximum wildlife opportunities. Ortelius carries ten high-powered zodiacs for landings and exploration. She also has a couple of helicopters onboard, adding yet another element to her exploratory capabilities.

Highlights of the voyage include the rarely visited volcanic Peter I Island, the huts of the British explorers Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott on Ross Island, McMurdo Station and the Dry Valleys, two full days on the Antarctic Peninsula, a crossing of the legendary Drake Passage, the Ross Sea and New Zealand's sub-Antarctic Campbell Island, home to the Southern Royal Albatrosses. 


ortleius antarctica wildlife seal


Prices for this stunning voyage start at USD $24,950 per person in a quad share room, or just a tick under USD $32,000 per person twin share. The departure dates are as follows:

Ushuaia, Argentina to Bluff, New Zealand – 13 January to 04 February 2020

Bluff, New Zealand to Ushuaia, Argentina – 15 February to 17 Match 2020

Click here to see the full itinerary

As we said, there’s lots of demand for this one, and with only a total of 106 cabins available across the two voyages you will need to book early. Give our Antarctic cruise specialists a call today to put your name down for more information.


Ortelius in the ice Antarctica