Discover paradise: Why Polynesia is the ultimate cruise destination ?



coucher de soleil Polynésie

There are many dream destinations in this world. All of them are impressive in their scenic beauty, cultural diversity, and exoticism, but nothing comes close to the magic of Polynesia.

It is unique and unrivaled. A breathtaking region at the end of the world. Like a postcard with a dreamlike beauty and so varied!

Swimming, diving, snorkeling in the shimmering green-blue lagoons - just to name a few - on Bora Bora, Tahiti, Moorea, or the Tuamotus archipelago.

You can also go walking, hiking, biking through the diverse landscapes and discover countless ancient cultural sites. All long undiscovered by tourism, and far off the beaten track, they are best explored on a cruise, as no other way of traveling is more comfortable.

Many islands can be explored on a single route, including destinations that can only be reached by ship. A cruise through Polynesia is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a foreign culture and a way to discover the heart and soul of an ancient civilization.

Why Should You Choose Polynesia Over Other Islands for a Cruise?

"Mana" is the name of the spiritual energy that the gods have given to the people and nature of Polynesia. It cannot be seen or heard - and it cannot be touched, only felt.

Because those who absorb this energy with conviction radiate it. It doesn't matter how many times someone has visited the remote island world "at the end of the world", each time something new, different, and unexpected can be revealed.

Polynesia offers an unrivaled combination of natural beauty, rich culture, exclusive and remote locations, diverse activities, and luxurious cruise experiences.

These unique characteristics make Polynesia a favorite destination for a cruise that stands out from other island destinations such as Mauritius or the Maldives and guarantees an unforgettable experience.

The Advantages of Polynesia for an Unforgettable Cruise

Polynesia is famous for its spectacular natural landscapes, which are among the most beautiful and diverse in the world. From majestic volcanoes and lush rainforests to steep cliffs, dreamy beaches, and fascinating underwater worlds - Polynesia is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

Each island and atoll has its unique charm and invites discovery. This makes the region special compared to many other wonderful destinations around the globe. Here are a few examples:

From the Earth to the Plate: Polynesian Cuisine

Polynesian cuisine is a harmonious blend of ancient traditions and modern influences. Based on local ingredients such as taro, breadfruit, and coconut, it is characterized by unique cooking methods, especially the umu (earth oven).

Iconic dishes such as poisson cru and chicken fafa demonstrate local culinary ingenuity.

The integration of Asian and Western influences has enriched this cuisine, creating a tasty fusion. Traditional drinks such as tropical fruit smoothies complete this taste experience.

Polynesian cuisine is a true sensory journey that reflects the cultural richness of the islands.

Beneath the Waves: The Living Treasure of the Polynesian Seas

Polynesian waters are home to exceptional marine biodiversity, centered around some of the richest coral reefs in the world. They are truly living ecosystems, teeming with life.

Everything from colorful fish to imposing sea predators can be found here. Marine mammals such as humpback whales and dolphins add to the majesty of these waters.

Sea turtles find refuge on the beaches to nest. The diversity of invertebrates, including giant clams and colorful anemones, completes the underwater picture.

This natural wealth, protected by conservation measures, is not only an ecological treasure but also a pillar of Polynesian culture and economy.

Unique Experiences in Polynesia That You Can Enjoy During a Cruise

touriste sur un bateaux

To report on all the experiences that take place during a cruise through Polynesia alone would go beyond the scope of this article, everything is so multifaceted and spectacular, and so different from most cruises.

Because every island that is visited has its special features and character. Here are a few inspiring examples.

Bora Bora - Jewel of the Pacific

Bora Bora is the ultimate cruise destination with one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world and beautiful coral reefs. The island, born from volcanic activity, is mountainous and rugged.

Dolphins and migrating humpback whales can also often be seen. Since marine plankton is abundant around Bora Bora, the region is famous for its diverse ray populations.

From leopard rays to eagle rays to giant manta rays - they all come here and an encounter with them is simply unforgettable. Many sea creatures still roam the turquoise lagoon and the colorful corals, including fish such as red snapper, jackfish, lemon sharks, and sea turtles.

The two black stone peaks of Mount Pahia and Mount Otemanu, both remnants of an extinct volcano, are striking. Pahia is the smaller of the two mountains at 660 meters, while Otemanu reaches a height of 725 meters.

It points to the sky like a finger and is the trademark of the island. The natural wonder can be explored on numerous trails.

Tip: Most visitors catch their first glimpse of Bora Bora from the air. And it is simply breathtaking. A rare privilege, however, is arriving via the Teavanui Pass on the Aranui 5.

The Aranui is a legend among cruise ships because it is unique - a combination of passenger and cargo ship. Powerful awe spreads at the first glance of the lagoon and Mount Otemanu, the ancient, sacred, majestic mountain, eroded by millennia and the elements.

Tahiti - The Queen of the Islands

Tahiti - also known as the Queen of the Islands - is the starting point for many cruises and a high mountainous island that was formed from an extinct volcano. It is the most populous island in French Polynesia: of the approximately 260,000 inhabitants, almost 180,000 live here.

Tahiti is also one of the most modern islands in the region. In the capital Papeete you will find a wide range of shopping opportunities, cinemas, art galleries, and numerous cafes and restaurants.

A coastal road (approx. 114 km) leads around the edge of the island. In the east there is the wild, spectacular rocky coast, where the waves break on the legendary black sand beaches. A true paradise for surfers.

The west is lined with gentle beaches and quiet lagoons. In the southeast of the main island of Tahiti (or Tahiti Nui, i.e. "big Tahiti") lies the peninsula of Tahiti Iti ("little Tahiti"), wild and unspoiled, with some fantastic diving spots and surfing areas.

Mo'orea - The Magical One

Directly opposite Tahiti, the majestic sister island of Mo'orea rises from the sea with its incomparable shade of green. The silhouette of "Tahiti's little sister" - its Polynesian name is Aimeho - is mountainous, rugged, and unspeakably green.

Moorea's face is dominated by the mythical Mountain Moua Puta. Its history is also shrouded in mystery and according to legend, the spear of the warrior Pai accidentally pierced the mountain during a fight with the god Hiro. Moua Puta means "pierced mountain" in Polynesian.

Many artists have settled on Moorea to draw inspiration for their works from this very peaceful and natural beauty. Tahiti's little sister is varied and full of contrasts:

The island's volcanic mountains rise majestically into the sky, and at their feet stretch green coconut palms and fertile pineapple plantations, in the north the two impressive bays "Baie de Cook" and "Baie de Opunohu" cut through the coast like fjords and in the sea around the island the crystal-clear, warm lagoon invites you to swim and snorkel.

Visitors will also find a well-developed infrastructure here with banks, restaurants, pharmacies, and shops.

The Marquesas Islands

What an arrival! Entering the port of the island of Nuku Hiva: You should be on deck to experience the entrance into the spectacular Bay of Taiohae - a huge volcanic amphitheater, characterized by towering cliffs from which waterfalls cascade down.

There is a special pier for the Aranui, as befits this legendary passenger cruise ship which is the lifeline of the islanders and passengers are greeted with the sound of drums!

Discover Unique Historical Sites

Danseuses polynésiennes

Polynesia is rich in history and culture. Numerous archaeological sites and historical monuments, such as the sacred marae (ceremonial platforms), are evidence of this.

Due to its colonial past, the islands offer a fascinating mix of modern and traditional Polynesian architecture. The remains of the first inhabitants can also still be admired.

With all this, the region has a cultural and historical wealth that is linked to its first inhabitants and the traditions of its ancestors is unique in this diversity worldwide. Here are a few examples:

Te Fare Iamanaha - The Museum of Tahiti and its Islands

Te Fare Iamanaha - the former Museum of Tahiti and its Islands - is located in Puna'auia at Nuuroa Point and invites its visitors to engage with the shared cultural heritage of the Polynesian peoples.

The museum highlights the unique characteristics of each archipelago while encouraging reflection on the shared heritage of the people. The museum goes far beyond just exhibiting artifacts. It aims to impart knowledge and related principles.

It is based on a dynamic and contemporary approach to Polynesian culture, fully in line with the current aspirations of the population.

There are many other sights to see in Tahiti, including the Town Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral, the old Vai'ami Hospital, the Queen's Basin, the House of Queen Marau, Bougainville Park with its cannons, the Pā'ōfa'i Temple and the Robert Wan Pearl Museum.

The Tikis of Hiva Oa

There is a place on the island of Hiva Oa where giant tikis live... It is said that the soul of this island lies in the Puamau Valley. Every corner of the I'ipona archaeological site is enchanting.

Located at the foot of Toea Peak, it is known for its numerous tikis. Among them is the largest stone tiki in French Polynesia: Takaii, which is 2.57 meters high. You can also discover Makii Taua te Pepe, a reclining tiki that is 1.75 meters long and 1.20 meters high.

The Paul Gauguin Museum

Hiva Oa is also home to the Paul Gauguin Museum and his "House of Pleasure". The museum has a permanent exhibition of the paintings of the famous artist, with replicas of his original works.

Adjacent to the museum hall is a reconstructed "House of Pleasure", the artist's home. The main wall of the exhibition in this house is decorated with artfully carved wooden panels that depict faithful reproductions of Paul Gauguin's works. Gauguin painted some of his most beautiful works in Hiva Oa.

Discover Polynesia with the Aranui

As if a cruise through Polynesia wasn't breathtaking enough, on board the Aranui it becomes the "journey of a lifetime". A fascinating adventure that takes you to the most remote corners of the earth. And to islands that no other ship visits.

Because the Aranui is a combined passenger-cargo ship and thus the lifeline for many islands in this region. The inhabitants of the Marquesas Islands, which consist of six different islands, also affectionately call it their "seventh island".

What a fascinating spectacle: For four decades, the Aranui has been supplying villages and valleys with everything that the Islanders need to survive. Therefore, the arrival is always awaited with great excitement - because the Aranui represents an important link to the outside world.

It is also always a big event for the passengers, who would not experience this on any other cruise ship. Just watching the long-awaited deliveries being unloaded from the ship is an unforgettable spectacle in itself.

Because there is pretty much everything you can imagine among them. From live horses and goats to sacks of sugar, sewing machines, clothing, and pick-up trucks. This creates a real festive atmosphere that sweeps residents and passengers away.

In return, the islanders send copra, citrus fruit, fish, and barrels of noni juice on the ship to be taken back to Papeete.

Comfort and Charming Service for Just 230 Passengers

The Aranui is a tailor-made passenger-cargo ship and therefore offers comfort and modern amenities. It is classified as a small ship and has a total of 103 cabins for a maximum of 230 passengers.

The cabin categories range from the premium outside cabin - more than 90 percent of which have a private balcony - to the standard outside cabin with a panoramic window or porthole. Travel is inexpensive in the Class C cabins, which are furnished like dormitories and can accommodate four or eight people.

The interior design of the ship, which includes eight different guest decks, skillfully reflects the Polynesian heritage of the owners and crew and is furnished with great attention to detail for the well-being of the passengers.

In the large and family-friendly dining area, delicacies from French and Polynesian cuisine tempt passengers. The dress code is casual and typical of the islands, no tuxedo, just a fragrant tiare (flower) behind the ear.

There is also a lounge and three bars, including the Sky Bar with a wide panoramic view of the cargo bay. Guest lecturers give talks on various cultural topics in two conference rooms. There is also an outdoor pool, a boutique, a spa, a gym, and the first tattoo studio at sea.

During the 12-day luxury cruise from Papeete in Tahiti to the Marquesas and the 13-day trip to the Austral Islands, the Aranui offers a travel program that includes all meals and planned excursions.

This allows guests to discover the special magic that fascinated artists, writers, and adventurers such as Paul Gauguin, Robert Louis Stevenson, Thor Heyerdahl, and Jacques Brel and drew them to this remote region of French Polynesia. All of this makes a trip through Polynesia on the Aranui a very special cruise that cannot be compared to anything else.


Polynesia offers an incomparable combination of natural beauty, rich culture, exclusive and remote locations, diverse activities, and luxurious cruise experiences. These unique features make Polynesia a preferred cruise destination, standing out from other island destinations such as Mauritius or the Maldives and guaranteeing an unforgettable experience.


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