Aranui 5 Maiden Voyage Delayed Until November 21 – New Ship Still Under Construction In China

Aranui 5 new

Compagnie Polynésienne de Transport Maritime (Aranui Cruises) has informed us that that the arrival of the new Aranui 5, now being built in China, will be delayed once more. Aranui Cruises now anticipate her first 14-day voyage will leave Papéeé for the Marquesas and Tuamotu Islands, as well as Bora Bora, on November 21, and not October 10, 2015, as previously planned. While awaiting the new Aranui 5, all cruises will be continue to be performed by the Aranui 3.

For further details of Aranui sailings please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruisepeopleltd@aol.com. In North America please call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.
Advertisements

The Cruise People Ltd Offer You Twelve Inviting Voyages For 2015

Princess Patricia in Vancouver on delivery to Princess CruisesThis year we have decided to pick a dozen interesting cruises for 2015, one for each month. Each is different from the norm, and none are repetitive.

Canadian Pacific’s 6,026-ton Princess Patricia (left), when chartered to Princess Cruises in 1965, gave her name to a new cruise line. On December 3, 2015, Princess Cruises will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a commemoratve cruise from Los Angeles to Mexico on board the 30,277-ton Pacific Princess.

The Cruise People hope you enjoy our choice for 2015 at the same time as wishing you all a Happy New Year and A Prosperous 2015!

anchorJanuary 28, 2015 – Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Balmoral

BalmoralFred. Olsen Cruise Line offers a special 32-night departure from Dubai to Tokyo on the 43,537-ton 1,747-berth flagship Balmoral, leaving Dubai on January 28. Special last-minute fares are still available for this winter cruise, calling at Mumbai, Cochin, Galle, Port Blair, overnight at Rangoon, Kuala Lumpur, Semarang, Komodo, Ujung Pandang, Cebu, Naha and Tokyo. Pre-cruise stays are available at Dubai and post-cruise hotels at Tokyo. Once trading as Orient Lines’ Crown Odyssey, this ship is returning to familiar waters.

anchorFebruary 27, 2015 – Haimark Travel’s Ganges Voyager

Ganges Voyager - SuitesFebruary sees a 27-night Cruiseco package using river craft, rail, road and air to travel from Mumbai on India’s west coast to Kolkata on its east coast. The cruise vessel chosen is Colorado-based Haimark Travel’s 185-foot 56-berth Ganges Voyager, with the program including calls at Matiara, Kalna, Kolkata, Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodphur, Jaipur, Ranthambore, Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, Patna, Munger and Murshidabad. In addition to the 10-night luxury cruise, 17 nights are spent in five-star hotels such as the Taj Gateway in Varanasi, Imperial in Delhi, Amarvilas in Agra, Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur and the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai. Other charterers of this vessel include APT Cruising and Vantage, while sister vessel Ganges Voyager II will be chartered by Uniworld River Cruises.

anchorMarch 16, 2015 – Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Astor

astorMarch sees Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ 20,606-ton 590-berth Astor departing Fremantle on the 16th for Tilbury via the Cape of Good Hope on a 38-night liner voyage that calls as Mauritius, Reunion, Durban, Mossel Bay, Cape Town, Walvis Bay, St Helena, Ascension, Casablanca and Lisbon. There is a special offer available in the UK that allows passengers to fly out to join ship for just £299. As all the originally scheduled West African ports have been eliminated because of the Ebola outbreak, she will arrive eight days early at Tilbury, so the opportunity has been taken of offering an 8-night Round Britain cruise from Tilbury on April 23.

anchorApril 25, 2015 – Aranui Cruises’ Aranui 3

Aranui 3On the occasion of its 30th anniversary of passenger sailings, Aranui Cruises has announced it will celebrate with a special sailing on April 25, 2015. For thirty years Aranui has been offering travellers the adventure of a lifetime across three French Polynesian archipelagos – the Marquesas, the Tuamotus and the Society Islands, with transport, meals, accommodation and all tours included. In 1960, the Wong family began offering a cargo service and in the early 1980’s modified its freighter with the introduction of a dozen cabins, a new galley, dining room, dormitory and other amenities. Three ships and thirty years later, Aranui Cruises’ vessels have carried over 44,750 passengers to the islands. Today, the Aranui 3 14-day voyage departs from Papeete, visiting Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Tahuata, Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Huka in the Marquesas, Takapoto and Rangiroa in the Tuamotus, and will add a stop at Bora Bora to her itinerary in 2015. The present ship offers comfortable, air-conditioned accommodations for about 200 passengers. A new ship, Aranui 5, will be introduced in 2015.

anchorMay 7 and 18, 2015 – Oceania Cruises’ Marina

oceania_marinaOne of Oceania Cruises’ more popular cruises is on board the 66,048-ton 1,250-berth Marina, on May 7, an 11-night spring sailing from New York to Montreal, with gratuities included. The Four-Star-Plus Marina departs from Manhattan and calls at Newport, Boston, Portland, Saint John NB, Halifax, Sydney NS, Saguenay and Quebec before arriving at Montreal on May 17, a perfect time of year for the French-speaking capital of the New World. Then, on May 18, Marina undertakes a 16-night Transatlantic voyage from Montreal to Southampton, with calls at Quebec, Saguenay, Corner Brook, Sydney NS, St Pierre, St John’s NF, Belfast, Dublin, Holyhead and Guernsey.

anchorJune 27, 2015 – Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2

europa-2Hapag-Lloyd Cruises celebrated flagship, the 42,830-ton 516-berth Europa 2, top-rated by the Berlitz Guide to Cruising, offers a special 7-night cruise celebrating Andalusia’s bustling hotspots, leaving Lisbon on June 27 and making her way to Barcelona by way of Cadiz, Malaga, Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca. She then remains in the Mediterranean for the summer, offering a number of 7-night itineraries for the younger ultra-luxury crowd that are still working. Special drinks packages are available for UK and International passengers. Summer specials are available with savings of up to 30% if booked before the end of February.

anchorJuly 4, 2015 – Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 at Liverpool courtesy of Sea BreezesOn July 4, Cunard Line’s 148,528-ton 2,620-berth Queen Mary 2 sails from Liverpool, remembering the first Transatlantic crossing of the 1,154-ton Britannia from Liverpool to Halifax, which she made in 12 and a half days, and on to Boston. New York was not added until 1847, but Queen Mary 2 will proceed there after Boston on this year’s voyage. The July 4 departure will mark 175 years to the day since Britannia’s 1840 maiden Transatlantic voyage under the then-new mail contract. And for the first time in over fifty years, passengers will be able to board a Cunard ship in Cunard’s original home port and sail for the United States. Cunard’s first Atlantic sailing actually took place on May 16, 1840, when the 648-ton Unicorn left Liverpool with 51 passengers, six weeks ahead of Britannia. The Unicorn was sent to carry passengers and mail on a feeder service between Nova Scotia and Quebec in connection with the Atlantic ships.

anchorAugust 28, 2015 – Haimark Line’s Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent for'dThe newly-launched Haimark Line will introduce the 4,954-ton 210-berth Saint Laurent into service in Eastern Canada, New England and the Great Lakes in 2015. Available for sale now is a special 9-night Great Lakes cruise leaving Chicago on August 28 and including Mackinac Island, an excursion into Lake Superior, Georgian Bay and the Ojibwé Indians, the Henry Ford Museum, Niagara Falls, the Thousand Islands and the St Lawrence Seaway, and finishing in Montreal. The Saint Laurent previously cruised the Great Lakes in 2001 as Cape May Light. The Haimark Line will use the same ship to offer half a dozen cruises between Montreal and Portland, Maine. Ten more cruises will be offered on the French market by Rivages du Monde, with flights from Paris, sailing from Montreal to Toronto, Niagara Falls, the Thousand Islands, Quebec and back to Montreal.

anchorSeptember 7, 2015 – Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo

Marco PoloSeptember sees Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ 22,080-ton 848-berth Marco Polo departing Tilbury on her 50th Anniversary voyage to Montreal. Fifty years ago, as the Alexandr Pushkin, she first crossed from St Petersburg (then called Leningrad), Helsinki, Copenhagen and Tilbury to Quebec and Montreal for the Baltic Shipping Company. This epic 34-night voyage remembers Marco Polo’s Transatlantic service during her Golden Anniversary year, with calls at Amsterdam and Cherbourg before crossing the Atlantic to St John’s NF. Twenty days will be spent rediscovering her old cruising grounds in Eastern Canada, including Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and two days each in Quebec and Montreal as she cruises the mighty St Lawrence River. New calls since she cruised as Alexandr Pushkin will include Sept-Iles, Havre St Pierre and the Magdalen Islands. Then it’s back across the Atlantic with a final call at Cobh before returning to Tilbury.

anchorOctober 27, 2015 – Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas

QuantumoftheSeasOctober will see the 168,666-ton 4,180-berth Anthem of the Seas (with a tonnage some 14% larger than Queen Mary 2 but a lower berth capacity 60% higher) making her maiden Transatlantic voyage when, at the end of her first season sailing Mediterranean cruises from Southampton, she departs on a 7-night Atlantic crossing to New York. From New York, Anthem of the Seas will offer a winter program of Caribbean Cruises from Cape Liberty, on the New Jersey side of the port near Newark Airport, before presumably returning to the UK for a second season of Mediterranean cruises in 2016. Sister ship Quantum of the Seas will be based in Shanghai from next Spring.

anchorNovember 1, 2015 – Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Eclipse

Celebrity EclipseCelebrity Cruises’ UK-based 121,878-ton 2,850-berth Celebrity Eclipse does her next Transatlantic voyage on November 1, departing her summer home port of Southampton for Miami, with calls en route at Boston, New York, Bermuda and Port Canaveral. Once in Miami, she will commence an autumn and winter Caribbean season, with durations varying from five nights (Miami-Nassau-Grand Cayman) to 14 nights (Miami-Southern Caribbean). She crosses the Atlantic again on April 17, 2016, heading back from Miami to Southampton via Bermuda and Lisbon.

anchorDecember 3, 2015 – Princess Cruises’ Pacific Princess

Pacific Princess at SkagwayTo celebrate its 50th anniversary next year, Princess Cruises has scheduled the 30,277-ton 680-berth Pacific Princess for a special Mexican Riviera itinerary departing Los Angeles on December 3, 2015. She will leave fifty years to the day after the line’s original ship, the 6,062-ton 347-berth Princess Patricia, left on her first cruise in 1965. This vessel, from which Princess Cruises took its name, was chartered from Canadian Pacific, who normally operated her in the Alaska cruise trade by summer and laid her up each winter. Pacific Princess is the smallest ship in the Princess fleet, and her 14-night cruise will be of the same duration as that first cruise on the Princess Patricia. It will blend ports from the maiden itinerary, including Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Manzanillo, with newer destinations such as La Paz and Loreto. Princess Cruises’ first season offered ten cruises to Mexico between December and April, accommodating about 3,200 cruisers. Nearly fifty years later, Princess has seventeen ships and is now carrying 1.7 million cruisers annually.

For further details of any of these sailings please call The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruisepeopleltd@aol.com. In North America please call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.

Freighter To Paradise – Aranui Cruises Celebrates 30 Years As French Polynesia’s Renowned Adventure Cruise From Tahiti

Aranui 3Aranui Cruises, operator of the Aranui 3 mixed passenger-cargo vessel, is celebrating thirty years as the world’s only soft adventure cruise provider to sail the virtually untouched, lush Marquesas Islands and fully immerse travellers in the culture of French Polynesia.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the company’s first passenger-cargo voyage, which departed from Papeete in 1984, bound for the northern archipelagos and sparked the beginning of its unique cruise operation.

To honour the occasion, Aranui Cruises has announced it will celebrate with a 30th anniversary sailing on April 25, 2015, which will include a special dinner show and firework-display, as well as commemorative gifts.

Owned and operated by the Wong family through Compagnie Polynésienne de Transport Maritime (CPTM), Aranui Cruises takes travellers on a unique adventure sailing 800 miles north of Tahiti to some of the most spectacular and remote islands in the world, where they are fully immersed in the French Polynesian culture.

“For 30 years Aranui has been offering discerning travellers the adventure of a lifetime across three French Polynesian archipelagos – the Marquesas, Tuamotu and Society Islands – and with transport, meals, accommodation and tours all included, it’s still one of the best value ways to see Tahiti,” said Jules Wong, Marketing Director, Aranui Cruises.

In 1960, the Wong family began offering a cargo service that ferried supplies to the Tuamotu-Gambier Islands and provided passage to Tahitians, becoming the first regular contact the inhabitants had ever had with the outside world. Sensing a market for a soft adventure cruise experience in the region the family spent several years in the early 1980’s modifying its freighter to a mixed cargo and passenger vessel with the introduction of 12 cabins, a new galley, dining room, dormitory and other basic amenities.

On November 22, 1984, the Aranui 1 made its first historic passenger voyage, departing from Papeete with 24 international and local passengers, along with cargo bound for the northern Tahitian archipelagos.

Aranui 3 Baie de VaipaeeThree ships and 30 years later, Aranui Cruises’ vessels have carried over 44,750 passengers, 534,511 tons of freight and sailed more than 917,800 nautical miles between Tahiti and the remote Tuamotu and Marquesas Islands.

Today, the Aranui 3‘s 14-day voyage departs from Papeete, visiting Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Tahuata, Fatu Hiva, Hiva Oa, Ua Huka in the Marquesas, Takapoto and Rangiroa in the Tuamotus, and will add a stop at the famed Society Island of Bora Bora to its itinerary in 2015.

Each voyage includes on-shore experiences such as awe-inspiring hikes past waterfalls and sacred ritual sites, encounters with local artisans, a visit to French artist Paul Gauguin’s grave, snorkelling in translucent waters, island picnics featuring local food, a visit to a pearl farm and more.

Featuring a crew primarily composed of local inhabitants from the Marquesas Islands and throughout French Polynesia, the Aranui provides a unique culture-oriented spin on hospitality which combines with superb scenery to create an unforgettable sailing experience.

Travellers booking a stay aboard the Aranui 3 can choose from four different cabin categories – Suite, Deluxe, Standard and Class C – each providing different room configurations. The ship offers comfortable, air-conditioned accommodations for about 200 passengers, featuring 63 tastefully designed standard cabins, nine deluxe staterooms and 12 well-appointed private balcony suites.

Prices for the anniversary departure, April 25-May 8, 2015, start at £3,250 per person sharing a standard twin bedded outside cabin with private facilities including all meals with wine, all land-based sightseeing excursions and taxes. Optional excursions such as scuba diving, horseback riding and fishing are additional.

Flights to/from Papeete, Tahiti are not included in these prices. Air Tahiti Nui fly to Papeete with prices from around £1,600 per person return from London.

For further details of Aranui sailings please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk. In North America please call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.

Maiden Voyage Of Tahiti-Based Aranui 5 Delayed Until October 2015; Passengers Can Rebook To Ensure They Are On The New Ship

Aranui 5Tahiti’s Compagnie Polynésienne de Transport Maritime (CPTM) has just confirmed to us that the Aranui 5 ‘s maiden voyage will be delayed by one sailing. At the moment, CPTM believe that she should be able to enter service with departure N°14/2015 (October 10, 2015). This date could change again in the future. To be on the safe side, passengers wishing to travel on the new vessel should probably book on Voyage N°16/2015 and thereafter.

With these latest changes, for passengers already booked and wishing to travel on the new ship CPTM will allow them to postpone or even cancel their cruise without penalty. CPTM’s reservations department will shortly be contacting all operators and agents having passengers on these trips.

Furthermore, CPTM has decided to reintroduce for 2015, their Senior Special (voyage N°12 – Aug 29th 2015). The discount granted will be 10% applicable to passengers already booked on this departure and also to new reservations (some conditions apply).

For further details on booking on either the Aranui 3 or the new Aranui 5 please contact Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk. In North America please call 1-800-961-5536 or e-mail cruise@thecruisepeople.ca.

Aranui Adds Bora Bora To 2015 Schedule To Exotic Voyages Through The Remote Marquesas Islands (10% Off Some Voyages)

Aranui 5

The new Aranui 5 (above) is scheduled to take over from the Aranui 3 in September 2015.

The well-appointed passenger-freighter Aranui  has released its 2015 sailing schedule, offering seventeen departures destined to attract a lot of attention. Passengers sailing in 2015 will also now have the pleasure of visiting the legendary island of Bora Bora, which has been added as a port of call on each of the year’s voyages.

For added value, travellers can take advantage of a 10% discount on two select voyages (*) while visiting this exotic paradise. The Aranui departs from Papeete on a regularly scheduled 14-day journey. The 2015 schedule includes the following travel dates:

January 10 & 31, February 21, March 14, April 4 & 25, May 16, June 6 (*) & 27, July 18, August 8 & 29 (*), September 19, October 10 & 31, November 21 and December 12, 2015.

On this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, passengers embark from Tahiti on a 14-day voyage sailing 800 miles north to some of most spectacular and remote islands in the world, to be fully immersed in the Polynesian culture.  The Aranui visits Takapoto and Rangiroa in the Tuamotu archipelago, Bora Bora in the Society Islands, as well as Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Hiva Oa, Fatu Hiva, Tahuata and Ua Huka in the Marquesas Islands.

While on shore in Bora Bora, passengers will have the opportunity to take part in optional excursions including a tour of the island by boat, motorized canoe, truck or helicopter, or a visit to see the Manta and other rays that inhabit the island’s waters. The Aranui‘s crew will prepare a full picnic lunch on the beach in the afternoon for guests who can enjoy the rest of the day sunbathing and exploring the island on their own.

Each voyage includes on-shore experiences such as hikes past awe-inspiring waterfalls and sacred ritual sites, encounters with local artisans, a visit to artist Paul Gauguin’s grave, snorkeling in translucent waters, picnics featuring local food, a visit to a pearl farm and more. Featuring a crew primarily composed of local inhabitants from the Marquesas Islands and throughout French Polynesia, the Aranui provides a unique culture-oriented spin on hospitality which combines with mesmerizing scenery to create an unforgettable sailing experience.

Travellers booking a voyage aboard the Aranui can choose from four different cabin categories – Suite, Deluxe, Standard and Class C – each providing different configurations.

The cruise includes three meals with complimentary wine daily, guided excursions as outlined in the itinerary, picnics and meals on shore. Optional excursions such as scuba diving, horseback riding and fishing are additional.

For further details please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Cruise Examiner Special – Slow Boat To China: Travel By Cargo Ship – Cruise Shipping Miami News To Follow Next Week

THE CRUISE EXAMINER at Cybercruises.com by Kevin Griffin

The Cruise Examiner for 17th March 2014..

Freighter Map

The subject of travel by cargo ship has received a good deal of coverage in the world press this quarter. In late December, The Financial Times dedicated most of a page to a feature called “A Freight Adventure.” In late January, the Wall Street Journal (above) did the same with a story entitled “Travel the World on Cargo Cruises.” And last month’s issue of The New Yorker carried a six-page essay on a voyage in a Rickmers Line multi-purpose cargo ship. So this week we bring you an update on that market, as published in “Pennant” magazine for May 2014.

Most of us know Slow Boat to China as part of the title of a popular 1948 song, but recent world events have made a revival of this expression quite appropriate. A decade ago, for example, a round trip from Le Havre to half a dozen ports in China and back on CMA CGM’s French Asia Line took 56 days (with 8 ships in a weekly service). Today, due to “slow steaming” in an effort to cut high fuel expenses, the same voyage takes 77 days (11 ships in the same weekly loop). On the same route, a one-way voyage from Southampton to Shanghai that used to take 25 days now takes 45. The situation is similar for Hong Kong.

CMACGMChopinatseaThese longer voyage times are mainly the result of higher fuel costs, as the amount of fuel consumed (and the cost) rises exponentially as speed is increased. It has been estimated, for example, that by reducing speed from 25 knots to 20 knots a container ship carrying 8,000 twenty-foot-equivalent containers from Europe to the Far East can save 2,550 tonnes of fuel, or about $1,785,000 on a single voyage. The other benefit of slow steaming is substantially reduced emissions.

There are now about 300 passenger-carrying cargo ships trading on world routes, ranging from small short-sea vessels to the world’s largest container ships. These vessels are limited to a maximum of twelve passengers each (above which a doctor must be carried) and many have been built in recent years. Passengers dine with the officers, are allowed to visit the bridge and on French and Italian ships table wine is complimentary with lunch and dinner, while other lines sell wine and beer at genuinely duty free prices.

cma-cgm-marco-polo2Although some think that there are fewer cargo ships carrying passengers today than in the past this is not true. There has actually been a renaissance in cargo ship travel. Admittedly, many lines have dropped out of this trade over the past fifteen years, in particular companies such as Bank Line, Blue Star Line, CP Ships, Fyffes, Geest, Hanseatic Shipping, Egon Oldendorff and P&O Nedlloyd. But many of these more traditional lines only operated between one and four ships each, while today the chief players operate fleets of dozens of large new container ships.

CMA CGM, for example, operates 75 passenger-carrying cargo ships. After adding the privatised CGM (the French Line) to his own privately-owned CMA to form CMA CGM in 1996, chairman Jacques Saadé decided that new container ships should be built with passenger accommodation, most often five to seven cabins for 10 to 12 passengers. This was his way of commemorating the heritage of legendary French liners such as the Ile de France, Normandie and France. In fact, CMA CGM’s passenger section got its start in the Public Relations department. The line carried 662 passengers on its container ships in 2012.

While the Transatlantic services of the Cunard Line and the Queen Mary 2 are well known, very few know that CMA CGM still operates its own historic trans-Atlantic service, one that dates back to 1862, year-round every week of the year. This is the French West Indies Line, whose four ships each carry 12 passengers on a 28-day round voyage that begins in Le Havre and takes in Martinique and Guadeloupe.  One-way voyages are also available.

cma-cgm-manetWhile cabins are usually available on the French West Indies Line, CMA CGM’s popular Panama Direct Service from Tilbury to Australia and New Zealand is fully booked eighteen months in advance. A full round voyage take 84 days but one-way bookings can also be made. An interesting route for North Americans is CMA CGM’s Columbus Loop service, which connects New York with Seattle and Vancouver via the Suez Canal and the Far East. New York to Seattle is 60 days while Seattle to New York is 52 days and crossing North America by rail will complete a world circuit.

Hanjin Amsterdam © VesseltrackerGermany’s Niederelbe Schiffahrtsgesellschaft Buxtehude (NSB) started carrying passengers in a different way. As its newly-built container ships were financed by individual investors, accommodation was set aside for the use of these shareholders. After some time, however, NSB found that the shareholders were not making use of the cabins so it put them on sale to the general public, and now operates about 40 passenger-carrying container ships. One of its more interesting routes is the Hanjin Lines service between Italy, the Far East and California, a full round voyage of 91 days. La Spezia to Long Beach is 42 days and includes calls in Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and two ports in China, while Oakland to Naples is 44 days with calls in Pusan, three ports in China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Grande Costa d'AvorioGrimaldi Lines of Naples once operated passenger liners in the trans-Atlantic trades and retired its last cruise ship, the 11,879-ton Ausonia, in 1996. Today it provides passenger accommodation in about 35 cargo ships. All of these carry the maximum of twelve passengers allowed on a cargo ship, but as they are combination container, vehicle and roll on-roll off carriers of a different design, Grimaldi is the only cargo ship operator offering inside cabins. While other lines have maximum age limits of either 75 or 79, Grimaldi will accept passengers up to 85. Its most popular services are from Tilbury to South America (a 51-day round voyage) and from Southampton around the Mediterranean and Scandinavia (a 35-day round voyage).

LubieThe Polish Steamship Company, which operates into the Great Lakes, has a fleet of 11 ships that carry passengers. Carrying steel from Europe and loading grain out of the Great Lakes, these offer the last opportunity to travel on a bulk carrier. As the destinations for the outbound grain cargoes are not known until the last minute, it is almost like an old-fashioned tramp voyage. The cargo could be bound for anywhere in Europe or possibly even North Africa and the destination is not known until just a few days before sailing.

RickmersAntwerpThe Rickmers Line, meanwhile, operates nine multi-purpose heavy lift project ships in a round-the-world service. These ships carry project and general cargo and heavy lifts as well as containers, and tend to spend more time in port than pure container ships. Each is fitted to carry up to seven passengers. Passengers join ship in Singapore and sail to Vietnam, Shanghai, Dalian, Xingang, Qingdao, Masan in South Korea, Kobe and Yokohama, cross the Pacific and transit the Panama Canal. They then call at Houston, New Orleans and Philadelphia before crossing the Atlantic to Antwerp, Hamburg and Genoa. Depending on the cargo, calls can also be made in Indonesia, Thailand or Taiwan. Passengers wishing to sail all the way round the world need to connect by container ship from either Europe or North America and then change ship in Singapore.

As well as long-haul cargo ships, two island supply routes, one each in the Atlantic and Pacific, carry passengers.  Unlike pure cargo ships, these ships carry doctors, which makes them convenient for passengers above the age limits who are still fit. One ship will soon be retiring while the other is due to be replaced by a larger vessel.

St HelenaThe British-flag RMS St Helena trades from Cape Town to the islands of St Helena and Ascension about every three weeks, carrying a maximum of 156 passengers. As well as supplying the islands, she carries workers between St Helena and Ascension. An airport is due to open in St Helena in February 2016, however, after which sea travel will no longer be a necessity. As the St Helena is approaching twenty-five years of age and will be retired when the airport opens, now is the time to make this voyage before it is too late.

Aranui 5The French-flag Aranui 3, on the other hand, carries about 200 passengers and is due to be replaced. Sailing every three weeks from Papeete,Tahiti, to the Marquesas and Tuamotu Islands, the Aranui 3 operated at 90% of capacity in 2011, carrying 2,200 passengers. Her replacement, Aranui 5, now being built in China, is due to enter service in June 2015. Aranui 5 will carry 296 passengers, of whom 228 will be cruise passengers. Many of the cabins will have balconies and there will be 62 deluxe cabins on Aranui 5 as compared to just 24 on the Aranui 3.

As only thousands cruise in cargo ships compared to the millions that travel on cruise ships, just a few specialist agencies book them. Typical fares are in the region of €100 (about £87 or $145) per person per day and a further good source of information is The Internet Guide To Freighter Travel at www.seaplus.com

For further details please call Miri Lopusna at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

FOR FURTHER DETAILS                                                                               (See previous columns)

South Pacific Cargo Ship Voyage: Aranui 5’s Maiden Voyage To The Marquesas and Tuamotu Islands Is Set for 6th June 2015

Aranui 5Compagnie Polynésienne de Transport Maritime (CPTM), who operate the South Pacific island supply ship Aranui 3 from Papéeté to the Marquesas and Tuamotu Islands, have announced that their new Aranui 5 (see image above) will make her maiden voyage from Papéeté on June 6, 2015. The Aranui 5, which is beiong built in China, will replace the present ship and will have additional capacity as well as more facilities for passengers. Details will follow later but below is a detailed outline of the usual itinerary. For further details please call Miri Lopusna at the Cruise People Ltd in London or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

    Day 1: Departure from Papeete dock at 10:30 am

Day 2: Fakarava is the largest atoll in the Tuamotu. There is snorkeling and scuba diving for people of all levels. You can swim and snorkel in the translucent lagoon to watch the colourful ballet of tropical lagoon fish. The entire morning will be spent on shore. Lunch will be served on board while we set sail for the Marquesas.
Day 3: You can relax with a book on one of the sun decks, swim in the small pool or enjoy the immense South Pacific. Balmy evenings mean reading in lounge/library or chatting with an authority on Marquesan culture or archaeology. You’ll probably spend many evenings socializing on the upstairs deck/bar with your fellow adventurers from around the world. The spirited Polynesian crew treat you like welcomed guests and proudly introduce you to their rich culture. Almost every night, they sing and strum hypnotic Polynesian rhythms on their ukuleles and will teach you to move your hips to hypnotic beat of the tamure.
Day 4: We sail into Taiohae’s spectacular bay, a giant volcanic amphitheater dominated by towering cliffs streaked with waterfalls. As the Aranui unloads, you can explore Taiohae, the tiny Administrative capital of the Marquesas. Taiohae Bay is where a 23-year-old sailor , He man Melville and a buddy jumped a whaling ship in 1842. We follow their escape route by jeep along steep, winding dirt mountain roads to the village of Hatiheu to visit an archeological site. We’ll have lunch at Yvonne’s Restaurant, one of the best restaurants in the Marquesas, where the specialty is pig baked in an underground oven. You’ll meet the owner-chef, Yvonne, who also happens to be the town’s energetic mayor. After lunch, we will travel to the valley of Taipivai. The area is dotted with stone tiki gods and sacred ritual sites (me’ae) and immense stone platforms (paepae) where the Taipi built their houses. Enigmatic petroglyphs of birds, sacred turtles and fish are carved on huge boulders. The Aranui’s whaleboats will sail down the river to return you to the Aranui, which is anchored in the bay.
Day 5: From the deck, you’ll see the soaring mountain spires of Ua Pou. Whenever the Aranui stops, villages greet it. As the muscular crew unloads supplies – from cements to sugar – and loads sacks of copra (dried coconut meat), you’ll explore the tiny town of Hakahau with its church with a hand-carved wooden dais. You can meet some talented woodcarvers and hike up a hill for a breathtaking view of the distant cloud-covered mountains. At Rosalie’s Restaurant, you’ll taste your first Marquesan lunch: breadfruit, a marquesan staple, along with curried goat, barbecued rock lobster, poisson cru (raw fish marinated in lime juice and soaked in coconut milk ), taro and sweet red bananas.
Day 6: We have plenty of time to explore Atuona, the second largest village in Marquesas. This is where Paul Gauguin lived and did some of his best work. You can visit the colonial store where Gauguin shopped and go into a replica of the Impressionist’s infamous “House of Pleasure.” As you walk up the hill to the cemetery, you’ll have sweeping views of the harbor. Beneath a huge frangipani tree is a tombstone with the simple words: Paul Gauguin 1903. Nearby is the grave of another famous European who also was seduced by Hiva Oa: Belgian singer-composer Jacques Brel, who died in 1978. You’ll also enjoy another lavish Marquesan lunch at Hoa Nui Restaurant.
Day 7: This is the most lush and remote island of the Marquesan. It’s also a center of Marquesan crafts. As our guides lead you through the village of Omoa, you’ll see women hammering mulberry, banyan or breadfruit bark on logs. They dry it and then paint ancient Marquesan designs on their famous tapa cloth. Fatu Hiva is also well-known for its hand-painted pareus (sarongs) and monoi, a perfumed coconut oil scented with tiare blossoms and sandalwood. Skilled woodcarvers will invite you into their home/studios.
Day 8: We’ll travel by foot or by jeep to the most important archeological sites for tikis (ancient, human-like religious sculptures) other than Easter Island. Our trained guides will show you these mysterious jungle ruins of Puamau and tell the stories of these haunting statues of an ancient civilization. Bring plenty of film.
Day 9: On this leaf-shaped island, the air is thick with fragrant scent of tiare, frangipani and history. In the tiny village of Vaitahu, Spanish explorers landed in 1595 and opened fire on a crowd of the curious islanders, killing about 200. When the first missionaries came in 1797, the generous local chief left his wife with missionary John Harris, with instruction that he treat her as his own wife. Harris fled the next day. Tahuata also is the site of the first French settlement in the Marquesas in 1842. The huge church built by the Vatican, is decorated with beautiful Marquesan carvings. We’ll picnic in the Valley of Hapatoni and swim and snorkel at a nearby beach.
Day 10: We’ll visit a museum with exquisite replicas of Marquesan art. Some Aranui passengers will explore the island by four-wheel drive; others will ride the Marquesan horses. For three hours, we will explore the mountain landscape with heart-stopping views of the Pacific. The wild horses (brought from Chile in 1856) thrive here, outnumbering the islands 476 residents. We’ll have a Marquesan lunch at local restaurant and have plenty of time to visit studios of woodcarvers. We’ll visit the arboretum and the garden of fruits and flower. Back on the Aranui, it’s Polynesian night with dancing and buffet dinner on the decks.
Day 11: The Aranui will dock in Nuku Hiva at Taiohae in the morning. You may take the Le Truck back to the town center and spend free time there. At noon, the ship will sail to Ua Pou, returning to our first stop in the Marquesas, Hakahau. This is your last chance to buy Marquesan crafts.
Day 12: At sea.
Day 13: On lovely Rangiroa, the largest atoll in the world, we’ll picnic on coral beach. Aranui passengers can swim and snorkel in a translucent lagoon. Excellent snorkeling and scuba diving are available for people of all levels. “Rangi” is an underwater jewel box with stunning colors of corals and clouds of tropical fishes. You’ll have the opportunity to purchase black pearls from local black pearl.
Day 14: Arrival back in Pepeete about 9:30 am.For further details please call Miri Lopusna at the Cruise People Ltd in London or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.