French Polynesia in a cargo shipMarquesas Islands, French Polynesia

Not long before the pandemic hit, get lost's man on the ground Roberto Serrini got to experience the truly majestic collection of islands the Marquesas Island, a section of French Polynesia/Tahiti.

He did it in true get lost style, too: hopping around on a hybrid cargo ship, a mode of travel that was close to home, due to an old family story. 

"As a kid, one of my favourite stories was about how my grandfather came to New York City," Roberto wrote for get lost.

"Travelling from Panama at the age of 12, he was stowed away on a cargo ship, tucked among ropes and crates as a hidden human package. Each time he told me the tale, I hung on every word with the same wide-eyed grip as the first time I heard it.

"It’s this story that peaked my interest in Aranui 5 – a cruise with a beautiful identity crisis; half cargo ship and half luxury cruise liner.

"The difference to my grandfather’s story, however, is I’m trading the Manhattan metropolis for the tropical Marquesas Islands, a handful of extremely remote, pristine islands within Polynesia. And I certainly don’t have to hide behind any crates. If the concept of Aranui 5 sounds a little unorthodox, it’s because it is.

"Sure, it’s a cargo ship that transports much needed supplies to these remote outposts of Polynesia, but it doubles as a luxury cruise ship where I’d be sleeping within the comforts of a delightfully appointed room, and spending my days sipping a cold Hinano beer next to the pool.

"When I first spot the ship, my jaw drops. It’s as if some mad scientist has Frankensteined commerce and tourism into some half-baked, late-night metal explosion. From the front, Aranui 5 doesn’t resemble the grandeur I’d expect. The bow masks its deep belly, which stores everything from cars to livestock, while two spindly cranes breach its sharp hull like a floating praying mantis. When I look to the stern, however, the scenery changes to a manicured amphitheatre of suites surrounding a beautiful open-air deck and pool, and balconies are decorated with colourful chairs inviting us into happy hour.

"It’s this brackish melee of sophistication and rustic culture that captures the intrepid spirit for any traveler willing to make the journey."


get there

French Polynesia recently relaxed restrictions on Australians entering the islands, and the resumption of flights from Australia to Tahiti is considered imminent – stay up to date with get lost for more information.

Australians can currently fly to Tahiti via New Zealand.

To welcome Australians back onboard its 125-metre mixed freight and passenger vessel Aranui 5, Aranui Cruises is offering discounts on twelve Marquesas Islands cruises including voyages 10-18 between May and August 2022 and voyage 26 departing December 17, 2022, as well as voyages 5 and 6 departing March 18 and April 1, 2023.

Ready to go?

Tags: cruise, french polynesia

Get Inspired In Print

While you're here

RANGIROA ISLAND, FRENCH...

White sand under foot, turquoise blue ocean as far as the eye can see,...

White sand under foot, turquoise blue ocean as far as the eye can see, coconut trees...

MOOREA, FRENCH POLYNESIA

It is difficult to explain the adrenaline rush when you first spot a...

It is difficult to explain the adrenaline rush when you first spot a 15-metre-long...

TAHITI, FRENCH POLYNESIA

If you tire of the perfect beaches and wild surf, head deep into the centre...

If you tire of the perfect beaches and wild surf, head deep into the centre of French...

TAHAA, FRENCH POLYNESIA

This outstanding Tahitian luxury island has squeaky white sand, a striking...

This outstanding Tahitian luxury island has squeaky white sand, a striking blue lagoon and...