“Aranui” means “The Great Way” in Maori, another great Polynesian culture. The Aranui I was bought from a New Zealand owner in 1959. The Polynesian Maritime Company of Cruises decided to keep the original name, because it was suitable for the boat. Serving as a link between the distant Marquesas and the rest of the world, this ship was really the “Great Way” on which freight and passengers traveled. The first boat soon becomes too small to meet the needs of the islands, whose trade was growing. That is why a new bigger boat was bought to replace the Aranui I. It was also named Aranui.

The Aranui II was originally a freight boat for the Baltic trade, with a particularly thick hull, because of the ice sheets frequently encountered in this region. The boat was modified in Germany in 1990. After only a few years of service, it in turn became too small to meet the needs of the growing trade of the islands, along with a growing number of passengers. The CPTM decided this time to build a new boat in 2000, which was named Aranui III.

Aranui III was built in Romania as a cargo and passenger ship. Due to the number of passengers it can carry, the Aranui III has been reclassified as a passenger boat. And by the same token, is subject to the strictest SOLAS regulation (Safety of Life at Sea) as well as to many constraints for safety including lifejackets, canoes and lifeboats, fire protection system etc.

The ship sports the French flag and its crew, Polynesian and predominantly Marquesan, combines competence and sense of hospitality. It is in their tradition to offer, in the evening, a small improvised concert, with guitars and ukulele, for their own pleasure and that of the passengers.

A small shop on board, offers various products of common need, some clothes and souvenirs. Also available are self-service washing machines and drying racks. Dry cleaning is not possible on board. There are also two bars, a video room equipped with a TV and a VCR with some video tapes. The boat also has a swimming pool and solarium on the upper deck.

The electric current in the cabins is 220 Volts, alternating current of 50 cycles, with French plugs.

The ship accepts travelers checks and credit cards for onboard purchases. However, checks are not accepted. Safes are available on board. However, the CPTM can not accept either the custody or the responsibility for the money or other valuables of the passengers on board.