The freight is carried forward on the deck of the ship and in cargo holds under the decks. Most of the time, passengers are free to explore up to the bow or to the rear decks where the winches that are used to pull the ship into dock are anchored. One of the engineers gave us a fascinating tour of the engine room one day while we were in port, and many passengers visited the bridge to check our location or see how the controls worked. Watching the Marquesan sailors unload the freight was one of our favorite activities. Since the Aranui is the primary supply link to the Marquesas, the ship carries a wide variety of cargo, including at least half a dozen automobiles per voyage. I asked one of the cargo chiefs what had been the most unusual and expensive cargo, and he immediately said it was a helicopter! The ship also had refrigerated containers full of food, and we were constantly amazed by the items that seemed to come out of the bottomless cargo hold.
Dining on the Aranui 3
We thoroughly enjoyed the food and the companionship at meals on the Aranui. Sophie Wong, one of the ship's owners, serves as a gracious hostess at meals and other times on board. Breakfast was our favorite meal, with a wonderful buffet filled with fresh fruits, French bread, luncheon meat, and cheese. Passengers could also get bacon and eggs to order. I especially enjoyed the mangoes and pomelos, a grapefruit-like fruit. The Aranui had an excellent pastry chef, and he made some wonderful raisin or chocolate chip pastries or buttery croissants each morning. Lunch and dinner were family-style, with the wait staff bringing out a large serving plate with each course or serving passengers individually. Both meals started with a salad, soup, or appetizer, followed by the main course and then dessert. Both red and white French table wines were served at lunch and dinner. The food was varied, with chicken, pork, beef, fish, and lamb served at different meals. Vegetarians could request a special meal. Unlike a mainstream cruise ship, we did not have food or snacks available all the time. European cuisine dominated the menus on board with interesting sauces and delicious desserts such as pear pie, apricot tarts, and congealed nougat made with heavy cream and dried fruit.
Let's leave the Aranui and go ashore.
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