While on the subject of shipping news (see my first post this morning), I came across a travel blog report on a unique ship: the Aranui 5, a vessel that’s half luxury cruise liner and half cargo carrier.
She plies the waters of French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean. She’s almost literally the lifeline for much inter-island trade: in many cases, if she doesn’t carry it, it doesn’t get there.
A travel blogger, Barbara Weibel, took a trip aboard Aranui 5 last year. Instead of just focusing on the touristy stuff, she also studied the ship’s cargo operations, and found out more about what it was like in the old days, before powered cranes and modern vessels. Here’s her video report.
Cruise ship passengers often pass through their destinations without thinking much about how ordinary people live there. This cruise ship makes it impossible to ignore that, without her, the islands’ populations would be left almost destitute. It’s an interesting combination of luxury and bare-bones necessity.
I’ve always said I’ll never take a cruise – particularly not on the monster cruise ships that tend to frequent US harbors. Why would I pay for the “privilege” of being crammed cheek-by-jowl into an artificial steel island, surrounded by noisy people and exposed to nasty infections? However, something like the Aranui 5 might be a very different proposition, with far fewer people and a very interesting practical itinerary, not just a tourist trap. Have any of my readers sailed aboard her? If so, please let us know what you thought of her in Comments.