I read about the Aranui 3 many years ago and had been intrigued by the Marquesas islands ever since. I generally hate cruises, but I was on a freighter cruise before and liked the experience. Also the Marquesas Islands are so remote that Aranui 5 is one of very few ways of getting there. I finally took the plunge this year. The cruise was part of my round-the-world trip. I could fly east (which means I'll start with Aranui 5) or fly west (which means I'll be on Aranui 5 before coming home). I decided to make the cruise the last stop. It turned out to be a good decision.
The ship was surprisingly well-appointed, considering it's a working freighter. The cabins are clean and comfortable (I had a cabin on Level 5 and I have visited cabins on other levels). The meals were rather good. The crew were very accommodating and helpful. The free laundry service on certain days was especially great for me, as I packed light.
The program was generally very good. Other than the two days at sea, we went onshore every day. The onshore program was generally well organized. I especially like the hikes, including the arduous 10-mile hike on Fatu Hiva, in the Marquesas. The program included alternatives for those who prefer not to be active. On board, there were talks on Marquesian and Polynesian history and culture; a talk about Marquesian tattoos was especially interesting. All notices, talks and presentations were given in three languages: English, French and German, at different times or in different venues. Most passengers were friendly and solo travelers like didn't seem to have an issue mixing with different groups. The program also involved activities with passenger participation. including a fashion show, and performances on Polynesian Night.