The Aranui ships are not like your normal cruise ship. They take passangers and have cruise like atmosphere but half the ship is a working freighter delivering goods, supplies and some locals between the islands and connecting them to Papeete. This is what makes Aranui so interesting and integeral to the local community.
On our cruise the passanger mix was more English speakers than French and overall I didn’t think we were treated any differently except we did notice when there was a lecture the French had nibbles laid out for them but there was never any for the English lectures though sometimes we got leftovers from the French.
Overall food was mixed. Some dishes were great, good and a few I really didn’t enjoy. Breakfast is a buffet and sometimes they would cook eggs to order or pancakes depending on the day. Lunch and dinner was three courses each, they would put the menu outside so if there was something you didn’t like you could request alternatives. Some people we noticed would refuse a course outright probably because they found it too much. The free wine is the French digestive wine so most were pretty dry. If you want something different you could purchase an alternative. Prices obviously higher than on land. Every day at all three bars there was a happy hour with half price cocktails. Twice there was a buffet dinner event on board, on the second sea day they ran a buffet from breakfast to late afternoon. There was a BBQ buffet at Bora Bora and three restaurant island lunches, two being buffets. The local food I personally loved but I noticed the other passengers found it an acquired taste.
We had a superior deluxe room with twin bed and would recommend a balcony as a lot of the sailing is close to land so there are great views to be had unless you are prone to sea sickness then get a room lower down because the ship rocks a lot. One day it was so bad plates and wine bottles came off the table. The room overall I thought was great, it was quiet and there is so much storage space. My only complaint was the air conditioning could get very cold and we couldn’t make adjustments. The balcony came in handy at those times. We met a surprising amount of single people on the ship. Some where staying in the dormitories and they told us those rooms were very nice though one woman said she could hear the engine from her room.