Thursday, October 24, 2013

Onboard the Aranui 3 - Part 3

(Be sure to check out Onboard the Aranui 3  - Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven't already.)

On our first day we had a safety meeting and a lifeboat drill. In the afternoon we had our "Life on Board" meeting, where I learned some things I wish I had known earlier, like the request-a-meal in the dining room.

In no particular order we received information about meal hours, reception (which is not manned 24/7), the boutique and the infirmary. (BTW, the boutique was mobbed early in the cruise with the correct assumption that selection would be significantly lower by the time we headed back to Pape'ete.) Money could be changed into French Polynesian Francs (XFP) at reception between the hours of 5 to 6. Lousy exchange rate and pax were encouraged to use ATMs on the islands that had them. We were told not to expect credit cards to be accepted on the islands (except in shops selling pearls) and that the only currency accepted would be XFP. (I used ATMs on three of the islands and they are worked just fine, with English as a language option.)

It was at this meeting that we received a handout with our overall itinerary. As you can see by my corrections, whoever did this was either half asleep or had finished those meal time leftover bottles of wine. :)

We also received a brief rundown about the islands we would be visiting, what we would do there and what crafts were the best to buy there. I took notes and I'm glad I did as having a clue about what lay ahead was very helpful to us. For instance, if we knew the next day would have an excellent beach for swimming and relaxing, we pushed ourselves physically on the current day.

Basically our day was breakfast (served 6:30 to 8:30), barge to shore and then lunch either on board, at a local restaurant or a beach BBQ. Typically if we had lunch ashore, there were options for the afternoon such as hiking, shopping or swimming. If lunch on board, it could be because we were docked and pax could come and go as they pleased. Or we would weigh anchor and head to another island.

Some afternoons we had a lecture. Our on board lecturer was Michael Koch and we thoroughly enjoyed listening to him. Other afternoons were a movie such as National Geographic's The Lost Continent of the Pacific. One afternoon we had a drum lesson. That's me on the right.

Generally, back on board was anywhere from 3:30 to 5:00. At 6:00 pm (if you got to the lounge early enough, you might find some leftovers from the cookies put out around 4:30) we had our meeting about the next day where we learned about the island we were visiting, received the day's agenda, saw slides about where were going and what we were doing, and had a chance to ask questions. If appropriate we would also be given a map. Samples of both are below.

Dinner was at 7. While the Aranui Band played at the bar after dinner, and there was karaoke some nights and movies other nights, we were in our cabin by 8:30 and asleep by 10.

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