One of the joys of cruise vacations onboard Aranui 5, is the opportunity to immerse in Polynesian culture as the cruise ship docks at some of the world's most remote islands.

Among the shore experiences which take this philosophy to the next level, is the chance to have a traditional Polynesian tattoo, carried out by a native artist in what is considered to be the birthplace of tattooing.

Aranui 5

“The best holidays leave lasting impressions, but some of our passengers go a step further and opt to imprint a symbol of their experience directly on to their skin,” says Jules Wong, Marketing Director for Aranui. “We aim for full cultural immersion and this is one of the ways travellers can take a piece of the Marquesas home with them.”

In traditional Polynesian culture, tatau (tattoos) play an important role in society, symbolising major life events, rites of passage, social status, heroism, hunting and fishing prowess, family identity and religious power.

The Polynesian art was revived in the 1980s after a long prohibition period enforced by missionaries, and has become increasingly popular worldwide due to its unique aesthetic and rich history.

Since the ancient tattoo process is very time consuming and involves the use of wooden tools and a serrated comb made of bone, passengers’ tattoos are applied using modern equipment by artists who adhere to the highest standards of safety and cleanliness. Western techniques are combined with traditional art to create a distinctly Polynesian look.

Passengers board the Aranui 5 in Papeete, Tahiti, for an awe-inspiring 14-day holiday, which stops in the Tuamotu Archipelago, Bora Bora in the Society Islands, as well as in the Marquesas.

Other onshore experiences include hikes, visits to sacred ritual sites, encounters with local artisans, a visit to renowned French artist Paul Gauguin’s grave, snorkelling in the truly translucent waters of the atolls, a trip to a pearl farm and delicious picnics on white-sand beaches.

Prices for a 14-day voyage, including all taxes, start from Euros 2,528.54 in a class C dormitory (no children under 16 years) and from Euros 3,891.23 in a standard double cabin, based on two sharing. This includes all meals and wine during meals on board, planned excursions, expert lecturers and guides, a primarily Polynesian crew, plus facilities such as a swimming pool, fitness room, spa, bars, restaurant, lounges, library, video and computer room.