Why Cruise to the Andaman Islands Is Exaggerated

Aatika Fatima
November 13, 2017

When we meet travelers in trade shows or in other travel events. Most of them have a question asking, can we go on a cruise to Andaman Island? Do you book cruise tickets to Andaman islands from Chennai or Kolkata? Any may more questions surrounding the cruises to the Andaman Islands from Mainland India.

I have long been waiting to write this article and here is the first time I bring it forward to our readers so that they get a better understanding of ship to the Andaman Islands.

So, let’s answer the following questions to find out how feasible Andaman travel through sea route (Chennai, Kolkata, and Vizag) is:

  • Why do many tourists ask for travel by sea route?
  • Is the journey to Andaman really a cruise? As we see in most images online.
  • Will it include all the luxuries and comfort a royal ship offers?
  • Is the budget of the journey reasonable or it will burn a hole in your pocket?
  • Is traveling by sea route a safe and smart option?
  • Why should people avoid it?
  • How much should be the budget of a traveler if opting for the sea route?

swaraj-dweep-cruise-andaman-chennai
If these are the questions in your mind and you are confused whether to opt for a flight or ship then read on.

We will debunk certain misconceptions that are doing the round related to cruise to the Andaman Islands that needs to be put to rest now. Continue reading:

First, let’s shed some light on the popular misconceptions:

Journey to the pristine Islands: The Andaman Islands are surrounded by a vast stretch of water from all sides and this is the reason that natives have to import most of the utilities from the mainland.

The ships that carry these utilities run from Chennai, Kolkata, and Vizag. These are named as cruises (by the travelers only), but they are actually government operated cargo that transports utilities to Andaman and carries residents of the Islands to the mainland and vice versa.

As these ships are basically for commercial use one cannot expect them to offer luxurious as you might have seen on television.

Are these Cruise Comfortable? Comfort is a word whose definition varies from person to person. For some sleeping on a bunk bed is comfortable and for others, a 5-star is the need of the hour.

But to be clear these ships have different categories of rooms available and the comfort depends on your budget and health condition. Most of the categories are available on sharing basis which is a big No for most of the travelers.

The rooms can be unclean and stinking so think before opting for a sea expedition. There are options for a dormitory in the ship, 6 Sharing cabins are present, 4 Sharing cabins are present and 2 Sharing cabins are also present in the trip. It depends upon which of the class you wish to opt during your travel to the islands.

How expensive is the Journey: This is one of the main reasons why people opt for sea route despite the fact that it is time-consuming. Honestly, it takes around 4 Days if you are coming in a ship to Andaman.

Yes, there can be a difference in the expenses of a flight and sea. However, if you are opting for a double sharing rather than a dormitory there are chances that ticket cost of traveling via a flight and cruise will be same.

Also, when you pay for the flight, the meal may or may not be complimentary but in case of the sea travel, food charges are extra. This implies if you are traveling via a cruise, you are likely to pay for 9 meals(3 days travel). The bottom line is that the cruise journey is fairly expensive.

When does the booking open for Ship to Andaman? Cruise has limited seats and the tickets are made available only before 15 days of travel. This implies you are at a risk because there can be chances that you do not get tickets and it can ruin your travel plan.

So its a little tricky to get this booked, and it works in a very old-fashioned as it was earlier. No online booking. Booking of these cruises can be done only through the counters or through travel companies.

How Private can the trip be? There is not much Privacy on the ship. From sleeping in a dormitory to common restrooms; the ship is not a place to enjoy some alone time with your partner until and unless you have your own room which is expensive.

Only in double sharing cabins, you can have your private moments, however, those tickets are fairly expensive. Yes, sea travel is an experience in itself but it can turn out to be a nightmare if you are on your honeymoon. Finally, it depends upon the traveler what we feel.

What are different Kinds of Cruises that sail to the Andaman Islands?

  1. MV Harshavardhana – This ship has a total capacity of around 748 Passengers with 153 cabins and 595 Bunk or Deck. The total cargo capacity is around 1500 MT.
  2. MV Nancowry –  This ship has a total capacity of around 1200 Passengers with 300 cabins and 900 Bunk or Deck. The total cargo capacity is around 1500 MT.
  3. MV Nicobar – This ship has a total capacity of around 1200 Passengers with 300 cabins and 900 Bunk r Deck. The total cargo capacity is around 1500 MT.
  4. MV Swaraj Dweep – This ship has a total capacity of around 1200 Passengers with 300 cabins and 900 Bunk or Deck. The total cargo capacity is around 1500 MT.
  5. MV Akbar – This ship has a total capacity of around 1535 Passengers with 121 cabins and 1414 Bunk or Deck. The total cargo capacity is around 1500 MT. This ship was the oldest among all and has been decommissioned in 2017. The fare for both islanders and non-islanders vary during the ship trip to the islands.

Is it advisable to travel on a Cruise?

Undoubtedly, traveling from Chennai, Kolkata or Vizag to Port Blair via sea has some constraints but it also has some pros as well. People with extreme budget constraints can opt for this travel to Port Blair but it should be very clear that the travel takes time of three to four days.

Honestly, I think its mainly the experience that people are looking into that brings so many people wanting a ship/cruise to the Andaman Islands. For once in a lifetime experience, you can consider a ship journey off course, however, it comes with its own baggage as mentioned above.

Traveling on these cruises has its own constraints:

An unexpected change in Weather: Sailing of the ship depends on the weather conditions and the ship can be delayed if the weather forecast says there will be rain or rough weather out there.

If you have planned to travel via Kolkata or Chennai but for some reason, the journey gets delayed then you have to find a place to stay which is an added expense. It could take a week or so to clear the weather conditions which can hamper your plans and lead to cancellation of hotel booking if you have booked everything in advance.

Time-consuming: Travelling from Kolkata, Chennai or Vizag usually takes 3-4 days to reach Andaman, if there is no halt in between or the ship is not delayed. Adding to this will be a day taken to reach from your city to the ports.

In comparison to it, air travel takes just a few hours and is more comfortable than ships; whose time period is awfully long. For people who are into jobs and have limited number of days to explore the new place; sea journey is not the preferred medium.

Accommodation on the ship: There are four different categories of room available on the ship and depending on your budget you can choose the rooms.

Bunk Class: It is a dormitory, where there are a number of bunk beds and people with extreme financial constraints can stay there.

Here you get your personal bed but the dorm will have many people staying and restroom will also be common. So, it is a public area with no privacy.

Sharing room for six: This room will be shared by six travelers. The layout can be bunked beds or 6 single beds in a common restroom. The ticket prices in this category are high but it is cleaner in comparison to the dormitory.

Sharing for four: This room will be shared by four travelers. The layout can be bunk beds or 4 single beds with a common restroom.

Twin room sharing: This is mainly for two travelers but a couple can also take this room but of course, they have to pay for both. It gives some privacy and restroom is for your personal use only but the cost of the room will be high and can be up to Rs. 10,000 per person excluding food.

This is even higher than flight ticket. So if you can spend this much amount per person it’s your call whether you want to opt for a ship or flight.

Ticket Availability: Usually, the ship sails 3-4 times in a month nearly every week from different ports but at times there will be no seats available and at other times there will be many.

So, depending on the availability of the seat; bookings open 15 days before the departure and you can book your class of seat if it comes in your budget. There is no criterion for advance bookings in lieu of getting discounts.

Pros of Travelling on the ship:

New Experience: If you are a person who wants to have a new experience and has never traveled on the ship before then this can be your choice. Some people love to accumulate experiences and sea travel is enriching and peaceful.

If you are traveling with family then children will love this voyage as they get to see aquatic life, enjoy on the deck and gaze the stars at night.

Time is not a Constraint: If time is not a problem then opt for sea travel. It is an experience in itself where you are surrounded by clear water everywhere, the sight of fishes jumping and waves forming are exquisite. Open sky, starry night and silence will relax you instantly and make your night memorable.

It also gives some time to the couples to rekindle the romance in their relationship and the positive vibes all around will add to the charm.

Financial Constraints: Don’t let cash crunch crush your dreams to travel and explore new places. If you don’t have enough money to spend on a flight and you are visiting Andaman on vacation then opt for sea route.
You can choose bunk class to cut the expenses and still enjoy the view of the sea and make the most of your days on the ship.

How do these cruises to the Andaman Islands Look?

Well, these cruises don’t look fancy as you might have seen in movies or pictures. Many has a perspective that the cruises to Andaman islands look as below :

If you have been dreaming that cruises to the Andaman Islands look as above then we are sorry to say that the reality of cruises that operate in the sector of Chennai, Kolkata, and Vizag are far away from what you see in the above pictures. It’s not as luxurious with all the amenities as you seen in the above pictures.  So make sure you are well aware of the reality before counting on whether to select a cruise to Andaman islands or not.

Well, the reality is that the cruise to Andaman Looks as below :

So hope you got the difference between the cruise that operates in the Andaman Island sector.

Final Verdict by Experience Andamans

How about opting for a smart alternative? If you still need to experience the ship journey then take a flight to Port Blair and opt for sea route while returning from Port Blair. Are you puzzled and unsure how will it help? It’s simple, as discussed above that sea route is time-consuming and people suffer from seasickness. It can hamper your plans! What if your ship gets delayed? It will impede your bookings in a hotel and if you had to cancel the booking at the last moment you might not get any refund at all. What if you suffer from sea sickness? This will again hinder with your plan as the sickness might continue even when you are on the islands and you may need medical intervention.

Keeping these possibilities in mind, if you choose a flight to Andaman; it will not only consume less time but will also make your travel safe without any threat of sea sickness or nausea. You get to enjoy your holiday as planned without any worry of cancellation of bookings or medical intervention. And you get to explore all that you want and even more due to the availability of time. Now when the time comes to return then opt for sea route. Because as you are going home there is no tension even if the ship gets delayed or if you feel nauseated as you can skip meals on the ship.

For more insights on travel to the Andaman Islands, keep visiting our blog.

Written by Aatika Fatima

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  • Sandy kaur

    From the starting till the end of the activity they are very much supportive and they give well guidance to us. It was really a great fun doing sea water activity with them. Thank u for the experience we have got from you will never forget this exciting experience throughout my life.

  • Satyavrat Chaudhary

    What an amazing, crisp, concise and yet so comprehensive article !! You have perfectly described all the ground realities related to the ship voyage to and from the Andamans. I can vouch for this article as I had travelled from Port Blair to Chennai in 2010.
    Hats off to you !!
    Fellow travellers, please don’t confuse Cruise travel with the Ship Voyage. So far, no Cruise services are available for the Andamans.

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