You can access the giant ships and cruises from the ports of Chennai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam, which are operated and run by Shipping Corporation of India. These cruises make a great odyssey for 3 to 4 days from Indian mainland to Andamans. Among all three coasts, Chennai port is most popular with most ships being operated. MV Nancowry, MV Nicobar, MV Akbar, MV Swaraj Dweep and MV Harshavardhana are the cruises available from Chennai. You can book an Andaman tour package by cruise to make things easier.
1. Kolkata – Port Blair
Out of three major routes, Kolkata to Port Blair is the longest sea route to Andaman. January, February, March, April and November are the best months when you start the trip from Kolkata to Andaman. You are least likely to suffer seasickness during these months if you are used to suffering a lot.
Total distance – 1302 km
Availability – 3 to 4 times a month or once a week
Starting at – Kolkata
Total Time – 70 hours approx.
Towards – Port Blair
2. Chennai to Port Blair
Chennai to Andaman route is very convenient if you live in the city of Chennai. You can easily book and board the cruise here. If you are from outside Chennai and planning to board from there, be sure to calculate your expenses and time to reach the city. You may ask your tour operator who can help you with bookings.
Availability – 3-4 times a month or once a week
Total distance – 1362 km
Starting at – Chennai Port
Total Time – 60 hours
Ending at – Port Blair
3. Visakhapatnam – Port Blair
You can definitely take your excitement to a whole new level by exploring Andaman and traveling to this island in India. Airway takes less time to get there but cruise is always recommended.
Availability – once in a month
Total Time- 56 hours
Total distance – 1224 km
Note – Currently, you cannot book your cruise to Andaman online. You have to buy tickets offline at official STARS counters in Kolkata, Vizag or Chennai.
5 Sea Cruises to Andaman Operated by Government
Government operated cruises are the only way to reach Andaman from India through sea route. Around 3 to 4 cruises sail per month from Chennai and Kolkata and only 1 cruise sails per month to Port Blair from Vizag. So, you need to book your cruise in advance. The price of tickets varies from Rs. 900 to Rs. 10000 as per the accommodation class you want.
You should have government id proof, 2 passport size photos, and address proof with requisition form. The cruise takes up to 4 days in ideal weather. Here are some of the most frequent cruises for Andaman trip.
1. MV Nicobar
It sails to Port Blair from all three major cities of India, i.e. Kolkata, Vizag and Chennai. You can rest assured to have a great trip by ship to Andaman. There are 900 decks/bumps and 300 cabins in the ship. It can hold up to 1200 passengers.
2. MV Nancowry
This majestic cruise is well regarded to carry cargo and it operates between Port Blair and Chennai and is a beautiful ship to go for. The whole departure and proceeding of ship can be started at Chennai from SCI office. The ship has 900 decks/bumps and 300 cabins with a capacity of 1200 passengers in total.
3. MV Harshavardhana
MV Harshavardhana is one of the most popular cruises operating from Vizag and Kolkata to Port Blair. It is one of the best companies to start your memorable trip. The ship has 595 docks/bunks and 153 cabins with a capacity of 748 passengers in total.
4. MV Swarajdweep
MV Swarajdweep is a popular cruise among several other well-known cruises. The cruise sails from Chennai and reaches Andaman on Day 3. It has 900 bunks/decks and 300 cabins and is capable of carrying 1200 passengers in total.
5. MV Akbar
MV Akbar is the oldest ship which is being operated to Andaman. It mostly sails from Visakhapatnam to Port Blair and from Kolkata to Port Blair. The ship has 1414 decks/bunks and 121 cabins. It can carry 1535 passengers in total.
Note – It is important for foreigners to seek permission for 30 days before getting to the island. You can further extend up to 15 days. Indians also have to get special permits from the Deputy Commissioner of the Andaman office at the port if they need to travel to the closest islands.
Best Time to Cruise to Andaman
You can easily plan a cruise trip to Andaman any time of the year. But it is best to plan your cruise from January to April when you are less likely to have seasickness onboard. Monsoon remains in Bay of Bengal from October to December and the sea is prone to storms and cyclones. So, avoid the cruise during this period.
Do You Need Passport to visit Andaman?
Indian citizens don’t have to use a passport to enter Andaman as it belongs to India. But you need to seek special permission to enter some tribal areas.
Is Private Cruise Available?
Currently, there are no private cruises available from mainland India to Andaman. The Shipping Corporation of India operates the ship from ports of Chennai, Kolkata, and Visakhapatnam.
What are the Famous Foods in Andaman Islands?
You can taste different varieties of seafood like crab, lobsters, cuttlefish and prawns. These are some of the best fish dishes served in local restaurants there. You can also try Chinese and Indian food over there.
If you are craving to hear “welcome aboard” after getting all the above details, why not plan a cruise trip to Andaman? You can rest assured with serene views of the sea on different routes. Andaman has to offer plenty of things that can amaze you.