The ships from Andaman to the mainland are available from Kolkata, Chennai, and Visakhapatnam. These are not typical cruise ships that you are used to seeing in movies. They don’t have all the lavish amenities that you are dreaming of. These are actually used to carry basic utilities from the above cities to Andaman. These government-run cargo ships also carry islands’ residents between the mainland and Andaman. Since these are commercial ships, you shouldn’t expect any luxuries you may have seen on private cruises. 

Is it comfortable to go on these cruises? 

The actual definition of comfort varies as per your individual taste and choices. Some people can find comfort even on the bunk bed while others can’t compromise below 5-star luxury. To be specific, you can choose from different types of rooms and your comfort level varies as per your health requirements and budget. You can find most categories of accommodation available on a sharing basis. For most travelers, it is a big NO. 

You can also find dormitory options. There are 4 sharing options, 2 sharing cabins, and 6 sharing cabins. It is up to the class you choose to opt while traveling to islands. 

Is Cruise Expensive? 

It is another obvious reason why people prefer the sea route even though it takes up to 4 days to travel between the mainland and Andaman. There are also differences in the costs of sea and flight. If you choose double sharing instead of the dormitory, the ticket cost of the cruise will be the same as the flight. 

The meal may or may not be included in the flight ticket. But you need to pay extra for food for sea travel. You might pay for 9 meals for traveling by cruise (i.e. 3 meals per day x 3 days of cruise). Hence, going to Andaman by cruise is quite expensive. 

Booking Options for Cruise to Andaman 

Keep in mind that there are limited seats on the cruise and you can get tickets only before 15 days of the journey. So, there are chances that you may not get tickets and it can affect your plan. Booking tickets is also very difficult. There is no online booking and it works in a traditional way. You can book these cruises only through travel companies or counters. 

Also, keep in mind that there are limited options for privacy. There are common restrooms and dormitories. So, forget about spending some personal time unless you book a separate room, which is costly. 

Should You Travel on a Cruise?

Of course, there are some limitations on traveling by sea from Kolkata, Chennai or Vizag. But it doesn’t mean there are no benefits of doing so. If you are traveling on a very low budget, you can easily choose to travel to Port Blair. Most people just want to have experience of traveling by ship. You can consider this option for an experience. But it has its own limitations, such as – 

Unexpected Weather Changes 

Sailing on a ship depends a lot on the weather. If rough weather or rain is seen in the weather forecast, the ship might be delayed. Suppose you have planned to cruise from Chennai or Kolkata and the journey gets delayed due to some reason, you need to pay extra for accommodation. The weather may take several days or weeks to get cleared. It can easily affect your travel plans and you may need to cancel your hotel bookings. 

Lengthy Journey 

As discussed earlier, it takes over 3 to 4 days if you are traveling from Chennai, Kolkata or Visakhapatnam. It is the ideal condition when the ship is not delayed or there is no halt. Additional day is expected when you need to reach the ports from your city. 

On the other side, you can easily save several days of stress and discomfort on a cargo ship by traveling through flight, which is more comfortable and faster. If you have only a few days to travel and you work in the corporate sector, it is always better to take a flight which takes only a few hours and is available from all major cities of India. 

Pros of Cruise Journey 

Different Experience 

If you are looking for new experiences and you haven’t traveled on the ship ever, it is going to be an affordable option. You can have peaceful and exciting experiences if you are traveling with family. Your children will definitely fall in love with this journey as they get a chance to witness marine life, gaze at the stars and enjoy on the deck. 

Serene Views 

If you don’t have time constraints, you can definitely go for sea travel. You will definitely be covered by crystal clear water everywhere. You can have serene views of waves and fish jumping around. Silence, starry skies and an open environment will definitely calm your mind. Couples can also find some more time to discover themselves. 

Cost-effective 

Don’t let your budget spoil your travel mood and wanderlust to explore new destinations. If you are lacking money and you can’t spend on a flight journey, you can opt for a sea route to spend vacations on Andaman. You can save on expenses by choosing bunk class. It can help you make the most of your days on cruise while enjoying the beautiful views of the sea. 

Final Thoughts 

If you still want to enjoy Andaman Nicobar cruise, why don’t you fly to Port Blair and then take a sea route for the return journey? Don’t know and wondering how it will work? If you suffer from seasickness a lot, cruise might be a strict No-No. Also, the sea route takes a lot of time. So, it will affect your hotel bookings if you need to cancel on a short note. Seasickness might last even when you reach the island. 

So, taking a flight to Andaman will take less time and even make your journey safe without any risk of nausea or seasickness. You can enjoy the vacations as per your plans without any cancellation woes. You can explore all the places you have desired as you will have enough time. 

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. 

Bottom Line 

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.