Not sure how to book ferry tickets to travel between the Andaman and Nicobar islands? This blogpost should help you figure out what can or can’t be done.
Before we dive into the subject of booking tickets, there are a few things that you need to know about ferries in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. This infographic provides a basic understanding of the system – more detailed information is also provided below.
There are two types of ferry service operators in the Andaman islands –
1. Government Ferries – these are ferries that are owned and operated by the government. They are more affordable to use and connect all the main islands that can be visited (and some that are not open to tourists). Facilities on these ferries are usually very basic and they tend to be slower than private ferries.
2. Private Ferries – there are a few private ferries available on select routes in the Andaman islands – primarily to and fro from Port Blair to Havelock Island (Swaraj Deep) and Neil Island (Shahid Deep). These ferries (i.e. Makruzz and Grean Ocean) are more expensive than government ferries, but the vessels are relatively newer and faster.
So, while on some routes you will have the option to choose between private and government ferries, on several others you can only use government ferries. However, you will find that on the routes where both options exist, the systems are designed to encourage tourists to buy the more expensive private ferry tickets.
For government ferries there is NO STANDARD schedule available per se because the ferry schedule is only issued close to the date of travel (i.e. between 1 to 4 days before the date of departure). For the more popular routes, ferry schedules usually remain constant so this is NOT a big issue. However this may be a challenge when you have to plan your travel to places like Little Andaman, where different ferries operate on different days, or where there is a switch between day and night services.
The schedule for private ferries is usually published a lot earlier than government ferries, which essentially is another way to drive more people to buy the more expensive private tickets.
To popular tourist places like Havelock and Neil Island, there are usually multiple daily ferries from Port Blair (both government and private). These ferries will either be early in the morning (6 to 7 am), around the middle of the day (10 to 11 am) or in the afternoon (1 to 2 pm).
For the routes that are off the tourist path (for e.g. Little Andaman, Long Island or Diglipur) there is usually only one government ferry per day from Port Blair (either early in the morning or in the evening) and may only be available on certain days of the week (depending on the destination).
BOOKING FERRY TICKETS
Tickets for Government ferries CANNOT be booked online. However, this can be arranged by contacting a travel agent in Port Blair, or, if you are booking accommodation, the resort/hotel itself would likely offer this service with an added nominal service fee (between INR 100/- to INR 200/-). If you are booking tickets by yourself, this can be done at CSC counters in Port Blair or any other town/island or, ins one cases, at counters at the departure jetty.
It’s important to note that booking for any government ferry can only be done fairly last-minute (between 1 to 4 days prior to date of travel) because bookings will only be opened after the relevant ferry schedule has been released. In my experience, this is not a huge issue if you are not fussed about the “class” of ticket that you get or if you are a small group.
On the other hand, private ferries CAN be booked online. And since their schedules are usually published months in advance, these bookings can be made well before your actual travel date. If you’re someone who is paranoid about having bookings sorted out well ahead of time, or if you are travelling as a large group, you would probably be better off paying the premium and buying private ferry tickets.
Links to online booking portals are set out below:
Makruzz – http://www.makruzz.com/site/
Green Ocean – http://greenoceanseaways.com/tickets/portal
In my experience, buying ferry tickets for travel between islands in the Andamans is not as big an issue or challenge as many may lead you to believe. If you are travelling to Havelock or Neil islands it might be a good idea to book your tickets in advance as these are routes that are in high demand. If you are travelling to more off-beat places tickets are generally more easily available. It’s a good idea to use services of a local travel agent/ taxi driver/ resort staff to procure tickets so that you don’t waste your time standing in queues. The pristine beaches are a far better place to be!
I hope you found this post useful. If you have any updates or additional information do leave a comment and help everyone plan their travel better.