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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cruise to Lakshadweep Islands - FAQ and Review

Most of you know that I had recently gone on a cruise to the Lakshadweep Islands that is situated to the west of the Kerala coast in India. A lot of my friends and readers alike had expressed interest in knowing more about this tropical paradise. So I decided to put together this small report that aims to answer most of your questions and also provide my review based on my experience.


Questions and Answers

When did you go to Lakshadweep Islands?
Feb 08 to Feb 12, 2010

When is the best time to go to Lakshadweep?
After the monsoons to before the summers

Does one require special permission to go to Lakshadweep Islands?
Yes. Indians are allowed on all islands, but foreign tourists are allowed only to the islands of Agatti, Bangaram and Kadmat. Permissions can be got at the Lakshadweep Tourism office at Cochin or through your travel operator.

What are the available modes of commute to Lakshadweep?
By Air to Agatti Island or by cruise liners from Mumbai, Mangalore or Cochin.

How did you book your travel?
I booked through SPORTS (Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports) that handles all administration for Lakshadweep travel and tourism. They offer various packages to suit different needs.

Which package did you take?
I took the Coral Reef Package 5D/4N.

Did you book online or go through a travel agent?
I looked up the packages online at Lakshadweep Tourism’s website and then booked my tickets through their associated travel agent Clipper Holidays located close to Brigade Road at Bangalore.

How much did the package cost?
The overall package cost me INR 12,500 per head inclusive of taxes. Though, I spent additional for water sports like scuba diving (INR 2500 per dive; a dive lasts between 45 minutes to 90 minutes) and snorkelling (INR 100 per hour towards gear rental).

Which all islands were covered as part of this package?
Kavaratti, Kadmat and Kalpeni.

What all are covered in this package?
Accommodation on ship (dormitory, 4 person cabins or 2 person cabins) depending on class of booking. I had opted for the dormitory, that is similar to a train’s AC compartment. All food during the course of the journey either on the ship or on the islands. Island Sightseeing and some water sport activities.

Can you give more details about the day-to-day itinerary? This is not available on the Lakshadweep Tourism website.
Note: I have linked my blog posts to respective sections of the itinerary for your convenience.
Day 1:
8 AM: Report at Lakshadweep tourism office at Willingdon Island, Cochin to collect boarding pass. Security Check. Board bus to Cochin Port. Board Ship. Explore ship and enjoy Cochin harbour view. 1 PM: Lunch on ship. 3 PM: Ship leaves Cochin Harbour. Rest in your respective places or enjoy the ocean view and evening sunset. Night on the ship.

Day 2: Breakfast on Ship. Shortly, land on Kavaratti Island. Welcome session followed by relaxation on the beach, glass boat rides, swimming, kayaking and snorkelling. Lunch at Kavaratti. Local sightseeing including some rocky beaches, the marine museum and the desalination plant. Back to ship after evening tea. Evening, dinner and night on ship.

Day 3: Breakfast on ship. Shortly, land on pretty Kadmat Island. Welcome session followed by relaxation on the beach. Others went for local sightseeing while my friend and I went for scuba diving and snorkelling with Lacadives, a professional diving outfit at Kadmat. Spent the afternoon and evening exploring the beach. Then there was evening tea and snacks and then back to the ship. Dinner and night on ship.

Day 4: Breakfast on ship. Take a boat to Kalpeni Island. Welcome drink followed by kayaking and snorkelling session on nearby island. This was followed by lunch and some local sightseeing, which we chose to skip and instead chill out on the beach side under the shade as it was quite warm. Then, there was evening tea and snacks and then we walked to the main jetty through the island though we had the option of taking the bus/jeep. Back to ship. Dinner and Night on ship.

Day 5: Breakfast on ship. Arrival at Cochin Harbour by 10 AM. Disembark by 11:30 AM.

Which cruise liner too you to these islands?
Arabian Sea, the latest addition to the Lakshadweep government’s fleet.

Is liquor available at Lakshadweep?
Only at Bangaram Island.

What activities can one engage in at Lakshadweep?
Water sports stand high on the list with scuba diving, kayaking, snorkelling and water games being very popular. The beaches are great to explore and so are the islands with their nature’s bounty and local culture. Relaxing on the beaches with a book in hand is also a popular option.

Did you like your cruise to Lakshadweep Islands?
I absolutely loved it.

Would you go there again?
Definitely. These islands will always remain on my travel bucket-list.

Are 4N/5D enough for one to enjoy Lakshadweep?


Maybe not. But, staying longer is expensive as accommodation on the islands are pricey due to monopoly in the hotel business and some islands having private status. Instead, one can take different cruise packages and explore more places and islands.

What is your Review? Any Feedback?

The Place

The islands are fantastic. There is nothing that I dislike about the Lakshadweep Islands. I am just mesmerized by them. The tender coconut water is the best I have ever tasted.

The Cruise
Fortunately for me, I boarded a brand new ship and hence did not find anything wrong with the cruise liner. Instead, I found it to be a iron beauty. Though, I would say that the toilets in the dormitory section can be increased. They have 2 toilets (Male) and 2 toilets (Female) for 210 passengers. The food on the ship left a lot to be desired. They hardly had any taste or variety. But, then, I guess, for the money, it was worth it.

There is hardly any entertainment on the ship. So one should plan and carry their music, games and movies with them to keep themselves occupied. And, finally, folks prone to sea sickness, do remember to carry your medication as the ship can roll a bit.

If you have more questions, feel free to comment below. That way, I can try and make this post a great FAQ for taking cruises to Lakshadweep Islands.




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