Ferry Services in Andamans
Geographically, Andaman Islands are a group of islands separated by water. This rules out road transportation for most islands (apart from North & Middle Andaman). Thus ferry services are the lifeline of the Andaman Islands and the backbone of tourism here. Ferry services in Andaman can be categorized into two type:
- Government Operated Ferry
Private Ferry in Andaman
There are two Private Ferry operators in Andaman (as on Sept 2017): MAK Logistics (Makruzz) & Green Ocean Seaways (Green Ocean). These ferries operate only between the popular circuit islands - Port Blair, Havelock & Neil Island. Both of these companies own 2 vessels each - Makruzz & Makruzz Gold; and Green Ocean and Green Ocean 2. The sailing schedule for these vessels are published fairly in advance; as compared to the govt ferries. These ferries are much easier to book - as they have online booking systems where customers (as well as agents) can also book for their trips. The ticket prices start Rs 1000 upwards and go up to Rs 2000 (depending upon the class of travel) one way.
Note: Though the total number of available vessels are 4, all of them start operations much later in the season (Oct/Nov onwards) and during the times from Aug - Oct; it can be a daunting task to get tickets closer to date of travel.
You can read more about Makruzz & Green Ocean.
- Always book ferry tickets before confirming hotels. We cannot stress on this enough. It is unfortunate to see, number of people coming to us with a booked hotel at Havelock or Neil Island (with strict refund policy) looking to somehow get them a ferry ticket. We are only able to do so much.
- Take advice from local travel agent. You can always read through suggested itineraries that we have listed to get an idea. If you are booking a holiday with us, you are certainly sorted for most of these hassles.
- Cancellations of ferries: Now this is something that you must check for; since there are times when private ferries develop a technical snag or some other problems beyond their control; in which they try to arrange for an alternative ferry; but then there are a few times in a year that operators cancel the ticket and refunds the booking amount; taking no liability of your hotel bookings/flight bookings. Here's when you would need local help - to make alternate arrangements; as best as possible to minimize the damage.
Government Ferry in Andaman
Govt Ferry in Andaman Islands are operated by Directorate of Shipping Services (DSS); who run these ferries between Port Blair, Havelock Island, Neil Island & many other islands which aren't as popular such as Hut Bay (Little Andaman), Long Island, Mayabunder, Rangat, Strait Island, Campbell Bay, and more. The department primarily operates for conveniences of local islanders and they sell highly subsidized tickets to them; since for the islanders this is the only way to commute. There is no way to book these tickets online; since the department allows to book these tickets only by queuing up at their counters. Tourists can get tickets to Government Ferries by contacting their local travel agents, or by physically queuing up at the counters.
Note: Govt Ferry - between Port Blair, Havelock & Neil Islands
We would like to specifically point out the ferry situation for the popular islands in Andaman. Getting yourself a ferry ticket can be incredibly difficult & painful (so for your travel agent) during the peak season (Oct - Jan). The authorities aren't most cooperative around this time; since there is way too much demand than the supply.
Govt Ferry - for Little Andaman
For traveling from Port Blair to Little Andaman; there are government ferries available that sail everyday. The schedules can change from time to time, thus it is advisable to check for updated sailing schedule on the official website. It is fairly easy to get tickets to Hut Bay (Little Andaman) since the demand isn't that high. Ticket Price: Rs 65 (~$1)
For foreign nationals, RAP Number is required while making the reservation; thus it is only possible to get your tickets after you have arrived. You can ask your travel agent to help you with the tickets.
Govt Ferry - for Other Islands
As in case of Little Andaman, Govt Ferry tickets for other islands where tourists are permitted to travel can be arranged relatively with ease as compared to situation in Havelock & Neil Island. Please check the official website for more details on sailing schedule. The DSS keeps changing schedule based on supply of ships and demand on sectors.