About Government Ferries
Government ferries are the lifeline of the islands and are extensively used by locals. They are what trains/metros are in any Indian city – a subsidized, well connected, (mostly) comfortable, sometimes overcrowded but necessary form of public transport. The Andaman and Nicobar administration has regular ferry services linking most of the Islands to its capital city, Port Blair.
Swaraj Dweep (Havelock Island) & Shaheed Dweep (Neil Island) are the most popular islands of South Andaman which are connected by both government and private operated ferries. Other Islands of tourist interest such as Long Island, Rangat, Mayabunder, Diglipur, Little Andaman etc., are serviced by government ferries only operated by DSS(Directorate of shipping Services).
How to Book Govt Ferry in Andaman
Government ferry tickets are available at the DSS Counters (STARS) at Phoenix Bay Jetty and CSC (Common Service Center) at numerous locations. Tickets for travel between Tuesday and Thursday are issued from Monday onwards & tickets for travel between Friday and Monday are issued from Thursday onwards. Tickets can only be obtained by queuing up at the ticket counter. You can however find ferry schedules online here and plan your travel accordingly. You can also find up to date info on schedules by calling 03192 – 245555 or 230480.
Traveling in Andaman in Govt Ferry
Traveling in a Government ferry is not simple but can be made possible with some planning. A bit of research on the ferry timings and availability can save you unnecessary stress and disappointment during your holiday. The schedules for these ferries are subject to change and are published in the local newspaper every day. If travelling to Havelock or Neil Island (Swaraj and Shaheed Dweep) and have limited time at hand, we suggest you opt for a private ferry.
Difference between Private Ferry & Govt Ferry
The private ferries are the most preferred mode of inter island travel by tourists. They are clean and comfortable with air conditioning. they are faster than government ferries, are equipped with onboard assistance and have canteens/food counters available, so you don’t have to worry if you crave for a grub mid-voyage. Booking a private ferry ticket is simple and almost always guarantees a confirmed ticket. Private ferry tickets range from Rs. 1200 to Rs. 2500 depending upon the class of travel.
Government ferries on the other hand are favorites amongst the locals. There are two fare categories one is islander fare (Rs.50 onwards) and the other is non-islander fare (Rs. 450 Onwards). Only a few seats are reserved for tourists and getting them is a challenge. Also, the onboard experience may not be as pleasant as private carriers. Some government ferries are old, slow and seats may seem uncomfortable without cushioning. Although the Government ferries are a decent bargain, tickets in Government ferries are not guaranteed and lack of online booking facility is a bummer! The good part though is the local experience and the open deck.
Private Ferry & Govt Ferry: Which one should you book?
If you are traveling in Andamans and have your itinerary planned, consider taking a private ferry with confirmed tickets. Just like airline tickets, you can book your ferry tickets in advance.
- All private ferries offer an option to be booked in advance. To Book Ferry Online, click here.
- There are different classes of tickets in private ferries with each priced accordingly. For a few extra bucks you can upgrade your seat for a better quality of travel.
On the contrary, if you are on an unplanned vacation and have no fixed itinerary or you are a backpacker on a shoestring budget you may want to consider booking your tickets on a government ferry. Many tourists who have their hotels, sightseeing and adventure sports booked in advance are left stranded due to non-availability of tickets in government ferries.
Govt Ferry to Swaraj Dweep (Havelock)
Government ferries ply to Swaraj Dweep twice daily at 06:20 Hrs and 14:00 Hrs from Phoenix Bay Jetty. This two and half hour ferry ride costs around Rs. 400. A passenger service fee of Rs. 50 is added if you get your tickets booked from the CSC’s. Tickets are available two days prior to departure. You might have to stand in unmanaged queues for long hours to get your hands on the tickets.
Govt Ferry to Shaheed Dweep (Neil)
Government ferries leave to Shaheed Dweep twice daily at 06:30 Hrs and 11:00 Hrs from Phoenix Bay Jetty. The ride lasts about two hours & costs Rs. 400. There are line boats operating thrice a week that go to North Andaman via Shaheed Dweep (Havelock) & Swaraj Dweep (Neil islands). If you are lucky you may get yourself a seat on one of these.
Govt Ferry to Little Andaman (Hutbay)
The Directorate of Shipping Services operates Government ferries to Little Andaman from Port Blair daily. The ticket cost varies from Rs. 150 to Rs. 1500 depending upon the class and takes about 8 hours to reach(120 kms from Port Blair). Coral Queen is the most preferred ship; it is well maintained with comfortable bunks and cabins. It also serves snacks onboard. Tickets to Hutbay are available at the DSS Counters or CSC’s. For ferry schedule please visit http://www.andaman.gov.in/web/guest/nicobarhutbay
Please Note: All ferries to Little Andaman leave from Haddo Wharf
Govt Ferry to North Andaman (Long Island, Rangat, Mayabunder & Diglipur)
There are ferries from Port Blair to Long Island operating thrice a week. They stop over at Swaraj Dweep (Havelock ) & Shaheed Dweep (Neil ) Islands.
Rangat is connected from Port Blair as well as Swaraj Dweep (Havelock) & Shaheed Dweep (Neil) Islands. Ferries to Rangat ply 4 to 5 times a week.
Diglipur is the northernmost part of Andaman which has ferry services from Port Blair twice a week. Ferry schedule is published daily in the local newspaper and updated online at http://www.andaman.gov.in/web/guest/neilhavrangat.
Ferry to Ross Island
There are no government ferries to Ross Island, however many private boat operators arrange a day trip to Ross & North Bay Islands. The tour cost starts from Rs 100 to Ross Island and goes up to Rs 600 for 3 islands package tour (Ross, North Bay & Viper Islands).
Please Note: Ross Island is closed on Wednesdays for maintenance.
For any further queries please contact Directorate of Tourism, Port Blair ; 03192 – 232694/232747
- There are 30+ ships that operate through DSS. All these ships have different makes and are of different speeds. Find out name of ship and the time taken to reach the destination.
- When issuing a ticket, check which class is given. For short trips an AC chair would be ideal but for A long trip you might want the cabin/sleeper class.
- When onboard, do not miss the open deck.
- Always carry a bedsheet/travel pillow with you – specially on long ferry trips.
- Find out if the ferry has a canteen. Many do not – carry enough food.
- Some ferries are line ferries – that is, they stop at different islands on the way – these ferries take very long and are best avoided if you have another option. Direct ferries are the best.
- You can request the captain to let you inside the control room and show you around the ship. A smile and honest conversation always helps.
- When onboard, make conversation with the local sitting next to you – there is so much to learn about/from island life.