Located 400kms off the coast of Kochi, lies Lakshadweep, a pristine archipelago comprising of 36 palm-covered islands, 12 atolls, 3 coral reefs, and 5 submerged banks. Lakshadweep is a place that I had been wanting to visit for a very long time. Especially after my Andaman trip, I was very keen to explore the islands of Lakshadweep. When I finally planned my trip, I went on a 5-day cruise trip covering some of the astonishing islands of Lakshadweep.
I took this trip towards the end of 2021, when COVID conditions were less, making my travel seamless. I have penned down pointers that you should know before planning your cruise trip to Lakshadweep, this guide should help you cover all your doubts and questions with regards to the traveling on a cruise to see this gem of a place.
Why take a cruise trip to Lakshadweep?
Cruise is one of the popular modes of transport to see the gorgeous islands of Lakshadweep. It’s not just a means of transport, taking a cruise trip is a vacation in itself. Out of 36 islands, only 11 are inhabited. The cruise takes you to the islands in the day for fun activities while the nights are spent on board. A cruise trip gives you a different kind of travel experience that you must indulge in atleast once in this lifetime.
Cruise options to reach Lakshadweep
The fascinating group of islets, located in the placid waters of the Arabian Sea, can be accessed by yachts and cruises with myriad luxury provisions. These may be government-run or privately operated. One can board a cruise to Lakshadweep from Kochi, Beypore, Mangalore, Mumbai, and Goa, with Kochi being the closest to the group of islands.
1. Government-run cruises: Budget-friendly
There are quite a number of options when it comes to Government run cruises. They depart from Kochi to different islands of Lakshadweep. These cruises can accommodate more than 650 passengers. They are comfortable and provide a variety of rooms depending on your budget. These include AC Deluxe-class rooms with 2-berth cabins, AC first-class rooms with 4-berth cabins, and AC tourist-class rooms with seating arrangements. These ships are provided with basic facilities, such as the cafeteria, snack bars, lounge, and video shows. Here’s the list of cruises that are currently available.
- Minicoy Cruise
Minicoy is a famous tuna fishing centre of Lakshadweep. This crescent-shaped island is the second largest in the archipelago. The cruise is for four to five nights here on the cruise package. There are two kinds of rooms available, the Gold class which is four sharing, and the Diamond class which is twin sharing. The cruise takes 14 to 20 hours from Kochi to reach Minicoy.
- Samudram Cruise
The Lakshadweep Samudram is a five-day cruise to the islands of Kadmat, Kavaratti, Kalpeni, and Minicoy. The cruise has 150 Diamond class accommodations. It runs from September to May only for 14 to 16 hours. It offers first-class air-conditioned accommodation with three meals a day. The travellers can go angling, swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling. It even has entertaining performances of folk dance and shows.
The island tour is organized in the day and the night is spent on board. Overall, this cruise offers you a very enriching experience. This cruise is open only to Indian citizens.
The following ships have the Samudram package:
- MV Kavaratti – MV Kavaratti accommodates 700 passengers in its 150 berths, two in each room apart from 200 tonnes of cargo. I took this samudram cruise for my travel when I visited Lakshadweep. I went in Diamond class, the cabin rooms were clean with an attached washroom. The cruise also had a separate dining area, TV room, emergency care, and prayer room along with multiple lounge areas.
- MV Bharat Seema- This big white ship takes tourists to the island of Agatti from Cochin where they can stay at the Agatti island resort.
- Lakshadweep Sea Ship – Lakshadweep Sea takes tourists to Kadmat Island on the Marine Wealth Awareness Package.
- Arabian Sea Ship – It includes a five-day coral reef package cruise to visit the islands of Minicoy, Kadmat, Kavaratti, and Kalpeni.
2. Privately operated cruises: Luxury Cruise
A number of private operators run ships that occasionally sail to Lakshadweep from various Indian port cities such as Mumbai and Panaji. These luxury cruises has facilities like casinos, badminton courts, restaurants, pubs, bars, sea-facing rooms, pools, spa and more. Tariff is also charged accordingly.
Islands covered during the cruise trip to Lakshadweep
The number of islands covered depends on which cruise you choose. The popular islands that these cruises usually cover are Bangaram, Minicoy, Kavaratti, Kalpeni, Agatti, and Kadmat. However, not all of them are included in all the packages. The number of islands included in your package depends upon the cost of the package and the duration of your cruise trip to the Lakshadweep islands.
The MV Kavaratti cruise trip that I took covered Kadmat, Kalpeni and Kavaratti over a period of 5 days. It would be advisable to check the islands covered before you book a cruise trip.
Cost for the cruise trip to Lakshadweep
The costs will vary depending upon the type of room on cruise, number of destinations covered, number of days, and the city of departure. A 5D/4N cruise trip to Lakshadweep from Kochi on MV Kavaratti cruise costed me around INR 30,000, inclusive of taxes. This cost, however, included stay, food (all 3 meals) along with one water sport per island. I opted for the diamond class, the costs will be less if you pick the gold class. A complete list of fares of the cruises to Lakshadweep that are operated by the government can be found on the website of Lakshadweep Cruise Tourism.
All travellers will need a permit to visit Lakshadweep, as the Indian Union Territory keeps a check on the number of tourists visiting the paradise island. If you wish to travel to this charming land, make sure you acquire the entry permit from the administrator of Lakshadweep. Check the process here before planning your trip. One can get a permit online without much of a hassle.
Travel has changed after COVID, RTPCR negative test was mandatory at the time of my travel to Kerala, hence don’t forget to make a mandatory check before planning your trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now let’s address some of the FAQ’s on taking a cruise trip to Lakshadweep
- Which is the best time to take a cruise trip to Lakshadweep?
The best time to visit Lakshadweep is between October and mid-May. Monsoons in Lakshadweep begin in the later half of May and continue till late September, thereby making it difficult to reach the island group by sea.
- What are the water sports that one can indulge in?
Lakshadweep islands are perfect for adventures like surfing, swimming, canoeing, snorkelling, scuba diving, water skiing, and kayaking
- Which island is the best in Lakshadweep?
Each island has its own beauty, the water varies from emerald green to turquoise blue with stretches of white sand. Personally, Kadmat was my favourite. I heard the locals say Minicoy is the best of them all.
- Is the cruise safe?
Yes. The cruise has crew members who take care of us very well. Just follow the instructions given to you by the crew members, you’ll be in good hands.
- Will I get seasickness since I’m going to be on the ship for 5 days?
You will feel a tinge of dizziness on the first day of your trip on the cruise, but you’ll get used to it. Moreover, from the second day onwards you will be spending the entire day on an island, so fret not.
- What food can we get on the cruise?
If you pick the samudram package, you will get buffet served for all 3 meals where breakfast and dinner are served on the cruise and lunch will be given on the island. The food served will be Indian cuisine with an option of veg and non-veg.
- Is passport needed for Lakshadweep?
Passport is only required in the case of foreigners as Indians can get the permit via the other proper documents. Indians only require a valid Photo ID proof like Adhar Card, voters ID or Driving Licence.
- Should we go through a travel agent for booking?
Not mandatory. Please check Lakshadweep Tourism website for contact details. Bookings can be done directly, you can go through the details here. if you wish to take an agent, there are a lot Government run agencies which help in booking your trip.
- Are the travel dates flexible for the cruise?
All the cruises depart on fixed schedule, you can get the information on dates of departure and islands covered when you reach out to the SPORTS Lakshadweep Centre.
- Which network works in Lakshadweep?
Only BSNL works in all islands of Lakshadweep. Airtel/Jio works only in Kavaratti.
A cruise trip to Lakshadweep will be an exhilarating experience that you must try! Hope I have covered all the needed details for your cruise trip. Drop your questions or doubts in the comments section.