Friday, 8 January 2016

Lakshadweep Samudram Cruise - M.V. Kavaretti

DAY 3: CRUISE TO LAKSHADWEEP

DAY 1: FOR LAKSHADWEEP CRUISE – DEPARTURE FROM KOCHI

I woke up around 4:00 am.. that’s really very early for me. My alarm dint ring, then why did I wake up. Then I noticed the sound.. lo & behold - it was raining. That too in October!!. I got out of the bed and peeped out.

It was raining heavily… It was beautiful seeing the rain on the backwaters of Alleppey but then realization struck. How on earth are we going to transport our luggage to the car?? As you would have read in my last post, the homestay where we were put up cannot be reached through road… I just hoped that the rain will subside by the time we have to check out.


Sky in the middle of the sea
Sky in the sea
By the time we all got ready and it was time to start our drive to Kochi, though it wasn’t pouring cats & dogs, there was still a light drizzle. We again put our luggage in the small boat and started towards the road. Just like earlier, Pramod and me on the boat ;) Nikhil and Preeti (along with Taashi) on foot.

Our luggage nicely tugged in a white Etios, we headed to Kochi. Enroute we had a south Indian breakfast at the very famous “Indian Coffee House”.

We had to go to Willingdon Island to board the ship. Our driver took us to Willingdon Island but he didn’t know the exact place where we had to go to pick our boarding passes. Another friend of ours – Parth (who was joining us for Lakshadweep) had already reached Lakshadweep Wharf.


M.V. Kavaretti Boarding Pass
Boarding Pass - M.V. Kavaretti
After few inquiries we finally reached the right building and met Parth. We were all excited to meet Parth and super excited to start our cruise to Lakshadweep, our first ever cruise!! We went to the first floor of the building and collected the boarding pass, Verification IDs and complementary “Lakshadweep” T shirts and Caps.

After a thorough security check we loaded our luggage in a bus which took us to the dock. As soon as we entered the dock we could see the magnificent white beauty– M.V. Kavaratti.
We all were spell bound when we saw our ship. It was a WOW moment – it was actually a ship – not a big boat – but a proper SHIP. It was a medium sized cruise ship and our home for five days.


M.V. Kavaretti - Our home for five days on the sea
M.V. Kavaretti - Our home for five days on the sea
Our luggage was marked with the room nos. allotted to us and we were asked to leave our luggage and embark the ship. The porters ensured our luggage was sent to the respective rooms. We boarded the ship around 11:00 am.

Thankfully the rooms allotted to us were on the fifth deck which is the top floor and had a small window which offered a limited view. The room is a 15 feet by 8 feet room with beds arranged like bunks on one side. A table, two chairs, a wooden cupboard and wall to wall carpet completed the room d├ęcor. The room had a small bathroom in the corner and had the facility of hot shower. Our rooms were clean and comfortable. Two bottles of bisleri, two towels and two medimix soap were kept in the room. After having a look of our rooms we went to the deck to enjoy the view. Though it was noon, we spent a lot of time on the deck, waiting for the ship to leave the harbor. Since the boarding & inspection took approx 2 hours, we decided to take a tour of the ship.


Room in M.V. Kavaretti
Room in M.V. Kavaretti

The ship was five levels - our room was on Level 5, the cafeteria was on Level 4. The Ship has an recreation room which has two TVs and few carrom boards. The ship also has a small swimming pool and has a helipad. 

We were served lunch at 1:00 pm. The cafeteria is divided into 2 parts, each accessed separately by a door – on one side only vegetarian food is served and on the other non vegetarian. The ship is used by both tourists and localities alike and they share the same canteen. The only difference is that the canteen timing is different for tourists and localities. The crew (captain & his officers) also eat at the canteen. The area in the middle of the canteen is earmarked for them




Finally the ship started the journey around 2:30 pm. We had more than enough time to roam around the ship. We explored every nook and corner of the ship. Initially, the ship was very confusing - in no time we were lost and roaming aimlessly here and there. But with time we got a hang of the ship and could find our ways easily.


Huge Ships at Kochi Port
Huge Ships at Kochi Port
Now we were excited to see how the ship moves out of the harbour and made our way to the upper deck. A small tug boat pulls the giant ship out of the bay into deeper waters. Its amazing as one can’t imagine such a small boat having the power to move such a huge ship!!


Top Deck
Top Deck

Ship cruising out of Kochi
Ship cruising out of Kochi
Eventually we were out of the bay and saw the city of Kochi fading behind us with the endless sea ahead of us. We could see the water colour changing from emerald green to black as we moved away from the city and further into the Arabian sea. After staring at the sea and enjoying the strong & cool breeze we all decided to go to our rooms and rest for a while.


Moving out of Kochi City
Moving out of Kochi City
Around 4:30 pm (after the 4:00 pm evening tea) we had an introduction section wherein we were all called in to the recreation center and told about the ship – its history, its safety features, its power, the schedule of the package, details of the islands we will be visiting etc. We were told that we would be taken to one island everyday in the morning after our breakfast in the ship. Since, the sea is shallow near the island for M.V. Kavaretti the ship will not go to the harbor. Instead we will be taken to the island on small boats in batches. The ship will wait for us in a few kms into the sea and we would come back to it by evening, before the sun sets.


Crimson Sky
Crimson Sky

We were asked to carry the minimum stuff to the Island. Rest of the luggage will remain in the room. We were also asked to wear the life jackets (which are in the cupboard of your room) before we reach the disembarkment area (in the morning), which is located at the lowest deck of the ship. From this area we will get off the ship and move to the Island in small boats.


Lets paint the sky RED
Lets paint the sky RED
After a good nap by few and some time pass by the others we all again assembled on the upper deck to have our first glimpse of the sun setting in the sea. Once on the deck we were spellbound – what an amazing view!!!  As the sun was setting, the sky had turned crimson red, slowly fading to orange and gradually becoming dark. In no time the sun had set and we could suddenly feel the change in the wind. Warm breeze has given way to chilly winds and we could see sky full of twinkling stars. After a while the men went downstairs and the women sat on the deck chit chatting under the star lit sky.


Tangerine Sky
Tangerine Sky

Beautiful Sunset
Beautiful Sunset
At 8:00 pm we all headed to the canteen for dinner. The dinner was a gala event with soup, two vegetables, daal, rice, chapatti and sweet. Post the dinner we saw a movie of Charlie Chaplin on Pramod’s laptop (He doesn’t go anywhere without his laptop) and then decided to call it a day. The ship sailed smoothly with a gentle rocking movement.

We all slept feeling excited about the pristine clear blue water of Minicoy Islands.

Points to remember:

  • We went to Lakshadweep Island through Lakshadweep Samundram Package which is a five day cruise to visit the islands of Minicoy, Kalpeni and Kavaretti by ship M.V. Kavaretti. The package is arranged by The Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports (SPORTS), a Government undertaking. The island tour is organized during the day with lunch and refreshments ashore. Nights are spent on board the ship. M.V Kavaratti has 150 Diamond class accommodations. Swimming, snorkeling and other water sports are arranged during the day tour. Children from 1 year and above up to 10 years will be treated as child.
  • Package include:
  1. First class cabin accommodation
  2. All 3 time meals [breakfast Lunch and Dinner] morning and evening tea or coffee
  3. Welcome drink at the island.
  4. All 3 island sightseeing.
  5. Water sports Kayaking Snorkeling and glass boat 1 time 
  6. Entry permit and Entry Ticket
  7. Compliment T Shirts and Caps
  8. All the Government taxes.
  9. Personal assistance on the ship and Island

Please note scuba diving is not included in the package. You can avail scuba diving by paying at the scuba diving center. The website of SPORTS is www.lakshadweeptourism.com

  • There is no mobile network on the ship and on the islands except of BSNL. So, say goodbye to emails, facebook, whatsapp, twitter or whatever else that you are hooked to. You might find network on Kavaretti Island.
  • There is a chemist and a doctor on the ship but just in case if you get sea sick, kindly carry your medication along.
  • Foreigners are not allowed in Lakshadweep, except on Bangaram Island.
  • Liquor is not allowed on the Ship and on the Islands.
  • The temperature in the ship is low and therefore it is very cold. Pls carry a warm jacket. You can also ask for an extra blanket in the ship. 
  • Expense Details of the day:

Expense Particulars
Amount for 4 people
Amount per head
Cab ride - Alleppey to Willington
1,700
425
Samundram Package (all 5 days)
98,968
24,742
TOTAL
1,00,668
25,167