Lakshadweep Part 1: The Ship

Wow. Lakshadweep is beautiful, just beautiful. Words can’t express it and photographs can’t convey it. You have to be there.

We boarded an overnight train to Kochi on Monday afternoon, which, happily, arrived a couple of hours late, so that we had a good night’s sleep and got up only around 6 a.m. Our hotel, Bharath Tourist Home, was only a short distance from the South Station. After baths and breakfast, we found our way to the SPORTS office in Kochi on Tuesday, and got our tickets and boarding passes made, a painless but excruciatingly slow process.

The next day, we reached the harbour, close to the SPORTS office on Wellingdon Island, by 9.30 a.m., and despite a long queue at the entry point, we were in our cabin before 10.30.

MV Kavaratti

The ship? Well, it was quite small, I think, as ships go, but quite pleasant on the whole. We were on the top deck, the fifth. Our cabin was small, but nice. We had two bunks, a desk, two chairs, two small cupboards, and of course, an attached bathroom, which was tiny but complete. And a speaker, which sprang to life in an alarming fashion from time to time, and which there was no escaping; every nook and cranny of the vessel had one.

There was a swimming pool on the deck a few doors away from our cabin, but it had no water. The bridge, just above and beyond the swimming pool deck, was out of bounds to passengers, but we managed a short stroll around it before the ship was completely loaded. It was lovely up there. There was a large, bare deck at the back which served as a helipad, and a noisy one in between where a lot of big red barrels were kept.

Ship to Lakshadweep

MV Kavaratti: Ship to Lakshadweep

The dining room was one deck below ours, and had long tables in rows like a canteen. There was a recreation room that had a couple of TVs and lots of chairs arranged in rows, a shop and a kiosk (which were both closed when I passed them), and a doctor’s office, which, thankfully, we didn’t have the occasion to visit. There were not, of course, any tennis courts, gyms, saunas, beauty saloons, bars or other such luxuries that I could find.

The other passengers on the ship were almost all Indians, and consisted partly of locals commuting between mainland and various islands, and partly of the tourist crowd, which included a disproportionate number of school children, a bunch of 40 teenagers from a school in Hyderabad. The twins shamelessly set about wooing the passengers and crew and had won themselves a number of admirers and a good deal of notoriety by the end of the trip. So much so, that they – and, occasionally, we also – had to pose for innumerable photo sessions before we finally left the ship.

Apart from our First Class 2-berth cabins, there were 4-berth cabins and dorms. The locals, who must be paying a much lower fare, got to travel sitting down, got their meals earlier, and mostly embarked and disembarked before the tourists.

A funny thing about the ship was that cabins could not be locked. You kept your valuables in the drawers and cupboards, which you locked, and left the room unlocked even when you left the ship for the entire day. I never got used to getting back to our room and not having to fish out a key and unlock the door, but nothing went missing.

I have only ever been on a proper ship once before in my entire life. That time, we went from Brindisi to Patras (Italy to Greece) and back, traveling deck class. Literally. We slept on the deck. And, man, was it cold! And so windy that at night, our flimsy cotton sheet almost flew off and landed in the sea. Well, this cruise was definitely a step up with the first class cabin and all… but with the air-conditioning that couldn’t be turned down or turned off, guess what? It was just as cold!

5 Responses to Lakshadweep Part 1: The Ship

  1. mumukshu says:

    Looks like you had a great trip. Were the twins seasick?

  2. doug H says:

    Sounds like you had a nice experience, overall. Wish I’d been there with you, as Chicago – and the entire country, it seems – has been bombarded with a massive cold air mass (it was down to 10 below the other day, with a ‘wind-chill factor’ of 40 below for most of the day. In Centigrade terms, that also comes to about minus 40. It’s been snowing every other day ice-storming in between. Drives that normally take 30 minutes can take up to 4 hours. (And that’s with all 247 snow plows operating at once, around the clock.) It even snowed in Las Vegas, the gambling spot which is located in the Mojave desert and where it hasn’t snowed since they began keeping records. (I think they got 3 and 1/2 inches.)

    Guess maybe I’m just jealous after your description of that cruise.

    It doesn’t snow in Southern India does it?
    I may be looking for a place to move.

  3. poupee97 says:

    Mumukshu: No, they weren’t seasick. The ship was big enough so you’d need something really dramatic to make you seasick. The small boats that took us to and from the islands could have made you seasick, but I guess the sea wasn’t rough enough, though on one journey a lot of people did look rather grim.

    Doug: How terrible! Vegas?! wow. Well, it hasn’t ever snowed here since the last Ice Age, I’m guessing, and probably not even then. 🙂

  4. Siri says:

    It even snowed in Central California, about an hour away from where we live. Im hoping against hope that we will have a white Christmas but I may have to wait until we visit one of the Eastern States for that wish to come true. Lakshadweep sounds beautiful. 🙂

  5. […] going to school, and Amit and I have actually made a good attempt at this, with trips to Binsar, Lakshadweep, and an abortive trip to Leh to our credit. The moot point about traveling with small kids, though, […]

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