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Makruzz: Cruising across Andamans - The Andaman Odyssey

Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India are a perfect travel destination for all kinds of people – the sea lovers, the adventure lovers and the nature lovers. It is an ideal destination for solo travelers, honeymooners, couples, friends and family as well. The most popular tourist destinations in Andaman Islands are Port Blair, Havelock Island (Swaraj Dweep) and Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep). Inter-island travel is hence very critical for islanders and tourists. Makruzz plays a critical role in not just providing fast inter-island connectivity, it does so in the most comfortable and reliable way possible. In our opinion, it is the heart of Andamans.

Makruzz powering through the Andaman Sea is a backbone for inter-island transportation withing Andamans
Makruzz powering through the Andaman Sea is a backbone for inter-island transportation withing Andamans
 

The series of travel blogs - The Andaman Odyssey will serve as a one stop travel guide to you and give you all details along with recommendations to ensure you can plan your own trip.

Our other blogs of the series - The Andaman Odyssey will help you understand and plan your trip to Andaman Islands and give you a good idea of Havelock (Swaraj Dweep) and Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep) with recommendation on places to stay and activities to do.

9. Review: Makruzz - Cruising across Andamans - Current blog

 

We happened to travel in M.V. Makruzz and Makruzz Gold during our trip to Andamans in Nov-Dec 2017. Thanks to their management, we got special access to some areas of the vessel and an opportunity to talk to some of their staff and crew. In this article, we will be briefing you about these high speed vessels. In the later part, we will also guide you on how to book your trip, the boarding process and what to expect once on-board.

Makruzz has redefined inter-island transport in Andamans
Makruzz has redefined inter-island transport in Andamans

Little bit of background of Ferries in Andaman:

Till 2009, the only means for inter-island travel were the Government ships. These are heavy ships ferrying passengers from one island to another. However, the Government ships run at achingly slow speed, carrying less than 100 passengers in a single run, no advance booking is possible, and are devoid of any comfort and facilities for the passengers. It is best not to comment on cleanliness of these ferries.

The government ferry ship was the only inter-island transport option till 2009. Makruzz arriving from afar with government ferry in front
The government ferry ship was the only inter-island transport option till 2009. Makruzz arriving from afar with government ferry in front

In November 2009, MAK Logistics introduced one passenger ship for inter-island travel named M.V. Makruzz and that changed the whole scenario of island hopping in the Andaman Islands. It was the first private ferry service plying in Port Blair – Havelock (Swaraj Dweep)/ Neil Island (Shaheed Dweep) sector. Starting with one ship, MAK Logistics currently runs three passenger ships namely – M.V. Makruzz, Makruzz Gold and Coastal Cruise; owning the first 2 and leasing the 3rd. Both the Makruzz are designed for comfort; offering many amenities to its passengers, the seats can be booked in advance through their online portal and they run at a very high speed thus saving travel time to a great extent.

Makruzz Gold with shining golden strip bordering it in the background with MV Makruzz in the foreground
Makruzz Gold with shining golden strip bordering it in the background with MV Makruzz in the foreground

About Makruzz

MAK Logistics is the Company that takes care of all the matters related to the ships; right from reservations to on-board and off-board operations to technical and catering tasks. Makruzz ships are state-of-art crafts made of aluminum that provide utmost comfort to its ferrying passengers. Both M.V. Makruzz and Makruzz Gold are twin hull Catamaran vessels. What this means is there are 2 hulls instead of one and there is open gap between the 2 hulls as seen in picture below. This enables high speed, better stability and more space.

Interesting fact – MAK Logistics is co-owned by three members – Mr. Mohammed H. Jadwet, Mr. Ashok and Mr. Kundu – hence the name MAK Logistics. The name ‘Makruzz’ not only manages to get their company name MAK in the start, but ‘Maqrooz’ in urdu also means ‘Indebted’.


Makruzz ships have white exteriors and look similar to a huge aircraft. Makruzz Gold is a slightly bigger ship and has a shining golden strip on its exteriors. The Makruzz vessels have two decks – an upper deck and a lower deck, both of which are closed as the whole vessel is centrally air conditioned. Huge transparent glass windows run throughout the entire length of the ship’s upper deck and lower deck offering all the passengers a personalized view of the panorama.

There are three different seating classes for its passengers – Premium, Deluxe and Royal:

  • The Premium seats are located in the lower deck

  • The Deluxe seats are located in the upper deck

  • The Royal seats are again located in the upper deck in a small cabin – these seats are bigger and more comfortable just like cushioned sofas and offer more privacy. Both M.V. Makruzz and Makruzz Gold had only 8 Royal seats.

Our experience of travelling in Makruzz:

We happened to travel in M.V. Makruzz and M.V. Makruzz Gold during our trip to Andamans. After quick check in process at the port, as we headed towards the ship, just the first glimpse of the Makruzz took our breaths away. It seemed like a large white and blue sea plane sailing on water at high speed. The onboard staff guided us to our seats. The seats, even the premium ones, were comparable to those on flights. They also had life jackets under each seat just like flights did. The similarities did not end there. As the ship started disembarking the port, an announcement was made requesting all passengers to be seated and the TV screens started screening a safety video film along with onboard staff giving a safety demonstration. After the safety video, a complimentary vegetarian snacks box is distributed to all Royal passengers along with tea/coffee and a bottle of water. Makruzz went one step beyond aircrafts when the TV screens continued entertaining the passengers with documentaries around Andamans or popular video songs through the entire trip.

Interesting fact – Slogan of Makruzz ships is something we felt was so true to what we experienced – “FLY BY SEA”. Their logo – a dolphin signifies beauty and friendliness, again something which we felt was true.

After the safety demonstration, passengers are allowed to move around. We found it difficult to walk as we were cruising at around 18 knots towards our destination and the sea was a bit rough that day. The onboard staff was kind enough to give us some important tips which made it easier for us to move around. One should walk with feet apart allowing the body to be fluid enough so that the motion of sea slowly gets synchronized with one’s body. The staff was highly skilled at it as they were able to carry cups of tea without spilling when we were struggling just to stand. Moving around, we were delighted to see many amenities such as ample space, clean lavatories on both upper and lower decks and a Makruzz café on the lower deck which was well stocked to cater to eating needs of all types of passengers.


Since we had special access, we got the opportunity to visit - The Bridge. It is similar to cockpit of aircrafts where Captain, Chief Officer and Chief Engineer sit and navigate the vessel safely with the help of integrated operation systems. We learnt that Makruzz vessels meet the global standards of safety in terms of life saving, fire-fighting, navigational and communication systems. Maintaining such high standards was one of the primary reasons government allowed a private company to operate on choppy waters of Andaman Sea.

Interesting fact – M.V. Makruzz Gold happens to be the most technologically advanced vessel in the Andaman Sea with features such as satellite communications, infrared radar and autopilot modes. Commissioned in Feb 2017, M.V. Makruzz Gold is also one of the biggest & fastest passenger ships with capacity of 322 passengers and speed upto 22 knots. M.V. Makruzz on the other hand can carry upto 264 passengers.