Tailor-Made Holiday

Pandaw Andaman Explorer Cruise

Visit Chennai and Pondicherry and cruise the Andaman archipelago

13 days

from £4,460pp (excluding flights)

For the first time ever, Pandaw will be offering an expedition running the length of Andaman archipelago. Until now, such an expedition into this sensitive no go area would have been unimaginable.

  • A rare opportunity to explore an area of 800 remote islands, rich in scenic, ethnographic and marine interest
  • Travel on board the stylish motor yacht, MY Andaman Explorer with her twelve comfortable suites
  • Visit a region of India which has ethnographically-distinct aboriginal people, geographically closer neighbours to Myanmar than India

Currently only the East coast of the Andaman Islands are open to us, but these are rich with life. On the east coast there are various ethnic groups including Indians and Karens who will provide a warm welcome to intrepid explorers. There are numerous beaches and uninhabited islands with coral reefs and a healthy marine species. The forests on the main islands have not been logged and there is a terrific biodiversity of plant life and tropical forest.

No vessel could be more suitable for this than the historic Andaman Explorer, built in 1963 as a Norwegian coast guard vessel and later converted into the plaything of an Italian plutocrat. Lovingly refitted by Pandaw, with her twelve sumptuous staterooms, the Explorer is ready for longer deeper expedition cruising, going deeper into these remote regions than any vessel before.

This sea expedition represents a very unique opportunity and considerable interest in this cruise is anticipated so early booking is essential.

Please note: This expedition requires a sufficient level of fitness and agility to climb in and out of tenders from the ship and at shore. Launching and boarding inflatable and rigid tenders can be challenging. Please be aware that the Andaman Explorer has a steep gangway and a good level of fitness is essential to ensure guest safety. There may be rough water which can challenge those with limited mobility. Launching and excursions are dependent on safe weather conditions as deemed by the Master of the Andaman Explorer and sea conditions.

Pre/post cruise experience

Complement an ocean cruise with a pre-tour of Chennai and the French influenced enclave of Pondicherry, before flying to Port Blair, the gateway to the Andaman Islands and where you join the MY Andaman Explorer.

Unique experiences on board and off the ship 

There are plenty of onshore excursions and activities from walking through rainforests, visiting local communities and snorkelling in pristine waters. On board, however comfortable and roomy the staterooms are, passengers prefer to spend their time sitting outside on the promenade decks or on the vast observation deck above. Unlike most other cruise ships, every window on board (expect for the portholes on the lower deck) can be opened and closed to suit your comfort. 

The Pandaw cabins combine colonial-era character with exquisite contempory design. Finished in brass and teak, the main and upper deck rooms are a spacious 168 square feet (15.6 sqm), with the exception of the Zawgyi Pandaw which is 150 square feet (14 sqm). As the space is much loved by all passengers, Pandaw have ensured that with each ship they build, the stateroom remains essentially the same. Be advised: cabins do not have mini-bars, satellite TV's, internet access or telephones. Passengers tend to choose Pandaw in order to escape from the tiresome features found in international business hotels.

Many passengers have described life on board a Pandaw as more like being a guest on a private motor yacht, than a passenger on a conventional cruise ship. For a start, the itineraries and their quest for the most spectacular sights and experiences is far more intrepid than conventional cruises. And when passengers return to the ship after experiencing the wonders of life onshore, they are coming back to a floating oasis of low-key luxury, caring service and all the good things of life.

All cabins are the same size and all contain Pandaw's signature amenities. Passengers can choose from the Main Deck or Upper Deck. Our ship Kalay features a bigger suite on the upper deck.

  • Fruit and flowers on arrival
  • Kimonos and slippers
  • Spa-branded amenities
  • Unlimited mineral water
  • Free use of mini DVD player on request and selection of DVDs from our library (subject to availability)

Why cruise?

Accessing by any other means isn’t possible.

What is given back?

The Pandaw Charity (www.pandawcharity.com) are looking to establish a programme in the Archipelago.

Sustainable best practice

Pandaw have eliminated plastic water bottle usage on board its boats.

Guides and specialists

All the naturalists and guides are trained in-house with years of experience and knowledge and are passionate about their home region.

Steppes’ value adds

Freeflow drinks package (excluding wine)

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 4460 £ 600

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Drive from Chennai to Covelong (Road Journey)

Arrive in Chennai Airport today. A private transfer is arranged from Chennai Airport to Covelong.

Covelong, only 30 minutes drive south of Chennai, but a world apart, it makes an excellent base for exploring the attractions of Mahabalipuram and Kanchipuram. It has transformed into a beach resort destination over recent years. Covelong is a fishing village and port town home to Covelong Beach, the site of a former fort. Flanked by picturesque palm trees and lined with glittering white sand dotted with colorful sea shells, this beautiful place is a must-see outside of Chennai.

You will be staying at Vivanta by Taj - Fisherman's Cove, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Half Day Tour of Mahabalipuram
Spend time exploring the town of Mahabalipuram, whose treasures date back to the heyday of the ancient Pallava Kingdom.

Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram, was originally built as a seaport during the seventh century. Famous for its solid rock monuments, the town's highlights include the sculpted Five Rathas, the vast Arjuna's Penance relief and the elegant Shore Temple.

You will be staying at Vivanta by Taj - Fisherman's Cove, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Driven from Covelong to Pondicherry

A drive of approximately three hours.

Coming from Chennai or the inland temple towns of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry is a breath of fresh air. A former French colony, the town has a distinctly French aesthetic with quiet, clean, shady cobbled streets, lined with colonial style houses.

You will be staying at Maison Perumal, bed and breakfast

Day 4

Walking Tour of Pondicherry
The old sea front of Beach Road is the start of a lovely morning stroll through this former French Colony. En route there are several elaborate Catholic churches and a 19th century botanical gardens. In addition to Le Club, arguably the best French restaurant in India, Pondicherry has French speaking rickshaw drivers and Vietnamese restaurants.

You will be staying at Maison Perumal, bed and breakfast

Day 5

Transfer from Pondicherry to Chennai to board the flight to Port Blair.

Fly Chennai to Port Blair

Port Blair on South Andaman Island is the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an Indian territory in the Bay of Bengal. Its seafront Cellular Jail, completed in 1906, hints at its past as a British penal colony and is now a memorial to Indian independence activists. Inland, the Samudrika Marine Museum showcases local marine life. The Anthropological Museum focuses on the islands’ indigenous tribes. Most travellers don't hang around any longer than necessary as it is the stepping off point to the islands, however Port Blair's fascinating history makes for some worthwhile sightseeing.

Port Blair
Flights arrive into Port Blair, the capital of the Andamans, and transfer to the ship. Go ashore to explore the colonial heritage architecture and see the iconic cellular jail.

You will be staying at The Andaman Explorer, full board

Day 6

South Andaman Islands
Embark on the first leg of the cruise towards the South Andaman Islands. Travel inland on foot to visit unspoiled forest areas with concentrations of epiphytic vegetation, being ferns and orchids.

You will be staying at The Andaman Explorer, full board

Day 7

Havelock and Lawrence Islands
Visit Havelock and Lawrence Islands today. Named after Sir Henry Havelock and the Lawrence brothers, great pillars of the Victorian Raj, with great beaches for swimming and coral reefs for snorkelling. The crescent shaped Radhanger beach is great for a long walk and elephants can be encountered.

You will be staying at The Andaman Explorer, full board

Day 8

Cruise through the archipelago to reach the Northern Andaman Islands. Visit villages and local communities and see folk dancing and local workshops.

You will be staying at The Andaman Explorer, full board

Day 9

Mayabunder is the centre of the Karen population of over 3,000 people, brought over from Burma by the British in the 1920s and left behind after independence. Visit the market, church and a flourishing Karen cultural life.

You will be staying at The Andaman Explorer, full board

Day 10

Rangat Bay and Long Island
Spend the day visiting virgin beaches and coral gardens and make some walks ashore.

You will be staying at The Andaman Explorer, full board

Day 11

Port Blair
Second call for port formalities and further explorations of Port Blair and this area.

You will be staying at The Andaman Explorer, full board

Day 12

Transfer to airport for onward flights.

Fly Port Blair to Chennai

On the east coast, Chennai, formerly Madras, was the first British settlement in India in 1640. Today Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu and the fourth largest city in India.

Many travellers only spend a short amount of time passing through Chennai. When in town don't miss the sunset stroll along Marina Beach. Explore the neighbourhood of Mylapore, home to South Indian art and religious traditions such as Kapaleeshwarar Temple and Ramakrishna Math. The city, and more noticeably the people, will grow on you. Over recent years glamour has arrived in the shape of luxury hotels, boutiques and classy contemporary restaurants.

You will be staying at Trident, bed and breakfast

Day 13

Departure day. Transfer to the airport.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Maison Perumal

Maison Perumal

Hotel Maison Perumal is a boutique hotel located in Pondicherry's Tamil Quarter....

View Accommodation

The Andaman Explorer

The Andaman Explorer

In 2020 Pandaw's luxury motor yacht will call into the Andaman Islands for a two month long coastal expedition offering seven-night sailings exploring the eastern coasts of this untouched archipelago....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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