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Port Blair

Port Blair is the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Its lush green landscape is welcoming and its location on the coastal line of the Bay of Bengal brings with it charming palm-lined beaches and spectacular marine life. But it's the relics from Port Blair's political past which reign prominent. A Cellular Jail, built by the British to house political prisoners, has been transformed into an unlikely tourist attraction, and its World War 2 Japanese Bunkers are also popular with visitors drawn to the unconventional.

More traditional destinations include Corbyn's Cove, where the locals like to swim and MiniZoo, which houses some species unique to these islands. Take a fishing boat to Mangrove Creeks or over to Mount Harriet National Park, known for its Andaman wild pigs, saltwater crocodiles, turtles and robber crab. Ross Island is a short boat ride from Port Blair's Aberdeen Jetty and home to the ruins of once-majestic buildings like the State Ballroom. Or take a trip to the aptly-named Barren Island, a stark wilderness characterised by the only active Volcano in South Asia.

 

Shore excursions in Port Blair

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Port Blair by Rickshaw

Activity low

Duration: 2½ hours

Absorb the bustling atmosphere and sounds of Port Blair as you visit the sights in a local rickshaw.

Board your auto-rickshaw for a tour around some of the highlights of Port Blair. A auto-rickshaw, locally know as a ‘rick’ is a motorised 3-wheeled cabin cycle and is an essential form of urban transport in many developing countries. It is also referred to in some countries as a tuk tuk.

Your first stop will be at the Cellular Jail, built between 1886 and 1906 by the British colonists to house dangerous criminals. This ghastly facility was subsequently used to imprison Indian freedom fighters until that country gained Independence in 1947. It silently stood witness to the tortures and ruthless atrocities meted out to the inmate, especially those fighting for India’s freedom. Now declared a National Memorial, the site features a museum with photos and the names of the convicts held here, as well as a death house, the gallows and the implements used for torture. The jail provides a chilling glimpse into some of the horrendous conditions that the prisoners endured.

Back in your rickshaw, you’ll be able to take in the sights and sounds of this busy little town as you are immersed in the daily life of the locals. Stopping at the famous South Point Temple, located on the shoreline, you’ll have a chance to take photos of the intricate designs and architecture of this colourful temple before rejoining your rickshaw for a ride to the Aberdeen Bazaar.

Aberdeen Bazaar is the place in Port Blair which is best known for shopping. The bazaar consists of many roadside stalls and even Government Emporiums. Souvenirs made of sea shells and wood-carvings, handicrafts made by local artisans, clothing and jewellery can be found here at very reasonable prices.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by auto-rickshaw. Each rickshaw takes 2 people. There are 15 optional steps to access the watch tower at the Cellular Jail. There is a maximum of 30 minutes walking over flat terrain at the Cellular Jail. Walking at the Temple and Bazaar are optional.

Port Blair Highlights

Activity medium

Duration: 3¾ hours

Discover the highlights of Port Blair during a visit to the Cellular Jail, Anthropological Museum, Samudrika Museum and Aberdeen Bazaar.

From the main harbour town of Port Blair, you’ll be taken to the imposing Cellular Jail, once the symbol of British oppression and today a National Memorial dedicated to the epic freedom struggle of India. This colossal edifice has mutely witnessed the most inhumane atrocities borne by convicts, who were mostly freedom fighters. During your visit you’ll be able to see the existing gallows, death house, cells and the implements used for torture. It provides a harsh reminder of the grisly conditions the inmates had to endure within the prison in the early 1900’s.

From the jail, you’ll visit the Anthropological Museum. This fascinating museum enables you to witness the tribal life of the island’s people through its interesting displays, including model villages, tribal weapons, tools, clothing, photographs, artefacts, authentic reconstructions of tribal dwellings and an entire canoe.

Next, you’ll stop at the Samudrika Museum, which gives an interesting insight into the island and its marine life. The museum’s 5 sections introduce the history of the Andaman Islands, the island’s geography, people, archaeology and marine life. With various collections of corals, shells and fish fauna, this small museum is a treasure trove of the marine world and includes a number of rare fish species.

Before returning to the ship, there will be some free time at the Aberdeen Bazaar, which features vendors offering everything from clothing and house wares to woodcarvings and shells – try your hand at bartering and see what bargains you can get.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by mini-coach and on foot. The majority of walking is over flat paved terrain. At the Anthropological Museum there are 16 steps to the 1st floor and 21 steps to the 2nd floor. There are 15 optional steps to access the watch tower at the Cellular Jail. There is approximately 30 minutes of walking at each venue.

Ross Island

Activity medium

Duration: 3¾ hours

Explore the uninhabited Ross Island with its treasure of ruins and captivating British history.

A 30 minute bus ride will bring you to the harbour, where you’ll board a boat for a 15 minute crossing to Ross Island. Ross Island, once the administrative headquarters for the British, is an interesting, forlorn piece of colonial history.

All that remains today are the timeworn remnants of old structures—the church, chief commissioners residence, swimming pool, tennis court, bakery and cemetery are mute testimony to the lifestyle of the ruling class. It has an eerie feel about it as the surrounding nature seems to be reclaiming the ruins back with its roots whilst deer and peacocks roam freely around them.

In sharp contrast stands the jail where Independence fighters were incarcerated. A small museum displays the opulence and decadence of a bygone era, exhibiting photographs and other antiques of the British relevant to these islands.

A knowledgeable local guide will take you around the most interesting parts and will really bring the history of this fascinating, uninhabited island to life.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by mini-coach, boat and on foot. The island is not wheelchair accessible. There are a total of 15 steps on the island. Approximately 2 hours is spent on the island so comfortable, flat, enclosed shoes are recommended and bottled water is recommended.

Rubber, Spice and Local Life

Activity medium

Duration: 4 hours

Gain an interesting insight into the spice industry, visit a local school and discover the methods of producing rubber.

Embark on a journey to the Sippighat Agriculture Farm, a Government run research institute specialising in the cultivation of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, coconut and various black and green pepper. Over 80 acres in size, your guide will walk you through some of the most interesting parts of the cultivation areas. The area also attracts various species of migratory birds, so if you are a bird lover keep your eyes peeled for the Pacific Golden-Plover, Eurasian Curlew and Mongolian Plover.

Your next stop will be a nearby secondary school for a cultural exchange with the local school children. They love meeting with visitors from other regions of the world, and you will also have an opportunity to see how a normal school day is organised in this part of India.

After your school visit, you’ll be taken to the rubber tree plantation. This vast 60 acre site has been privately owned since 1960. Some of the proceeds from the rubber plantation help to support the nearby school, hospital and police station. You’ll be given an interesting demonstration of how the rubber is extracted from the trees and slowly turned into latex and other rubber products.

Enjoy the passing scenery on the return drive back to the ship.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by mini-coach and on foot. There are 5 steps and approximately 20 minutes of walking at each venue. The toilet facilities at each venue are Indian style and very basic.

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