One of the best ways to see Dubai and all its splendour is undoubtedly by organising a boat tour . From the boat you can contemplate the city’s tallest skyscrapers, major architectural masterpieces and many sites of interest from a different perspective. Added to this is the chance to get to know some of Dubai’s most historic areas and markets where time seems to have stood still several years ago.
There are numerous companies that organise tours of the city by boat at different times of the day and offer different services. Cruises can depart from the Dubai Marina area and from there explore the newer, more modern part of the city or you can embark in the Dubai Creek Harbour area to visit both the newer and more historic areas.
If you just want to see Dubai from a different perspective but without including dinner in the tour, then you have several options you can consider. There are numerous companies that organise tours with one-hour routes that still allow you to touch on some of the main points of interest. Remember, however, that if you opt for this option, one of the best times of the day for a tour is definitely sunset.
Of all the boat tours and excursions you can take in Dubai, the one below is the best-selling as well as the cheapest.
However, if you want a more special experience, choose one of the following.
An alternative to the tourist ferries is a tour aboard the traditional boats known as Abra. The word abra seems to derive from the Arabic verb ‘abara’ meaning to cross. One of the most unique tours one can take in Dubai is the one organised aboard the abra.
There are different types of this boat. Apart from the classic abra, which still carries out the connections between Deira and Bur Dubai, there are now also boats equipped with the latest technology that are able to make the cruise comfortable in a fully air-conditioned environment complete with all amenities.
Ferries are a very good and economical option for those who want to take a simple tour of the city. There are two itineraries: one departs from Dubai Creek and then reaches the main points of interest, while the other departs from Dubai Marina and follows the route known as ‘The Walk’, which sails close to Palm Jumeirah, the artificial palm tree over which the famous Atlantis complex was built.
If you are thinking of spending a different evening with family or a group of friends, you can opt for a dinner cruise. There are two boats available: modern ships with glass roofs or traditional wooden boats, known as dhows, which were originally used for transporting goods and fishing.
Many cruises are organised during dinner time so you can eat while observing the beautiful scenery. Some tours organise dance performances, live music or other fantastic shows in addition to dinner! After dinner you can relax on the open-air upper deck and enjoy the atmosphere.
Dubai Creek is the area of the city traversed by Khor Dubai (i.e. ‘the river of Dubai’), which is a waterway stretching some 14 kilometres from the Persian Gulf. Around this river, which in the past was used as a natural harbour by traders and fishermen, the heart of the city of Dubai was built years ago. Now the Dubai Creek area is one of the most picturesque. From here, numerous dinner cruises depart aboard the traditional Arabian boat, the dhow, for a truly unique tour. While savouring fine local cuisine, you can admire the illuminated Dubai Creek, the Heritage Village, the Bur Dubai souk and the Burj Khalifa.
Dubai Marina is one of Dubai’s most famous districts. In addition to beaches with all amenities, here you will also find open-air restaurants, shops, craft stalls and the Dubai Marina Mall. During a Dubai Marina dinner cruise, you can admire the city’s illuminated palaces and large skyscrapers. The restaurant with panoramic views allows you to enjoy great food and watch some of the major attractions such as Eye Dubai (the world’s largest Ferris wheel) and Palm Jumeirah.
In Dubai, there is no shortage of yachts, sailboats, speedboats or luxury boats to organise a private, customised tour of the city. Whether you are a couple looking for romance, a family seeking privacy or a group of friends, this is definitely an option worth considering. Packages that include boat tours, meals and swimming stops are often already sold, alternatively you can request or arrange your own daily programme.
The Dubai Ferry is a recent addition to Dubai’s transport system. It is a maritime transport system opened in 2011 and operated by the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) and is much more than just a tourist attraction, as there are three routes that depart from one station, sail around areas of local interest, and return to the same station: each trip takes about an hour. To increase the appeal of the Dubai Ferry in recent years, routes have been introduced that depart from one station and arrive at another.
The three stations served by the Dubai Ferry are Al Ghubaiba in Bur Dubai, Dubai Marina and Al Mamzar. Navigation takes place aboard modern catamarans that can accommodate up to 100 passengers, equipped with all comforts at different times of the day from each of the three ports of embarkation, although frequencies and timetables change quite often, so we advise you to enquire locally.
A popular route for tourists is the one from Al Ghubaiba to Dubai Marina. On the way you can admire numerous icons of the city from the water, including the Burj Khalifa, the Burj Al Arab and the Atlantis.
City Card allow you to save on public transport and / or on the entrances to the main tourist attractions.