Cruises to Dubai and the Emirates

Our cruises to Dubai and the Emirates will give you the chance to explore the intoxicating Middle East, from the bright lights of Abu Dhabi to the sandy beaches and turreted fortresses of Fujairah. We offer a selection of local cruises sailing around the Emirates and further afield, so you can discover the beauty and charm of destinations with a long history of seafaring and trade routes. The modern architecture and high-octane commerce of the Emirates is underpinned by a fascinating history of trade, once in bustling souks and today played out in glittering skyscrapers.

Nowhere in the world has seen such an incredible modern renaissance as Dubai, making this cultural centre the perfect place to begin exploring the Middle East on your Imagine Cruising journey.  

Dubai glitters: everything about this continually developing city has to be the biggest, brightest and most impressive. Seemingly out of nowhere the city has erupted from its dusty desert foundations, with shimmering towers piercing the sky, including the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. The constant development has segued into everyday life as easily as the introduction of air conditioning to its myriad megamalls, though additions such as the planet’s largest snow park, richest horse racetrack and wealthiest golf tournament seem a little more juxtaposed in this desert nation.

Renowned for its oil wealth and extravagant good looks, Dubai offers an endless variety of activities to keep you entertained from dawn until dusk and beyond. Even on a day in port you can still cram in enough sightseeing to give you a fascinating insight into this developing economy. Soar to the top of the Burj Khalifa and peer down at the landscape below, take a traditional dhow boat across Dubai Creek and enjoy afternoon tea in the top-floor restaurant of the Burj Khalifa. You’ll still have time to visit the Dubai Mall to pick up some designer goodies to take away with you and watch the Dubai Fountain Show before you head back to the ship. Alternatively, forget the bustling about and simply lie back on a lounger on one of Dubai’s stunning beaches. We recommend Jumeirah Beach for the nicest day out.

Abu Dhabi is similarly ritzy, home to the world’s largest hand-loomed carpet and fastest rollercoaster; it’s a city that holds many world records. The capital of the Emirates also hides pockets of a more traditional culture, with souks and sheesha cafes and a bustling dhow harbour. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and is generally regarded as the country’s cultural heart, contrasting the modern landscape with its Arabic traditions. The city is built on a series of islands blanketed in verdant gardens, parks and leafy boulevards. It’s as pleasant to discover on a beach break as it is on a quick stopover.  

Most cruises to Dubai and the Emirates start or finish in Dubai. Thanks to its fantastic transport links with Emirates Airline it’s ideally placed for twin-centre breaks. You could take a cruise to or from Dubai and use its excellent flight connections to visit another destination, such as Singapore or even Australia.

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Best time to travel

Dubai and the Emirates is a year-round destination which sees very little rain.

Located on land reclaimed from the desert it can be very hot and sandstorms are a possibility. The region is hottest from May to September, so it’s ideal for winter sun!

Local sayings

  • Asalam-alekum - Hello
  • Masa al-khayr - Good evening
  • Min fadlika - Please
  • Asif! - Sorry
  • Shukran - Thank you
  • Kayfa halik? - How are you?
  • Na’am - Yes
  • Laa - No

Local Cuisine

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are internationally-influenced cities with many expats so you’ll find a huge range of cuisine to try.

Asian cuisine is abundant so there’s no shortage of sushi and fragrant curries and the seafood is delicious. Arabic cuisine includes grilled meat dishes including camel, if you dare!

Facts

Dubai is home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which tops out at 830 metres to the tip of its spire and has 209 floors.

Saadiyat island is set to be a cultural project to promote nature, Emirati heritage and culture, built 500 metres off the coast of Abu Dhabi. It will have eight museums designed by architects such as Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.

Things to do

  • Soar to the top of the Burj Khalifa and take in the staggering views from the deckli>
  • Head to Yas Island to enjoy water parks, marinas and amusement parks
  • Float down Dubai Creek in a traditional junk boat
  • Visit the gleaming white marble Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi and count the 82 domes
  • Head to Wild Wadi Waterpark and brave the waterslides and rides
  • Drop some dirhams in The Dubai Mall, famous for its incredible shopping and leisure
  • Swish down the slopes at Dubai Ski, an artificial ski slope in the desert complete with lifts
  • Relax on one of the private beaches on the Palm Jumeirah and order drinks to your lounger
  • Leap from a light aircraft and sky dive over the artificial islands along the coast
  • Enjoy the immaculate beaches of Saadiyat Island
  • Motorsports enthusiasts will love Ferrari World, dedicated to the iconic supercar
  • Watch the display of water jets dancing to music at the Dubai Fountain Show
  • Head to one of the Emirates’ luxury hotels for Friday Brunch, a staple across the Middle East
  • Explore the desert landscape of the Empty Quarter on a dune safari
  • Shop for gold and traditional Middle Eastern souvenirs in the souks