Compared to the sleepy fishing village it was 200 years ago, Dubai is virtually unrecognizable today. The reason behind this huge development and investment is the oil boom of the 1960s, Which in just 50 years put the city firmly on the map for both business and tourism. While world-class business centres, ultra-luxurious hotels and fine beaches are certainly at the forefront of Dubai’s global image, the city’s proud history as a busy port hasn’t completely faded away. A traditional dhow cruise in Dubai is a highlight for many visitors and a great way to mix old-world Dubai with its modern-day existence.
What is a Dhow Cruise?
Dhows have been using the waters of the Arabian Peninsula for hundreds of years, carrying all kinds of goods from the Persian Gulf to India, East Africa and beyond. Indeed, Dubai almost certainly owes much of its current potential to the humble ships that first brought valuable trade to the city’s shores. These days, most of the world’s ocean cargo travels by container ship, meaning that dhow captains have turned to tourism as an additional source of income. Nowadays, many operators offer dhow cruises with dinner in Dubai, meaning you’ll be spoiled for choice and should be able to find a great dhow cruise deal at any time of the year.
Where can you do a dhow cruise?
However, Dubai’s coast is all-natural, and other artificial water bodies make their way into the city. The most important is Dubai Marina, but there is also Dubai Creek and the Dubai Water Canal. They do dhow cruises in all these water bodies in Dubai, but you should research the area before booking anything, as they all offer different views and experiences. The best way to experience Dubai Marina is on a dhow cruise. With Dubai Marina and JBR’s famous skyline, it has great views, plus you’ll be in a great spot if you want to do something before or after your cruise.
Dubai Creek Cruise or Dubai Marina Dhow Cruise?
Daytime and evening cruises frequently focus on either the ultra-modern Marina or the more traditional Dubai Creek neighbourhood. Although both will provide breathtaking views of the city, your decision will depend on what you hope to get out of the experience.
Dubai Creek dhow cruise:
Those looking to get the full Arabian experience, sailing wooden ships through quiet canals surrounded by sandstone buildings, should go for a tour of the Creek area in the city’s historic centre. While possibly less dramatic or exciting than other parts of the city, the creek is an often-overlooked destination and makes a perfect background for a romantic night on the water.
Dubai Marina dhow cruise:
On the other hand, if you’re here for the tall buildings, bright lights and all the glitz and glam that goes with Dubai, the Marina—the beating modern heart of Dubai—is sure to delight the senses. The atmosphere can be inspiring as you pass 5-star hotels, world-renowned restaurants, and the superyachts of the rich and famous. Although not exactly a ‘traditional’ experience, the views are world-class!
What to expect on a Dhow Cruise?
During the day, boats cruise in and around Dubai Creek and Marina, offering stunning views of the city’s incredible skyline and a cool sea breeze through your hair. The Burj Khalifa rule the city’s skyline, while the waterfront Burj Al Arab and Atlantis Hotel become even more spectacular when viewed from the water. A dhow cruise tour covers most of the highlights of Dubai, thus making it one of the best things to do in Dubai.
In the evenings, the focus shifts to dhow cruises with dinner, with some operators offering full immersive packages that include performances of Tanura dance and traditional music, delicious Arabic cuisine, and of course, the option to see the magical skyline at night. There’s something magical about any city’s skyline at night, but combining that with the warm desert air, the soft hum of traditional Arabic music, and a Dubai dinner cruise is an experience unlike any other.
It is important to compare what is included in the price when looking for dhow cruise offers in Dubai as this can vary greatly between operators. For example, some tour companies include hotel pickups and drop-offs in the price, while others charge extra or need you to travel to the starting point yourself. Check the menu before making a reservation for a Dubai Dhow Cruise Dinner because choices might range from basic buffets to opulent fine-dining occasions. Similarly, while it’s not always a problem, checking ahead of time is important to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Some cruises include alcohol, while others will charge extra once on board.
Why go for a Dhow Cruise:
A dhow cruise is something you should not miss if you visit Dubai. Almost every tourist visiting Dubai should go on one of two cruises. There are many reasons for this.
- Witness the fascinating views.
- Enjoy a delicious dinner.
- Enjoy entertainment shows.
Witness the fascinating views:
A dhow cruise in Dubai offers some breathtaking views by water. As Dhow passes through some of the most interesting places in Dubai, don’t miss out on the outdoors. Where a cruise explores cultural roots, Dhow Cruise Marina is all about the deluxe skyline. There are some interesting places to visit on Dubai Creek, including the Al Fahidi Heritage Village, Al Seef, and the Old Souks Dhow Cruise. These places are in tough contrast to Marina’s modern glitzy cityscape.
Enjoy a delicious dinner:
Another attraction in the Dhow is the delicious dinner. Dhow cruise is called a floating restaurant for the delicious food it offers visitors. The dinner menu on the cruise includes many favourites from Middle Eastern, European, and Asian cuisines. Desserts include some famous Arabic sweets, which will blow away the diners. Nowadays, those looking for a new evening meal prefer Dhow Cruise Dinner.
Enjoy entertainment shows:
Once you board the dhow, the fun is endless. A male dancer will perform the Tanura folk dance. Tanura is a dance with Egyptian heritage. Dressed in colourful dresses and heavy skirts, the dancer spins from start to finish, performing interesting tricks with her props. Being able to move around for so long without getting dizzy is one of the things that will surprise you about dance.
Best time for a Dhow Cruise:
Dubai’s popularity with foreign tourists is mainly due to its year-round sunshine, meaning there is no ‘bad’ time to visit the city. And, dhow cruise deals are available all year round. That said, November to April is considered the city’s high season where temperatures are more bearable although prices are higher. Bargain hunters will do their best to go during the low season between June and August when many dhow cruise tours will be available at lower prices. Be warned though, temperatures often go around 40°C during the day, meaning a sunset walk is advised to avoid the extreme heat!
Regardless of where you choose to cruise, many operators offer daytime and evening cruises, which are scheduled to coincide with Dubai’s spectacular Arabian sunsets. While cruises offer the city’s best views during the daytime, on the other hand, sunset departures provide an unforgettable experience and the chance to see the skyline brightened at night — in many ways offering the best of both options! Taking a dhow dinner cruise in Dubai is another popular pastime, with romantic and more lively options available.