Discovering Dubai from a cruise ship

Discovering Dubai

If you’re fascinated by the exotic or are simply looking for an alternative to a European cruise, you may be interested in a new home port emerging in the Middle East: Dubai, the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates.

Dubai and the rest of the emirates are unfamiliar and even mysterious territory for many Western travelers. Beginning this fall, Dubai will be home base for a great cruise vacation.

Costa Cruises’ Costa Europa and Costa Luminosa will be call on Dubai as part of an itinerary that includes port calls in Egypt, Yemen and Oman. Starting in January 2010, Royal Caribbean will sail seven-night cruises departing from Dubai on the Brilliance of the Seas. Guests of Royal Caribbean will have time to enjoy this fast-growing city with overnight stays at the beginning and end of each voyage.

Much of Dubai is new and glittering, with Western-style features.  Look out for outrageously luxurious hotels, high-rise condominiums and huge shopping malls that may bring Las Vegas to mind. There are construction sites everywhere.

Still, you’ll know you’re in Arabia when you catch the aroma of the mouthwatering spices for sale in the spice souk, or outdoor marketplace. You’ll also want to visit the gold souk to watch the vendors bargaining over the price of beautiful gold jewelry – and perhaps do some bargaining yourself.

The Khor Dubai, or Dubai Creek, runs through the heart of the city and separates a business district from Bar Dubai, where many tourist attractions are located. The Dubai Museum was built around the Al Fahidi Fort, which dates from the late 18th century. The Hatta Heritage Village offers a look at Dubai’s social and cultural history and Bedouin lifestyle.

Dubai also has gorgeous beaches, equipped with soft white sand and the warm, turquoise water of the Persian Gulf. Palm Beach and Jumeirah Beach are two favorites of residents and visitors. The beaches are perfect for relaxing and sunbathing, but there are also sand and water sports to enjoy.

Some travelers aren’t sure of the appropriate wardrobe for a visit to Dubai, where women are often covered from head to toe when in public. For visitors, conservative Western clothes are fine. Arabs do not appreciate clothing that exposes the arms, shoulders or legs, so leave your sleeveless tops and shorts on the ship on days in port. For men and women, shirts with longer sleeves and long slacks are always appropriate. Knee-length or longer skirts for women are acceptable, too. You’ll stay cooler in light clothing made of cotton or linen. Women who plan to visit a mosque should bring also a scarf or hat to cover their heads. Swimwear is acceptable at the beach, but you’ll want to put on more conservative attire before leaving the beach area.

For those who would like to spend more time exploring Dubai, Royal Caribbean is offering a four-night cruisetour extension. Cruisetour guests will have the opportunity to see more of Dubai and the neighboring emirates of Raps Al Khaimah and Fujairah, which is the only emirate located on the Gulf of Oman. Escorted by a tour director, cruisetour guests will take a thrilling four-wheel drive into the desert, where they will see sand dunes, mountains, mosques and tranquil villages. Other highlights include camel racing and a sunset dinner at a Bedouin camp.

For more information about discovering Dubai and other attractions of the Middle East via cruise, talk with your personal cruise expert.

Carrie Finley-Bajak  |  CruiseBuzz
President, Cruise Holidays of Mission Viejo
Accredited Cruise Counselor
phone 949-215-6700 or 888-203-3012|   fax 949-215-6398|  Follow us on Twitter

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