We look at the best dhow cruises companies vying for your dirhams. Our city’s waterways are bursting with life – and it’s not just cargo and luxury yachts making waves.
The best dhow cruises have been built in Dubai for thousands of years, but in the last two decades their purpose has evolved from one of trading and fishing to encompass more recreational pursuits. Watching annual races such as the Al Ghaffal Traditional 60ft Dhow Race (which returns to Dubai International Marine Club on Saturday May 18) is just one way to enjoy a slice of the emirate’s rich maritime heritage. Another is to head out on one of the city’s dozens of dhow dinner cruises, which combine sightseeing with traditional Arabic entertainment and sprawling buffet dinners. But how to choose? Though there are many stunning yachts and more modern boats lining the banks, we decided to put the focus on traditional vessels, and have walked the length of the Creek and Dubai Marina to bring you the ultimate dhow cruise directory.
Dhs100 and under
Large windows on the lower deck allow guests to enjoy the view from the dining room. Head outdoors for photo opportunities.
From Dhs75 per person. Al Ghubaiba Tours, Bur Dubai, www.alghubaibatours.com (04 359 9970).
Cleopatra Floating Restaurant
A haven of kitsch ancient Egyptian paraphernalia, from pixelated depictions of the female pharaoh to death masks in the dining room. As well as tanoura dancing (Egyptian folk dance) and a magician, there are several puppet and costume shows to enchant and bemuse guests. From
Dhs100 per person. Cleopatra Dhow Cruise, www.cleopatradhowcruise.com (052 920 2233).
Private parties can charter the Falcon Oasis lunch cruise dhow. The minimum group size is between 20 and 25 people, and if their own hype is to be believed, the kebab platter on board is ‘the best’.
Dhs100 per person (minimum 20 passengers). Bur Dubai, Falcon Oasis, www.falconoasis.com (04 351 0103).
Best for vegetarian diners
Rainbow Star Floating Restaurant
Magic, tanoura dancing and henna tattooing await on this cruise, which has a vegetarian focus (though meat dishes are also available).
From Dhs100 per person. Rainbow Hotel, Bur Dubai,www.rainbowhotel.ae (04 357 2172).
Floating Majlis, Tour Dubai I, Tour Dubai II, Al Kirsh (Shark) and Arabian Discoverer offer tour options including a one-hour guided tour of the Creek, a two-hour dinner cruise and a romantic cruise for couples.
Tours from Dhs45, dinner cruises Dhs225. Bur Dubai and Deira, www.tour-dubai.com (04 336 8407).
Via: Time Out Dubai