Dubai is the biggest city in the United Arab Emirates and has a lot to offer. For cruises, the city often forms the starting and end point and can be reached within a few hours by plane from the UK. Here you will find all the information you need to explore Dubai on your own. On this page you will find information about the most important sights and helpful tips on how to get around in the area. You will also find this information visualized on our map.
Highlights for Dubai on your own
Dubai is not called a city full of contrasts for nothing. Here you will encounter luxury and extravagance as well as tradition and history. The impressive skyline can be admired from a distance from the ship, and one building in particular will certainly catch your eye: The 2,716.6 foot (828 metre) Burj Khalifa, the highest tower in the world. The luxury hotel Burj al Arab is also worth a visit from the sight alone and is considered an architectural masterpiece together with the Burj Khalifa. The Al Fahidi district, which is characterised by traditional oriental buildings, offers a contrast. With a population of over 3 million, Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the Persian Gulf. Dubai is also one of the most visited cities in the world and is a real tourist magnet. On an Orient cruise therefore an absolute must.
The Dubai Creek is a natural sea inlet with a length of 8.7 miles (14 kilometres) and used to be the centre and the most important port of the city. With small water taxis one can drive over the creek from Bur Dhabi to Deira. There are also sightseeings like the Gold-Souk or the Dubai Museum.
The gigantic skyscraper Burj Khalifa has become the landmark of Dubai and one of the most popular destinations. With 2,716.6 foot (828 metres) the highest building in the world, the “Tower of the Khalife” impresses with its unique architecture. In addition to a hotel, offices, some suites and a restaurant, there is a viewing platform on the 124th floor with the outdoor terrace “At The Top” and another platform on the 148th floor at 1,823 foot (555.70 metres). It is best to book your ticket online in advance to save costs and time.
Directly in front of the Burj Khalifa there is a spectacular sight: the Dubai Fountain. Every day from 18 o’clock there is a half-hour show with water, music and light. From Saturday to Thursday the show will also take place at 13:00, 13:30 and 14:00. The show is one of the most popular activities in Dubai – so be in time to get a good seat.
Insider tip: Enjoy the unique panoramic view even in the dark – standing over a sea of sparkling lights is a great feeling!
The city of Jumeirah was opened in 2004 and is a hotel, leisure and business centre. Jumeirah is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Dubai. Here you will find a spa, a sports centre, the Souk Madinat Jumirah, various restaurants, bars and cafés as well as Dubai’s only theatre.
The largest shopping mall in the world offers 1,200 shops by internationally hip designers as well as various activities and sights. These include the Dubai Aquarium, where colourful fish, rays and even sharks swim around, the Hysteria Haunted House or the Dubai Ice Rink – here you can skate. You want to become a pilot yourself? Then try the flight simulator Emirates A380 Experience.
The Dubai Aquarium continues on the ground floor and can be visited there for an entrance fee of 21 GBP. The absolute highlight is definitely the 157,5 foot (48 metre) long glass tunnel – here you can observe the different sea creatures from a completely different perspective.
Burj Al Arab
One of the most expensive and highest hotels in the world is also located in Dubai: the Burj Al Arab was opened in 1999 and is 1053 foot (321 metres) high. The hotel is known for the unofficial 7 star categorisation, because there is no such thing. In addition to 202 luxurious suites and nine exclusive restaurants, the Burj Al Arab offers an impressive private beach and various wellness facilities – a stay at this luxury hotel will not be forgotten. In addition, you will be picked up by helicopter at the airport and then flown to our own heliport. But the 7 stars and all amenities have also their price: at least 997 GBP are needed for a night in one of the luxury suites.
If, like many people, you cannot afford this, you can take an exciting boat trip. You get unique views of the luxury hotel and your wallet is spared. Alternatively, you can participate in afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab. Here you will visit the top floor of the luxury hotel and enjoy an impressive view of The Palm Jumeirah. Tickets for afternoon tea can be purchased online and start from 127 GBP per person.
Are you still looking for a great activity for the evening? After the sun has set, you should definitely visit the Dubai Marina. The 2.5-foot-long marina invites you to linger with cafés, restaurants and a very special atmosphere. A highlight is definitely a ride with the so-called Daus (also Dhows), which drive along the artificially created canal and thus offer you a unique view.
During the day it can be extremely hot and therefore unbearable – the paths are therefore deserted, in the evening the beautiful quarter comes to life.
The latest highlight in Dubai is the Dubai Frame – at 492 foot (150 metres) the largest picture frame in the world. With an elevator you can ride up the Dubai Frame and feel like floating above the city. The bridge connecting the two towers has a 269 square foot (25 m²) glass floor. In addition to an adrenaline rush, you’ll get a spectacular view of Dubai and Zabeel Park.
The Palm Jumeirah
Dubai began building artificial islands off the coast in 2001: The Palm Jumeirah and The Palm Jebel Ali. On the island of Palm Jumeirah there are unique luxury hotels, restaurants and beautiful beaches. Even the Dubai Monorail, a magnetic levitation train from Gateway Station to the end of the island, runs here.
Especially famous is the luxury hotel and resort Atlantis The Palm – the theme of the hotel is the sunken city of Atlantis paired with Arabic elements. Also on the island you will find Aquaventure Waterpark, a water park with over 30 water slides and attractions.
A view of Atlantis The Palm in the evening
Things to know before you travel to Dubai
Cruise lines and routes
Most cruise ships call at the city of superlatives on an Orient cruise. Often Dubai is then both the starting point and the end point. The port is served by Norwegian Cruises (NCL), MSC Cruises and P&O Cruise, among others.
Entry and visa
All ETDs for entry are required to have at least 6 months validity from the date of entry into the UAE. If you’re planning to enter the UAE using a UK ETD, you should contact the nearest UAE Embassy or Consulate before you travel to seek advice about whether a visa is required.
Please check the visa requirements with your cruise operator/cruise line before departure.
The temperatures in Dubai are very high all year round. Even in winter they rarely fall below 25 degrees. In the Orient you can quickly escape the dark winter. In summer the temperatures are too high and therefore not very suitable for a cruise. Many cruise lines therefore offer cruises in the Orient only between the months of October to April.
Transfer to the cruise ship port terminal
- Airport Dubai Al Maktoum International Airport: Distance to the port approx. 40.3 miles (65 km), within 1 hour you can reach the port by taxi
- Dubai Airport: from this airport you can take the Metro
How do I get to the city centre?
The city centre of Dubai is located around the Dubai Creek, where the Burj Khalifa is located. But also the district Jumeirah is very popular, as there are the most famous sights and activities to discover.
Local public transport
As you are not allowed to walk freely on the harbour, you first have to take a taxi to the metro station Al Ras. From there, the green metro line will take you to the city centre and other places worth seeing in the city. For example, if you want to go to Burj Khalifa, go to Burjuman station and change to the red line, which will take you to Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Metro Station.
You can take one of the taxis directly from the port to the city centre. These have a taximeter. However, you should bear in mind that additional port charges will be incurred. A taxi ride from the port in Dubai to Burj Khalifa costs the equivalent of about 9 GBP.
Besides the taxis, shuttle buses are a good alternative to get into the city centre. The free buses run hourly to numerous malls, including the BurJuman Mall and the Mercato shopping mall.
Locomotion in Dubai
In Dubai there are many different ways to explore the city.
The metro in Dubai is very modern and also a popular means of transport. With the two lines, the Red Line and the Green Line, you can reach practically the entire city area. Near the port you will find the Al Ras stop, to which you first have to take a taxi. From there the green line will take you to the city centre. At Burjurman station you can also change to the red line, as both lines converge there.
A train consists of five compartments, where you must pay attention to the following: One compartment is reserved for women and children, and the front compartment is for Gold Class, which is also available for holidaymakers. On the one hand, this compartment is not so crowded, on the other hand, you have a great view in the direction of travel from there. A day ticket for the Gold Class costs 14.5 GBP, the normal day ticket 11 GBP. Single journeys are based on the zones and can be bought on site at the ticket office or from vending machines.
There is also a new tram and a monorail that leads to the Hotel Atlantis at the top of the huge palm tree.
City tours are also very popular in Dubai. You can board one of the buses of Big Bus Tours or City Sightseeing directly at the cruise terminal. The companies offer different routes, which can also be combined. Night trips are also offered. You can buy the tickets in advance online for about 40 GBP under our category “On your own” in Dubai, there you will also find further offers for trips on your own.
During the trip you will also receive a lot of information about the city and have free Internet access. As the distances in Dubai are great, you will be sitting on the bus for a very long time. But you can also get on and off at any stop.
A taxi is the easiest and most flexible way to get to the most important corners of the city in Dubai. In addition, the taxi prices are considerably cheaper than in the UK. They are calculated with the taxi foot, whereby the basic price is converted at just under one BSP and the kilometre per mile is around 0.36 GBP. At the port and airport, however, the basic fee increases to almost 4.5 GBP.
You should also pay attention to the colours of the taxis. Compared to the black taxis, the coloured taxis are cheaper. In addition, pink taxis are aimed specifically at women and children.
The distances in the port city of Dubai are very long, so you cannot discover much of the city on foot.
Website port operators and tourism organisations
Alternatives to excursions on your own
Dubai is quite big and you will not get far on foot. You will therefore always have to arrange transport, especially if you want to see and discover a lot. In addition, you often have to buy tickets in advance to avoid long queues. In any case, this means organisational talent. We therefore recommend that you prefer a guided tour.
With a guided shore excursion from “My Cruise Excursion” you have several advantages at once: Low prices and small groups revive a family atmosphere. In addition, you will be picked up directly from the ship and can get to know Dubai from a variety of perspectives. Your experienced tour guide will provide you with lots of information about the country, its people and culture.