No travel itinerary is complete without trying local cuisines. If you’re in the heart of Dubai, you can easily look for the best traditional food selection and experiences to add to your itinerary. Start your hunt with a dinner cruise along the shorelines and canals of the city.
A dinner cruise in Dubai can allow you to discover traditional cuisines with layers of history and relish local selections with global influences while sitting and sightseeing. Let’s help you find the best dinner cruise options based on your budget and interests in this guide.
Things to Know Before Your First Dinner Cruise
You may think that a dinner cruise is a simple luxury dinner on an elegant evening, but there’s more to it than plated buffets and live music. A dinner cruise in Dubai is a culmination of everything the city offers in terms of culture, tradition, and history. Come prepared before you book your first dinner cruise. Here’s everything you need to know about dinner cruises in Dubai.
What to Expect on a Dinner Cruise in Dubai?
Dinner cruises in Dubai are a unique way to discover the city and its famous sceneries. While having a sumptuous meal, you’ll get a clear view of Dubai’s state-of-the-art architecture illuminated by bright lights in the evening. On top of that, you’ll also experience a peaceful and quiet atmosphere brought to you by live entertainment onboard.
You can opt for a 3, 4, or 5-star cruise, depending on the menu selection, staff service, and entertainment options you want to experience. Some dinner cruises only offer traditional Arabic cuisines to serve an authentic experience, while others provide dinner options from around the world. The menu selection of each dinner cruise operator may change every night.
Who Can Hop Aboard a Dinner Cruise in Dubai?
There are no strict restrictions on dinner cruises in Dubai since it’s a relaxing, family-friendly activity. All visitors, regardless of age, are typically welcome on a dinner cruise. Infants ages 0 to 2 are welcome onboard the cruise free of charge. Children ages 3 to 10 have their respective child rates.
Adults, parents or guardians, are responsible for their children’s individual safety and security during the cruise. Some cruises offer dining areas accessible by strollers, so families and other guests can have privacy.
Pregnant women and persons with disabilities can also request special dining considerations. Many dinner cruise operators in Dubai have semi-private and private wheelchair-accessible areas and facilities.
Are Dinner Cruises Safe and Regulated in Dubai?
Dinner cruises are some of the safest places to spend your weekend, holiday, or overnight break. Dinner cruises in Dubai ensure that they offer advanced safety features to protect passengers. Local regulations require each side of cruise ships to have enough lifeboats and vests for all passengers on board if a maritime accident happens. Staff and crew are also trained to know the safety and evacuation procedures.
Studies show that one of the biggest risks in riding a cruise ship is the spread of diseases. As such, CLIA, the World Health Organization (WHO), and local health organizations in Dubai advise all dinner cruise ships and passengers to follow safety protocols.
All travel and tour companies in Dubai follow special health and safety measures to combat COVID-19. Dinner cruise operators in Dubai must ensure social distancing among passengers, regularly sanitize cruise ships and seats, conduct temperature checks for staff and guests, and promote contactless payments.
Tourists, too, are required to follow individual safety protocols. Passengers should wear face masks during the activity, avoid physical contact among staff and other passengers, and submit basic personal information for contact tracing purposes.
Self-serve buffet stations are temporarily not available. Some dinner cruise ships even shifted from plated buffets to a la carte dining. Due to the continuous spread of COVID-19, some operators may deny the entry of children and teenagers.
When Is the Best Time to Go on a Dinner Cruise in Dubai?
The best time to visit the city of Dubai as a whole is between November to March. These months offer warm temperatures from morning to evening. You can stroll around the city any time of the day without having to combat extreme heat.
The best day to go on a dinner cruise, meanwhile, is on weekends. If you don’t mind the crowd, you can book a Saturday or Sunday dinner. Most dinner cruises in Dubai offer unique menu selections on weekends.
Meanwhile, the actual time of the day depends on the atmosphere you want to experience and the group you’re bringing. For families with kids, it’s best to go on an early dinner cruise to reserve the best seating locations. For couples, it’s better to go with a late dinner slot to reserve time for cocktails, entertainment, and intimate moments.
How Long Do Dinner Cruises in Dubai Last?
The duration of dinner cruises in Dubai could last between 90 minutes to 2.5 hours. The complete experience can reach 3 hours if you’ll include pick-up and drop-off services, waiting time, and preparations. Each cruise has its own menu selection, live entertainment, and other activities. The inclusions, duration, and prices of dinner cruises in Dubai vary per package.
Where to Find the Best Dinner Cruises in Dubai?
Travel and tour companies host dinner cruises in some of the most popular rivers and canal cities in Dubai. When choosing a dinner cruise package and location, consider the ambiance and sightseeing opportunities. Here are two of the most popular dinner cruise locations in Dubai:
Dubai Creek is the body of water that divided Dubai into two sections: Deira and Bur Dubai. It was initially a non-functioning natural saltwater creek, but it’s now a man-made waterway designed to cater to trade ships.
Dinner cruises in Dubai Creek offer the best sightseeing locations for the Bank of Dubai, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the Bastakiya Quarter, and other ancient landmarks. Opt for Dubai Creek cruises if you want a historical adventure while on board.
Established in 2003, Dubai Marina is a relatively new artificial canal residing along the stretch of the Persian Gulf shoreline. The canal city is one of the most luxurious neighborhoods in Dubai.
Dinner cruises in Dubai Marina offer the best sightseeing locations for Burj Khalifa, Dubai Marina Mall, Dubai Marina Yacht Club, and other skyscrapers. Some dinner cruises can also get you a peek of the Palm Jumeirah. Opt for Dubai Marina cruises if you want a luxurious city adventure while on board.
Preparation Tips And Booking Procedures
If you’re ready to try some mouthwatering cuisines and go on a relaxed sightseeing adventure in Dubai, let’s head to the actual preparations and procedures involved in booking a dinner cruise.
How to Get to the Best Dinner Cruises in Dubai
Some dinner cruise operators in Dubai offer hotel drop-off and pick-up services if you’re staying in the city center or other popular neighborhoods. But in case you only booked a single ticket without extra services and other inclusions, here’s how you can get to the best diner cruise locations in Dubai:
How to Get to Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek is in the heart of the city, accessible by main highways. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach Dubai Creek from the city center in approximately 15 minutes through the Sheikh Zayed Rd/E11.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Dubai Creek and its surrounding areas. Take bus 27, C7, C9, E303, or E400. If you want to take the metro, take the Red or Green Line and alight at the Union Metro Station, then take a 9-minute walk to Dubai Creek.
How to Get to Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina is also centrally located in the city. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach Dubai Marina from the city center in approximately 30 minutes through Sheikh Zayed Rd/E11 or Al Khail Rd/E44.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Dubai Marina and its surrounding areas. Take Buses 8, 84, and F55A, depending on your location. If you want to take the metro, take the Red Line and alight at Damac Metro Station, then take a 5-minute walk to Dubai Marina.
What Are the Things Cruise Passengers Need to Prepare?
A dinner cruise is an elegant affair to many, so you may want to prepare yourself for an evening filled with live entertainment and intimate moments. Here are the things you should pack and not pack in a dinner cruise in Dubai:
Clothing or Dress Code
The dress code depends on the dining option, star rating, or cruise package you’ll choose. Some dinner cruise operators specify dress codes, while others only offer guidelines based on UAE’s general rule for public dressing. You should check on the operator if they have a dress code.
In general, however, it’s best to go semi-formal if you booked a 3-star or 4-star dinner cruise. Women can wear cocktail dresses and heels, while men can opt for collared shirts and pants.
For luxury cruises with a gala dinner, wear full-formal evening attire. Women can wear full-length evening gowns with high heels and full glam make-up. Men can wear tuxedos or dark suits.
Luggage and Baggage
Only bring what you actually need. Pack like you’re going to a party or a restaurant. You can bring small to medium-sized bags that can comfortably fit on storages or empty seats at your dining table.
Do Travelers Need to Prebook?
Prebooking days or a few hours before the dinner cruise sets sail is a must. You need to reserve your date, time slot, and dining option requests. The operator also needs to prepare their menu and services based on the number of passengers getting on board.
What are the Best Dinner Cruises in Dubai?
You have a lot of dinner cruise options to choose from in Dubai Creek and Dubai Marina. To find the best operator based on dinner selection, location, and overall service, here are some of the most-recommended dinner cruises in Dubai:
Bateaux Dubai Dinner Cruise – Dubai Creek
Bateaux offers one of the best luxury dining experiences for families and friends in Dubai. Bateaux ships have panoramic glass-enclosed venues and outdoor decks to give passengers an unobstructed view of the city. While onboard, they host contemporary live entertainment.
Signature menus: 4-course Arabian and French cuisine
Duration: 2.5 hours
Ticket prices: Starts at 213 AED (58 USD)
Al Wasl Dhow Dinner Cruise – Dubai Marina
Al Wasl conducts dinner cruises and tours through the Marina Lagoon. Their signature ships have upper-deck dining options with open-air seating and lower-deck dining options with air-conditioned seating. For live entertainment, they host performances featuring English, Arabic, and Indian music.
Signature menus: International buffet dinner, Arabic mixed grill, vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes
Duration: 2 hours
Ticket prices: 155 AED (42.20 USD) per adult and 145 AED (39.48 USD) per child
Rayna Tours Dhow Dinner Cruise – Dubai Marina
Rayna Tours offers some of the biggest dhows for dinner cruises in Dubai. Their dhows can accommodate up to 250 guests daily, so they typically allow last-minute bookings. While onboard, they host live music performances and traditional Tanura dances.
Signature menus: 3-star and 4-star international buffet dinner options, vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes
Duration: 90 minutes
Ticket prices: 190 AED (51.73 USD) per adult and 160 AED (43.56 USD) per child
Mala Tours Dinner Cruise – Dubai Marina, Canal, Creek
Mala Tours has extensive dinner cruise operations throughout Dubai. They offer dinner cruises in Dubai Marina, Dubai Water Canal, and Dubai Creek in a traditional Arabic dhow. While onboard, they host live music performances and traditional Tanura dances.
Signature menus: International buffet dinner, vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes
Duration: 1 hour
Ticket prices: 75 AED (20.42 USD) per adult and 65 AED (17.70 USD) per child
Final Dinner Cruise Tips for First-Timers
Your entire dinner cruise experience will be determined mainly by the operator’s menu selection, onboard entertainment, and overall service. However, you can still plan a flawless dinner cruise based on your preparation methods and preferences.
Before you book a dinner cruise in Dubai, consider your budget, dietary restrictions and requirements, and other particular preferences. Research about the tour operator you want to book by reading reviews.
What to Do After a Dinner Cruise in Dubai?
A dinner cruise in Dubai offers a relaxing and enjoyable dining experience, so it’s the perfect activity for couples, families, and friends who want to celebrate special occasions or intimate moments. After filling your stomach with local and international food, you can extend your celebration in the city by trying out other family-friendly activities unique to Dubai. You can book a hot air balloon or helicopter ride in the city. If you want to visit the desert, look for desert safari tour adventures.