Port Focus: Abu Dhabi
What began as a small fishing village is today one of the world’s most affluent cities, with shining skyscrapers, lush avenues of trees and a bustling metropolis. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is the perfect blend of old and new, with five-star resorts, popular beaches, old customs, and a rich history. Visit the tower with the greatest lean or see the imposing structure of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Spend the day on the beach or sample local flavours at coastal cafés and markets. You’ll feel spoilt for choice for things to do when you disembark in this glittering city.
The port is located roughly 4.8km outside the city centre, but there are a number of metered taxis stationed right outside the terminal, as well as hop on/hop off buses. If you’re planning to venture outside the city, the best mode of transport is a rental car and you’ll find plenty of agencies nearby, but if you’re going to spend most of your day in the city, the taxis and extensive bus system are safe bets. Taxis are affordable and comfortable and can be flagged easily from the street. You can walk if you plan to spend your day on the Corniche (an 8km beachfront promenade), but ensure that you stay hydrated and apply plenty of sunscreen, especially in summer. As with any holiday, it’s best to do your research before you depart, so you know where you’d like to go and the best way to get there.
Places to eat
A plethora of flavours await you when you arrive in this exciting city. Take your taste buds on a journey from Ethiopia and Iran to the kitchens of the Middle East and Europe. Vasco’s offers an interesting blend of regional and international cuisine with a Portuguese twist and a view of the Arabian Sea. The Living Room Café puts an emphasis on family-friendly dining and offers home-baked cakes, all-day breakfasts, toasted sandwiches and healthy salads, as well as a VIP children’s menu. The Corniche also features a growing number of cafés with shady benches and picnic spots.
Things to do in Abu Dhabi
Looking for a fun and affordable place to spend the day? Head to the Corniche, a park-lined coastal boulevard with plenty of places to shop, jog, play and eat. Despite it being situated next to a busy road, the Corniche is a fun and safe place for the whole family. Browse the shop-lined walkways and find a wide selection of jewellery, watches, perfumes, and electronics. The delicately embroided linens and traditional coffee pots are a must-see. Walk or hire a bike, but don’t miss the giant emirate's flag waving atop a 110m pole or the astonishing Capital Gate building, with a built-in lean of 18 degrees.
Gather some insight into the Muslim culture at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, a striking structure of sophistication and Arab mystique with perfectly manicured gardens. A masterpiece of modern Islamic architecture and design, this mosque accommodates around 41 000 worshippers and is one of the few in the region that is open to non-Muslims. But note that ladies need a “cover dress” (available at the entrance) to gain entry and gents must wear long trousers.
The Marina Mall offers some of the best shopping opportunities in the world, along with a great viewpoint of the city. It’s one of the main stops of the hop on/hop off bus so you can get there easily from the cruise port terminal. Along with over 300 stores, you’ll find an amazing selection of eateries, coffee shops, a skating rink, bowling alley, observatory and a supermarket.
If you are planning a cruise to the middle east, make sure you stop off in Abu Dhabi. Speak to one of our skilled cruise experts to help you plan your cruise to Abu Dhabi or take a look at our exclusive cruise deals to the middle east.