Dhow Cruise in Dubai | Things to Know

A special thank you to Neha Singh, a travel blogger from Dubai Wikia, for this guest blog post to help you plan a Dhow Cruise in Dubai. I visited Dubai on my Spectrum of the Seas cruise. Dubai is a perfect destination to enjoy before or after a cruise, so I would recommend checking out this useful guide to the best places to stay in Dubai.

The land of opposites – Dubai is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. Be it the majestic Burj Khalifa and the skyscrapers, or pristine beaches and vast sand deserts, you will find everything in Dubai. At any time of the year, Dubai will always entertain you.

History of Dhow Cruises

Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates, which was only formed in 1971. The earliest traces of civilization around dates back to around 2500 BC and for millennia the shallow water of Dubai Creek has been supporting fishermen and local pearl industries.

As in the case of any civilization, Dubai Creek has played a significant role in the region’s development as it was the primary source of livelihood.

Among other attractions, Dubai has the famous Dhow cruises that you can enjoy. Glide in the tranquil Dubai Creek on a traditional Arabian Dhow while enjoying a sumptuous and lavish buffet spread out onboard. This is a one-of-a-kind experience is a must-try an activity to do when you are in Dubai.

Dubai Creek Dhow Cruises

Dine on board the traditional Dhow while sailing along Dubai Creek. Enjoy the exquisite vistas of Deira and Bur Dubai in a cozy and welcoming ambiance. With ancient monuments lining both the sides of the Creek such as Heritage Village, souks, Sheikh Saeed’s House, the Grand Mosque and the Old Boat Fort, you will be amazed at how beautiful Dubai looks. The 2-hour-long ride in the Dhows usually starts after sunset covers almost entire Dubai Creek.

The riverbank in itself is one of Dubai’s iconic attraction. Once aboard the restored Dhows, you are welcomed by offering a drink and as soon as the cruise begins, you can enjoy the sight of beautiful skyscrapers lit in all its glory lining the beach. Enjoy a spread of traditional Arabian cuisine and mouth-watering gourmet specialties inspired by original Emirati dishes.

dhow cruise restaurant Dubai
The dining area on a traditional dhow cruise

Gaze the splendid views and soak in the beautiful scenery of the Creek where you will find the modern era’s development blending perfectly with the charm of the old and traditional side of Dubai.

You can also enjoy a variety of activities such as dancing to traditional music, live music performances, and traditional Tanura dance shows.

This is the different way of seeing the beauty of Dubai if you want to avoid the crowd. Walk down the memory lane while smelling the mixed aroma coming from spice souks, and watching the shimmer of gold from the Gold Souk.

Dhow Cruise Boarding Points

A Dhow cruise in Dubai can be boarded from two places. One is the good old Dubai Creek and other is Dubai Marina.

While the Dubai Creek boasts of the bustling busy streets of souqs and other markets; Dubai Marina is more of an uptown area of Dubai. From the best in the world boutique showrooms to the amazing party hangouts in Dubai, a Dhow cruise offers nothing but enjoyment from both its boarding points. You don’t come to either Dubai Creek or Dubai Marina to simply board, with an array of amazing activities, both these harbours are major tourist spots as well.

dhow cruise Dubai
A dhow cruise lit up at night

Dhow Cruise Activities

The traditional Dubai dhow cruise includes an ecstatic ride of 90 minutes. In these 90 minutes of the scenic ride, you get the following as basics:

  • 90-minutes cruising in Dubai Marina, Yacht Club, Marina Towers
  • International buffet dinner with meat and vegetarian dishes
  • Access to fully air-conditioned lower deck and open-air upper deck
  • Welcome drinks, water, tea and coffee
  • Tanura Dance by a professional artist
  • Soft background music
  • Separate toilet facilities for men and women
  • Pick up and drop off facility (if sharing/private transportation option selected)

Things to know before you go for a Dhow Cruise in Dubai

A Dhow cruise is one of the finest activities to be enjoyed in Dubai but only if you know how to enjoy it the best. Here are some tips that may help you:

  1. Try and book through an operator who owns the Dhow cruise and not through a third party service. The maintenance and the service are better if it is a self-owned Dhow where you have full control.
  2. Although a Dhow cruise is one of the safest travels, go for operators that offer insurance as a part of the bookings for the customers. It assures of the company’s credibility too.
  3. Most of the reputed operators offer a pick-up and drop facility from your hotel or place of residence. Don’t forget to avail the service, especially if you’re a tourist and can save some bucks on transport.
  4. Although the tour lasts 90 minutes, the boarding and dropping off makes the trip for almost 3 hours. So, it has some spare time at hand.
  5. Make sure you mention your food preference to them beforehand. Most of the dhow cruise operators oblige with the vegetarian and non-vegetarian preferences of their customers.
dhow cruise Dubai table romantic
A romantic table for two to enjoy Dubai at night on a dhow cruise

What makes a Dhow Cruise a Must Experience Activity in Dubai?

  • It is a unique way of experiencing the majestic skyline of Dubai. The Dubai skyline looks loveable at night and is a must-see.
  • It offers a much-needed and delightful respite from the scorching heat of the city.
  • It offers a glimpse into the traditional Tanura dance and belly dancing, one of the traditional Arabian dance forms.


Taking a Dhow cruise is an activity that sort of completes your trip to Dubai. It is refreshing, entertaining, includes sumptuous three-course dinner and allows you to spend quality time in peace and serenity with your loved ones. What more can one ask for? After all, this is the point of the vacation, isn’t it?

For more information and ideas of things to do in Dubai, visit Dubai Wikia. If you’re planning to visit Dubai with your family, I’d recommend taking a look at things to do in Dubai with kids.



  1. danikbates1982
    December 22, 2019 / 5:26 pm

    This is a beautiful way of seeing Dubai from the water and I would love to check this out when I eventually see the city. It also seems to be a great ‘romantic’ experience to do with a partner one evening. Meal and views, I would take that. These remind me of the boat I took in Hong Kong which goes from TST to Central however they don’t have the dining experience.

    • cruiselifestyle
      December 28, 2019 / 7:59 am

      It was quite romantic and would be perfect to do with your partner. I’d love to visit Hong Kong!

  2. Pashmina Binwani
    December 24, 2019 / 3:27 am

    Never knew you could take cruises from Dubai! I took one with the Royal Caribbean and it was nice to meet other people and enjoy the sea but it was way too crowded. Spectrum of the Seas looks quiet, distilled and more understated – also the cuisine and history looks interesting! Might be a good idea to go for a cruise to enjoy the breeze than be stuck in the heat in Dubai cities!

    • cruiselifestyle
      December 28, 2019 / 7:56 am

      Spectrum of the Seas had a lot of passengers onboard but to be honest it very rarely felt too crowded. Sometimes it was tricky to get a dumbed right next to the pool but plenty of others.

  3. December 24, 2019 / 6:56 pm

    I love seeing a city from the water and Dhow cruises sounds perfect for doing so in Dubai. Great that dinner and performances are also included. Good tip to book through the tour operator

  4. December 25, 2019 / 4:49 am

    A Dhow cruise looks like a neat way to check out Dubai creek. I did a small cruise when I was in Dubai but it didn’t include dinner or entertainment. I’ll have to try one of these the next time I’m in Dubai.

    • cruiselifestyle
      December 28, 2019 / 7:50 am

      Yes it’s a lovely relaxing way to enjoy the sights.

  5. December 26, 2019 / 8:05 am

    I haven’t visited Dubai yet, but I’ve been there several times for flight transfers. Dubai is definitely fascinating. I should plan soon to get out of the airport and see the city on my next transfer.
    Dhow cruise looks perfect to see the highlights of Dubai quickly.
    I love Arabian cuisine. I’ve tasted it a few times and it’s so delicious! Good to know you can have it onboard.

    • cruiselifestyle
      December 28, 2019 / 7:50 am

      Yes you must plan a couple of days at least when you next fly into Dubai. Well worth a stopover.

  6. December 28, 2019 / 1:36 am

    When we visited Dubai, we did a Dhow cruise during the day. It was a great sightseeing trip. But we did not get the food and entertainment you got on your cruise. Have to agree it was a great way to see the skyline. We just dropped in and got tickets. But agree that booking in advance is a better idea.

    • cruiselifestyle
      December 28, 2019 / 7:49 am

      It’s a great way to see the skyline for sure. We’re glad we did the evening option as the heat during the day would have been tough. Glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Daniel Kiteski
    December 29, 2019 / 12:44 pm

    This look amazing. I have listed Dubai for my upcoming trips and this totally has to be on my list. The cruise looks indeed really chic and great, it has to be a perfect activities for family and friends . Thanks for sharing the tips.

    • cruiselifestyle
      December 30, 2019 / 6:51 pm

      There were quite a few families on the dhow cruise when we went. I think it must be a special treat for locals to get together and enjoy.

  8. December 29, 2019 / 2:55 pm

    This is the first time I heard about Dhow Cruise and I believe it’s a wonderful idea. Happy to know that they also serve vegetarian dishes plus they have entertainment on board. I think it’s a wonderful date night idea.

    • cruiselifestyle
      December 30, 2019 / 6:50 pm

      Yes a nice romantic evening.

  9. May 8, 2021 / 1:03 am

    Last time we visited Dubai, we did a Dhow cruise during the day. . But we did not get the food and entertainment you got on your cruise. Have to agree it was a great way to see the skyline. We just dropped in and got tickets. But agree that booking in advance is a better idea.

  10. August 26, 2021 / 5:23 am

    It is also important for tourists and families to keep an eye on their group size. The dhow cruise ships normally carry a fixed number of passengers

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