As the International Boat Show sails into Dubai, discover the best ways to enjoy the city on the water.
The International Boat Show puts its anchor down in Dubai for the 22nd year in a row when it returns from Tuesday March 4 to Saturday 8. While this year the organisers claim to be bringing the largest ever collection of luxury boats to the event, you don’t need to drop a few million on your own private yacht to get out and enjoy the city’s 100km (and more) of coastline. Whatever your budget, get nautical with these brilliant waterborne tours.
Dinner: Bateaux Dubai
This stylish flat-bottomed boat offers diners panoramic views as it tours the length of the Dubai Creek. No matter where you sit for dinner, you’ll be able to take in landmarks along the iconic stretch, including the more historical parts of town. The sights of the souks, the Clock Tower, Floating Bridge and the Grand Mosque at night are great, and the food is pretty good too. The restaurant offers an international four-course set menu every evening, with the option to include a beverage package.
Dhs395 including a welcome drink, Dhs495 house beverage package. Daily 7.45pm-11pm. Dubai Creek, in front of the British Embassy, Bur Dubai, www.jaresortshotels.com (04 814 5553).
Cheap and cheerful: El Mundo
For a fun Friday in the sun try the El Mundo boat tour. This no-frills trip takes guests out for a four-hour cruise on the seas off the coast of Dubai. The tour takes sunbathers and families around the World Islands, along Jumeirah beach and down to a small island nicknamed Hamdan Island, where the cruise stops for a spot of swimming, snorkelling and a lunch of gourmet burgers. The El Mundo has a large air-conditioned area on the lower deck for those who prefer to stay out of the heat, and two upper decks for sun-worshippers.
Dhs250 adults, Dhs210 children, free for under fives. Fridays only, 2pm-6pm in winter (November-March), 3pm-7pm in summer (April-October). Dubai International Marine Club, Dubai Marina, www.elmundodubai.com
(050 551 7406).
Thrillseeking: Dream Explorers Jet Boating
If the idea of a gentle cruise along the Creek rocks you to snoozeville, try a jet boating experience. These high-speed bright yellow jet boats zip you around the Palm. The tour is only 40 minutes long, but at these speeds you cover a lot of ground. The drivers do add some extra twists and manoeuvres for fun, one of which is described as the ‘rollercoaster on sea’. That said, it’s all very safe, and children aged four and older can join in the fun too. A word of warning – if you’re keen to keep hold of your phone you might want to leave it on the shore.
Dhs185 adults, Dhs140 children. Daily hourly trips 9am-5pm. Dream Explorer, Dubai Marina, www.dreamexplorerdubai.com (04 354 4481).
Luxury: Xclusive Yachts
To hit the waves like a movie star, Xclusive Yachts has a range of luxury super yachts available for charter. The most expensive available is a 90ft floating Majlis, which will set you back an eye-watering Dhs6,000 per hour, but you can also charter a speedboat for Dhs1,000 per hour. The fleet of 15 yachts are more like floating hotels, kitted out with bedrooms, sundecks, air-con, fresh towels and sound systems. You get a dedicated skipper and crew, and soft drinks are also provided. If you like to sail in style, this is for you.
FromDhs1,000 per hour. Daily. Dubai Marina Yacht Club, www.xclusiveyachts.com (04 432 7233).
Fishing: Kingfish Charter
The Arabian Gulf is teaming with marine life, and for those who like to wet a line and feel the tug of a catch, this tour offers a great day’s fishing in a boat that’s specially designed for the deep sea. The luxury 36ft Mosquito fishing boat is kitted out with high-tech fishing equipment including sonars that help you find the best spots to cast off. For an additional fee, the chef at the JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort’s Sports Café will even clean, prepare and cook your catch of the day for you upon your return.
Dhs1,750 for a four hour trip, Dhs3,000 for eight hours. Daily 8am-noon, 2pm-6pm. JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort, Jebel Ali, www.jaresortshotels.com (04 14 5023).
Dubai International Boat Show 2014
This year’s boat show promises to be a nautical delight featuring hundreds of boats and yachts docking at the Dubai International Marine Club for four days.
At the marina display area, the super yacht experience will feature some of the world’s best super yacht builders. Visitors can experience first-hand their state-of-the-art craftsmanship.
Meanwhile, as part of the inaugural, citywide Dubai Food Festival, many of Dubai’s best-known restaurants will be running pop-up eateries to keep the crowds refreshed.
Over at the UAE pavilion, local boat builders will be showing off the emirate’s maritime heritage, while in the retail village visitors will be able to get their hands on fashion, footwear, accessories and nautical equipment.
Dhs60. Tue March 4 to Sat 8, 3pm-9.30pm. Dubai International Marine Club, Al Sufouh Road, Dubai Marina, www.boatshowdubai.com (04 308 6430)