Yearning to visit the Middle East? While Israel gets 3.5 million visitors a year, you might be surprised that Dubai attracts 15 million travelers a year and is on course to welcome 20 million visitors by 2020.
A number of cruise lines — Princess, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Cunard, Oceania — call on Dubai, largest city in the United Arab Emirates, as part of a regional or world cruise, and some travelers fly there directly given that Dubai is a global destination in its own right.
Check out these photos for some of the eye-popping options awaiting visitors to Dubai. And here are some additional ideas.
The Big Bus Tour is a hop-on, hop-off bus with three routes around the area. It’s a great way to gain perspective on how vast and sprawling Dubai has become with its population of 1.1 million. There are three routes that go through the old city, the beach and the marina district. Taking any one of these for a day gives visitors the chance to see some of the most important parts of Dubai.
Take the route through the city and Old Dubai, first. This takes visitors to the Dubai Museum, which is easy to explore in about two hours and gives visitors a peek into the history of the ancient city. Beautiful, well-curated exhibits give guests an idea of what it was like to live in Dubai when it was just a seaside trading hub and not the modern bastion of today. Admission is included in the price of the Big Bus ticket.
Other worthwhile stops on the tour include a number of the city’s souks (i.e. marketplaces), such as the gold souk and the spice souk. A “dhow cruise” is also included with the price of the ticket and takes guests along the main canal for a one-hour cruise with snacks and drinks available.
A food lover's paradise, Dubai is overflowing with dining options, so you will want to devote some of your time to trying out the city’s best restaurants.
Breakfast options abound with familiar names such as Clinton Street Baking Company and standouts such as Tom&Serg and Eggspectations. Tub of Butter is a must for anyone looking to score the signature Obama latte.
For those into craft burgers, beer and crazy milkshakes, dining at Black Tap will be a must. Imported straight from NYC, the restaurant serves up giant, American-style burgers and the most elaborate shakes — they're adorned with lollipops, cookies and even cotton candy. It’s a winner for grown-ups and kids alike.
— Cruiseable news services contributed to this roundup