Why Dubai Marina Cruising is a Must-Do When Visiting Dubai

I heard and read many things about Dubai prior to my visit.

And I have always known that this prominent financial center in the Middle East employs thousands of people from all over the world. I do know of friends and acquaintances that have chosen to live and work in Dubai for many years.

But it was only during my visit to this UAE city that I truly understood how much of a major tourist destination it actually is.

The Dubai Fountain with the Burj Khalifa in the background.

As a travel destination, Dubai offers so many activities and attractions to a wide range of travelers. However, if you only have a day or two in this city and would like to do something memorable, I have some suggestions in mind. Climbing the Burj Khalifa is one of them, simply because it is the tallest man-made structure in the world. Its very existence is a great achievement to mankind!

Another “must-do” activity that I highly recommend is ‘Dubai Marina Cruising’!


Cruising through Dubai’s Marina is truly a great experience, one that has the potential to create a lasting travel memory. The cruise allows you to admire Dubai from afar, from the Gulf waters to be exact; where the air will be fresh and the skyscraper views- nothing short of spectacular.  

Check out our Dubai Marina Cruising Experience:

So the next question is:

How to do a Dubai Marina Cruise Tour?

There are two ways to go about this: you can either take the Dubai Ferry or go for a private tour.

Cruising with the Dubai Ferry

This option is the cheaper of the two. Don’t be fooled by the word “ferry”; Dubai’s version of one is not your usual rickety old public boat.

Expect the ferry to be sleek, modern, clean and comfortable. It is large enough to take in around 100 passengers and it has an open deck where people can enjoy the breathtaking views of Dubai’s skyscrapers.

Like regular ferries, the Dubai Ferry stops at terminals. There were originally five terminals, which included Dubai Marina, Al Ghubaiba, Dubai Canal Station, Al Jadaf and Sheikh Zayed Road Station.  The newest addition to this group is the Dubai Canal Station, which was completed in 2016. Unlike other ordinary ferries, the Dubai Ferry offers Circular Tourist trips that are perfect for visitors who like staying on a boat a little longer to enjoy the views. The two main tourist circular trips are:

  • Al Ghubaiba Station going through the Dubai Creek Area (usually scheduled at 3 pm).
  • Dubai Marina to Burj Al Arab (usually scheduled at 3 pm)
  • Al Ghubaiba to Jumeirah Beach (usually scheduled at 5 pm)
  • Dubai Marina to Atlantis (usually scheduled at 5 pm)
The famous Dubai Marina during the day

What Cruise Route Did We Take?

Aside from the Circular Tourist routes, there are also one-way trips that you may find quite sufficient. In our case, we took the “sunset cruise” at 6:30 pm from Dubai Marina to Al Ghubaiba Station.

This route is being offered three times a day at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 6:30 pm.

The Dubai Marina to Al Ghubaiba Station or vice versa route costs 50 Dirhams. The journey lasts for about 1 hour.

The Dubai Marina Cruising Experience

Our Dubai Marina Cruising experience started at, of course, the gorgeous Dubai Marina – a place that was intentionally built to impress even the most seasoned tourist.

This is one of the largest man-made marinas in the world. It is both a stunning residential and commercial area that boasts some of the most well-designed skyscrapers in the world.  

After strolling around the Marina, we hopped on the ferry and headed out to Al Ghubaiba. Along the way, we got fantastic views of the buildings in the Marina and downtown Dubai. The ferry kept reasonably close to the coast, enough to see the famous Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa shining in the darkness of the night.

The one downside of taking the Dubai Ferry is that during the trip, you won’t get an audio commentary like private tours but the views that you will get are pretty much the same as taking a private tour.

The stunning Dubai Marina skyline at night

Booking the Ticket for the Dubai Ferry Cruise

From our experience, there is no real need to book the ferry ticket a day in advance. My advice is to show up at the Marina or Al Ghubaiba Station at least an hour in advance.  The ticket can be purchased at an office next to where the ferry departs. You can pay cash or use debit/credit card.

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Taking a Private Cruise

Aside from the Dubai Ferry, there are companies that offer private cruise tours around the Dubai Creek. One of them is Tour Dubai, which makes use of dhows (traditional boat) for their boat tours.These dhows are new and beautifully furnished, even though their design is inspired by the traditional ones.

The Tour Dubai itinerary typically comes with a pre-recorded English commentary. This gives visitors the chance to learn more about the history of the structures along the Creek.

Aside from the regular cruises, Tour Dubai also offers a two-hour dinner buffet cruise in the evening. So if you want to splurge on at least one activity in Dubai, this one comes highly recommended!

I absolutely enjoyed my Dubai Marina Cruise because it gave me an interesting perspective of the city. From the sea, an unknowing visitor would never think that this bright and shiny place is actually surrounded by mostly desert.

The cruise is truly memorable because it showcases one of the Dubai’s greatest talents, and that is building some of the finest structures that the world has ever seen.  

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