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Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai?? Pro/Con Factors??

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Getting ready for a mid-November, 2018, Athens to Dubai, 20-day cruise with Oceania. This will include our first visits to the Holy Lands, Egypt, Jordan/Petra, Middle East, etc. This includes two stops in Oman (Salalah and Muscat) before arriving in Dubai at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 5. We get off of the ship the next morning. Two key questions!

 

1. AIRPORT FOR FLYING OUT?: With American Airlines (or their partner), we could fly back to Heathrow via either Abu Dhabi or Dubai. What are the pro/con factors as to which one of these airport would be better to use? That leads to the question of how time to spend for our first time in this region and which options/priorities are best to see and do for this general area.

 

2. TIME IN TWO CITIES?: We will have the afternoon and evening in Dubai when our ship arrives. Then, we get off the ship the next morning and would have all day and that evening available before our flight to London would depart around 2 am on Friday, Dec. 7. Would that be enough time? How much more time do we really need between these two cities and other nearby options? Since we will need to get back home fo the holidays, our time options are not unlimited for exploring this fast-growing area.

 

As I understand from a posting by the smart/savvy Keith, Abu Dhabi has more cultural/historic options (including the soon-to-open Louvre), while Dubai might be best with the newer, more commercial sites and spectacular architectural structures.

 

TRADE-OFFS??!! What background and details am I missing and should consider? What do you suggest or has been your experiences with these areas for their highest/best priorities? Most important uses for our limited time?

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 198,838 views for this posting.

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So basically you have Wednesday evening and all day Thursday.

I would stick to Dubai DXB airport in this case.

I would first book a room in a cheapo hotel such as the Ibis or Novotel in Deira for day use on Thursday. Sightsee of shop on that day, relax in the hotel and freshen up before leaving for the airport around 10.30 / 11 pm. (15-20 min max from Deira to DXB).

Wednesday night, perhaps a city lights tour and dinner at one of the restaurants by the Burj Khalifa and it's dancing fountains.

 

As for going to Abu Dhabi; it's doable for a day trip but may be a bit of a drag with luggage.

Dubai to AUH is around 1.5 hrs by taxi (approx 300 AED each way).

The Louvre is open and spectacular. Never mind what's inside, the BUILDING is the real star.

Abu Dhabi grand mosque is also fabulous if that rocks your boat.

Whilst Dubai is relatively compact for sightseeing, Abu Dhabi is more spread out.

In both cities everything is new and shiny. More bling in Dubai. Abu D is a bit more understated. Dubai is a Kardashian....

In neither city you will get much of ."traditional" old charm Arabic culture. Get THAT fix in Oman!

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We will be in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for 4 nights before our Suez Canal cruise next month. We are spending one of the days touring Dubai, which from my research, seems like enough for us. I am most looking forward to seeing the Sheik Zayed mosque during the day and then again at night, as well as the Louvre. You might want to spend a night in one of those cities, so you can have more time there.

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Terry - you will get varying replies from those who live here and those who just visit briefly. I've lived in the UAE (both Abu Dhabi and Dubai) for many years and still find plenty of 'things' to do or see with visitors when they visit.

 

Both cities are quite large and whilst Dubai probably has the most publicized 'sights' it still takes time to get around them all. If all you want to do is get a feel for the place and see as much as possible then taking the hop on hop off bus tour during your full day in Dubai is a good way to see both sides of Dubai as the two routes cover the city from Old Dubai. including the museum, spice souk, a ride across the Creek on an abra (water taxi) plus the newer parts of Dubai (Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Jumeirah Beach, etc. etc.). I believe the cruise terminal is a pick-up/drop-off point whenever cruise ships are in port. Alternatively you would need to focus on specific areas to see - if the ship offers a shuttle to Dubai Mall then apart from the mall there is the Aquariam, the Dubai Fountains, Dubai Opera and the Burj Khalifa all in and around that location. If you want to see the Burj Al Arab or the Palm Jumeirah then you'd need to head in the Jumeirah Beach direction. Quite close to the Cruise Terminal is a new attraction - Dubai Frame, which as the name implies looks like a huge picture frame but inside the top of the frame is a viewing platform that overlooks Old Dubai in one direction and New Dubai in the other direction.. Also quite close to the Cruise Terminal is the Heritage Village which is an area of Old Dubai along the Creek that has been restored and features several cultural displays and activities such as birds of prey, pearl diving etc. etc.. The list of things to do and see is endless and as I said it really depends what you would like to get out of your brief visit here. In Abu Dhabi the Louvre and the Sh. Zayed Mosque are definite must sees but again, you would only scratch the surface on a day trip..

 

This is a link from a NY Times article on visiting Dubai that lists some of the more out of the ordinary things to see or do - but it is a couple of years old now...

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/22/travel/what-to-do-in-36-hours-in-dubai.html

 

 

I've had friends here twice in the last few months - first visitors on the Crystal Symphony in November and then visitors staying in a hotel on The Palm a few weeks ago and the highlight for one of them was a sunrise hot air balloon flight over the desert (with a bird of prey onboard)and for the other a sunset cruise out of Dubai Marina around The Palm and along to the Burj Al Arab so they got to see Dubai from offshore...

 

Anne...

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WOW!! Appreciate these excellent follow-ups and background details from Anne, Mike and buchhalm. Very interesting and helpful!! Keep it coming. Was reading more on the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Lots is very new, unique and special there.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.! Just completed a Jan. 21-Feb. 20, 2018, first adventure through Southeast Asia with stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before traveling all over Vietnam and Cambodia. This includes seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Lots of fun, interesting pictures!! See more at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

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WOW!! Appreciate these excellent follow-ups and background details from Anne, Mike and buchhalm. Very interesting and helpful!! Keep it coming. Was reading more on the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Lots is very new, unique and special there.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.! Just completed a Jan. 21-Feb. 20, 2018, first adventure through Southeast Asia with stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before traveling all over Vietnam and Cambodia. This includes seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Lots of fun, interesting pictures!! See more at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

 

You really need to spend more time there if possible. It looks like an amazing part of the world. I wish I could spend a few nights in Dubai and a few in Abu Dhabi, so I could see more of Dubai. With our cruise leaving from Abu Dhabi, it made sense to stay there. Good luck with your planning. I think you will be most frustrated prioritizing what you do with the short time you are there.

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Terry,

 

I think you need to see both places. They are not that far from one another. You can just ride a camel from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. OK, just kidding about the Camel. But in the scheme of things they are not that far.

 

For Abu Dhabi the two places that Anne mentioned should be seen. The Mosque was like no other we have ever seen. It isn't the Taj Mahal but in many ways it is similar in terms of its sheer size and detail. When we were last there the Louvre was not built but this is something I know you should see. You are all the way to the UAE, consider adding a day or two before flying home.

 

Dubai is something that should still be seen. It was all about Dubai realizing at the time they began the construction that the oil was a resource with a very limited life and that to be successful they needed to do something else. So they decided to create an entire city to attract tourism and business. Then 2008 came along and they almost went belly up but Abu Dhabi who is rich in oil came to the rescue.

 

Anyway, they have created a unique tourist destination and it is still something to be seen. How often do you see indoor skiing in a shopping mall and if that is not enough there is an even more impressive mall. And unique buildings, yet you have the old world with the Gold and the Spice Souk.

 

Think about all of this but if you don't think you will get back to this region I would try to see both and to do it right by staying another couple of days so you can see Abu Dhabi. If this was reverse and you were ending in Abu Dhabi while I find Abu Dhabi more fascinating to me I would recommend spending time in Dubai.

 

In the end you may like both cities, or one but you will never know until you see them both plus you will see all of this through your own eyes.

 

Keith

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The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is a must see. We arrived around 4.30pm with the aim of joining the 5pm tour, so that we could see it both in daylight and all lit up at night. Your wife will need to collect her Abaya to wear, and then as you enter the Mosque there is a section with cubby holes for you to leave your shoes.

 

They'll give you headsets for your tour. Our guide was lovely and very funny.

 

The tomb of Sheikh Zayed is within the mosque and the Koran is recited in full 24 hours a day beside his tomb, which you can hear over the speakers.

 

It's an incredible place!

 

 

We also did a half day evening desert safari with Emirates Tours & Safari, we loved it! - https://www.eatours.ae/tours/half-day-desert-safari/

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The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is a must see. We arrived around 4.30pm with the aim of joining the 5pm tour, so that we could see it both in daylight and all lit up at night. Your wife will need to collect her Abaya to wear, and then as you enter the Mosque there is a section with cubby holes for you to leave your shoes.

 

They'll give you headsets for your tour. Our guide was lovely and very funny.

 

The tomb of Sheikh Zayed is within the mosque and the Koran is recited in full 24 hours a day beside his tomb, which you can hear over the speakers.

 

It's an incredible place!

 

 

We also did a half day evening desert safari with Emirates Tours & Safari, we loved it! - https://www.eatours.ae/tours/half-day-desert-safari/

 

Can't wait to see it all. We are also using EA Tours for all our tours and transfers.

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The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is a must see. We arrived around 4.30 pm with the aim of joining the 5pm tour, so that we could see it both in daylight and all lit up at night. Your wife will need to collect her Abaya to wear, and then as you enter the Mosque there is a section with cubby holes for you to leave your shoes.

 

Appreciate so much this continued information from our Australia friend shown above, plus Keith's excellent pictures and information follow-ups, etc. Keep it coming!! This really helps to consider the many, many options for our first visit in this fast-changing and growing region. We are definitely going to see and do BOTH, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We are still working to balance out our timings and logistics. We would like to stay longer after our cruise finishes on Dec. 6, but we do need to get home and be prepared for the holidays, etc. Only so much time and money, unfortunately.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 223,352 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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Terry - We spent 2 nghts in Dubai before boarding Nautica last November and it was not enough time at all! We had a private guide take us to Abu Dhabi for the Sheik Zayed Mosque, camelchino at the Emirates Palace Hotel and the Falcon Hospital (which was a priority for me). Hate to use the overused "amazing" but they all were. We spent the 2nd day using the Hop on Hop office bus (which is quite expensive compared to other cities) and barely scratched the surface of Dubai. Ironicaly, we booked another cruise leaving from Dubai so will be back again less than 6 months later. This time priorities with 3 nights pre-cruise will be either the Frame (as Anne mentioned) or Burj Khalifa, the Jumeriah Mosque, the gold and spice souqs and a touristy but hopefully fun afternoon safari with Dune Bashing and BBQ dinner. Whatever you decide, you'll probably wish you had more time to explore. Enjoy!

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Terry - We spent 2 nghts in Dubai before boarding Nautica last November and it was not enough time at all! We had a private guide take us to Abu Dhabi for the Sheik Zayed Mosque, camelchino at the Emirates Palace Hotel and the Falcon Hospital (which was a priority for me). Hate to use the overused "amazing" but they all were. We spent the 2nd day using the Hop on Hop office bus (which is quite expensive compared to other cities) and barely scratched the surface of Dubai. Ironicaly, we booked another cruise leaving from Dubai so will be back again less than 6 months later. This time priorities with 3 nights pre-cruise will be either the Frame (as Anne mentioned) or Burj Khalifa, the Jumeriah Mosque, the gold and spice souqs and a touristy but hopefully fun afternoon safari with Dune Bashing and BBQ dinner. Whatever you decide, you'll probably wish you had more time to explore. Enjoy!

 

Appreciate this great additional information and background from Queen of DaNile. Very helpful!! Yes, it seems that more time is needed for seeing and exploring these various areas of the UAE. BUT, we need to get back home in order to be prepared for the holidays, etc. Challenging trade-offs! We will keep working on this planning and considering our priorities. Keep it coming for what people enjoyed most in and around Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Did a June 7-19, 2011, cruise from Barcelona that had stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Dozens of nice visuals with key highlights, tips, comments, etc. We are now at 230,813 views for this live/blog re-cap, including much on wonderful Barcelona. Check these postings and added info at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

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Hi Terry --

 

My suggestion would be do Dubai on your half day/night. Visit the Spice Market/Gold Souk in the afternoon. Being November the weather should be nice (not hot). Evening have dinner in Down Town Dubai, where you see the Dubai mall, the Burj lit up at night and have a nice dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the fountains.

 

Next day do your tour in Abu Dhabi -- the Mosque and Louvre -- then to the airport for your flight.

You can travel back to Dubai (1.5 to 2 hours) or leave out of Abu Dhabi. If Abu Dhabi is more to your liking -- you could do Dubai in the day and the disembark from the ship and stay in a hotel in Abu Dhabi. This would solve hauling your luggage around while touring in AUH..

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Hi Terry --My suggestion would be do Dubai on your half day/night. Visit the Spice Market/Gold Souk in the afternoon. Being November the weather should be nice (not hot). Evening have dinner in Down Town Dubai, where you see the Dubai mall, the Burj lit up at night and have a nice dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the fountains. Next day do your tour in Abu Dhabi -- the Mosque and Louvre -- then to the airport for your flight. You can travel back to Dubai (1.5 to 2 hours) or leave out of Abu Dhabi. If Abu Dhabi is more to your liking -- you could do Dubai in the day and the disembark from the ship and stay in a hotel in Abu Dhabi. This would solve hauling your luggage around while touring in AUH..

 

Appreciate these suggestions and details from PaulMCO. Yes, lots of great options and potentials for this area. It has been interesting doing this research, discussing these ideas with our friends and my wife for our time after we conclude our twenty-day sailing with Oceania. Below is a picture of one hotel connected with Marriott we are considering for a couple days to stay while in Dubai.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

From our Jan. 25-Feb. 20, 2015, Amazon River-Caribbean adventure that started in Barbados, here is the link for that live/blog. Many visuals from this amazing river and Caribbean Islands (Dutch ABC's, St. Barts, Dominica, Grenada, San Juan, etc.):

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2157696

Now at 55,720 views for these postings.

 

We are considering staying at the Habtoor Grand Resort in Dubai. It is a part of Marriott's Autograph Collection and is located on Jumeirah Beach. Any experiences with this hotel? Does this night/pool visual does look appealing and attractive??:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!)

Dubai%20Mar.%20Resort%20Night%204_zps6kqemrty.jpg

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Hi Terry, we’ll be on this cruise with you, but while people have been sharing great things to do I thought I’d add my 2 cents. We were in Dubai last November picking up an Azamara cruise. The day before we left we took an early morning Falconry tour. It ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. We were picked up about 6am from our hotel and drove about an hour out into the desert and had a wonderful morning watching the falcon demonstrations. We even got to hold some meat and the falcons would swoop down and land on our arm to take the food. It was amazing!!

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Hi Terry, we’ll be on this cruise with you, but while people have been sharing great things to do I thought I’d add my 2 cents. We were in Dubai last November picking up an Azamara cruise. The day before we left we took an early morning Falconry tour. It ended up being one of the highlights of our trip. We were picked up about 6am from our hotel and drove about an hour out into the desert and had a wonderful morning watching the falcon demonstrations. We even got to hold some meat and the falcons would swoop down and land on our arm to take the food. It was amazing!!

 

Appreciate this great follow-up and your experience with this Falconry tour. Interesting!! Will share and discuss with my wife and the other couple from Central Ohio traveling with us. Lots of very options to consider. Keep up the great sharing.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

Enjoyed a 14-day, Jan. 20-Feb. 3, 2014, Sydney to Auckland adventure, getting a big sampling for the wonders of "down under” before and after this cruise. Go to:

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

for more info and many pictures of these amazing sights in this great part of the world. Now at 199,728 views for this posting.

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I was in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in 2016 on a Tauck land tour. In Abu Dhabi we stayed quite near the spectacular mosque. I noticed that your cruise also stops in Muscat, Oman where there is also a large beautifully designed mosque. If you go to the mosque in Oman, you might consider visiting only the Louvre in Abu Dhabi because you have such a short time. The great mosque and the museum are quite far apart. Eventually there will be other museums on Saadiyat Island but as of 2016 (and today, I think), only the Louvre has been completed.

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Terry, unless you really live museums, I would pass on the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It is a nice cultural exhibit; but the Sheik Zayed Mosque is awesome. We went to both the n the last couple days. I went back to the mosque at night to see it illuminated. OMG, just amazing. I will post photos when I do my review.

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Terry, unless you really live museums, I would pass on the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It is a nice cultural exhibit; but the Sheik Zayed Mosque is awesome. We went to both the n the last couple days. I went back to the mosque at night to see it illuminated. OMG, just amazing. I will post photos when I do my review.

 

I was in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in 2016 on a Tauck land tour. In Abu Dhabi we stayed quite near the spectacular mosque. I noticed that your cruise also stops in Muscat, Oman where there is also a large beautifully designed mosque. If you go to the mosque in Oman, you might consider visiting only the Louvre in Abu Dhabi because you have such a short time. The great mosque and the museum are quite far apart. Eventually there will be other museums on Saadiyat Island but as of 2016 (and today, I think), only the Louvre has been completed.

Appreciate these two great follow-ups. Your views and experiences are somewhat varied and very different. Both of you give us options to consider and weigh as we prepare for our limited time in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. While we will have only three and a half days there, we will keep researching to prepare and plan accordingly. It is seven months, plus, till we will be in this part of the Middle East for the first time.

 

Keep up the excellent sharing. Look forward to hearing from others as to their likes, suggestions, insights, etc.

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

For details and visuals, etc., from our July 1-16, 2010, Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise experience from Copenhagen on the Silver Cloud, check out this posting. This posting is now at 224,315 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

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From the London/UK Sun website today, they have this headline: “Hidden Dubai gem could get the city its first UNESCO World Heritage Site with these highlights: If you’ve been to Dubai, then you’ll know that it’s better recognised for its glitzy shops and huge skyscrapers than it is for its culture. But that could soon be about to change, as the city's Dubai Creek has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dubai Creek is a waterway which flows between Bur Dubai and Deira. The saltwater creek and the Old Dubai area was how Dubai was able to be built during the early 20th century.

 

Looking forward to our first visit to Dubai in early December. Having a number of visuals, plus many pictures and a video, this background news piece is very interesting for reflecting some of the history for this UAE area. Here are more details: "It was a major hub for ships importing and exporting as the city grew and expanded. The Old Town is home to the city’s Grand Souk, a market where you can buy spices, fabrics, jewellery and souvenirs to take home. It’s also where you’ll find the Al Fahidi Fort, which dates back to 1787 which has been used as a home for Dubai’s artillery as well as a prison."

 

Another Sun news/travel story also details: "Living the High Life" about the"World’s tallest hotel boasting roof-top pool opens in Dubai – and it’s 100 ft taller than Eiffel Tower."

 

Full stories at:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/6631733/dubai-creek-unesco-world-heritage-site-uae/

https://www.thesun.co.uk/travel/5553365/worlds-tallest-hotel-gevora-roof-top-pool-open-dubai/

 

THANKS! Enjoy! Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.! Just completed a Jan. 21-Feb. 20, 2018, first adventure through Southeast Asia with stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before traveling all over Vietnam and Cambodia. This includes seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Now at 25,834 views Lots of fun, interesting pictures!! See more at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

 

Here is one of the Dubai Creek visuals from their Sun news story profiles. Next is also a visual related to the height comparison with this new world's tallest hotel and also Dubai's even higher building there that is the "tops" in the world. Finally is a visual sample of the view from this new sky-high hotel pool view.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!)

NINTCHDBPICT000416313302-e1530031413990_zpswuvakbmi.jpg

 

kh-graphic-tall-buildings_zpsjnr2i9fu.jpg

 

nintchdbpict000384412965_zpssprgj18n.jpg

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