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Dubai and alcohol

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This is one news report on one news website but I find it rather alarming

 

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/mother-held-in-dubai-for-three-days-after-one-glass-of-wine-on-emirates-flight_uk_5b6d5ce4e4b0530743c8eaa7?w6&utm_hp_ref=uk-homepage

 

Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained in Dubai, said: “The UAE maintains a deliberately misleading facade that alcohol consumption is perfectly legal for visitors.

“Tourists cannot be blamed for believing that the Emirates are tolerant of Western drinking habits, but this is far from reality.

“It is wholly illegal for any tourist to have any level of alcohol in their blood, even if consumed in flight and provided by Dubai’s own airline. It is illegal to consume alcohol at a bar, a hotel and a restaurant and if breathalysed, that person will be jailed.””

I know P&O have been doing a ‘myth-busting’ exercise on ME laws and customs but they won’t be happy to read this. Nor, I would imagine, will many booker and potential passengers

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I think there is more to this than meets the eye. Below is an excerpt from the FCO travel advice site, When we have been to Dubai the hotels have had bars and getting a drink was not an issue, albeit expensive.

 

Liquor licences are not available to non-residents, but it is possible for tourists and visitors to buy and drink alcohol in licensed venues, such as hotels, restaurants and clubs. However, you should be aware that it is a punishable offence under UAE law to drink or be under the influence of alcohol in public. British nationals have been arrested and charged under this law, often in cases where they have come to the attention of the police for a related offence or matter, such as disorderly or offensive behaviour.

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We lived in Dubai for three years and there are double standards in place. The FCO advice is correct, it is a crime to drink in Dubai if you do not hold a liquor licence. However the authorities turn a blind eye to it for the sake of the tourist industry. But if you come to their attention for any other reason and you have any alcohol in your system you are in trouble. It is well known for example, that if you are in a taxi or car and it is involved in a traffic incident, you don’t hang around, you run. No one in their right minds argues with immigration or starts taking pictures....

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The drink was apparently consumed on the plane before arrival - so how do you stand if you'd had a drink or two the night before on board but there may still be some alcohol in your system next day when you go ashore? I take the point about not doing anything to draw attention to yourself but you could be an innocent victim in a situation.

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From what I read the issue may be more to do with the visa and the persons behaviour when confronted by the staff. The drink issue .... well read the whole article

 

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I'm very confused, I have travelled to Dubai three times, once on a cruise. In Dubai airport there is a duty free selling the usual alcohol as well as crates of beer, cider etc which you can consume in your hotel & apartment. Obviously alcohol isn't readily available in super markets like the U.K. however it is in bars and restaurants. From what I've read this incident seems to be about Visa's and maybe as she had been drinking she kicked off..

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I think that duty free areas are not actually in the country, they are international space.

 

It is just not a country I would be interested in visiting. There are far too many pitfalls for tourists and regular stories in the press about people being thrown in jail for next to nothing, two high profile ones last year.

 

I am a great believer that if you visit a country you should respect their customs and laws but when these laws are on such shifting sand it makes it difficult.

 

Not on my “ to visit” list.

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I think that duty free areas are not actually in the country, they are international space.

 

It is just not a country I would be interested in visiting. There are far too many pitfalls for tourists and regular stories in the press about people being thrown in jail for next to nothing, two high profile ones last year.

 

I am a great believer that if you visit a country you should respect their customs and laws but when these laws are on such shifting sand it makes it difficult.

 

Not on my “ to visit” list.

Totally agree with you. Visited twice, the last time about 20 years ago to meet up with friends, and would never go again. Brash, vulgar, with laws that can be draconian.

Cannot see any attraction at all, and cannot imagine why P&O are trying to entice cruisers to that part of the world.

 

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Cannot see any attraction at all, and cannot imagine why P&O are trying to entice cruisers to that part of the world.

 

Because a lot of people disagree with you.

 

I know plenty of people that choose to visit Dubai and P&O is simply following the money.

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Things must have changed a lot. I used to fly to Dubai a lot when I was a stewardess. We always went to the Intercon Hotel, had drinks there and then went to an Indian restaurant. Restaurants have no alcohol, but all the hotels do, or most of them.

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Things must have changed a lot. I used to fly to Dubai a lot when I was a stewardess. We always went to the Intercon Hotel, had drinks there and then went to an Indian restaurant. Restaurants have no alcohol, but all the hotels do, or most of them.

 

I think things have changed a lot in many countries.

 

I suppose it’s the same as in this country, customs and laws change. When I started work women would be sent home if they wore trousers for example and regarding alchol a respectable women would not have dreamed of entering a pub (and pubs stank of cigarette smoke). Roll on and we now have the smoking ban, family friendly pubs and most women wear trousers some of the time.

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Having had family living and working in Dubai for the last 10 years we have visited Dubai at least a dozen times. People don't seem to have much difficulty in getting booze and there is even a duty free shop in the airport just after you have collected your luggage from the carousel. Just be careful where you drink it!!

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It is such a shame that news stories like these are putting people off visiting a fascinating part of the world. Alcohol is sold at lots of bars and restaurants in Dubai and there is no need to worry about having one or two drinks either on the ship or while you are out. (Actually a few of the ships trips include alcohol) It is however illegal to be under the influence of alcohol and this is often the reason given for arrests when people are argumentative/loud/disrespectful towards locals (for example- the lady currently in the news was taking photos of The Emarati officials without permission) Common sense is needed when travelling anywhere, and an undestanding of where you are going (yes , there are some draconian laws!) but it is a wonderful part of the world to visit (and live in).

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It is such a shame that news stories like these are putting people off visiting a fascinating part of the world. Alcohol is sold at lots of bars and restaurants in Dubai and there is no need to worry about having one or two drinks either on the ship or while you are out. (Actually a few of the ships trips include alcohol) It is however illegal to be under the influence of alcohol and this is often the reason given for arrests when people are argumentative/loud/disrespectful towards locals (for example- the lady currently in the news was taking photos of The Emarati officials without permission) Common sense is needed when travelling anywhere, and an undestanding of where you are going (yes , there are some draconian laws!) but it is a wonderful part of the world to visit (and live in).

 

Alchol is not the problem. I would be quite happy to go and abstain for the whole holiday for the chance to see another part of the world.

 

It is all the other potential issues, Picsa has attached the list from the foreign office.

 

My friend lived in the UAE in one of the less liberal emerates so I have not just read about this in the newspaper, I have heard her first hand accounts. As a woman it was a difficult place to live for a westerner used to certain freedoms.

 

The cruises P&O offer don’t just stop in Dubai which means pax will move out of this fairly liberal area and need to be prepared for the rules elsewhere as well.

 

It is their country and they are entitled to have their laws and customers respected and adhered to. I just would not wish to holiday in a place where I need to learn so many rules.

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It is such a shame that news stories like these are putting people off visiting a fascinating part of the world.

 

I think it quite sensible that news stories like these are highlighting what might be foolish behaviour in the UK (arriving with an invalid visa, arguing with the immigration officer, trying to record the argument on video, whilst having had a few drinks) and might have resulted in a reprimand with a few strong words, in certain countries is downright stupid behaviour and the best you can expect is to end up in a cell slopping out for a few days.

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I have also lived in the Emirates, my family spent nearly 15 years out there very happily so I am sorry to hear that your friend found it difficult to adjust to the very different lifestyle. We lived for that time in Dubai but I also spent time in Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah and Abu Dhabi on archaelogical digs, so a lot of first hand experience.

 

The link picsa posted will be very useful to people, so thankyou. If anyone is thinking of visiting the area the best advice I can give is to read the link, be repectful and use common sense like you would anywhere . What you dont get on the government link above, for any country, is the positives. It is a site to inform travellers so they stay safe and out of trouble, so even somewhere like Spain sounds scary on there.

 

If anybody does decide to travel to that part of the world they will find that the Emirates are by far about the safest cities in the world. I happily walked around at night as a young woman on my own without having concerns regarding safety and without any "no go" areas to worry about accidentally finding myself in. Their crime rate is one of the lowest in the world, its vertually zero and I would not do that in ANY other city anywhere. English is widely spoken so asking directions or for recommendations where to go is simple.

In the cities travelling is very easy, which makes it a great cruise destination. Taxis in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are extremely well regulated and are fairly priced and on a meter, so none of the usual concerns of being scammed at the taxi rank. The metro in Dubai is clean, cheap and very efficient. People are polite, respectful and helpful, which isnt the case in the area surrounding every cruise port Ive been to, in other parts of the world. Out of the cities, and in some of the other ports the ships visit, independent travel isnt quite so easy.. indeed some places have vertually no public transport system, but this is what makes exploring the world so interesting. A bit of research is always a good thing!

 

 

The history of the region is fascinating. Dubai started off as a pearl trading port, only got electricity in the 60's and in the early nineties there were still only a few hotels and lots of space between buildings. Abu Dhabi in the nineties was still predominantly a city with buildings less than 5 stories high. Khor Fakkan in an enclave of Sharjah (on Oceanas itinerary) I think had only one hotel, a dive school, a couple of shops and a supermarket and that was it.

Go to the Emirates for the architecture. Nowhere else in the world do you get quite such a mix of old and traditional (wind towers are particularly interesting for their air conditioning capabilities pre electricity) and new buildings are built to a design and scale that few other countries would dare to. Go for the fantastic scenery. Mountains ranges, hidden pools you can swim in, the desert that changes colour as you travel through it, the fantastic beaches. You can try new technology like fly-boarding if thats your thing or just swim lazily in stunningly clear water that is bizarrely bouyant. I havent even started on the shopping! Local souks where you can laugh and barter for hours (The gold souk, spice souk and textile souks in Dubai come highly recommended. The fish market , date market and carpet souk in Abu Dhabi are equally interesting and within walking distance of the port) Personally I also like the market at Masafi, which is now on one of Pand Os trips, off the beaten track and interesting for it. There are also some of the worlds biggest malls if thats your thing.

Its on my bucket list to "go back", which I am doing on a cruise in January with friends who have never been there. Enjoy wherever your lists take you :)

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I couldn't agree more. Great place to visit. I love the spice soukh and the gold soukh. Little Abro boat trip on the water. Great Indian restaurants. The seaquarium was excellent too.

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I think it quite sensible that news stories like these are highlighting what might be foolish behaviour in the UK (arriving with an invalid visa, arguing with the immigration officer, trying to record the argument on video, whilst having had a few drinks) and might have resulted in a reprimand with a few strong words, in certain countries is downright stupid behaviour and the best you can expect is to end up in a cell slopping out for a few days.

 

You have made a very good point, so in hindsight the opening of my first post was not a good choice of words! It is sad though that we just get the "headlines" that sell papers rather than a complete story from our media, that headline being that someone has been arrested for drinking a glass of wine on a plane and the result of that being people who havent been there think Dubai is not a good place to travel to. In reality the issue is related to the things you mentioned above, and according to The National in Dubai, an additional issue with knowingly not having the correct licensing to run a business doing botox for people, which is another quite rightly, carefully regulated area. The issue is not as our media suggests, that she had a single glass of wine on the national airline.

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Well I'm not going. I value the freedoms I have in the UK which were hard won. I refuse to go to places where I would have to worry about breaking rules which seem arbitrary and illogical to me.

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I'm with you Clodia. I will not visit the UAE - or most Middle Eastern states - whilst they have outrageously discriminatory and inhumane laws. Homosexuality is technically still punishable by death in the UAE and imprisonment widely across the Middle East. I have no wish to support such regimes when they will not afford me basic equality with everyone else.

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I'm with you Clodia. I will not visit the UAE - or most Middle Eastern states - whilst they have outrageously discriminatory and inhumane laws. Homosexuality is technically still punishable by death in the UAE and imprisonment widely across the Middle East. I have no wish to support such regimes when they will not afford me basic equality with everyone else.

 

Another vote against visiting various states in Middle East on human rights grounds. Ditto China

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