Abu Dhabi is an Arabian Gulf cruise port part of the UAE (United Arab Emirates). Prior to the discovery of oil 1958, Abu Dhabi was a poor, rural wasteland. Now the city has one of the world's highest per-capita incomes. The city is the capital of the UAE, with population around 250,000.
Traditionally for the UAE, the city is modern, clean, featuring high rise buildings and numerous palm trees. Tourist attractions include souks (marketplaces), Petroleum Exhibition, palaces owned by local sheiks. The walled coastal road (corniche) runs for about 13 km (8 ml) along Arabian (Persian) Gulf. The city has an attractive park with flower gardens and 2200 year-old tomb ("Round Structure").
Abu Dhabi accounts for nearly 2/3 of the USD 400-billion UAE economy. It is the 4th most expensive city for expatriate employees in the area, and in 2014 was the world's 68th most expensive large city. The city features numerous modern amenities and attractions, like hotels, shopping, tours / excursions, also Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Ferrari World, Falcon Hospital. The more popular Dubai is only a short ride away.
Khalifa Port (Abu Dhabi)
The Abu Dhabi Ports Company was established in 2006 and formed as part of the UAE's commercial ports restructuring. The company replaced the old Abu Dhabi Seaports Authority. It manages a total of 11 ports (commercial, logistic, leisure), including Khalifa Port (deep-water), Zayed Port (deep-water, operational since 1972, also serving cruise vessels), Free Port, Musaffah Port and 5 ports in Al Gharbia. "Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi" is adjacent to Khalifa Port and serves logistics and manufacturing companies.
On November 5, 2017, the Chinese company COSCO SHIPPING Ports (CSP) held at Khalifa Port the ground-breaking ceremony for the new "CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal".
- Prior to the ceremony was signed an agreement between CSP and Abu Dhabi Ports Company, Port Fujairah and KIZAD ("Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi") for leasing of a new CFS ("container freight station" / port facility for handling containerized cargo).
- The new CSP Abu Dhabi Terminal is located along the Maritime Silk Route. CSP entered into the terminal concession agreement with Abu Dhabi Ports on September 28, 2016. The construction of the new container ship terminal will take 18 months years and will be operational by 2018 Q4 - 2019 Q1. The new facility has annual capacity around 2,5 million TEUs (containers), thus increasing the port's total annual handling capacity up to 6 million TEUs (both container terminals combined).
- CSP operates a global network of cargo ports in Asia (mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore), Europe (Greece, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Belgium), Africa (Egypt) and the USA.
Khalifa Port was opened in September and inaugurated on December 12, 2012. It is ranked among the world's most modern cargo ports. In 2016 it was ranked the world's 2d fastest growing global container port - following Shanghai China.
- The port features an 8 km (5 ml) long breakwater and 4 km (2,5 ml) total quay wall length (of which 2,4 km main berth, 800 m West Quay and 800 m Emal Quay). Pilotage is compulsory and available 24-7. The max vessel draft is 13 m (43 ft).
- The port serves 20 containership lines, offers 60 direct links to international ports and is equipped with a total of 52 automated ship-to-shore (stacking) cranes (rail-mounted).
- By the year 2030, Khalifa Port's annual cargo shipping capacity is expected to reach 15 million TEUs and 35 million general cargo tons.
- In the end of March 2018, Abu Dhabi Ports signed a MoU with CCPIT ("China Council for the Promotion of International Trade"). The Memorandum of Understanding was for promoting commercial shipping opportunities to potential Chinese investors in KIZAD ("Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi") and KPFTZ ("Khalifa Port Free Trade Zone").
- In April 2018, Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA) and Abu Dhabi Ports opened a container freight station to reduce aluminium trucking mileage within KIZAD, by over 290,000 km per year. The new facility is used to load aluminium into TEU containers for export shipping. Purpose-built near EGA’s Al Taweelah smelter site (world's largest), the new station reduces the trucking distance by approx 17 km for each consignment. EGA's annual aluminium volume for 2017 was nearly 600,000 tons, which (from Khalifa Port) required over 17,000 truck movements from Al Taweelah to the quayside. Total annual CO2 emissions savings are over 2000 tons.
Zayed Port (Abu Dhabi cruise port)
Port Abu Dhabi is part of the "Cruise Arabia" alliance, which also includes Dubai and Sharjah (both in UAE), plus ports in Oman, Qatar and Bahrain. Since December 2016, Abu Dhabi has the Arabian Gulf's only dedicated desert cruise island port - Sir Bani Yas island. Many regular holiday tourists visit Yas Island as a day trip or overnight vacation destination.
Abu Dhabi is also gaining popularity as a wedding destination for guests from India, Europe, the USA.
- Zayed Port's cruising season is October through July.
- The cooperation with the UAE's national carrier Etihad Airways resulted in a relatively steady annual increase in visiting cruise tourists from India (around 10% per year) and also in tourists flying to Abu Dhabi from Delhi or Mumbai (around 30% per year). The Etihad Airways has additionally partnered with Jet Airways for connecting cheap flights to all major airport cities in India.
- The option for cruises to UAE leaving from ports in India is expected to become reality in the following years.
- During season 2014-2015, the cruise port handled a total of 94 ship calls and around 190,000 passengers. During season 2015/2016, these numbers grew to 113 ship visits and 231,660 passengers (increase 22% / 16%). For comparison, Zayed Port during season 2006-2007 handled a total of 35,366 cruise ship tourists.
- During season 2016-2017, the cruise port's business was increased by 15% over the previous season - with over 345,660 passengers, which is up from 232,600 in 2015-2016. The estimated number of cruise tourists by the year 2020 is 450,000 and by the year 2025 - 808,000. Ship numbers increased from 115 (2015-2016) to 161 (2016-2017). In 2017, the port reported a 48% increase in passengers volumes at its cruise terminals - about 6 times the 8% increase in 2016.
- In 2016, Abu Dhabi and other UAE cities introduced a new (multi-entry) visa system allowing cruise passengers to visit various UAE tour destinations with 1 permit. Previously, UAE visas were only for tourists arriving and leaving the UAE on a cruise ship. The new visas allow toursts to fly to Dubai Airport, embark on a cruise vessel in Mina Rashid and cruise to Abu Dhabi and also to other Persian Gulf countries with a single visa rather than obtaining 2 or 3 separate visas. The new visas are also cheaper (AUD 59) in comparison to Dubai's 96-hours visa (AUD 44).
Abu Dhabi cruise terminal
Cruise ships to Abu Dhabi dock in Zayed Port. The following photo shows Abu Dhabi cruise ship terminal with a docked Costa ship.
(new) Mina Zayed cruise terminal (Abu Dhabi)
The new Port Zayed cruise terminal in Abu Dhabi has exclusive check-in facilities (operated via partnership with Etihad Airways). Since its inauguration on December 13, 2015, the number of visiting tourists was significantly increased.
- The terminal is also in close proximity to popular city attractions, such as Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (at just 20-min drive) and Saadiyat (city's cultural district featuring the Louvre Abu Dhabi / opened in 2017).
- The cruise terminal building became an Arabian Gulf tourism landmark. The construction project underlined the UAE's ambitions for a leading position in the South Asian tourism sector. The building as design is a fusion of traditional Arabic ornaments and modern architecture. The roof's design is a lattice work inspired by the UAE’s national tree Ghaf (flowering tree in the pea family). Inside the terminal building, the wooden beams design was inspired by the country's traditional sailing boats.
- The terminal is sized approx 800 m2 (8,600 ft2)and has capacity to handle 3 cruise vessels (over 7,000 passengers) at a time.
- The building include as facilities tourist info counters, check-in counters, security checks. On the mezzanine floor are located souvenir shops, bars and restaurants, offices, cruise ship crew / staff waiting areas.
Port Abu Dhabi cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Abu Dhabi, UAE. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
The Abu Dhabi cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near Abu Dhabi, UAE.
If you lose the Abu Dhabi location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.
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