Dubai cruise port is part of Port Rashid (aka Mina Rashid) operating since 1972. The seaport is named after Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum (1912-1990). Dubai has the world's only cruise ship terminal operated by a government (UAE's department of tourism). This means an extra attention to every passenger is provided, along with enhanced travel experiences including certified tour guides, swift entry system (no visa issues).
Dubai cruise port
At Dubai's cruise port is currently berthed the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 ship - the famous Cunard ocean liner. She will stay moored there until the decision of her future. The port's cruise ship schedule shows vessels with voyages visiting Muscat, Bahrain, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi, India and the Far East. Dubai will also amaze you with all its city tour possibilities.
In 2016, Dubai 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 country on a cruise ship. The new multiple-entry visas allow toursts to fly to Dubai Airport, embark on cruise vessels (Mina Rashid) and travel to Abu Dhabi and other Persian Gulf ports with a single visa - rather than obtaining 2 or 3 separate visas. The new UAE visas are also cheaper (AUD 59) in comparison to Dubai's 96-hours visa (AUD 44).
In January 2017 was signed an exclusive contract between city's RTA (Roads and Transport Authority) and DP World (Mina Rashid terminals' owner and operator). By this deal are provided taxi services for passenger transportation between the city and the new terminal Hamdan bin Mohammed at Port Rashid. RTA's services include both taxis and VIP limousines to greet disembarking cruise ship tourist. The taxi corporation has over 5,000 cabs. Its 2015 annual report showed over 47 million taxi trips serving about 94 million customers.
In the period 2014-2017, the port handled around 1,9 million cruise tourists via 489 vessels. During port's first season (2013-2014) were handled 93 calls and 320,000 passengers.
During season 2016-2017 (October through July), Port Rashid had scheduled 156 cruise ship visits and handled 625,000 passengers. This was a 15% increase over season 2015-2016 (134 ship calls). The number of disembarking passengers was over 625,000 (18% increase over season 2015-2016). For comparison, during 2006-2007, the cruise port was visited by around 105,000 passengers. The steady annual growth of 16-18% is supported by increasing number of visitors from India. Their number grew by 25% (2015-2016) and by 30% (2017-2018). Currently, India is cruise port's 14th source country (following countries like Germany, Italy, UK, USA).
During season 2017-2018, the port had as clients 23 cruise companies, of which 6 used it as turnaround/homeport (for roundtrips). This number included the newcomers NCL Norwegian and Thomson-Marella Cruises. In 2017-2018, Celestyal Cruises for the first time ever started offering roundtrip 3-night / 4-day Arabian Gulf mini cruise short-breaks with the ship Celestyal Nefeli.
To boost berth bookings, for October (2018) and April (2019), DP World reduced cruise port charges by 50%. During season 2018-2019, Port Dubai expects around 725,000 cruise ship passengers, and up to 825,000 in season 2019-2020.
In 2019, in Dubai Royal Caribbean introduced world's most expensive cruise shore excursion. Part of RCI's "Cruise Arabia and Africa" program, the new tour is offered on 7-day Arabian Gulf itineraries starting December 2019. The cruise excursion's cost is AED 122,000 (USD 33,000) per person. The cruisetour package is inclusive of shopping trip (with personal shopper and photo session at Dubai Mall) and visit to Rose Arbaji Centre (with 3-course meal and 3-hour spa treatments). The exclusive tour was first offered on Jewel of the Seas (homeported in Dubia in 2019-2020).
On September 18, 2017, DP World Ltd announced that the company entered into agreements to purchase Maritime World LLC (sole owner of Dubai Maritime City) for USD 180 million. DP World also acquired Drydocks World LLC for USD 225 million, or made a total capital injection into Dubai port of USD 405 million.
Dubai Maritime City is a world-class facility and industrial business zone in a prime location (adjacent to the Mina Rashid port). Maritime City's main business is its commercial and industrial park (sized 2,3 km2 / 1 mi2) located on an artificial peninsula. The park provides Economic Zones World additional land as an alternative to the congested Jebel Ali Free Zone (located at city's far western end).
Drydocks World is a leading company specializing in ship repairs and operating the Middle East's largest shiprepair yard. The shipyard also has capabilities for newbuilds and vessel conversions. Drydocks were integrated into P&O Maritime - DP World’s fully-owned maritime services subsidiary company.
In May 2018, Carnival Corporation and Meraas (holding company) signed a partnership deal for "Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal". Starting late 2020, the facility will become homeport and transit destination for Carnival Corporation ships in the region. Carnival will offer roundtrip and relocation cruises from Dubai to attract passengers from India and China. Read more in the port's "Terminal" section.
In July 2018, DP World and Zhejiang China Commodities City Group signed an agreement to construct Traders Market’ (build up area 3 km2) at Jebel Ali Port Free Zone. The new facility is in Jafza South (adjacent to Dubai Expo 2020) and is divided by trade sectors (including household goods, building materials, foods-beverages, cosmetics-healthcare, energy-power, engineering-technology).
- The partnership deal followed an agreement signed in 2018 between DP World and ZPG (Zhejiang Seaport Investment and Operation Group) for a warehouse in Yiwu (world's largest wholesale market for small commodities) with cargoes destined for Dubai and Middle East.
- Both projects will boost the UAE-China trade by offering integrated logistics, warehousing, customs clearance facilities, trade licenses. Jebel Ali Port Free Zone provides access to over 2 billion people regional market and DP World’s worldwide network of 78 cargo terminals, enabling trade in countries with over 50% of the global GDP.
In 2017, China was ranked Dubai’s number one trading partner, with total annual trade for FY2017 AED 176,5 billion (USD 48 billion).
Port Rashid (aka Mina Rashid)
Dubai's Mina Rashid port is an artificially made commercial seaport opened in 1972. In 1978, it was expanded to 35 berths (mostly used by container ships). The port is equipped with 9 gantry cranes (cargo capacity 1,500,000 TEUs). Here dock general cargo and RoRo vessels, cruise ships and luxury yachts.
- address: "PO Box 17000. Dubai United Arab Emirates"
- phone number +971 4 301 9300
- UN-LOCODE (United Nations location code) - AEDXB
- developer/ operator - DPWorld
- supported by excellent road, metro rail and air infrastructure
- capability to accommodate 4 cruise ships at a time
- deep water berths (depth 43 ft / 13 m)
- sheltered harbor area
- access unrestricted by tides
- Terminal's area is currently sized 3450 m2 (37130 ft2), to be increased to 30,000 m2 (323,000 ft2) by 2020, when will open the 2nd terminal at Dubai Harbour.
Port Dubai, along with its cruise terminal also has a cargo ship terminal (Dubai Maritime City) and dry dock facilities (Dubai Drydocks) for marine vessel refurbishments and repairs. The cruise port is accessible the whole year round - 24/7, 365 days a tear.
In 2019 was inaugurated the Dubai Ferry service linking downtown's Al Wajeha Al Maeyah Marine Transport Station near Dubai Mall (one of world's largest and most-visited retail shopping destinations) and Dubai Marina Mall (owned by Emaar Malls, subsidiary of Emaar Properties). The ferry crossing time is ~80 min (one-way), with complimentary shuttle service to Dubai Mall and back. Tickets are priced AED 68,25 (USD 18,6) per adult and AED 52,5 (USD 14,3) for kids 5-12 years old.
On December 7, 2019, MSC Cruises signed with DP World a long-term agreement for preferential berthing rights at Mina Rashid Port. The deal was signed on the Dubai-homeported liner MSC Bellissima (2019-built). Currently, MSC is the biggest cruise shipping company operating in the Arabian Gulf.
Cruise itineraries to and from Dubai
Follows a list of destinations visited by cruise ships leaving out of Dubai:
- World Cruises - around the world voyages starting in Europe or Australia visit Dubai before or after their Suez Canal transition. Generally are offered smaller world cruise segments with departures from Dubai to ports in Europe (westbound, to Southampton) or on eastbound routes - in Asia (to Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tianjin) and Australia (to Sydney, Brisbane). Shortest segments are between Dubai and India, Singapore, Greece, Italy, Turkey.
- 7-day Dubai cruise deals (round-trip departures) are the most common itineraries. They include visiting ports in the UAE (Abu Dhabi, Khor Fakkan) also in Oman (Khasab, Muscat) and Bahrain (Mina Salman).
- Transition / repositioning cruise itineraries offer Suez Canal transits with eaither eastbound routes (from Europe-Mediterranean to Asia) or the reverse westbound routes (from Asia to Europe /via Mediterranean Sea).
Among the cruise lines operating from Dubai are AIDA, Costa, MSC, Royal Caribbean, TUI, Marella UK. The list of other UAE cruise ports also includes the Sir Bani Yas Island (private resort destination for MSC and Costa cruise ship passengers).
"Project Orient Limited” (POL) plans to build two ocean cruise liners for a regular passenger shipping service between Europe-UK and Australia (Southampton - Sydney). The scheduled itinerary will be 26 days in one direction (Southampton to Sydney, and the reverse Sydney to Southampton). The included ports of call are Fremantle (at the 20 day mark), also Dubai, Mumbai (India) and Singapore. Each of the STX France-built ships will be 200,000 GT tons and with capacity 1600 pax. The expected cruise pricing starts from around GBP 2900 per person (one-way fares).
Dubai cruise terminal
Dubai cruise port is located on the UAE's Persian Gulf and has all 3 cruise terminals. The port is located approx 15 km / 9 mi (north, 25-min drive distance) from Dubai International Airport (DXB) and approx 37 km / 23 mi (south, 30-min drive distance) from Al Maktoum International Airport (in Jebel Ali). It is easy to use a taxi transfer between Port Rashid and the city.
Next photo shows Dubai Cruise Terminal at Port Rashid. By 2020, this passenger terminal will be expanded to offer simultaneous berthing for up to 6 cruise liners.
(NEW) Mina Rashid Cruise Terminal
Mina Rashid cruise terminal has 7 berths, which means it can handle 7 large-sized vessels (with total passenger capacity 25,000) simultaneously. The terminal was renovated in 2010 and all cargo vessels were moved to the Jebel Ali Port. Port Rashid remained only a terminal for cruise ships. It can handle simultaneously up to 4 vessels. Cruise Terminal 3 is the largest facility (sized 125,000 m2), with capacity 14,000 passengers.
The building is in old Arabic style. Dubai Cruise Port terminal offers facilities like ATM machines, a post office, duty free, an information center, souvenir shops, internet access, currency exchange, business center and a coffee shop. Each hour, the passengers can use City Center and Mercato Mall free shuttles.
Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal (Port Rashid)
Dubai's new cruise ship terminal Hamdan bin Mohammed is located at Port Rashid (passenger and cargo port). The complex is considered one of the world's top 5 luxury cruise ports to dock at.
The new terminal was inaugurated in 2015. It is the world’s largest covered cruise facility with daily passenger capacity of 14,000.
Yearly over half a million cruise passengers visit Dubai via Port Rashid's terminals. The complex has as facilities coffee bar, mini mart, deli (lunch restaurant), port shops (souvenirs, watches, jewelry, electronics), post office, business center, currency exchange office, ATM, concierge service (to assist day tours in Dubai City). Among the services offered at the terminal are free Internet (and Wi-Fi) and 2 free of charge shopping shuttles (1 to Mercato Mall, 1 to City Center Drive) leaving on the hour.
(newest) Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal (Carnival)
Dubai Harbour is a new port development project which started in January 2017, with scheduled completion in 2021. Among the attractions that the new complex will feature are a new cruise terminal building (total area 150,000 ft2 / 13,935 m2, passenger capacity 6,000) and (Dubai Lighthouse (height 4380 ft / 135 m) hausing a luxury hotel and featuring an observation deck.
This is Dubai's newest (second) cruise ship terminal facility for which construction was contracted the holding company Meraas. This way, the port became world's first ever to build 2 new terminals simultaneously, with combined annual capacity 1,2 million passengers. Dubai Harbour as location connects some of the city's most famous neighbourhoods.
Dubai Harbour is located on King Salman Str, between JBR Walk (shopping / dining promenade) and Palm Jumeirah (the famous worldwide man-made archipelago). The new complex covers a total area of nearly 1,9 km2 (0,72 mi2). The project includes the cruise port terminal, a large shopping mall (0,33 km2 / 0,13 mi2), yacht marina (capacity 1400 berths), 3 helipads, an events arena, as well as residential and office buildings, hotels and shops.
Dubai Lighthouse's facade is used as screen for HD video projections and light shows. The residential complex includes both high and low buildings, as well as waterfront houses and villas, numerous retail shops, cafes and restaurants.
Dubai Harbour is linked with the city's transport network (directly connected with its road grid and monorail system).
Dubai Harbour will have 2 cruise terminal buildings (total size 30,000 m2 / 323,000 ft2) using 1 quay (length 1 km). Its berthing capacity is 3 cruise ships (simultaneously) and 13,200 passengers at a time. There are plans to be built 2 more terminal buildings to increase its docking capacity to 6 vessels at a time.
Construction works started in May 2018 after Meraas and Carnival Corporation signed an agreement for partnership, including port development and terminal management. The 186-hectares (1,9 km2 / 0,7 mi2) land development project was officially approved in January 2017 by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Ruler of Dubai).
In July 2019 was contracted ASGC Group (UAE-based and Dubai's largest construction company) to build the new Dubai Cruise Terminal (Meraas's real estate complex) located between Bluewaters and Palm Jumeirah (Dubai Harbour). ASGC will conduct all construction works (for both main terminal buildings), the 1-km long quay (docking area), also will implement all associated fit-out and external works and will install buildings' fixtures, fittings and equipment. Upon completion, the new terminal will have total floor area 2,7 hectares and daily passenger capacity 15,000.
Dubai Ferry Terminal
All sea connections between the city and the other UAE port cities are served by Mina Rashid Ferry Terminal. It is adjacent to the cruise ship terminal. Ferries dock in the Coastal Berth area. Dubai's Ferry Terminal (like all cruise terminals) is owned by DP World. Among the modern facilities are luggage belts, separate arrival/departure gates, security (police), UAE Customs office. The Ferry Terminal handles around 20,000 passengers per year.
Adjacent to Port Rashid are Dubai Drydocks and Dubai Maritime City. However, there's a plan all cargoship operations to be moved to Jebel Ali Port (by March 2018) leaving Port Rashid as a dedicated cruiseship terminal. The plan also included part of the port to be reclaimed by Nakheel (Dubai real-estate developer) to create an urban waterfront complex housing over 200,000 residents.
In 2019 was inaugurated the Dubai Ferry service linking downtown's Al Wajeha Al Maeyah Marine Transport Station near Dubai Mall (one of world's largest and most-visited retail shopping destinations) with Dubai Marina Mall (owned by Emaar Malls, subsidiary of Emaar Properties). The ferry crossing time is ~80 min (one-way), with complimentary shuttle service provided to Dubai Mall and back. Tickets are priced AED 68,25 (USD 18,6) per adult and AED 52,5 (USD 14,3) for kids 5-12 years old.
Dubai tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Dubai Creek and Creekside Park: this saltwater water way is 24-hour crowded with boats sailing to and from India, Arabia and East Africa. Take a water taxi, visit Creek and its Creekside Park with cafes, mini-golf, gardens and fishing quays.
- Gold Souk: located on the north side of Dubai Creek, find the lowest prices in the world of dimanods, gold, silver, platinum and precious germs.
- Spice Souk: right next to Gold Souk. A spice market. Smell the aromatic atmosphere of flower petals, incense, medicinal herbs, spices and aromatic oils.
- Dubai Museum: located in the Al Fahidi Fort, on the Dubai Creek south coatsline. The place where you will find the history, traditions and Dubai culture and you will reveal the life in the desert.
- Mall of the Emirates: enormous shopping center with over 400 shops, one of the worlds biggest. Find almost all world brands, restaurants, galleries, a ski slope, two mosques and a cinema.
- Bastakia Quarter: located on Dubai Creek north coastline. Ancient area good for a walk.
- Burj Al Arab hotel: the only seven-star hotel, fabulous and spectacular Burj Al Arab soars the sky. If you don’t want to book a room, try the restaurants or take a look at it from the Majlis Al Bahar beach.
- Burj Khalifa: the tallest building in the world, 2,625 ft.
- Al Mamzar Beach: beautiful park with gardens, beaches, play area, picnic tables, showers, cafes and lifeguard. Special day is Wednesday – Al Mamzar Beach is reserved only for women and children.
- Jumeirah Beach Park: only a mile away from the Dubai cruise port terminal, direction South
- The Desert: 4x4 tour in the desert to visit a native village, taste a local meal and all that combined with amazing belly dance.
Port Dubai 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 Dubai, Port Rashid, UAE. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
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