Abu Dhabi Ports, the company that operates Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal, has signed an agreement with local ferry operator Jalboot Marine to begin offering roundtrip water-taxi tours of Abu Dhabi from the cruise terminal.
Jalboot’s boats provide a comfortable air-conditioned means of transport to Abu Dhabi’s key tourist sites.
The new service will be available to UAE residents as well as cruise tourists visiting Abu Dhabi on an Arabian Gulf cruise, according to a statement from Abu Dhabi Ports. “We have signed an agreement with Jalboot Marine to operate tours to Abu Dhabi’s most important cultural and tourist attractions as part of our efforts to provide a variety of activities and attractions,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports.
Confusingly, Abu Dhabi Ports’ release mentions “marine cruise ships” as being the mode of transport for these tours, but it will in fact be much smaller water taxis. A cruise ship is far too big to dock at any of the attractions mentioned, while adding the “marine” differentiator is redundant, because all cruise ships are marine in nature.
Abu Dhabi Grand Mosque is one of the highlights of the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal boat tours.
Abu Dhabi tourist attractions included in the tours are the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Yas Island and Etihad Towers.
The new service is expected to commence operating in the current season, for city sight-seeing and drop-off. Passenger pickup will be from Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal at Zayed Port.
“It has been a remarkable season for Abu Dhabi’s marine tourism sector with Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal and Sir Bani Yas Island being key factors in this continued prosperity,” said Al Shamisi.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi will be the main attraction for cruise tourists taking the boat tours from the cruise terminal.
“Abu Dhabi Ports is keen to play a pivotal role in further supporting Abu Dhabi’s position as a unique touristic destination. We can see ample avenues to expand alongside our partners and stakeholders and look forward to this opportunity to work with Jalboot Holdings and to further contribute to the success of the cruise sector,” he added.
The agreement also includes building a new 20m long jetty with wheelchair access and secure gated access.
Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal is forecasted to welcome 92 ship calls from 18 different cruise lines in the coming cruise season.
Abu Dhabi Ports says this makes the city a firm fixture on the world cruise map “with international cruise liners continuing to base their regional Arabian Gulf operations at the terminal”.
MSC Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Celebrity Cruises will all homeport in Abu Dhabi during the coming Arabian Gulf cruise season, although Celebrity Cruises is the only cruise line doing so exclusively. MSC and AIDA will both use Dubai as their primary homeport, with turnaround also offered in Abu Dhabi.