Destination Dubai

Dubai’s must-attend social and cultural events of 2019 and the cruises to match

Dubai’s ever evolving social calendar saw a range of exciting new additions become must-attend events during 2018, continuing to surprise both visitors and residents with a stellar line-up of world-class entertainment throughout the year.

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With a variety of leisure and sporting events promising to keep the whole family busy, there is plenty more to come during 2019, and for almost every event there are a range of cruises to tie-in with it.

Here are the top picks of upcoming events (from Dubai Calendar), with the cruises you can catch them on:


Othello at Dubai OperaOthello marks the first Shakespeare play to be staged at Dubai Opera in 2019. Following a critically-acclaimed tour and London run, Richard Twyman’s energetic production of Othello will be performed over three consecutive days to add world-class theatre to Dubai Opera’s wide range of entertainment offerings.

  • Date / Venue: 30 January – 02 February 2019 at Dubai Opera
  • Ticket price: From AED 150

The cruises: There are five cruise ships departing Dubai during these dates:

P&O’s Oceana will be cruising roundtrip from Dubai on January 30th, staying overnight in port that same night, so why not head to the opera after a day of exploring?

AIDA Cruises’ ship AIDAprima will be departing on her roundtrip Dubai cruise on February 1st, also staying overnight in port.

Costa Mediterranea and Pullmantur’s Horizon will also be cruising roundtrip from Dubai on February 2nd, with overnight port calls on the night, so you might be able to snag tickets for the closing night of the show.

MSC Splendida will be overnighting at Dubai Cruise Terminal on the 2nd as well, but this will be the final night of her roundtrip Dubai cruise that departed at the time of writing.

RedFestDXB: Mark your calendars as global music icons descend on Dubai for the sixth edition of the much anticipated RedFestDXB. The annual event is one of the biggest musical festivals in the city, welcoming a line-up of international pop, rock and EDM celebrities for an electrifying evening under one open-air stadium. This year’s performers will include Macklemore, Camila Cabello, Jax Jones, DJ Snake, Jess Glynne, Lea Makhoul and G-Eazy. RedFestDXB also hosts a range of popular food stops and interactive activities to keep the excitement buzzing across both nights.

  • Date/ Venue: 14 February – 15 February 2019 at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre
  • Ticket price: AED 395-995

The cruise: AIDAprima will be calling in Dubai, conducting a turnaround for her next 7-night roundtrip cruise from Dubai, on the night of February 15th.

Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival 2019: The 17th edition will feature performances by local and international jazz and blues artists adding to the line-up of performers including Duran Duran, John Legend and Ricky Martin. This year’s headliners include alt-rock icons Snow Patrol, R&B queen Alicia Keys, and British jazz-funk band Jamiroquai.

  • Date / Venue: 20 February – 22 February 2019 at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre
  • Ticket price: AED 350-750

The cruises: AIDAprima and MSC Splendida will be in port in Dubai on February 22nd. For AIDAprima it will be the first night of her 7-night roundtrip Dubai cruise departing February 21st, while for MSC Splendida it will be the last night of her 7-night roundtrip cruise that departs February 16th.

Dubai Food Festival: Celebrating the diverse culinary offerings of the city, Dubai Food Festival (DFF) presents a jam-packed schedule of mouth-watering events and offers to take visitors on a gastronomic journey around the emirate. From dining on special set menus at Dubai’s finest eateries during Dubai Restaurant Week to discovering wallet-friendly hidden gems, this year’s edition of the festival is set to satisfy all tastes and budgets. Other highlight events of DFF include Beach Canteen, which brings together the city’s best home-grown food concepts at a fun-packed family event, and Taste of Dubai, where foodies get the opportunity to sample delicious dishes from top restaurants and meet celebrity chefs from around the world.

  • Date / Venue: 21 February – 09 March 2019, Citywide
  • Ticket price: Applicable for selected events only

The cruises: The Dubai Food Festival runs right through the back-half of the 2019 cruise season in Dubai, there are 14 cruise departures from the city during these dates, most of them roundtrip Dubai cruises of 7-nights operated by Pullmantur, Costa, MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises and AIDA.

Dubai International Boat Show: Anchoring the region’s biggest marine and lifestyle experiences, Dubai International Boat Show is the largest and most established boat show in the UAE, GCC and Middle East. Whether you want to buy a boat, discover luxury superyachts or test drive the latest jet skis, guests will be able to ride the sparkling waves with their family and explore the latest diving and aquatic innovations. Co-located with Dive MENA, it is the only dedicated show for the UAE and GCC diving community.

  • Date / Venue: 26 February – 02 March 2019 at Dubai Canal, Jumeirah
  • Ticket price:  AED 65 valid for one day

The cruises: There are seven cruises from Dubai during these dates. All of them are roundtrip Dubai cruises:

AIDAprima will cruise from Dubai on March 1st on a 7-night roundtrip (overnight in port on the 1st)

MSC Lirica will cruise from Dubai on March 1st on her 14-night roundtrip cruise to India and back (no overnight)

MSC Splendida will depart Dubai March 1st on her 7-night roundtrip Arabian Gulf cruise (with an overnight on the 1st)

P&O’s Oceana will depart Dubai March 1st for her 10-night roundtrip cruise in the Arabian Gulf (also staying overnight in port on the 1st).

Costa Mediterranea will cruise from Dubai on March 2nd on her 7-night roundtrip (staying overnight on the 2nd)

Pullmantur’s ship Horizon will cruise from Dubai on her 7-night roundtrip cruise on March 2nd, and will also stay overnight in port on the first night of the cruise

West End’s THRILLER LIVE at Dubai Opera: Relive 45 years of Michael Jackson’s legendary music biography with THRILLER LIVE, direct from London’s West End. Now in its 10th year with over 4,000 performances under its belt, the show will arrive at Dubai Opera to celebrate the spectacular career of one of the world’s most renowned entertainers. Paying tribute to Michael Jackson’s sensational hits from 1982 to 1995, the multi-sensory performances will feature his iconic moonwalk, boogying and innovative dance moves to the beat of iconic tracks with an extraordinarily talented cast and live band.

  • Date / Venue: 26 March – 30 March 2019 at Dubai Opera
  • Ticket price:  AED 275-650

The cruises: Coming at the tail-end of the 2018/19 Dubai cruise season, this event ties in with four cruise itineraries from Dubai:

AIDA Cruises’ ship AIDAprima, P&O’s Arcadia and MSC Cruises’ Dubai-based ship MSC Splendida will all cruise from Dubai on March 29th.

AIDAprima’s cruise is a 7-night roundtrip, part of her 2018/19 Dubai cruise season. She’ll spend the night of the 29th in port, so no need to rush back to the ship from the show.

Similarly, MSC Splendida will be staying overnight in port on the 29th, which is the final night of her last 7-night roundtrip Dubai cruise of the season, departing March 23rd.

Arcadia, meanwhile, will be cruising from Dubai to Southampton, but staying overnight in port on the 29th, the first night of the 18-night voyage to the UK via the Suez Canal and Mediterranean.

Lastly, AIDAvita will be in port on the night of the 30th, having just completed a 19-night voyage from Singapore to Dubai. She’ll overnight in port on the last night of the cruise, before taking on new passengers on the 31st for her 16-night cruise from Dubai to Greece.

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