The new Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal, which received its first cruise ships earlier this month, is a leap forward in terms of Dubai’s cruise infrastructure and position as a leading winter cruise destination.
The new Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal is closer to the city’s key tourist attractions, sits on the doorstep of the city’s main nightlife and leisure strip, and also makes the cruise industry a central part of the city’s landscape.
As a result, it will provide Carnival Corporation-owned cruise lines with a key advantage on their cruise itineraries from Dubai, as well as cruise itineraries that feature Dubai only as a port of call, and will likely encourage the cruise company to homeport more ships in the city.
Dubai Cruise Terminal and Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal: The Difference
The names of the city’s two cruise terminals can be a little confusing.
The current Dubai Cruise Terminal is the city’s primary cruise port for all cruise ships. Located in Port Rashid adjacent the Dubai Creek, it’s near the city’s old quarter (Bur Dubai, Deira, Karama, Rashidiya and so on).
The new Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal is part of the new Dubai Harbour waterfront community between Dubai Marina, The Palm Jumeirah and Bluewaters Island. It will be used exclusively by cruise lines belonging to Carnival Corporation, the largest cruise company in the world, which owns nine cruise brands (Costa Cruises, P&O, Princess Cruises, AIDA, Cunard, Seabourn, and Holland America Line are the ones that cruise from Dubai).
There are three main benefits of the new cruise terminal for both Dubai as a cruise destination, and for the cruise lines that will use the terminal.
Closer to key tourist attractions
The Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal sits directly opposite The Walk in JBR, part of the trendy Dubai Marina area, between The Palm Jumeirah and Blue Waters Island – both of which are man-made islands off the coast of Dubai.
The Walk is a hugely popular Dubai nightlife strip, with restaurants, cafes and nightclubs, as well as luxury hotels and the best beach in the city. Also nearby are world-famous attractions, such as Ain Dubai, the world’s tallest Ferris Wheel, and the Burj Al Arab, the world’s only seven-star hotel.
The Palm Jumeirah is a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree, home to The Atlantis Dubai and its water park Aquaventure, as well as the Golden Mile shopping strip, the chic Pointe shopping and dining hub and The View, a 52-storey observation platform with incredible views of the entire area.
Dubai Cruise Terminal, at the other end of the city at Port Rashid, will remain a popular cruise port, giving easier access to the old part of the city, with its traditional souqs, historic museums and the bustling Dubai Creek.
Is more centrally located
As well as being closer to key tourist attractions, the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal is also more centrally-located generally. One of the major questions cruise tourists visiting Dubai always have relates to what attractions and amenities are nearby to Dubai Cruise Terminal.
The answer, unfortunately, is not much. That will change in the coming years thanks to a major redevelopment of the entire Port Rashid area, but right now, there’s nothing within easy walking distance.
At the Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal, it’s the complete opposite. Within a half-kilometre walk of the cruise terminal is the new Dubai Harbour Marina, and the northern end of the Dubai Marina neighbourhood.
In years to come, this too will change. The Dubai Harbour Cruise Terminal will sit within the wider Dubai Harbour Waterfront community, home to the largest yacht marina in the region (already opened) and multiple hotels, residences and retail spaces, which are currently under development.
Promotes cruise industry to local market
Another important impact that the new cruise terminal will have is promotional. The development will act as a huge, seasonal advert for roundtrip Dubai cruises, seen by The Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina’s 65,000 residents.
The current Dubai Cruise Terminal is hidden away in Port Rashid, several kilometers away from the old part of the city. It’s not easily visible to residents, many of whom still have no idea that Dubai is a major cruise hub (hence the reason for this blog).
By making the cruise industry part of the Dubai brand visually, with the new cruise terminal appearing in future iconic images of the Dubai skyline, it might prompt more residents of the UAE to take a cruise from the city. By enhancing the local source market, the cruise terminal will play a part in bringing more cruise ships to the Arabian Gulf.