Catching sight of the gleaming metropolis of Dubai, it is difficult to believe that barely 30 years ago it was a little more than a desert-strewn wilderness where nomadic tribes roamed the sands and a cluster of settlers crowded around the banks of Dubai Creek.
On this half-day excursion, explore modern Dubai, where the old fort and ancient houses stand in stark contrast to the uniquely designed high-rise steel and glass buildings. Begin with a photo stop at the dazzling luxury hotel, Burj Al Arab, designed to resemble a billowing sail and dominating the Dubai coastline. The Jumeirah Mosque, an impressive example of Islamic architecture with its two towering minarets, is your next photo opportunity. Built in the medieval Fatimid tradition, this stone mosque is one of the largest sacred structures in Dubai. The Al Bastakiya district is next, with its narrow lanes and tall wind-towers, built to catch a breeze and naturally cool the houses during the summer heat. Within this maze of limestone and coral dwellings built by Iranian merchants, enjoy a tantalizing glimpse of the old Dubai.
A visit to the Dubai Museum, located in the 200-year-old Fort Fahidi, is your next stop. Opened in 1971, the museum houses a treasure trove of local antiquities, preserving the emirate's history and traditions. Some of the exhibits contain artifacts that date back from the times of pearl diving and long before the discovery of oil.
Next is a photo stop at the beautifully restored former residence of Sheikh Saeed al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai until 1958, followed by a visit to the Gold and Spice Souqs. Take in the fragrance of exotic spices, sharpen your bargaining skills and be enticed by the glittering displays of gold jewelry, before returning to the ship.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 hour of walking and/or standing, and is not considered suitable for wheelchair guests. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to evaluate their personal level of ability and stamina. Hats and comfortable walking shoes are recommended and out of respect for local customs, clothing must cover your knees and arms.