For many of Dubais residents, a dhow cruise dinner is nothing new.
Infact its an experience which they had a decade or so ago and never went back to.
Similarly, a lot of the tourists or visitors of Dubai are placed in a dilemma about the difference between a Dhow Cruise in Dubai Marina vs. The Creek.
Hopefully this post will provide some new motivation for Dubai’s old timers and similarly shed some lights to the visitors as to the difference.
To sum up, in Dubai there are 2 ‘areas’ where Dhow Cruise Dinners are common, in the old part of town, i.e: the Creek or in the Dubai Marina, a relatively new area in the ‘new Dubai’.
Here is why we believe a cruise dinner in Dubai Marina beats the old creek experience.
Sights & Views
Although the Creek does have its own charm and definitely is a worthy experience on its own, the views that one can get are a little bit limited.
The area in the Creek within which the Dhow boats are allowed to sail are rather short and there is not much to see on either side.
From the Bur-Dubai side, half of the length of the ‘Cruising Route’ is taken up by a promenade, which although a nice place to walk offers no sights for the cruising passengers at all.
On the Deira side, there are some iconic buildings on Dubai, like the Sheraton or the Dubai Municipality building but these buildings are neither here nor there. They are ‘modern’ but outdated. They cannot qualify as historical, nor can they be considered feats of architecture.
The only part of the sights which I can consider interesting is the part very historical part of Dubai where the promenade ends (on the Bur-Dubai side) and where you have the Bastakiya area, followed by the Souq and eventually the heritage village.
That area has a very historical vibe and for a moment takes you away from the realization of being in the current times. But just for a moment.
The Marina on the other hand is a much newer construction and has a large variety of architectural elements within it.
Firstly, all along the Dubai Marina there is a promendate on both sides with plenty of people going walks or sitting down in outdoor cafes & restaurants.
Secondly, the bridges with passing trams and cars above you offer quite a cool experience.
Thirdly, the skyline of new Dubai is fascinating at night and can be viewed with particularly well at night from the Mina Lagoon.
View of Skyline from the Water during Dhow Cruise Dinner in Dubai Marina.
Overall, there is more to look at in Dubai Marina.
From a Business point of view, having a Dhow in Dubai Marina is a lot more expensive. The berthing fees are probably double of what they cost in the creek and
therefore the service only makes sense if it is a delivered at a higher price point and therefore quality.
Some Dhows in Dubai Creek cost as low as 65 person a head.
Think about that, you have to facilitate catering, wear and tear/maintenance of the boat, staff salaries and a lot more, while only charing 65 AED?
As a result, many people are suprised that the catering and overall service they receive in the creek is very low.
There are most definitely high level operators in the Creek, like Rustar and Sultan, but on average, across all the operators I think a very fair generalization is that the service offered in Dubai Marina is higher than that which is offered in the Creek.
One reason for that is the high level of competition. In Dubai Marina there are probably no more than 10 dhow operators, where as in the Creek its closer to 30-35.
For us personally, we work with CitiMax catering and we spare no expenses in making sure that the food and drinks which we serve are at the highest possible level.
For the residents of Dubai who tried and got over the Dubai Creek Dhow experience around a decade ago, Dubai Marina will be a new experience, and a revisit of a concept that they liked, at some point in their lives.
For the guests and tourists of Dubai – the same thing applies. If its their first time in Dubai, they should go for the Marina experience because its better, if its not their first time, they probably already did the Creek experience and are looking for something new.
The Creek has a very hustle and bustle, daily routine sort of ambience, with barges going to the ports, traffic on either side and a general ambience of business.
Dubai Marina has an atmosphere of enjoyment and all around you see only leisure vessels. Private yachts, other dhows, smaller fishing boats.
The people that you obvserve are either local residents out for a walk or having dinner.
The atmosphere feels different.
To conclude, the experience in Dubai Marina is a richer one, a higher quality one and costs more (not always) on average.