Find out everything you need to know about cruising to Dubai and other UAE destinations for the first time…


Every year we help hundreds of our customers book the holiday of a lifetime to Dubai and other UAE ports. A spectacular mix of contemporary luxury and a fascinating culture made this one of our top 5 destinations in 2015 and it looks set to be pretty popular in 2016 too!

If you’ve never been to the UAE before, it’s likely you have a lot of questions, and we’re here to put your mind at ease. Read on to find out all the information you need to know about cruising to Dubai…



If you’ve booked one of our Smart Packages, it’s likely that you’ll be flying into Dubai. You don’t need to get a VISA in advance if you hold a UK passport. Instead your passport will be stamped at the airport free of charge and this will entitle you to a 30 day visit.


Before travel to any destination, you should ensure you’re up to date with your routine vaccinations which include your MMR, Tetanus, Varicella, Polio and Flu shots. Most travellers to the UAE also obtain their Typhoid and Hepatitis A shots to protect them from contaminated food and water.


Arabic is the official language of Dubai and the rest of the UAE, however English is the most spoken language in Dubai.  You’ll find that most of the signage in Dubai also provides English translations, making it easier to navigate your way around.

Burj Al Arab in Dubai
Burj Al Arab

Important Information

  • In 2016 the holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin on the 6th June and finish on the 5th July. Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims and during this time they must abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn until dusk. The practice generally involves restraining from activities and behaviour that is not compatible with Islamic values. To show your respect for this tradition, avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and exercise discretion at all times. Because of the fast, some restaurants and bars will adjust their opening hours to cater to early morning and late evening customers. Another point to remember during Ramadan is to dress modestly, as this can be policed more strictly than usual.
  • It’s illegal to import pork and pornography into the UAE
  • Electronic cigarettes are also illegal and likely to be confiscated on arrival
  • There is a zero-tolerance policy for importing drugs and punishments are severe. Ensure your bags are never left unattended at any time and keep a wary eye on your belongings and pockets should anyone try to slip something in your pocket.
  • The legal age for drinking in Abu Dhabi and Dubai is 21 if you are not a resident
  • It’s illegal to be drunk or under the influence of alchohol in public. Bars and restaurants that are not located within a hotel, don’t serve alcohol. You may drink in your hotel, but only here.
  • We’d recommend avoiding drinking on the plane journey into Dubai to avoid any complications on arrival
  • Public displays of affection are frowned upon-including kissing
  • Swearing and obscene gestures are extremely offensive. Visitors caught doing either can be arrested and deported.
  • If you are travelling with your partner and you are not married, it’s illegal for you to share a hotel room.
  • Photography of government buildings and military operations is not allowed. You should also not take any photos of people unless obtaining their permission first.
Atlantis Hotel in Dubai
Atlantis Hotel


In the Emirates the United Emirates dirham is used (AED). At the time of writing, £10 GBP was equal to 55.82 dirham. To give an idea of how far this would go in Dubai, a cup of tea or coffee from a restaurant or cafe is around 20 dirham whilst from a vending machine you could pay as little as 5 dirham. Now that we’re on the topic of money, one of the biggest asked questions we receive is in relation to tipping, as every destination is different. The Telegraph has this amazingly helpful guide written by an Expat which features advice and typical amountS to tip depending on the scenario e.g. Bellboy, Waitress etc.

The Palm, Dubai
The Palm

Useful Links and Contact Information


Do you have any great tips for a cruise holiday in Dubai? Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to hear them! If you have any questions which we haven’t answered in this guide then why not ask us on Twitter or Facebook?