The cruise ships dock at Port Zayed. The city center is 3 miles from the port. Metered taxis are stationed right outside the terminal. The Big Bus Hop on/off buses are also right at the terminal.
The WTC Souk and Mall also provide shuttles right at the Terminal.
Free shuttle buses are provided to the port entrance as one is not allowed to walk through the port area. However, there is nothing of interest here.
The new top-class terminal building offers many passenger-friendly facilities including the tourist information services and passport border control counters to ensure smooth and timely customs process. The aesthetically pleasing and eco-friendly building will celebrate the UAE’s cultural heritage and pay tribute to its long maritime history. A fusion of traditional Arabic ornaments and modern architectural elements define the building's distinctive style. A particular eye-catcher is the building’s roof design which is a lattice-work, taking the UAE’s national tree ‘The Ghaf’ as inspiration. Wooden beams inside the building take inspiration from the UAE’s traditional dhow sailing vessels.
Printable map to take along on the cruise.
Check here for festivals and events in Abu Dhabi when you are in port.
Watch a destination Video
Abu Dhabi means father of the "Dhabi" (gazelle).
If you buy a guide for Abu Dhabi, make sure it is the latest edition. Anything older than 3 years will not suffice. The cityscape is constantly changing.
Just a few decades ago, Abu Dhabi, the island capital of the United Arab Emirates, was a small fishing village with houses made of mud-brick and palm fronds. Today, as a result of revenue from oil, Abu Dhabi is one of the world's richest cities, with wide tree-lined boulevards, lush green parks, gushing fountains and imposing skyscrapers.
Somewhat of a dichotomy, Abu Dhabi is a combination of ultra-modern
sophistication and Arab mystique. Its ambivalence is reflected in
the choices available to visitors - from shopping in upscale boutiques
and bargaining in the souq (bazaar), to traveling in air-conditioned
limousines and riding camels in the desert, to dining in five-star
luxury and sampling Bedouin hospitality. Whatever your choice, you
will not be disappointed and, in addition, find an extremely friendly
and hospitable people.
Despite the breathtaking rate of development, the people of the Emirate remain conservative and attach great values to keeping with traditions. Business often starts with a tiny cup of cardamon-flavored coffee poured from the traditional metal pot or dallah. The Bedouin custom of offering food and shelter to strangers in the desert is preserved today by the coffee ceremony.
The people of Abu Dhabi and throughout the UAE, led by their ruler and president, H.H. Sheikh Zayed, are deeply committed to Islam. There are more than 400 mosques in Abu Dhabi. The muezzin's call to prayer forms a rhythmic pattern to life in the city.
Apart from its modernity, the most striking feature of Abu Dhabi is its lushness. The municipality has spent a fortune and hired an army of laborers to turn this desert city into a green oasis.
This park-lined coastal boulevard skirts the city with a backdrop of modern buildings facing the sea.
Situated in the middle of Abu Dhabi, the village is an exhibition of the nomadic Bedouin life-style and local traditions. Other features include displays on agriculture, fishing and trading.
Work began in 1998 on this man-made island resort off the corniche. It is designed to be a recreational paradise with hotels, restaurants, gardens, bird and animal sanctuaries.
The Cultural center
Occupying a sprawling complex in the center of the city, it incorporates a library, theater auditorium, lecture rooms and an exhibition center. It is built in traditional Arabian-Islamic architecture and surrounded by courtyards and gardens.
The new Sheikh Zayed Mosque is absolutely spectacular! Ladies if you want to visit the mosque, take some form of ID with you (your Cruise Card will suffice) as you will have to get an Abaya or "Cover Dress" at the entrance.
Men need long trousers to visit the Mosque.
Also for visiting the emirates in general: instead of shorts, pack below-the-knee trousers or skirts. No exposed knees, cleavage or upper arms.
The city is very safe and clean...not one stroke of graffiti to be found.
Travel on foot is not recommended: too hot and the sights are too spread out.
Taxi's are excellent and not expensive. If you take a taxi anywhere in the UAE, ask for the meter to be switched on even if you make a tour by taxi.
A nice viewpoint of the city one can get a the Marina Mall, at the far end of Corniche Road. This is also the main stop of the hop on/off bus. Take the elevator right to the top. Free WiFi available. Watch the constant changing skyline of this dynamic city. The Fairmont is developing a huge "Atlantis" type hotel here, sure to be a future icon!
It pays to compare your cruise line shore excursions here.
Abu Dhabi's central souq area stretches from Hamdan Street almost to the corniche. The new souq provides air-conditioned comfort sheltering a vast network of shop-lined walkways under one roof. Best buys include gold jewelry, watches, perfumes and electronics. Typical local products include embroidered linens, Bedouin silver jewelry and the traditional coffee pot.
The Marina Mall, located on a scenic island overlooking the Corniche. The mall has 300 stores with most well known brands represented. There is a variety of eateries, coffee shops and even a huge Carrefour supermarket. There is a spectacular view from the tower above, where there is a nice coffee shop with free WiFi connection.
Yas Mall Opened in 2014 next to Ferrari World on Yas Island. This is the biggest mall in Abu Dhabi and the 16th biggest mall in the world. It has the first Lego store in the UAE. It is connected to Ferrari World.
The currency is the United Arab Emirates dirham (AED, local abbreviation dhs). The Dirham is pegged to the USD, so rate variations with this currency are unlikely.
The official language is Arabic, but it is safe to say that the majority of the population doesn't speak it (Iranian, Indian, Asian and Western expatriates are more numerous than Arabs in Dubai, and usually have very limited knowledge of Arabic). English is the lingua franca.
Good free Wifi is available at the cruise terminal. Password is needed, but is clearly posted in the terminal. most recent it was "terminalad". Often the signal is strong enough to reach certain sections of your ship.
Shopping hours Daily 0900-1300 and 1600-2100, but many shops and all malls are open all day. Shops close for prayers Fri 1130-1330.
Thank you for printing this article! Please don’t forget to come back to whatsinport.com for new and updated port guides.