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5 favorite cruises from Dubai

Best cruise lines departing Dubai for the Middle East, Africa and beyond to Asia or Europe.

At once sophisticated and over-the-top, exclamatory but preserved in Muslim culture, Dubai Port of Rashid can spin you away to multiple continents around the globe. Cruises from Dubai tend to be longer voyages — we rarely see itineraries shorter than seven nights.

You can book cruises from Dubai around the Middle East to cities like Abu Dhabi and Doha, and voyages over to India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia. Alternatively, you can sail from Dubai toward Greece and Italy in the Mediterranean and further on to Northern Europe.

Traveling during COVID-19
The CDC continues to advise caution when traveling within or outside the US, though it no longer requires self-quarantine or a COVID-19 test for fully vaccinated travelers as of April 2021. It recommends that you delay travel if you are not fully vaccinated to protect yourself and your family from getting or spreading the virus.

When traveling, follow safety measures that include wearing a mask in public, social distancing and washing your hands. If you are diagnosed with, have symptoms of or are waiting for COVID-19 test results — or are otherwise at risk of illness — do not attend gatherings or travel for 14 days.

Our favorite cruises from Dubai

Cruise lineCruiseItineraryPriceBook
MSC CruisesDubai, Abu Dhabi & Qatar — 7 nights
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Sir Bani Yas, UAE
  • Bahrain
  • Doha, Qatar
  • Dubai, UAE
From $449 per personBook now
Norwegian Cruise LineDubai to Singapore: India, Thailand, Malaysia & Sri Lanka to Singapore — 14 days
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Mumbai, India
  • Goa, India
  • Mangalore, India
  • Cochin, India
  • Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Phuket, Thailand
  • Langkawi, Malaysia
  • Penang, Malaysia
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Singapore, Singapore
From $2,778 per personBook now
Norwegian Cruise LineMediterranean: Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Jordan & Israel to Athens — 18 days
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Fujairah, UAE
  • Salalah, Oman
  • Aqaba, Jordan
  • Safaga, Egypt
  • Ashdod, Israel
  • Haifa, Israel
  • Limassol, Cyprus
  • Rhodes, Greece
  • Athens, Greece
From $2,253 per personBook now
Princess CruisesWorld Cruise Segment: Holy Land, Turkey & Aegean Sea — 22 days
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Salalah, Oman
  • Aqaba, Jordan
  • Suez Canal transit, Egypt
  • Jerusalem/Bethlehem, Israel
  • Crete, Greece
  • Kusadasi, Turkey (near Ephesus)
  • Mykonos, Greece
  • Athens, Greece
  • Valletta, Malta
  • Sicily, Italy
  • Naples, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
Price TBABook now
Princess CruisesWorld Cruise Segment: Dubai to London (Dover) — 30 days
  • Dubai, UAE
  • Aqaba, Jordan
  • Suez Canal transit, Egypt
  • Mykonos, Greece
  • Salerno, Italy
  • Rome, Italy
  • Elba, Italy
  • Marseille, France
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Malaga, Spain
  • Tangier, Morocco
  • Lisbon, Portugal
  • Holyhead, Wales
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Glasgow, Scotland
Price TBABook now

Best cruises from Dubai

Dubai’s central location grants access to Europe, Asia and Oceania. And the Arabian Gulf is brimming with Middle Eastern gems and iconic sights.

These cruise lines can offer everything from affordable journeys to lengthy explorations of the UAE, Europe and beyond.

Best for expertly curated itineraries: Norwegian

Discover lengthy adventures that ignite your exploration dream: A safari through Africa, a romantic romp to Italy, an exotic expedition through Madagascar and the Seychelles, or an enchanting trip to the far east of India.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for reaching other continents: Princess

From the City of Gold, you can choose to sail south towards Sri Lanka and Malaysia, north to Italy and Greece, or beyond to Australia. Perhaps it's better to trust your palette — will you be in the mood for pasta, rice or Vegemite? Wherever you land, tasty seafood is pretty much guaranteed.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card, JCB
Price ($-$$$):

Best for thorough exploration of the Middle East: Costa

History buffs and culture junkies will salivate over itineraries that last for weeks, docking at ports including Fujiarah Khor Fakkan and Salalah in Oman, Aqaba in Jordan to the lost city of Petra, and Haifa in Israel to visit Bethlehem and Nazareth.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

How we chose these cruises

When choosing cruises for this list, we looked at the quality of routes available from each cruise line, prioritizing well-paced itineraries with port stops at key destinations around the region.

We also considered dining onboard, weighing the number, variety and overall quality of restaurants against passenger reviews. Finally, we weighed cabin amenities against each price point, looking for cruise lines that are known to deliver the highest value.

Additionally, we sought out customer reviews on travel websites and personal travel blogs, considering first-person experiences and each company’s overall reputation.

When it the best time to cruise from Dubai?

The best time to cruise from Dubai depends on what you expect from the weather.

November through March are mild winter months, with temperatures between 70°F and 80°F. Summer is May through September and is a scorcher with temperatures that peak over 100°F.

Consider your itinerary before choosing your dates. If you’re sailing north towards Italy, the summer heat may not be as fierce — and you’ll likely save money on flights, hotels and even the cruise in the tourist off-season.

If you’re sailing south to Africa consider traveling during winter to avoid the sweltering summertime heat. Avoid rainy spells in Asia, look for travel during the dry season. You might pay a little extra due to the peak tourist season, however you’ll enjoy your holiday more.

Is it safe for LGBTQ+ travelers to visit Dubai?

It’s good to practice caution if you’re considering travel to Dubai. LGBTQ+ travelers face unique challenges when traveling to Dubai and many other tourist destinations that today embrace often hardline codes that criminalize sharing hotel rooms or even holding hands in public. Some travelers have reported that necessary medication like HRT has been confiscated in Dubai.

Before booking your travel, read up on the US State Department’s advice for LGBTQ travelers as well as advisories for the specific country you plan to visit.

Getting to the port for your cruise from Dubai

Dubai’s cruise hub, the Port of Rashid, is located at the mouth of Dubai Creek. You can get to it via:

  • Public transportation. Metro, light rail or bus.
  • Private transportation. Uber or Dubai Taxi.
    • Keep in mind there’s a $5.50 (20 AED) surcharge for airport pickup. Taxis take around 20 to 40 minutes to reach the Port of Rashid from the airport.
  • Shuttle. If you’re staying overnight beforehand, check if your hotel offers free shuttles to the Port of Rashid. Otherwise, browse third party services.

Bottom line

Dubai is pure indulgence perched on the edge of the desert — a tantalizing city from which to embark.

From its port you can discover the world, cruising as close as Oman and Qatar on short, pocket-friendly journeys or as far as Asia and Australia on more extensive cruises.

Before booking tickets, check for deals and discounts to save money, so you’ve got more to spend on drinks, treats and excursions after hopping aboard.

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