During our December 2019 / January 2020 stay in Abu Dhabi, we discussed a lot of options for New Year’s Eve. For example, Bruno Mars was performing at Yas Island, close to the race track, the Yas Mall and the parks. Finally, we went for a very traditional way to celebrate the new year (or the new decade, depending how you count it) and opted for a dhow (ship) cruise along the Corniche, watching the Downtown Abu Dhabi fireworks.
Extreme Arabia NYE Cruise – Location & Price
The cruise was starting from Abu Dhabi Dhow Harbour, which is located in the Al Mina district, North of the Corniche, right behind the Fish Market. You can opt for a shuttle which brings you there or take a taxi / your rental car to the Fish Market. As we had a rental car and I am used to driving in the Emirates, we took our own car. There are quite a plenty of parking facilities in the hatbor area – however, it was also comparably crowded.
We booked the cruise via a German agency (rather by chance), which was 99 Euro per person. Being shuttled to / from the hotel is of course a supplement. The price on the website of the company was 300 AED, i.e. roughly 75 Euro. An equivalent tour is offered (for a lower price) on other days a year as a dinner cruise as well.
Extreme Arabia NYE Cruise – Ship & Food
The ship used was a traditional dhow, which has two decks. The buffet, kitchen and some seating spaces (which were also taken) are located on the lower deck. The upper deck is roofed, but open on the sides. The ship as well as the tables were nicely decorated. The pitch between the tables was very comfortable. Music was provided by a music tower. Due to the late evening time, I could not take better pictures of the full boat.
I was keen on seeing the fireworks in a relaxed atmosphere, so I did not have too high expectations – and wishes – regarding the food. However, the buffet provided soon after we started cruising definitely exceeded my expectations. There was a nice variety of starters, two kinds of rice (white one and Biryani) and some really nice warm dish options like vegetarian curry, chicken, fish and beef. There were also some nice deserts and cheese as well as soft drinks and water. There was also plenty of food and the crew refilled the buffet, where necessary. The cruise was traditional, which also means that there are no alcoholic beverages available. Due to having some more 60 people on board, I unfortunately could not take as many pictures as I liked from the buffet.
Maybe not too unimportant and in contrast to other ship options available for the Abu Dhabi downtown fireworks, the ship also featured a toilet. I took the picture short before arriving back at the Dhow Habour – you see how nice and clean they still are. Due to limitations on board a ship, there was only thin paper, though.
Extreme Arabia NYE Cruise – Cruising Corniche
The cruise was scheduled to start about 22:30 and 22:45 hrs and left shortly thereafter, as it waited for some more passengers. After some 15 minutes, while we cruised along the Corniche, the buffet was opened as well. It was really nice to watch the coastline and the Abu Dhabi buildings, while cruising to our holding position for the fireworks.
Extreme Arabia NYE Cruise – Abu Dhabi Fireworks
Of course, there were a lot of ships around at these times in Abu Dhabi. A bit unfortunate, the ship was facing the view over Emirates Palace (see my review of the Emirates Palace Afternoon Tea), Marina Mall and the Presidential Palace and could not turn to one side (this might also be in order to keep the ship stable and not having all persons on one side of it). However, this did majorly influence the possibility to take pictures – the view on the fireworks was still very good. It was amazing to have that great view and also how the displays on some of the buildings around interacted with the fireworks. There are only public fireworks in the city – private ones are not allowed in city center.
After the highlight of the trip, we went back to Dhow Harbour, where the cruise ended around 1:15 in the morning. Very practically, by the way, the shops and restaurants at Fish Market were still open at that time.
Extreme Arabia NYE Cruise – My View
We had a lot of discussions before New Year’s Eve what is the right choice to celebrate the inception of the 2020s in Abu Dhabi. There are so many options, from dinners to rooftop parties, concerts to fireworks in the desert or at Sheikh Zayed Festival. I felt that we went for a close-to-perfect option. The value for money was really great, the crew was very helpful and friendly and the food exceeded my expectations definitely. A great, memorable time with a lot of Arabian friendliness and hospitality on board of a very nice boat – congrats to Extreme Arabia for that – a well deserved Top Pick! rating.