Cruising along

From the days of yore, the sea has always beckoned those who lived in this region. It is in their history and in their blood. Travel for pleasure was a natural corollary to travel for commerce and cruising has always been a viable option.

As early as 1961 the MV Dara was the queen of the seas but after an explosion off Dubai, the ship sank with 240 people on board. The wreck is a popular diving site but the major loss did not deter the doughty seafarers from moving on and, today, Port Rashid has a special terminal dedicated to cruise liners and what was once a relatively rare occasion is now pretty much a regular affair as tourists increasingly place the UAE on their itinerary.

The terminal is state-of-the art and has all the facilities for passengers to transit, visit the city and get back on board with comfort and no worries.

Cruises include trips to Oman and other GCC countries on board superb vessels, voyages to South Africa, Mauritius, Andamans, Singapore and Malaysia.

In recent months Dubai has decided to expand its cruising possibilities by giving the port a makeover and trying to create space for at least five major liners to dock simultaneously. According to one report based on the Port statements the terminal received 120 ships and more than 390,000 passengers in 2010. This number is expected to grow to 180 ships and 625,000 passengers by 2015.

These before and after pictures were taken by the veteran, Dubai-based photographer Narain R. Salwani

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