Ships & Ports  > Ports of Call > Middle East > United Arab Emirates

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Overall  4.00/5  (4.00)

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Dubai   new 

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(Review ID: 945)
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
 
Dubai seems pretty much as advertised--upscale., May 17, 2013
Reviewer: Travelersx2
Pros: A blank canvass for inspired architects--some great modern buildings.
Cons: A blank canvas for (un)inspired architects--some regrettable modern buildings.
    
Travelersx2 saw things this way
Overall   4.00/5  (4)

Pretty much everything we imagined about Dubai proved true. As our guide, Ashraf put it so charmingly, “In my homeland of Mauritius we grow sugar cane; here in Dubai they grow buildings. If you come back in a few years it will look different.”

Dubai seems to be recovering from the financial crisis with construction resuming on stalled projects and real estate prices climbing again after a hard fall. In our minds we thought of Dubai as an Arab Las Vegas, and there is a resemblance. Both are booming desert cities built quickly from nothing. Both go for glitz and glamor.

But Dubai struck us as maybe Vegas on steroids, or Vegas to the 4th power. It’s bigger, more vertical, with forests of high-rise buildings, mostly with better style. It’s a better planned city. It lacks casinos (though not clubs and entertainment) but it has a cruise port. And where but Dubai would you find a Ferrari police car?

The Dubai Museum is a good place to get the story of Dubai’s history and recent development. Located in the restored Al Fahidi Fort built in 1799, it proves that Dubai does have a past. There is archeological evidence of people in the area well over two millennium ago, but as recently as the middle of the 20th century, Dubai was little more than an overgrown fishing and pearling village, though even then Dubai was engaged in commerce and boat building.

We enjoyed a delicious, if pricey, lunch at Anar Persian Cuisine in the Medinat Jumeirah, a modern upscale shopping center, built in the style of a traditional Arab Souk. We made the obligatory photo stops at Burj al Arab and Burj Kalifa, but especially liked the monorail ride on the famous Palm Island, where we gawked at great views of the incomplete development and of the Marina District nearby, Dubai’s second high-rise forest, this one catering to wealthy ex-pats.

With 10% or less of Dubai’s population consisting of natives, and with residents from more than 200 countries, Dubai is truly a global city, perhaps deserving of its glittering reputation.
 
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