boat with sail

Cruises and boat tours

Abu Dhabi

All about Cruises and Boat Tours

Abu Dhabi is in a beautiful waterfront location – and its cruises and boat tours allow you to make the most of the surrounding Arabian Gulf during your stay. 

There’s plenty of choice too - from sea life spotting to luxury dining and family fun cruises to a romantic rendezvous on the water. These start from a variety of locations too, including Saadiyat Island and Yas Island. 

Wherever and whatever you choose, you’re in for a treat. Sample local cuisine on a dhow as the sun sets and the light plays on the water, or head out early to spot dolphins, dugongs and flamingos. Dive off the boat to explore the seabed, or simply sunbathe in comfort from your spot on the deck. 

The best Cruises and Boat Tours in Abu Dhabi

Head out on one of Captain Tony’s popular cruises from Yas Marina to enjoy a different perspective on Abu Dhabi’s attractions.

Setting off in the morning or at lunchtime, you’ll pass picturesque mangroves as you circle Samaliyah Island where you might see galloping gazelle, emus and ostriches. You’ll also see traditional Emirati buildings on the shoreline too.

Book a cruise that offers you the chance to take a dip. You’ll pause at a sandbank surrounded by shallow waters for a swim in the gorgeous, warm ocean before heading back. 

You’ll be on a daylight cruise for about 90 minutes (shorter hops last just 45 minutes), leaving plenty of your day left for other activities such as the rich selection of theme parks and attractions on Yas Island. 

boat at dock

Cruises and boat tours set off from several locations across Abu Dhabi. Here’s where to find three of the best spots to start your maritime adventure.

Yas Marina sits in the north-east of Abu Dhabi. The Sheikh Khalifa Highway (E12) runs across the north and Sheikh Zayed Road (E10) to its south-east. Between them, these two roads connect Yas Marina with most of Abu Dhabi.

The Eastern Mangroves Marina is situated on Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Street (E10). From the E10, take the exit for Sultan Bin Zayed The First Street and then merge onto Dhafeer Street.

The breakwater is reached from the south-west end of the Corniche. Head for Corniche Street, then take Al Marsa Street.

Things to know before you go

Dress for your chosen tour

The clothes you wear on your Abu Dhabi cruise or boat tour will largely depend on the type of excursion you’ve booked. For a romantic dinner on a dhow, for example, you may want to dress smartly. 

However, on tours where you may want to swim near a shallow sand bank or stop off to go diving, you’ll get wet and should have swimwear and snorkels, perhaps with beach shoes. You’ll also want to bring your own towels, as these typically aren’t provided.



Samaliya Island is a nature reserve

If you join a cruise from Yas Marina, chances are you’ll circle Samaliya Island. If you want to actually step foot on the island, you’ll need to contact the Emirates Heritage Club, which oversees this reserve. It’s well worth it – you’ll get closer to the gazelles, rabbits, emus and ostriches, while children can learn about the native flora and fauna.

It’s a beautiful island, covered in fragrant flowers and plants, but also one where you can discover about the local traditions of pearl diving, camel racing, honey making, fish breeding and more besides. It’s an ideal family-friendly attraction to consider adding to your itinerary.

Cruises and boat tours in Abu Dhabi: FAQs

A day on a cruise or boat tour

flamingos flamingos

Serene morning tours

Start and finish your perfect Abu Dhabi day with great boat tours and cruises. A peaceful morning tour around Mangrove National Park is the perfect way to begin. Grab your binoculars and a camera and get ready for birdwatching and to spot marine mammals. Kayaks and paddleboarding is available – and there are opportunities for breakfast for early risers who want to give themselves the best chance of spotting the area’s wildlife.

Dinner on a dhow

After a calm start, pick up the pace during the day. Jet ski tours offer a high-octane way to take the waters and explore the iconic landmarks of the UAE capital.

That’ll all work up an appetite for your evening entertainment – a delightful dining dhow tour. The boat will be lit up after sunset, sparkling like the Abu Dhabi skyline as you glide across the waters and sample a feast of fantastic fresh Arabic food.

dhow on the water dhow on the water

Where to next?

two people kayaking


Explore the water in a completely different way with numerous kayaking opportunities across Abu Dhabi. Paddle through Mangrove National Park or around the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

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person diving near coral

Diving and snorkelling

Whether it’s offshore, from one of the Abu Dhabi’s numerous islands, or in the creek, expect perfectly clear water for diving and snorkelling.

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mangrove national park kayaking

Mangrove National Park

Witness the fabulous flora and fauna of the mangroves, with the option to explore by foot or on your own kayak. This biodiverse area is home to dolphins, turtles, herons and flamingos.

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All imagery provided by © Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi