One of my most memorable experiences from my first visit to Dubai, back in 2006, was a dinner cruise. When I returned to Dubai recently, with my family, I wanted my children to experience a Dubai dinner cruise too.
Dinner cruises are a popular means of entertainment for locals and tourists in Dubai, and with good reason: you get to enjoy a great meal with a view that changes by the minute. There are many cruise operators in the Emirate but I was looking for something more exclusive. I asked around and was told that JA Bateaux Dubai Dinner Cruise was one of the best dinner cruises in Dubai . The arrangements were made beforehand and hidden from my children.
On the day of the cruise, we visited the sprawling Al Seef heritage district, which recreates what traditional life in Dubai was like during the pearl diving era. We walked around until we got to the boarding zone. My children thought that we were just taking a leisurely stroll until we hopped on board the JA Bateaux glass-walled boat. To say that they had a pleasant surprise is an understatement. I could see the excitement on their usually reserved faces as we were welcomed on board by the friendly staff.
The boat was beautiful and felt like a fine dining restaurant. A photographer took photos of our family (which were available for purchase later) and we were led to our table, alongside the floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The friendly staff confirmed that we had no allergies, then presented us with scrumptious canapes, refreshing welcome drinks, and menus with seafood, vegan and meat dishes. It was not easy to choose our meals from the many mouth-watering options on offer but eventually we made our choices.
While we waited for our meals to arrive, we were treated to a bread basket filled with exotic breads, and adorable little cups of piping hot cauliflower soup
For starters, we enjoyed pan-seared scallops with polenta, BBQ chicken wings with roasted pineapple and mango cilantro sauce, and a meze plate.
Our mains consisted of beef tenderloin with foie gras, rack of lamb with mustard mash potato, and pan-fried sea bass with Thai red curry sauce.
Even though we were stuffed by then, there was no way that we were going to pass on dessert. Everyone chose their favourite from the menu. My husband had the coffee crème brulee, my son had the hazelnut parfait, my daughter, the fruit platter and I had a trio of cheesecake.
The gourmet food is freshly prepared on board, and the meal presentation and taste were both impeccable. So was the service. I was torn between wanting to tuck in and photographing our picturesque surroundings. In between courses, we could go to the upper deck to enjoy the cool breeze, and the views of Dubai by night. The boat meandered through the waterways for two-and-a-half hours, as we saw the sights flanking both sides of the creek - a 14-kilometre natural seawater inlet which divides the old city of Dubai into the Bur Dubai and Deira regions. We glided under bridges and passed traditional wooden dhows, open-air souks, museums, mosques and wind towers, among other iconic Dubai landmarks.
Our fellow passengers were a varied group, consisting of couples, families, colleagues and friends. Two of the tables were celebrating birthdays and the staff sang for them, while everyone else cheered. A singer serenaded us as we ate, to the pianist’s tunes.
If you’re looking for an upmarket five-star fine dining cruise experience, or a unique way to celebrate a milestone, then you won’t go wrong with the JA Bateaux Dubai Dinner Cruise. We loved the entire experience. This is a must do in Dubai.
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