When arriving in Abu Dhabi Port, you'll find that your ship arrives at Port Zayed. This is the main Abu Dhabi cruise port. It's very conveniently located, with the center of town only about 3 miles away. Shuttle buses arrive to pick up and drop off passengers on a regular basis. You can also take a metered taxi if you prefer. Abu Dhabi has undergone a major transformation from a quiet little fishing town to one of the finest modern cities in the Middle East. It boasts a number of lush, green parks. The Bedouin culture is still very much alive and well here. English is very widely spoken.
Shopping in Abu Dhabi truly offers something for all, from stylish little boutiques to the busy, colorful souq, or open-air market. Most keep long hours, but an afternoon closure on Fridays for prayer should be expected. The souq features a roof and has air conditioning. All kinds of items from consumer electronics to jewelry to handmade linens can be purchased here. The Marina Mall has a good selection of stores numbering about 300. They also have several restaurants and coffee shops inside. Two other malls include the Abu Dhabi Mall and the Al Whada Mall.
Things to See
A deeply Islamic city, Abu Dhabi has over 400 mosques. Policies vary by mosque as to whether they're open to foreign visitors. The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is one of the world's largest and has morning tours every day except Friday.
Heritage Village offers a good look at local Bedouin life. This is an excellent way to learn about their ancient traditions. The exhibits also have information on local fishing and farming. The Cultural Center is surrounded by gardens and pretty courtyards. This is a good place to see cultural exhibits or even catch a play. A library is on site.
Abu Dhabi's parks are some of the nicest ones you'll find in the area. Khalifa Park has nicely-tended gardens, kids' playgrounds, a museum, aquarium, and train.
If taking a walk along the seashore appeals to you, the Corniche is just the place. It offers a great view of the sea and has a number of attractive modern houses. Most of the beaches are private, but memberships can easily be purchased.
The more adventurous can go on a desert safari. This typically consists of camel rides, a Bedouin-style meal, and possibly a belly dancer for entertainment.
Restaurants and Bars
Coffee plays a major role in the social life of Abu Dhabi. Not only are there several coffeehouses that serve as social centers, but many business transactions involve serving coffee. This dates back to the ancient Arabic custom of offering hospitality to guests.
The city's restaurants reflect the ethnic diversity of the area. Anand Vegetarian Restaurant serves North Indian cuisine, specializing in puri. This is a dish with fried bread, potatoes, and chickpeas. Cettinad Restaurant serves a wide variety of Indian dishes. Zen serves good Japanese food, and for Italian, try Prego.
The only bars are located in hotels, and ID needs to be presented since only non-Muslims can be served. Hemingway's offers three different bars in one, consisting of a restaurant/bar, a jazz bar, and a nightclub with house music.