Looking for a serious adrenalin rush while getting a view of some of Dubai's most impressive structures?
Arabian Adventures' Coastal Icons by Sea offer two tour options in Dubai — the Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab and the Dubai Marina — and the Lulu Island and Corniche tour in Abu Dhabi. I recently went on the first tour and had a blast.
Along with a few passengers, I boarded one of The Yellow Boats' rigid inflatable crafts and put on a fancy water-activated life jacket. Each boat comes equipped with the latest GPS navigation and safety equipment and can carry up to 12 people and two crews.
The excitement begins
We began our 75-minute sightseeing adventure by slowly leaving the Marina and heading towards one of the world's most exclusive waterfront developments, The Palm Jumeirah, at full speed with a series of twists and turns along the way.
Although the Palm is near completion, several hotels, including Kempinski Hotel & Residences and Movenpick Resort & Spa, are still under construction. Houses and other residences on two fronds have yet to be developed, according to Michael Phillips, chief executive, The Yellow Boats.
We slowed down when approaching Atlantis The Palm and its water park, Aquaventure, which features the Leap of Faith ride at 28 metres high, catapulting riders over 61 metres into a transparent tunnel and through a shark-filled lagoon. Whether you're a UAE resident or a tourist, this tour provides a unique perspective as we look at the city skyline from the sea, with the landmarks seen from a different angle. It's not everyday that you end up a few metres behind the world's only seven-star hotel.
After Atlantis, we travelled towards the Burj Al Arab and stopped for a while at the feet of the massive white structure. We then sailed alongside Jumeirah Beach Road and saw various royal palaces, featuring mostly modern architecture and differing from the more traditional Arabic residences.
During this season, the blue waters of the Arabian Gulf are rather quiet off the Dubai shores in the morning and early evening hours, while waves can reach up to four feet in the afternoon, said Roger, one of the crews.
The tours are probably not the best excursions for people suffering from back problems, as the boat hits the water pretty hard and the seating arrangement is basic.
The Yellow Boats can reach thrilling speeds and operate safely in virtually any weather. We were able to witness the boat's speed and stability on our way back to the Marina, when we were told to hold on and Danny the driver lifted the accelerating handle and zigzagged over the water, creating some nice-looking waves and twice making a 360 when we least expected it.
The 30-minute Dubai Marina Tour give passengers a chance to get a panoramic view of this urban centre on water, featuring its skyline and 21st-century modern architecture, including the Dubai International Marine Club and the Dubai Marina Yacht Club — and, of course, an array of luxurious boats. Tours are available by night (7-8pm), when the Marina comes alive with light and colour. The Abu Dhabi tour, which lasts 50 minutes, takes passengers along the Corniche, around the back of the Luly Island and by the Emirates Palace Hotel.
The Dubai tours depart from the Marina Walk, opposite Spinneys in the Dubai Marina, in front of Inferno restaurant.
The Abu Dhabi tour departs from the Marina Mall.
II The Palm Jumeirah & Burj Al Arab Tour, Dubai
Duration: 75 minutes
Cost: Dh200 per adult and child (5-12 years)
Timings: Daily at 10.45am, 12.15pm, 1.45pm and 3.45pm
II Dubai Marina Tour, Dubai
Duration: 30 minutes
Cost: Dh80 per adult, Dh60 per child (5-12 years)
Timings: Daily at 5pm, 6pm, 7pm and 8pm
II Lulu Island & Corniche Tour, Abu Dhabi
Duration: 50 minutes
Cost: Dh150 per adult, Dh100 per child (5-12 years)
Timings: Daily at 1pm and 4pm
Check out www.arabian-adventures.com for more information.