The United Arab Emirates’ capital, Abu Dhabi, where your MSC cruise ship awaits your return, offers an intriguing contrast to its freewheeling neighbour Dubai, a little over an hour’s drive down the coast.
Leading attractions on your Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sir Bani Yas cruises to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates include the extravagant Emirates Palace hotel and the even more spectacular Sheikh Zayed Mosque, while the various attractions of Yas Island, home to the vast Ferrari World theme park, lie just down the road.
The blockbuster attraction at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island is a dream excursion for any F1 fans. The “world’s biggest indoor theme park”, it offers a wide range of Ferrari-themed rides and displays which will appeal both to kids and grown-ups, including the chance to drive an F1 simulator or to ride the Formula Rossa roller coaster (the world’s fastest) or to experience race-day acceleration in the G Force “tower of speed” – as well as numerous gentler family-oriented rides.
Dedicated motorsports enthusiasts will also enjoy the big display of classic and contemporary Ferraris, and the virtual tour of the firm’s famous Maranello factory. Some 15km from central Abu Dhabi, the mighty Sheikh Zayed Mosque dominates all landward approaches to the city, its snowy-white mass of domes and minarets visible for miles around and providing a spectacular symbol of Islamic pride at the entrance to the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Completed in 2007, the mosque was commissioned by and named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, who lies buried in a modest white marble mausoleum close to the entrance. The mosque is one of the world’s biggest and certainly the most expensive, having taken twelve years to build at a cost of around US$500 million. It’s also unusual in being one of only two mosques in the UAE open to non-Muslims.