Modern Abu Dhabi
In Abu Dhabi, you realize you are in a very different Arabia, this one with everything new and sparkling. We booked a tour that took us to a latest/greatest eco- city and to the top of a skyscraper for afternoon tea. Along the way we caught a glimpse of such cultural attractions as the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Mosque and the recently opened Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island, a tourism- cultural project five minutes away from downtown Abu Dhabi.
Those seeking less cerebral pursuits might visit Ferrari World or the new Warner Bros. World. The city is populated by some of the wealthiest people in the world and it shows. We would see more of such when we disembarked amidst the gleaming skyscrapers and extravagant shopping malls of Dubai. But first there was a day at the beach.
Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas Island has a beautiful beach created exclusively for cruise passengers — the only such place in the Middle East. We boarded tenders and landed on an oasis of white sand and clear sea, with a sophisticated setup that included lounge chairs and a covered dining area, toys such as kayaks and paddleboards and even free WiFi. We feasted outdoors on grilled lobster and Middle Eastern treats such as stuffed grape leaves.
There was a siren heard here, but only to call passengers into the shallow surf, where from a pontoon smiling crew served caviar, in Seabourn’s signature Caviar in the Surf event.