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Going ashore in Dubai

Dubai Marina

Oceana is still in Dubai today so I went ashore. I used the P&O shuttle bus to the Dubai Mall (which I gather is the regular shuttle bus dropping-off point), and then went on to Dubai Marina by public transport. This post is to describe how the shuttle service worked, and some details of using the Dubai Metro.

Today the shuttle bus service started at 9am, and the last bus back was at 3pm (I’m told – I wasn’t that late). I got off the ship at about 9:20, and after a few minutes a bus arrived, so I got on it at about 9:25. The bus started its journey about 10 minutes later, and it took rather more than half-an-hour before I was getting off at the bus bay at the Mall. Overall, therefore, it was about 50 minutes between getting my cruise card scanned at the ship and walking into the Mall.

The bus bay at the Mall is actually very large, in that there are bays for a couple of dozen buses or so. Unfortunately the access road is just one bus wide, and there is therefore considerable congestion around the bay. That accounted for some minutes of the total time.

Dubai Mall is vast. There is an information point just inside the Grand Entrance with display maps and booklets, and I would recommend that passengers should use it. Annoyingly, however, although there is a connection to the metro at the Mall, the route to it isn’t shown on the map! I had to ask a couple of Mall staff for directions and then was able to find my way to the Metro Walk exit from the Mall.

It then took me about 10 to 15 minutes to get from the Mall to the metro station. Add to that the walk inside the mall looking for the Metro exit, and it must have been nearly 20 minutes in total. I would say that all told it’s approaching 3/4 of a mile from the Grand Entrance of the Mall to the metro station. So it’s a fair amount of walking…

I bought a one-day all zones ticket for the metro which cost me 22 dirhams. Since in the end I only used it twice I probably didn’t get my money’s worth from it, but at least it was easy. I bought the ticket from an automatic machine – there’s a touch screen that allows you to choose the language, guides you through the ticket selection process, swallows either money or a card, and gives change if required. I found it easy to use.

The journey was around 20 minutes and I got off at station 36 on the Red Line. I won’t give you the name, for two reasons: a) I’ve forgotten it, and b) the names change! The public transport authority allows companies to sponsor stations, and in return the station is named after the company. Obviously, when sponsorship changes so does the name. This is why all the stations have a number as well – this doesn’t change.

I found my way from the metro station down to the marina side and had a very pleasant time walking along the promenade, in equally pleasant temperatures of around 24°. I finished off with a coffee and a slice of excellent cheesecake in a wonderfully quirky cafe restaurant on the Marina. Then at about 12:30 or so I started the return process. What with some time spent in the Mall I got back to the ship at just after 3pm, with the bus having left the Mall at about 2:35. Timings for the shuttle bus ride were about the same for the return as for the outbound ride.

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