As Celebrity Cruises opens deployment for 2016-2017, we’ve added new ports to our already robust roster of destinations. Every week, we will showcase one of these exciting new cities and provide you with the best things to do and see. This week, we look to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, which makes its debut on our 2016 Asia itineraries.
Quickly becoming one of the most urbanized cities in the world, Abu Dhabi is the capital and largest city in the United Arab Emirates. “Abu Dhabi” means “Father of the Gazelle” in Arabic, and the city was largely a sleepy rural settlement until 1958, when the rich oil fields were discovered in the region, galvanizing an economic and cultural revolution.
Today, Abu Dhabi boasts opulent shopping malls, plentiful water activities, impressive architectural feats, and quirky to-see-is-to-believe sites like ROGO’s, the roller coaster restaurant. While here, you can also visit the world’s fastest roller coaster, the world’s furthest leaning man-made tower and the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
For more on Abu Dhabi, our partners at Travel + Leisure gave us some insider tips to share exclusively with you.
The U.A.E.’s capital has endless diversions, from boutiques to beaches to mosques. But its main attractions are the architectural wonders going up on Saadiyat Island, just a 15-minute drive from downtown. Hop in a taxi to see Jean Nouvel’s Louvre Abu Dhabi and the future sites of Foster + Partners’ Zayed National Museum (opening in 2016), Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (2017), and Zaha Hadid’s Performing Arts Centre.
Eat like a local at the gloriously over-the-top Mezlai Restaurant, at the Emirates Palace Hotel. Grab a seat on the terrace and order the chicken liver with hummus and pomegranate or lamb marinated in tomato sauce and Middle Eastern spices while taking in the views of the Persian Gulf. The recipes have been passed down through generations of bedouins, but there are also strong Lebanese and Indian influences at work. The best part? You get to walk through the most opulent hotel in the world en route to your meal.