Fine dining on Dubai creek

Patrice Douce, general manager, Bateaux Dubai, on Al Minsaf, the company’s stunning, all-glass flagship boat that’s become the talk of the town
New venue ... The Al Minsaf, (inset) Patrice Douce.

Anchored on the Dubai Creek, it is 13 metres wide, 56 metres long and is slated to be the city’s latest showpiece.

Al Minsaf, Bateaux Dubai’s stunning, all-glass flagship boat is also the newest address for fine dining and ‘floating’ entertainment in the city. As it start full-fledged operation following a ‘soft’ opening, Patrice Douce, general manager, Bateaux Dubai, is confident that Al Minsaf will become a new icon for Dubai, especially on the Creek which embodies the spirit of the City of Gold.

The four-engine diesel powered with ‘cocooned’ engines for noise control, no effluent rejected and special hull design to eliminate ripples and waves can accommodate up to 350 passengers on every cruise on the Dubai Creek. It is marked by uniqueness in its style, design and concept, which includes 360 degree views and an environment-friendly approach to operations. What’s more the vessel, certified by Bureau Yeritas and security precautions, will exceed existing international standards.

In addition to a five-star sight seeing experience, Al Minsaf also provides a gastronomic journey, with gourmet food prepared fresh on board. “Since, on every cruise, we expect to cater to several different nationalities with diverse tastes we have chosen to serve international Mediterranean cuisine which is as good as any five-star restaurant,” adds Patrice. “We offer a great combination of good food, comfort and sightseeing in one package and people can choose from lunch and dinner cruises, sunset cruises and charter cruises for special events.”

He goes on to point out that the boats is “an adaptation of the vessels used in Paris, in London and New York” since all of them have been made by Seine Design of Paris using the same architect. Managed and owned by Gerard Ronzetti, who specialises in hospitality vessels, Seine Design is known for its extraordinary craftsmanship. Al Minsaf, built in Dubai using state-of-the-art technology, is a fine example of the Paris-based
architecture and engineering firm’s skills.

All in all, Al Minsaf may not be the only means of sailing on the Dubai
Creek - besides numerous dhows you also have Danat Dubai, a catamaran taking parties on cruises - but it’s certainly one of the finest. As Patrice says, “We wanted to give people another option from the dhows and the catamaran; a totally different experience to anything so far offered in creek sailing. As such, Al Minsaf has been especially designed for the creek with the aim of offering fine dining with a kitchen on board and luxury comfort for guests.

Among others, the glass enclosure over the whole of the boat gives passengers a 360-degree panoramic view of the creek. Besides, with full air conditioning, we can operate the boat comfortably all year round.”
In addition, a guide will be there to give visitors a historical perspective of Dubai as Al Minsaf passes through some of the old parts of Dubai.

“However,” Patrice points out, “we will not use a guide during the dinner cruises since, we believe, diners would prefer to enjoy their meal instead of listening to a guide. So, we have entertainment by a pianist and a violinist playing classical music while they dine.”

With so much going for it, it is hardly surprising then that Al Minsaf is billed as a multi-purpose corporate entertainment and leisure venue in Dubai and earmarked as a ‘destination within a destination’. To its credit, it has already bagged contracts with several hotels including those owned by the Dutco Group and is open for bookings for sightseeing trips by hotels.

“Besides having a dedicated booking number available, we also offer travel agents the option of booking through our website or through hotels that we have contracts with,” says Patrice.
Are there plans to extend the company’s operations into the creek in Sharjah or to the harbour of Muscat? “Al Minsaf is certified by Bureau Veritas for sailing on the creek in Dubai and is not a seaworthy of sailing to Muscat,” informs Patrice and refuses to be drawn in to whether it wants to later engage in sailing on the creek in Sharjah.

Moving on, Patrice says, “Bateaux Dubai is a new and innovative project
totally consistent with the objectives of the government of Dubai to enhance the attractiveness of Dubai as a major business hub and an exciting tourism destination.” For their part, its founders and owners - the Dutco Group, the Paris-based Sodexho Alliance Group, the largest operator of harbour and river sightseeing and dinner boats, and some private investors - are confident of making waves with their new venture and smooth sailing with their future plans.