There are many Dubai abra routes that run in and around Dubai and aim to give you a view of the surrounding area from the water. They are often run as round trips, returning to the original destination. However, there are only two main abra services that are specifically designed to get people to places, whether that be for business or for pleasure.
The two main routes for the Dubai abra that run across the creek are as follows:
Route 1 (shown in red on the map below) runs from Bur Dubai to Deira Old Soukh and back again and Route 2 (shown in yellow below) runs from Al Sabkha Abra station to Dubai Old Soukh abra station.
Route 1 runs from 5am until midnight and route 2 runs for 24 hours a day.
The services cost 1 dirham each way and you give the driver your money as you get on the abra.
That is not to say that these abra routes are not used by tourists, they certainly are. For example, if you want to go and visit the gold soukh then really you can take either of the creek abras but the second route brings you slightly closer. The spice soukh and the textile soukh are on the Al Ghubaiba side of the creek and are also worth a visit although the prices in the soukh can be somewhat geared towards tourists.
So if you visit soukhs on one side of the creek and then take an abra across to the other soukh, that is often a good morning or afternoon out when you are visiting Dubai.
In addition to the two creek routes above, the other routes that are currently operating abra services are as follows: (check out the links for further info)