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  #1  
Old November 23rd, 2012, 10:15 PM
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Cruzer Two Cruzer Two is offline
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Default Casablanca or Marrakech - You be the judge!

Casablanca or Marrakech – You be the judge!

Two years ago we had a 2-day stop in Morocco on the Norwegian Jade and elected to take the over-night excursion to Marrakech. It was a great experience and one of our most exotic shore excursions.

This past October we had the occasion once again to visit Morocco on a one-day stop during our transatlantic voyage from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale on the Ruby Princess, so we elected to stay in Casablanca.

In my opinion, the time and effort to go to Marrakech was well worth the effort.

You be the judge! Click on the links below for information on viewing my videos that highlight both excursions.

A Mystical Night in Morocco!
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showpost.php?p=27666121&postcount=191

Casablanca- Here’s looking at you, Kid!
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showpost.php?p=36133868&postcount=282
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  #2  
Old December 5th, 2012, 08:53 AM
Pluto_fan Pluto_fan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruzer Two View Post
Casablanca or Marrakech – You be the judge!

Two years ago we had a 2-day stop in Morocco on the Norwegian Jade and elected to take the over-night excursion to Marrakech. It was a great experience and one of our most exotic shore excursions.

This past October we had the occasion once again to visit Morocco on a one-day stop during our transatlantic voyage from Venice to Ft. Lauderdale on the Ruby Princess, so we elected to stay in Casablanca.

In my opinion, the time and effort to go to Marrakech was well worth the effort.
We'll have only one day...would you still recommend Marrakech over staying in Casablanca on a shorter port stop?
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  #3  
Old December 5th, 2012, 05:07 PM
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Cruzer Two Cruzer Two is offline
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Default Marrakech is the tour of choice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pluto_fan View Post
We'll have only one day...would you still recommend Marrakech over staying in Casablanca on a shorter port stop?
Yes, I would recommend going to Marrakech even on a one-day stop in Morocco. Other than the mosque there is really nothing to see in Casablanca and lunch at Rick’s was a disappointing experience. Some of the people in our group went to Marrakech for the day and had a wonderful time. It is a really long day, but in my opinion it is well worth the time and effort. You won’t see anything that compares in Casablanca.

Other members of our group went to Rabat and we disappointed in Rabat as well.

If you go to Marrakech I would recommend taking the ships tour and not as a private excursion. The tour busses were almost an hour late arriving back to port due and the ship was there waiting.

Ron
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  #4  
Old December 7th, 2012, 06:23 PM
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happyglobetrotter happyglobetrotter is offline
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Default time is of the essence

A private tour to Marrakesh, well planned (leaving at 3 PM from Marrakesh) will bring you back in TIME, no worry.

My husband and I just came back from the 42 day Atlantic cruise on Maasdam.


We used the services of two excellent guides in Morocco and I strongly recommend their services.


Noura in Casablanca took us all the way to Marrakesh. Cost of the whole bus + guide was $900 (up to 16 persons) but I recommend only 12-14 because the back seat is not comfortable for a long ride. The trip is 2.5 - 3 hours each way however the highway is modern and the scenery quite changing. It is a long day but if you have Marrakesh on your bucket list, try Noura. Quite affordable compared to the HAL tour for $249. IMPORTANT: Noura also has the required permit to pick passengers up right at the gangway, by the ship and there is a 3km walk to the port gate and no shuttle. So, easy and quick pick up. English is also her mother tongue. noura2102@hotmail.com She also managed to bring us back to the port before 7 PM (at least 45 minutes before the HAL busses!!!) We left just after 7 AM. We were back more than 2 hours before sailing time.


In Tangiers, we dealt with Touami. He is the ex president of the Association of the guides for Morocco and owns his travel agency. tangiertravel@hotmail.com
www.tangier-travel.com For a mere $35 USD (Morocco is the only country on this trip where guides take willingly USD) you will visit the caves of Hercules, Cape Spartel, the Kasbah, the old medina, etc. Again, excellent and informative tour. You will even have the opportunity to ride a camel (for $2 extra).


You cannot go wrong with these 2 professional guides.
"
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  #5  
Old December 7th, 2012, 07:00 PM
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Maryandi Maryandi is offline
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Hello, That is good to hear - we have been to Rabat and the Pink Lake on previous trips.

We'll go to Marrasesh on this upcoming trip..

Did you have a meal or 2 during your tour, Louise ? If so, How was it ?

Thanks for posting,

MaryA
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  #6  
Old December 7th, 2012, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by wowzo View Post
Hello, That is good to hear - we have been to Rabat and the Pink Lake on previous trips.

We'll go to Marrasesh on this upcoming trip..

Did you have a meal or 2 during your tour, Louise ? If so, How was it ?

Thanks for posting,

MaryA
No we all brought fruits, sandwiches and snacks from the ship. No control there! Plus we stopped on the highway twice for comfort stop and they had snacks there.

The guide will offer you a meal in a typical café but, as a group, we chose no to do it to have more time for the rest !!!
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  #7  
Old December 20th, 2012, 03:22 AM
buchhalm buchhalm is offline
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Casablanca:
The name sounds exotic and people have this Humphrey Bogart visions, but the place is filthy, peole are incredibly rude and the whole place is just plain dangerous. Our (airline) crew is under instructions not to leave the crew hotel unless at least 3 people are going together and to avoid leaving the hotel after dark alltogether.
Several of our staff were help up at knife point at or around the souqu (market area). Police just shruggs their shoulders, especially if you do not converse in Arabic or French.

Marakech:
A very nice place with culture and history and an excellent Medina (old city) where you will find all these things you imagine to be "Arabic" or "1001 Nights". You will most likely get ripped off a little bit by the merchants, but it is in good fun, and what is a Dollar or two to you.
The main suqare is bustling with life and is a must-see. Snake charmers (who will insist on draping a life cobra around your neck (and then charge you a Dollar for photo),, puppetiers, tea sellers etc. All there. Just watch for pickpockets!!!!
DEFINATELY take a ship's transfer. Even if you do not want to stick with the tour group once there.
Marakech is a fair way away from Casablanca, and "private" drivers drive as if they were competing in the Paris-Dakkar ralley. The roads are VERY, VERY dangerous and people drive really crazy. Many taxis etc are in less-than-perfect condition, but this you will only find out when it is too late. And of course your friendly driver will always have a "good tip" for a souvenir shop, carpet shop, leather shop, Moroccan-slippers-shop, perfume shop, tea house, restaurant, barber, brothel......

Rabat:
A nice harbour town, not far from Casa, and the NAtion's capital.
People are a lot nicer and friendlier than in Casa.
Easy to get to from Casa central station by train. Cheap and it takes around an hour or so, depending on which train you catch.
From the station it is am easy, well sign posted walk to the sea-side fort and old town, where there is also a pretty good market.
There is a small charge to get into the old town / fort, but usually no-one is there to collect the fee. There will be lots of kids around who offer their services as tour guides thru the old town.
It is not really neccessary to avail yourself of their services, but if you can negotiate with them to show you around for a few Dollars, it may be fun. Don't expect "expert knowledge". Most of the cheeky buggers just wing it and make up stuff as they go along. But at the very least you will not get lost and they will know where you can find a cold drink or a clean toilet.

:-)
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  #8  
Old December 21st, 2012, 12:33 PM
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Cruzer Two Cruzer Two is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buchhalm View Post
Casablanca:
The name sounds exotic and people have this Humphrey Bogart visions, but the place is filthy, peole are incredibly rude and the whole place is just plain dangerous. Our (airline) crew is under instructions not to leave the crew hotel unless at least 3 people are going together and to avoid leaving the hotel after dark alltogether.
Several of our staff were help up at knife point at or around the souqu (market area). Police just shruggs their shoulders, especially if you do not converse in Arabic or French.

Marakech:
A very nice place with culture and history and an excellent Medina (old city) where you will find all these things you imagine to be "Arabic" or "1001 Nights". You will most likely get ripped off a little bit by the merchants, but it is in good fun, and what is a Dollar or two to you.
The main suqare is bustling with life and is a must-see. Snake charmers (who will insist on draping a life cobra around your neck (and then charge you a Dollar for photo),, puppetiers, tea sellers etc. All there. Just watch for pickpockets!!!!
DEFINATELY take a ship's transfer. Even if you do not want to stick with the tour group once there.
Marakech is a fair way away from Casablanca, and "private" drivers drive as if they were competing in the Paris-Dakkar ralley. The roads are VERY, VERY dangerous and people drive really crazy. Many taxis etc are in less-than-perfect condition, but this you will only find out when it is too late. And of course your friendly driver will always have a "good tip" for a souvenir shop, carpet shop, leather shop, Moroccan-slippers-shop, perfume shop, tea house, restaurant, barber, brothel......

Rabat:
A nice harbour town, not far from Casa, and the NAtion's capital.
People are a lot nicer and friendlier than in Casa.
Easy to get to from Casa central station by train. Cheap and it takes around an hour or so, depending on which train you catch.
From the station it is am easy, well sign posted walk to the sea-side fort and old town, where there is also a pretty good market.
There is a small charge to get into the old town / fort, but usually no-one is there to collect the fee. There will be lots of kids around who offer their services as tour guides thru the old town.
It is not really neccessary to avail yourself of their services, but if you can negotiate with them to show you around for a few Dollars, it may be fun. Don't expect "expert knowledge". Most of the cheeky buggers just wing it and make up stuff as they go along. But at the very least you will not get lost and they will know where you can find a cold drink or a clean toilet.

:-)
I completely agree with you comments about Casablanca and Marrakech, but I've never been to Rabat. If I ever find myself in Morocco again, I'll give it a try.

Ron
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  #9  
Old December 24th, 2012, 07:18 AM
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happyglobetrotter happyglobetrotter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buchhalm View Post
Casablanca:
Marakech:
DEFINATELY take a ship's transfer. Even if you do not want to stick with the tour group once there.
Marakech is a fair way away from Casablanca, and "private" drivers drive as if they were competing in the Paris-Dakkar ralley. The roads are VERY, VERY dangerous and people drive really crazy. Many taxis etc are in less-than-perfect condition, but this you will only find out when it is too late. And of course your friendly driver will always have a "good tip" for a souvenir shop, carpet shop, leather shop, Moroccan-slippers-shop, perfume shop, tea house, restaurant, barber, brothel......

:-)
It is unfortunate that some people have bad experiences in Morocco. This is why you should always deal with a private guide who is experienced, reliable and knowledgeable. A guide used to deal with cruiseship passengers and who will hire the best driver in a clean and comfortable AC bus. As I said earlier, we had a safe and pleasant trip from Casablanca from Marrakech on our recent Maasdam cruise and none of the inconvenients and hassles you are referring to. The new highway CASA-Marrakech was wide, modern and not dangerous at all. Wonderful scenery on the way. If you charter your bus and your guide like we did, you will not have the shopping disaster that you are referring to. I recommend you to only deal with professionals of the tourism industry. They wear a registered tourist guide licence that has to be visible at all times. noura2102 at hotmail dot com was perfect on our recent trip. She is a university graduate, mother of 2 children and her English is excellent. We were delighted to have found her.
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YESTERDAY is a MEMORY, TOMORROW is a DREAM but TODAY is a GIFT and that's why it is called the PRESENT.


Costa 21 days; Epirotiki - 28 days; River cruises in China, Russia, Germany and Egypt - 65 days; Regency 32 days; Princess - 14 days; RCCL - 28 days; Cunard - 63 days; Holland America DAM ships - over 1,720 days


Rotterdam- Around Africa cruise 2014 - 85 days
Amsterdam World cruise 2015 - 9 WC and counting, this time, segments only as we get off in Singapore on March 4
Yangtze river cruise 10 days
Volendam, Singapore to Vancouver - March 16 to May 15 2015
Maasdam, Atlantic Coast, 13 day, Montréal to FLL
Maasdam, Atlantic Adventurer, 50 day, FLL - FLL
Amsterdam World cruise 2016 - 10th WC - pre-registered







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