Moors & Mariners: Morocco & Spain

Detailed Itinerary


 
Sunday & Monday, April 5 & 6 - Home | Marrakesh, Morocco
Depart on an overnight flight to Marrakesh, the “Pearl of the South.” Upon arrival, check in to the hotel. Gather this evening for a welcome reception. Hotel Es Saadi (R)
 
Tuesday, April 7 - Marrakesh
Today’s exploration includes the Bahia Palace, which was built in the late 19th century for the chief vizier to Sultan Moulay el Hassan and captures the essence of Islamic and Moroccan style. Also visit the beautifully decorated Saadian tombs, which date back to the late 1600s; the Majorelle Gardens, with their signature cobalt-blue buildings; and the adjacent Islamic Art Museum. Professor Messier will lead an optional excursion to Aghmat, the medieval capital of Morocco, where he is currently co-directing excavations. This evening dine near the famous Djemaa el Fna Square and enjoy the entertainment of acrobats, snake charmers, magicians, and conjurers. Hotel Es Saadi (B,L,D)
 
Wednesday, April 8 - Casablanca (Embark)
Drive to Casablanca and take a coach tour of the city’s highlights. Visit the monumental Hassan II Mosque, built on pilings driven into the Atlantic Ocean seabed. The mosque can accommodate 105,000 worshippers in its immense prayer hall and adjacent plaza. Embark the Harmony V.  (B,L,D)
 
Thursday, April 9 - Rabat
Spend a full day in Morocco’s capital city, Rabat. Explore the mausoleum of Mohammed V, which contains the tombs of the Moroccan king and his two sons, King Hassan II and Prince Abdallah. Considered a masterpiece of modern Alaouite dynasty architecture, the mausoleum is built of white marble and has a green-tiled roof, representing the color of Islam. Also visit the unfinished 12th-century Tower of Hassan, surrounded by the remains of 350 stone columns; the beautiful Citadel of Chellah Gardens; and the Kasbah of the Oudaias, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  (B,L,D)
 
Friday, April 10 - At Sea | Tangier | Cadiz, Spain
Enjoy a day of cruising toward Spain, with a stop in Tangier for a visit to the American Legation, an elaborate Moorish-style building that commemorates the historic cultural and diplomatic relations between the United States and Morocco. Designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1982, the first such listing in a foreign country, it is a cultural center, museum, and research library.  (B,L,D)
 
Saturday, April 11 - Cadiz | Jerez de la Frontera | Seville
Travel overland to Jerez de la Frontera, the world capital of sherry wine and renowned as a center of horsemanship and flamenco dancing. Enjoy a breathtaking performance by beautiful Andalucian horses, a lunch of local specialties, and a sherry tasting. Continue to Seville, the capital of Andalucia and Spain’s fourth largest city. After dinner on board, disembark for a dazzling flamenco performance ashore. (B,L,D)
 
Sunday, April 12 - Seville | Gibraltar, U.K.
First established as a Roman provincial capital, Seville flourished under the Moors during the Middle Ages and reached new heights of prosperity during the Age of Discovery. Visit two World Heritage sites: the lovely Reales Alcazares, a mudejar palace and gardens built on the site of a former Moorish fortress, and Seville Cathedral, the burial site of Christopher Columbus. When completed in the early 16th century, this immense Gothic church supplanted Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world. Its bell tower, La Giralda, is the former minaret of a mosque that stood on the site under Muslim rule, and is the city’s most wellknown symbol. In the afternoon cruise the Guadalquivir River en route to Gibraltar. (B,L,D)
 
Monday, April 13 - Gibraltar
The iconic Rock of Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, is named after Umayyad general Tariq ibn-Ziyad (“Gibraltar” is the Spanish derivation of the Arabic name “Jebel Tariq”). In the Gibraltar Nature Reserve atop the rock, enjoy the antics of the resident Barbary macaques, the only wild primate species in Europe, and visit the 18th-century Great Siege Tunnels, dug by British soldiers during an attempt by France and Spain to capture Gibraltar during the American Revolution. (B,L,D)
 
Tuesday, April 14 - Puerto Banús, Spain | Ronda
Dock in Puerto Banús for a visit to the cliff-top village of Ronda, home of the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain. Perched above the El Tajo canyon carved out of very mountainous terrain by the Guadalevin River, Ronda has three picturesque bridges—Puente Romano, Puente Viejo,and Puente Nuevo—that offer stunning panoramic views over the surrounding landscape, and a charming old Moorish quarter. Celebrate your journey with a festive farewell dinner this evening. (B,L,D)
 
Wednesday, April 15 - Motril | Granada
Muslim architecture in Spain reached its zenith in Granada’s Alhambra, one of the most remarkable fortresses ever built. This 14th-century hilltop palace complex, built by the Nasrid kings, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and Spain’s most visited attraction. Explore the refined, elegant Nasrid Palaces, built around the Courtyard of the Lions, and the splendid Generalife Gardens, one of the world’s oldest surviving Moorish gardens. Its Court of the Water Channel, framed by flowerbeds, fountains, colonnades, and pavilions, is considered a superior example of a medieval Persian garden. Reboard the ship and cruise overnight to Malaga. (B,L,D)
 
Thursday, April 16 - Malaga (Disembark) | Home
Disembark in Malaga and transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)

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