A Cruise from Morocco to Spain


Cruise from Morocco to southern Spain aboard Harmony V, and explore where Moorish kings ruled Andalusia and members of
 the three great monotheistic faiths worked side by side
 to build a sophisticated society.

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This extraordinary voyage, featuring Morocco and southern Spain, promises to beguile you with its exotic aura of mystery and nourishment of the senses. A fascinating history is also found here, including a time when Moorish kings ruled Andalusia and members of the three great monotheistic faiths worked side by side to build a sophisticated society. Experience Marrakech’s Djemaa el-Fna Square, with its cacophony of storytellers, jugglers, snake charmers, and magicians. See the unique Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, perched on a pier in the Atlantic Ocean, and in Rabat, Morocco’s capital, visit the Citadel of Chellah Gardens and the Kasbah des Oudaias. Crossing the strait, you’ll be immersed in the Iberian Peninsula’s Spanish-Moorish culture. Enjoy a walking tour of the cliff-hanging village of Ronda, and in Seville, visit the famous cathedral, once the world’s largest church, which also served as a mosque, and experience the passion of authentic flamenco. In Granada, tour the incomparable Alhambra Palace, considered the pinnacle of Moorish architecture, along with its extensive gardens.

Itinerary

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 Sofitel. Gather this evening for a welcome reception. Hotel Es Saadi (R)

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 directing excavations. This evening dine near the famous Djema el-Fna Square and enjoy the entertainment of acrobats, snake charmers, magicians, and conjurers. Hotel Es Saadi (R)

April 8 — Casablanca

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 100,000 worshippers in its immense prayer hall and adjacent esplanade. Embark the Harmony V. Harmony V (B,L,D)

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 building 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. Harmony V (B,L,D)

April 10 — At Sea, Tangier, Cadiz

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. Harmony V (B,L,D)

April 11 — Cadiz, Jerez de la Frontera, Seville

Travel overland to Jerez de la Frontera, the world capital of sherry wine, for a sherry tasting. Continue to Seville, the capital of Andalucia and Spain’s fourth largest city. Reboard the ship for dinner, then disembark for a dazzling flamenco performance ashore. Harmony V (B,LD)

April 12 — Seville, Gibraltar

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 well-known symbol. In the afternoon board the Harmony V and cruise the Guadalquivir River en route to Gibraltar. Harmony V (B,L,D)

April 13 — Gibraltar

The iconic Rock of Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, is named after an 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. Harmony V (B,L,D)

April 14 — Puerto Banús, 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. Harmony V (B,L,D)

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 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. Harmony V (B,L,D)

April 16 —Malaga (Disembark), Home

Disembark in Malaga and transfer to the airport for flights home. (B)