A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

On an 8-day voyage from Casablanca to Spain’s southern coast, delve into the historic medinas of Rabat and Tangier and discover a palpable undercurrent of Moorish culture in the vivacious cities of Andalusia. 

Starting at: $4,720 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Alhambra of Granada  Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca  A plaza in charming Ronda  The main plaza in Seville  The immense Gothic cathedral of Seville  Monument to the Discoveries in Lisbon  Belem Tower, Lisbon  Archways in Palacio de Generalife at Granada's Alhambra  A courtyard in the Alcazar, or Royal Palace, in Seville  Vintage tram on the street in Lisbon

Cruising from Morocco to Spain’s Andalusian Coast

Casablanca to Lisbon on the 184-guest Le Dumont-d'Urville

8 days from $4,720

A new cruise offering from Smithsonian Journeys and PONANT 

On an 8-day voyage from Casablanca to Spain’s southern coast, delve into the historic medinas of Rabat and Tangier and discover a palpable undercurrent of Moorish culture in the vivacious cities of Andalusia. 

or Call 855-330-1542

Activity Level

Activity Level 2: Moderate

Ocean-going cruise that will involve embarkation and disembarkation at piers for shore excursions as well as boarding tenders and other landing craft for some activities. Days can be full, with activities starting as early as 8:00 am and lasting four or more hours. Many activities, such as walking tours, museum visits, and site visits, necessitate standing and walking for extended periods of time (two or more hours). Participants should be prepared to walk up to two miles per day, sometimes on uneven terrain, such as cobblestones in towns, historic sites, and unpaved trails; and to climb or descend stairs with or without handrails, as elevators will not always be available. 

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit and comfortable with longer days of touring (both walking tours and coach time). 

Pre-Cruise Extension

Pre-Cruise Program — 4 Days, 3 Nights

With origins as a crossroads on the ancient caravan routes to and from Timbuktu, Marrakech has long been at the center of Moroccan commerce and culture. Part Berber, part Arab, part African, Marrakech is where the disparate elements of Morocco's past mingle with one another in a fascinating space where the exquisitely refined palaces of wealthy princes sit alongside the huts of snake charmers and musicians who ply their trades in the open air of the city's streets. 

Day 1 – Marrakech, Morocco

Arrive at Marrakech Airport, where you will be met and transferred to the Sofitel Marrakech Lounge & Spa, your home for the next three nights. Check-in time is 3:00 p.m. A local representative will be present at the hospitality desk in the afternoon to welcome you and answer any questions you may have. The afternoon is yours to settle in and rest before you join fellow travelers for a welcome cocktail reception this evening. Dinner is independent and at your leisure.

The Sofitel Marrakech Lounge & Spa

Day 2 – Marrakech

After breakfast at the hotel, join a walking tour of Marrakech's Medina, the Old Town, where the city's traditions continue to thrive. Your first stop is the emblematic Koutoubia Mosque, which dominates the skyline. Built in the 12th century, Koutoubia’s minaret is considered one of the highlights of Islamic architecture in North Africa and the inspiration for the Giralda in Seville and the Hassan Tower in Rabat. A short walk from the mosque brings you to Bahia Palace. Built in the mid 19th century as the residence of the Grand Vizier, it was converted by the French in the early 20th century for use by the Resident General of the Protectorate. The sprawling palace covers two acres in the middle of the Medina and contains 150 rooms opening onto a large courtyard filled with fountains and gardens. The nearby Dar Si Said Museum exhibits a range of architectural styles and traditional crafts. Of particular interest are the collections of Berber jewelry, textiles, carpets, and musical instruments that provide a taste of everyday life in Morocco before the arrival of Islam.

Your tour of the Medina continues with a visit to the souks of Jemaa El Fna, the city's main square and home to a multitude of street-artists and food stalls. Over the years the square has become the beating heart of Marrakech, where fire-eaters, acrobats, snake-charmers, and street musicians perform at every turn. In the Souk Semmarine you will find a maze of colorful alleys and small squares housing a bewildering array of stalls and ateliers devoted to a seemingly endless variety of arts and crafts. A short drive will bring you to a restaurant for a leisurely lunch before you return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure. In the evening, gather with fellow travelers for your transfer to a local restaurant for a sumptuous Moroccan dinner in the heart of the Old Medina.

The Sofitel Marrakech Lounge & Spa

Day 3 – Marrakech | Atlas Mountains

Today's excursion takes you through the countryside and into the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, North Africa's greatest mountain range. Here you will encounter two very different worlds: the ancient villages of the Berbers and the post-modernist fantasia of André Heller's Anima Garden. Set out from the hotel in 4x4 vehicles for the trip south, pausing briefly in the village of Asni for stunning views of snow-capped mountains before continuing the climb toward the village of Imlil at the base of Djebel Toubkal, the highest mountain in the Atlas range. Upon arrival in Imlil, you begin a leisurely hike around this village and the neighboring village of Aroumd, where you are surrounded by the natural beauty of the valley and have the chance to discover Berber culture. Berbers are the original inhabitants of North Africa, comprising several tribes scattered throughout the region. Proud and hard-working, they have their own dialect, customs, and traditions. You will be welcomed into the home of one of the local families, who will share some of their customs and show you how they manage to live in largely traditional ways.

Enjoy lunch at Roche Armed, one of the small hotels in the village, overlooking the valley and village of Imlil, with the Atlas Mountains in the background. After lunch, drive to Anima Garden, created by multimedia artist André Heller. Opened in 2016, his garden is a unique mixture of art and nature that combines paintings, sculptures, and other objets d'art that draw on motifs from around the world with carefully chosen and landscaped flora in ways that are meant both to provide inspiration for contemplation and to stimulate the senses. The experience of a visit here is notoriously difficult to describe, but a New York Times critic comes as close as anyone, calling it "a Wonderland of exotic gardens, gazebos, ponds and mystical artworks." Return to the hotel in Marrakech to freshen up before driving to Al Fassia Aguedal Restaurant for dinner in celebration of your last night in Marrakech.

The Sofitel Marrakech Lounge & Spa

Day 4 – Marrakech | Casablanca | Embarkation

After breakfast at the hotel and check out, board your motorcoach for the short ride to Majorelle Garden for a morning of strolling through lovely grounds of exotic trees and plants and visiting two museums on the property. The gardens were once the home and haven of their namesake, French painter Jacques Majorelle, who settled in Marrakech in 1924 and created this retreat with a stunning home and vast garden of 300 plant species from five continents. In the center of this surreal garden is an electric-blue (the hue is known as 'Majorelle blue') art deco studio that now houses a museum of Berber art.

In 1980, the property was purchased by Yves Saint-Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé, who lived here during some of the happiest years of their time together, restoring and maintaining the gardens and adding to the collections of the Berber Museum. In 2017, the Musée Yves Saint Laurent de Marrakech, a five-minute walk from the Majorelle Garden, was opened to the public.  The brainchild of Pierre Bergé, the YSL Museum in Marrakech, like its counterpart in Paris, is dedicated to Saint-Laurent's work at the intersection of fashion and art. The 43,000-square-foot building displays more than 5,000 dresses and 15,000 haute couture accessories in its permanent collection, and has space for exhibitions of Moroccan artists as well. After your exploration of the garden and museums, enjoy a leisurely lunch at Dar Rhizlane Restaurant before re-boarding your motorcoach for the drive to Casablanca, where you will embark your ship in late afternoon.   

Your hotel:

The Sofitel Marrakech Lounge & Spa, located just a short walk from the Jemaa El Fna Square, near the heart of Marrakech, is a magnificent Moorish property set among manicured gardens and fountains. The bright rooms and suites feature balconies and terraces, which offer beautiful views over the mountains, pool, or gardens. The interior design combines French elegance with a dash of Moroccan art de vivre. The hotel has two restaurants, four pools, a fitness center, and a spa.

Your program includes:

  • 3 nights at the Sofitel Marrakech Lounge & Spa (or similar)
  • Transfer and luggage handling from the airport to the hotel on the scheduled program arrival day
  • Transfer and luggage handling from the hotel to the ship on embarkation day
  • Welcome cocktail reception on Day 1
  • Breakfast and lunch on Days 2, 3, and 4
  • Dinner on Days 2 and 3
  • Sightseeing and programming as noted in the itinerary
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Gratuities for the drivers and local guides

Your program does not include:

  • Transfer from the airport to the hotel on any day other than the scheduled program arrival day
  • Personal expenses and other services and meals not mentioned as included in the program

Please note:

  • It is imperative that your flight arrival details are communicated at least 30 days prior to the beginning of your cruise in order to secure your transfer from the airport to the hotel.
  • Early check-in and/or late check-out are available depending on availability and at a supplement. An additional night is possible, upon request and depending on hotel availability. Please contact reservations or your travel advisor for further details.
  • The official currency is the Moroccan Dirham. Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, shops, and restaurants.
  • This pre-cruise program is offered as a package. There will be no refunds for unused accommodations, meals, or excursions. 
  • Program is offered on a space available basis and is subject to change without notice. 
Post-Cruise Extension

Post-Cruise Program — 3 Days, 2 Nights

Portugal is most often introduced to students of history as the country that led the way in Europe's discovery of sub-Saharan Africa, India, and East Asia. But throughout much of the modern era, Portugal, like the rest of the Iberian Peninsula, was in the avant garde of developments in the fields of art and architecture. This specially designed program will introduce you to monuments that celebrate both of these aspects of Portugal's past.

Day 1 – Disembark / Sintra / Lisbon

After breakfast aboard, disembark to join a full-day excursion to the nearby village of Sintra, declared a World Heritage site for its role in the early development of European Romantic architecture. Sintra's major contribution to this movement, which sought to incorporate styles from a wide range of historical periods, is Ferdinand II's Pena Palace. Built in 1840, the palace draws on Egyptian, Gothic, Moorish, and Renaissance motifs, and is surrounded by a vast park planted with exotic trees and decorated with fantastic fountains, ponds, and mock ruins. The overall effect is like living in a fairytale. 

After your visit to this fascinating place, drive to the center of Sintra for lunch at a local restaurant and time at leisure for browsing the many shops that offer handicrafts and Portuguese wines before reboarding your motorcoach for the return journey. Your route will take you through a nature preserve to Cabo da Roca on the Atlantic coast, the westernmost point of Europe. From there you will travel along the coastal road to Lisbon, where you will check-in to Hotel Altis Avenida, your home for the next two nights. Dinner is independent and at your leisure.

Hotel Altis Avenida

Day 2 – Lisbon

After breakfast at the hotel, your panoramic tour of Lisbon begins with an exploration of the historic Belém Quarter. Stop for photos at the 16th-century Belém Tower, the point from which many Portuguese explorers, including Vasco da Gama, set sail. Walk to the Monument of Discoveries, commemorating Portugal's crucial role in the Age of Discovery. Continue on for a visit to the imposing Jeronimos Monastery, where da Gama spent his last night before embarking on his voyage to India, and the finest extant example of the Portuguese architectural style known as Manueline. Enjoy some time at leisure in the Belém Quarter before a lunch including cod fish—a staple of Portuguese cuisine—and perhaps sample the famous custard tart, Pasteis de Belém. Following lunch, drive back the hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure with dinner on your own.

Hotel Altis Avenida

Day 3 – Lisbon / Home

After breakfast at the hotel and check out, transfer to the airport for flights homeward.

Your hotel:

Hotel Altis Avenida is a charming boutique hotel, with an extraordinary location in the center of Lisbon, in Praça dos Restauradores. The architecture and decoration are inspired by the 1940s and draw on the concept of "urban chic," where the past and the future meet, creating an atmosphere of charm and glamor. The hotel has 123 rooms, a Lobby Bar, and a fine dining restaurant on the top floor of the hotel that features the cuisine of chef João Rodrigues.

Your program includes:

  • 2 nights at the Hotel Altis Avenida (or similar)
  • Transfer and luggage handling from the pier to the hotel on Day 1
  • Transfer and luggage handling from the hotel to the airport on Day 3
  • Lunch on Days 1 and 2
  • Breakfast on Days 2 and 3
  • Sightseeing and programming as noted in the itinerary
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Gratuities for the drivers and local guides

Your program does not include:

  • Transfer from the hotel to the airport on any day other than the scheduled program departure day
  • Personal expenses and other services and meals not mentioned as included in the program.

Please note:

  • It is imperative that your flight departure details are communicated at least 30 days prior to the beginning of your cruise in order to secure your transfer from the hotel to the airport.
  • Late check-out is available depending on availability and at a supplement. An additional night is possible, upon request and depending on hotel availability. Please contact reservations or your travel agent for further details.
  • The official currency is the Euro. Credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, shops, and restaurants.
  • This post-cruise program is offered as a package. There will be no refunds for unused accommodations, meals, or excursions.
  • Program is offered on a space available basis and is subject to change without notice. 
Ship

Le Dumont d’Urville

Launched in 2019, Le Dumont d'Urville is among a new fleet of luxury expedition ships launched by PONANT. These ships combine revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury.

Spacious, Ocean-view Suites and Staterooms
Each of the 92 elegant suites and staterooms features a private balcony, while Grand Deluxe Suites have a bay window and spacious private terrace. The deluxe, air-conditioned staterooms and suites (up to 484 square feet) have two twin beds that convert to one queen-size bed. Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower (bathtub in limited number of staterooms) and the luxurious amenities of a fine hotel, including individual climate control, satellite flat screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, and plush robes.

Chic and Casual Dining
International and regional cuisine are served in the stylish, spacious indoor-outdoor restaurant in a single, unassigned seating; at the casual pool deck grill; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Wine is served at your table during lunch and dinner and complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise.

Spacious Public Areas, Intimate Atmosphere, and World-Class Service
The warm and inviting public areas accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy sweeping views from the Observation Lounge and Main Lounge, both of which open to the outdoors, and lectures, cultural performances, or film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. For your convenience, Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship.

The ship also features the first luxury underwater observatory, the Blue Eye, a multisensory underwater observation lounge that incorporates decor and technology to immerse you in the beauty of the ocean's ecosystem. Here, you can observe fascinating marine life through the large subaquatic windows while digital screens and the specially designed global listening system relay the sights and sounds beneath the ocean surface. 

Other amenities aboard ship are a Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa and sauna, fitness room, and two elevators. In addition, there is a three-level marina platform with complimentary kayaking and snorkeling equipment, as well as 10 easily accessible Zodiacs. 

The highly trained, English-speaking international crew are personable and attentive, and the ship has an infirmary staffed with a doctor and nurse.

Respect for the Environment
The newest additions to a fleet that has been awarded the prestigious "Clean Ship" designation, a rarity among ocean-cruising vessels, these expedition ships are designed with energy efficient, advanced eco-friendly features that protect fragile marine ecosystems while providing a safe and comfortable voyage. 

 Le Dumont d’Urville Exterior  Le Dumont d’Urville Sun Deck  Le Dumont d’Urville Blue Eye Lounge  Le Dumont d’Urville Exterior  State room

Le Dumont d’Urville

Launched in 2019, Le Dumont d'Urville is among a new fleet of luxury expedition ships launched by PONANT. These ships combine revolutionary design and a new standard of luxury.

Spacious, Ocean-view Suites and Staterooms
Each of the 92 elegant suites and staterooms features a private balcony, while Grand Deluxe Suites have a bay window and spacious private terrace. The deluxe, air-conditioned staterooms and suites (up to 484 square feet) have two twin beds that convert to one queen-size bed. Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower (bathtub in limited number of staterooms) and the luxurious amenities of a fine hotel, including individual climate control, satellite flat screen television, wireless Internet access, safe, minibar, full-length closet, writing desk/dressing table, and plush robes.

Chic and Casual Dining
International and regional cuisine are served in the stylish, spacious indoor-outdoor restaurant in a single, unassigned seating; at the casual pool deck grill; or from 24-hour room service. Continental and buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, afternoon tea, and a four-course dinner are served daily. Wine is served at your table during lunch and dinner and complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included throughout the cruise.

Spacious Public Areas, Intimate Atmosphere, and World-Class Service
The warm and inviting public areas accommodate all passengers comfortably. Enjoy sweeping views from the Observation Lounge and Main Lounge, both of which open to the outdoors, and lectures, cultural performances, or film screenings in the state-of-the-art theater. For your convenience, Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship.

The ship also features the first luxury underwater observatory, the Blue Eye, a multisensory underwater observation lounge that incorporates decor and technology to immerse you in the beauty of the ocean's ecosystem. Here, you can observe fascinating marine life through the large subaquatic windows while digital screens and the specially designed global listening system relay the sights and sounds beneath the ocean surface. 

Other amenities aboard ship are a Sun Deck, swimming pool, beauty salon, spa and sauna, fitness room, and two elevators. In addition, there is a three-level marina platform with complimentary kayaking and snorkeling equipment, as well as 10 easily accessible Zodiacs. 

The highly trained, English-speaking international crew are personable and attentive, and the ship has an infirmary staffed with a doctor and nurse.

Respect for the Environment
The newest additions to a fleet that has been awarded the prestigious "Clean Ship" designation, a rarity among ocean-cruising vessels, these expedition ships are designed with energy efficient, advanced eco-friendly features that protect fragile marine ecosystems while providing a safe and comfortable voyage. 

 Le Dumont d’Urville Exterior  Le Dumont d’Urville Sun Deck  Le Dumont d’Urville Blue Eye Lounge  Le Dumont d’Urville Exterior  State room
Reading List

Highly Recommended

Spain, Third Edition: The Root and the Flower: An Interpretation of Spain and the Spanish People
By: Crow, John A.
Tangier: City of the Dream (Tauris Parke Paperbacks)
By: Finlayson, Iain
DK Eyewitness Morocco (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness
DK Eyewitness Spain (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness

Also Recommended

A Year in Marrakesh
By: Mayne, Peter
Morocco - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: York, Jillian C., Culture Smart!
A History of Modern Morocco
By: Miller, Susan Gilson
Beyond the Veil, Revised Edition: Male-Female Dynamics in Modern Muslim Society
By: Mernissi, Fatima
How to Read Islamic Carpets (The Metropolitan Museum of Art - How to Read)
By: Denny, Walter
Iberia
By: Michener, James A.
The Alhambra (Wonders of the World)
By: Irwin, Robert
The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain
By: Menocal, Maria Rosa
Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain
By: Stewart, Chris
The Sun Also Rises: The Hemingway Library Edition
By: Hemingway, Ernest
Poems of Arab Andalusia
DK Eyewitness Lisbon (Travel Guide)
By: DK Eyewitness
Journey to Portugal: In Pursuit of Portugal's History and Culture
By: Saramago, Jos\Xe9
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Laminated)