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: $5,300 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 $5,300

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

Overview

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. 

Itinerary

Day 1 — Casablanca, Morocco

Arrive in Casablanca, Morocco’s main port city. Settle into your cabin and meet your fellow travelers at a welcome dinner tonight. (D)

Day 2 — Casablanca

Set out to explore the sites of Casablanca, a relatively new city that has evolved into Morocco’s economic capital. Visit the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world—and one of the few that allow non-Muslims to enter. Built in the 1990s, the mosque is a stunning tribute to traditional Moorish architecture, with exquisite mosaics and carved stucco as well as remarkable technological innovations. Then see the work of a world-renowned stained-glass artist at Notre Dame de Lourdes Church and explore the “new medina,” or Habous district, built by the French in the early 20th century. Drive along the seaside Corniche to Rick’s Café, inspired by the film Casablanca, for a leisurely lunch. Alternatively, spend the day in the World Heritage site of Rabat. Take a guided tour of this coastal capital city, including the Royal Palace, the Chellah Necropolis, the Mohamed V Mausoleum, and Hassan Tower. Venture into the picturesque Kasbah of the Oudayas and wander its maze of narrow lanes and whitewashed houses. (B,L,D)

Day 3 — Tangier

Sail north to Tangier, an ancient city whose strategic location on the Strait of Gibraltar has led to a tumultuous history under many different rulers—and for several decades, none at all. Today Tangier is an exciting hub of culture, home to great museums and revitalized neighborhoods. Take in views of the legendary strait from a hilltop fortress before heading into the city. Tour the wonderful Tangier American Legation Museum, a tribute to the long relationship between the U.S. and Morocco, the first country to recognize American independence in 1777. Then visit the Kasbah Museum of Mediterranean Cultures to learn of the many civilizations that have left their mark on the region. Alternatively, delve in Morocco’s tradition of religious tolerance on a walking tour to three historic houses of worship: the Kasbah Mosque, the Moshe Nahon Synagogue, and Saint Andrew’s Church. Admire their remarkable architecture and discover how the three faiths are interwoven in Tangiers. Instead of staying in Tangier, choose an excursion to Tetouan, set at the foot of the dramatic Rif mountains. Visit Dar Sanaa, a former palace where traditional Moroccan crafts are now taught, and explore Tetouan’s World Heritage-listed medina. Transit the Strait of Gibraltar this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Málaga, Spain

Dock in Málaga, birthplace of Picasso, and spend the day in Granada, scenically located atop three hills and framed by the snow-clad Sierra Nevada mountains. From here, the monarchs of the Nasrid Dynasty ruled for 250 years over the last Moorish kingdom in Spain, leaving a priceless architectural legacy—the magnificent Alhambra, a World Heritage site. Our visit begins with a walk through city center to the Cathedral and Royal Chapel, final resting place of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic monarchs who brought an end to Islamic rule in Iberia. Later, enjoy dinner in a beautiful setting before heading to the Alhambra for a private evening tour. Admire the exquisite architectural details of its palaces and courtyards, and continue with a visit to the beautifully landscaped Generalife Palace and Gardens, built as a summer residence for the Sultan. (B,L,D)

Day 5 — Marbella or Ronda

Sail west to Marbella, and venture into its whitewashed old town on a walking tour. Discover the leafy squares and charming, boutique-lined lanes that made the town an elegant retreat in the 1950s and 1960s. Stroll the Patio de los Naranjos and see a collection of sculptures by Salvador Dalí on Avenida del Mar. Then drive into the hills to the charming village of Mijas to take in sweeping views of the Costa del Sol and enjoy a delicious Andalusian lunch featuring traditional flamenco music and dance. Or travel overland to Ronda, an ancient town built on a cliff above deep gorges. Examine layers of history as you tour the twisting streets of its Moorish-influenced center and learn about its Roman occupation. Visit the Plaza de Toros, Spain’s oldest bullfighting ring and one of its most architecturally beautiful, and tour the onsite museum. (B,L,D) 

Day 6 — Cadiz and Seville

Anchor in Cadiz, founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC and one of the oldest cities in Europe. Travel through olive and orange groves to Seville, the captivating capital of Andalusia.  Shaped by a succession of often-clashing civilizations—Roman, Moorish, Jewish, Christian—Seville is a vibrant melting pot of cultures with a fascinating history. Stroll through the Murillo Gardens on your way to the World Heritage site of Real Alcazar, the former residence of Seville’s Moorish and Spanish rulers. Continue to the World Heritage-listed Cathedral of Seville, the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and the site of Christopher Columbus's tomb. La Giralda, built as a minaret for the city's chief mosque in the 12th century, now serves as the bell tower and a symbol of Seville. After a lunch of Andalusian tapas, enjoy a walking tour and time at leisure in the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the city’s former Jewish quarter. Alternatively, travel from Cadiz to the “white village” of Vejer de la Frontera, and take a walking tour of this charming town of whitewashed houses and cobblestoned streets. Drive south through thick forests to Cape Trafalgar to see the spot where Lord Nelson defeated Napoleon’s forces at the Battle of Trafalgar. Return to Cadiz for a thrilling performance of flamenco and a tapas lunch. (B,L,D) 

Day 7 — At Sea

As we make our way toward the Atlantic coast of Portugal, enjoy a day to relax at sea, taking advantage of the ship’s superb amenities. Opt for a treatment in the spa or get a work out at the fitness center. If the weather permits, go for a swim in the pool or read a book on the sundeck. Our Smithsonian Journeys experts will present lectures on the region, and PONANT photographers will be on hand to share photo editing techniques. Visit the ship’s upper deck to take in views of the open sea. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Lisbon, Portugal

Arrive in Lisbon and disembark after breakfast this morning. Extend your stay in this flourishing city upon seven hills, or transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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