Casablanca

The new and the old Morocco 
Moresque and Art Deco buildings
The Mosquée Hassan II

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Casablanca/Marrakech

An Oscar-winning city

Morocco’s biggest city and commercial capital, Casablanca (Dar el Baida in its literalArabic form) is the Maghreb’s largest port, and busier than Marseilles, on which it was modelled by the French.

 
Casablanca’s most obvious sight, a not to be missed stop in any Mediterranean cruises, is the Mosquée Hassan II, and it also has the only Jewish museum in the Muslim world, but the city’s true delight remains the Mauresque and Art Deco architecture built during the colonial period. When you are cruising the Mediterranean Sea with MSC Cruises Casablanca, just over Gibraltar, can be a bewildering place to arrive, but once you’re in the centre, orientation gets a little easier.

It’s focused on a large public square, Place Mohammed V, and most of the places to stay, eat, or see, are located in and around the avenues that radiate from it. A few blocks to the north, still partially walled, is the Old Medina, which was all there was of Casablanca until around1907.
 
Just to the west of both the port and Casablanca’s downtown area, the Old Medina dates largely from the late nineteenth century. The Medina has a slightly disreputable air but it isn’t sinister, and it can be a good source for cheap snacks and general good on an MSC Mediterranean cruise excursion. A small eighteenth-century bastion, the Skala, has been restored, with some old cannons and an upmarket café-restaurant. Raised on a rocky platform reclaimed from the ocean, the Hassan II Mosque was designed by French architect Michel Pinseau; it is open to non-Muslims on accompanied one-hour visits that also visit the mosque’s huge and elaborate basement hammam.

Must see places in Casablanca

  • The old Medina

    The old Medina

  • Hassan II Mosque

    Hassan II Mosque

  • Rabat Mohammed V Mauseoleum

    Rabat Mohammed V Mauseoleum

Discover our excursions

4 results found

Download the cruise excursions programme (PDF)
  • Marrakech

    CITY TOUR

    CAS02

    Situated a 3-hour coach drive from the port of Casablanca lies the vibrant city of Marrakech, also called the “Pearl of the South”. Included in the tour itinerary are some of Marrakech’s key sights, including the beautifully decorated Saadian tombs and the magnificent late 19-century Bahia Palace and gardens. A stop will be made for you to enjoy a reviving lunch, after which the tour continues on to its final destination: Marrakech’s bustling Jamaa el-Fna Square. This old marketplace in the city’s medina quarter is teeming with life. Traders, snake charmers, acrobats, jugglers, storytellers, magicians, musicians and peddlers of traditional medicines: this place has the lot. Before returning to Casablanca, you will break for a short visit to a natural pharmacy. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair as long periods of walking are involved. On MSC Sinfonia 2-day call, this tour is available on the second day.
    • Drink included

    • Lunch or dinner included

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      11 h

  • Rabat

    CITY TOUR

    CAS03

    Among the must-sees during your stay in North Africa is the historical coastal city of Rabat, which is not only the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco, but also the country’s third-largest metropolis with a population of around 650,000 inhabitants. After boarding a modern coach at the port in Casablanca, a 1.5-hour drive will first take you north to reach your destination, the seat of the Moroccan government and the King’s residence: the city of Rabat. Your guided tour of the capital’s main highlights begins at Grand Mechouar Official Square and then moves on to Hassan Tower, the minaret of what was once intended to become the world’s largest mosque when building began in 1195. Only four years later, construction work stopped when the sultan died and all that remains now of the ambitious building project are the beginnings of several walls and around 300 unfinished columns. A visit to the elegantly white Mausoleum of Mohammed V, which contains the tombs of the late Moroccan king along with his two sons, as well as the manicured gardens belonging to the Kasbah of the Udayas round out your guided tour before you head back to Casablanca and your ship. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with mobility problems; long periods of walking involved. If the call falls on a day of religious celebrations, the visit to the Mausoleum will be external; its internal visit will be reconfirmed on the day of call and may be omitted in case the King of Morocco is in town. This tour is available in the afternoon, including on 2015 MSC Sinfonia 2-day call, (day 2 only). Conservative attire recommended for visiting the mosque.
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        5 h

    • Casablanca & Rabat

      CULTURE AND HISTORY

      CAS05

      This tour of two cities is a great way to see the key sights of Casablanca, the country’s largest metropolis and main port, as well as Rabat, the capital of Morocco. Starting in Casablanca, a first stop will be made at Mohamed V Square and Hassan II Mosque, the third largest in the world with enough room to accommodate 25,000 worshippers inside and a further 80,000 in its capacious courtyard. Its dramatic appearance is further enhanced by its stunning location on a promontory jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean. The Casablanca leg then continues with a drive through the fashionable oceanfront Corniche and Anfa areas to the Habbous quarter for a good look around a bazaar or at a local natural pharmacy. There will also be time for a delicious lunch on this all-day tour before you head to Rabat, about a 1.5-hour drive to the north, to enjoy this city’s best sights. These include the beautiful Mausoleum of Mohamed V, an elegant building of dazzling white, as well as Hassan Tower, the incomplete minaret of an equally unfinished mosque that dates back to the early 12th century. A number of half-finished walls and the beginnings of some 300 columns are all that remain of this grand design today. Stops will also be made at the beautiful Kasbah of the Udayas as well as at the Royal Palace for an outside peek at the impressive building. Return to the port. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair; long periods of walking involved. If the call falls on a day of religious celebrations, the visit to the Mausoleum will be external; its internal visit will be reconfirmed on the day of call and may be omitted in case the King of Morocco is in town. Conservative attire recommended for visiting sites of religious importance. On 2015 MSC Sinfonia 2-day call, this tour is available the second day.
      • Drink included

      • Lunch or dinner included

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        10 h

    • City tour and Hassan II's Mosque

      CULTURE AND HISTORY

      CAS01

      Founded by the Carthaginian who called the city “Anfa”, Casablanca as it is today is the result of rebuilding work carried out after a devastating earthquake in 1755. This city excursion will take you on a panoramic tour through the main streets and squares of Casablanca with a short stop at a typical local market where you will find a variety of goods or at local natural pharmacy. We will visit the beautiful Cathedral of Notre Dame de Lourdes and the highlight of the excursion will be a visit to the magnificent Mosque of Hassan II, the largest mosque in the Islamic world after Mecca. Please note: if the call falls on a day of religious celebrations, the visit to the mosque will be around the exterior only. Conservative attire recommended for visiting the mosque. On MSC Sinfonia 2-day call, this tour is available on the first day and can be combined with the evening tour CAS09.
        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          4 h

      The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
      Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.

       

      Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

      Morocco

      Traditions and tourism

      Traditions and tourism

      cruise to Morocco is ripe with immediate and enduring fascination. Though just an hour across the sea from Spain, it seems at once very far from Europe, with a culture – Islamic and deeply traditional – that is almost wholly unfamiliar.

      Throughout the country, despite the years of French and Spanish colonial rule and the presence of modern and cosmopolitan cities like Rabat and Casablanca, a more distant past constantly makes its presence felt. Fez, perhaps the most beautiful of all Arab cities, maintains a life still rooted in medieval times, when a Moroccan kingdom stretched from Senegal to northern Spain, while in the mountains of the Atlas and the Rif, it is still possible to draw up tribal maps of the Berber population.

      As a backdrop to all this, the country’s physical make-up is extraordinary: from the Mediterranean coast, which you’ll get to know during your MSC cruise to Morocco, through four mountain ranges, to the empty sand and scrub of the Sahara.

      The coast is best enjoyed in the north at Tangier, Asilah and Larache, and in the south at El Jadida, Essaouira. Inland, where the real interest of Morocco lies, the outstanding cities are Fez and Marrakesh. The great imperial capitals of the country’s various dynasties, they are almost unique in the Arab world for the chance they offer to witness city life that, in patterns and appearance, remains in large part medieval.