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Port Review: Casablanca, Morocco

By:
Joanna Hall
 

An exotic blend of old meets new, Casablanca is a commercial city with an ancient heart, marked by narrow cobblestone alleys, bazaars and medinas. And that’s just the tip of what makes it a fun port of call for cruise visitors. 

The Facts

Location: On the northwest coast of Morocco.

Language: Arabic, Berber and French, but some English is spoken.

Currency: Moroccan Dirham.

Docking/Anchoring: Ships dock in the port of Casablanca which is an industrial area just over a kilometre away from the city centre.

Transport: The city offers free shuttles to the city centre, or there will be one provided by your cruise line, and there are taxis available dockside. 

Overview

Simply say the name “Casablanca” to most people and it will summon images of Hollywood’s vision of an exotic North African city. Instead, it’s one of Morocco’s largest urban sprawls, as well as the busiest port in North Africa, with a history of trading which dates back to the Phoenicians. A blend of old and new, today's Casablanca is a commercial city with an old heartbeat, where modern buildings stand next to narrow cobblestone alleys, bazaars and medinas. But it’s also a gateway to the rest of the fascinating country that is Morocco, in particular the imperial cities of Rabat and Marrakech, which are two of the major draw cards of visiting this port on a cruise.

Don’t Miss

Be ready for your arrival at the port of Casablanca and the spectacle of the amazing Hassan II Mosque, a huge, French-designed palace of worship built in 1993, which can hold 25,000 people at one time. It’s also home to the world’s tallest minaret at 210 metres, and is the world’s third-largest mosque. 

The Old Medina is located just behind the waterfront, and has lovely examples of Moorish architecture, along with brilliant, whitewashed buildings accented with a bright blue trim.

The local Islamic Mahakma Law Courts are richly decorated with stunning mosaics, and also have finely carved Moorish ceilings if you’re into architecture. 

La Corniche Beach is the place to cool off with a swim, watch locals play beach volleyball or football, take a leisurely walk, and enjoy the sun.

Best Photo Op

This is undoubtedly the Hassan II Mosque from the water; best captured from your ship on arrival, or on departure especially at sunset. 

Shopping

The Central Market in Casablanca is located just inland from the port, and a good place to buy local souvenirs and sample some local food. It has narrow streets brimming with local wares including spices, and some of the best souvenirs including clothes, carpets, jewellery and handmade copper and brass goods.

Food and Drink

Casablanca has many fine restaurants, but just a few of local delicacies you should aim to try include kefta sandwiches, pastries. 

Pick of the Excursions

Most people visiting Casablanca usually go on one of two day-long excursions to Rabat or Marrakech. Sights to see in Rabat include the Kasbah le Oudais, which occupies the oldest part of the city, the Archeology Museum, the Grand Mosquée, which dates back to the fourteenth-century, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V with the Hassan Tower.

If you choose Marrakech, it is famous for places and gardens, including El Bahia Palace, and has a fascinating market, Djemaa-Eluf’na, boasting exotic eastern architecture, and entertainment including snake charmers, acrobats and fortune tellers.

 

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  1. Posted by on 12th Feb 2019 Verified Customer

    Will Go Again 5 Star Review

    We visited Morocco while living in Germany a few years back, and we loved the country. Don't be put off my the muslim problems around the world, we found the people to be very friendly and helpful, and the beach resorts are great. We spent a few days each also in Casablanca and Rabat and loved our stay, great food and lots to see and do

  2. Posted by on 12th Feb 2019 Verified Customer

    Marvellous Morocco 5 Star Review

    I have always had a bit of a hankering to visit Morocco for a long time, as it has strong Mediterranean leanings as well as being African and kind of middle eastern. I didn't know that cruise ships stopped their either, giving you a taste of destinations including Casablanca....and as you say in your article, Rabat also. I imagine the beaches there are gorgeous, would love to visit some day perhaps when I go to Europe. Thanks for the inspiration!

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