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Saga Pearl II blog - Captains' blogs

3rd February, 2018

Another perfect sunrise over a slightly hazy African horizon brought in Saturday morning as we approached the largest Moroccan city: Casablanca.  The port here is a busy commercial one, and we were fortunate enough to have been berthed opposite two cargo ships –one loading phosphate and the other cement.  As you might imagine, this made for a slightly dusty and authentic African experience when negotiating the dockside from ship to tour coach or shuttle bus… 

The city itself, a little like Tangier, is made up from an amalgamation of African, Arabic & European history both new and old.  The population sits at around 3 million people; approximately 2.9 million of whom are street vendors it would seem.  Prepare to be hassled in the local souks to purchase anything from camel leather jackets for 5 year olds, to 3rd hand car tyres as perfect examples from the “MOT minimum tread guidelines booklet”, to extremely well-used 1980’s mobile telephones.  

One can walk themselves to the famous Rick’s Café (featured in the film set from the 1942 film starring the city’s name) or take a guided tour there, as well as many other city attractions, on one of two city excursions offered by our on board teams. If - as tends to be the case with Saga passengers - food is more up your street, then there was also a ‘local flavours’ tour offered, which involved local cookery demonstrations, visits to local markets, and even the chance to cook and try your own tagines.  This would have been my tour – if I hadn’t been otherwise occupied completing my desk work chores aboard the ship. 

For those wishing to venture further afield, we offered the option to head to Marrakech.  This option promised a full tour of the city where among many other sites to see, there promised an UNESCO recognised square, an authentic lunch experience, and the possibility of seeing snake charmers, soothsayers, storytellers, magicians, dancers, musicians and performing monkeys… 

Back on board, at the end of a busy day ashore there are fewer more pleasant things to do than relax in Sundowner’s bar before enjoying one of Kumar’s tailor-made curries in the Veranda Restaurant.  This is exactly what I did whilst we awaited the arrival of the tour back from their day in Marrakech.  Sailing time was later that evening, and our next destination: more winter sunshine and exploration in the Canary Islands…

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.