Magic of Morocco Just home!

Hi all,

As promised, when we are rested a little, happy to report back and tell you about our adventure.

Morocco is an amazing destination. We found the people warm and welcoming, peaceful surroundings, except in the medinas and around the souks. The sights are awesome and some unforgettable.

I plan to write a detailed report for Tauck ASAP. They need to "fine-tune" the trip for a better travel pattern. It is a very busy itinerary and somehow, it needs just a little downtime.
The meals are too much, fabulous and delicious, hotels are good, Least favorite was Rabat, but it is OK. This is my opinion.

Bus is most comfortable and offers WIFI. Mark, our tour guide, does a good job and been with Tauck for 8 years. I understand there are several guides.

Line up your questions, and I will be happy to try and answer them or maybe someone else will.



Susan

Comments

  • edited April 2017
    Queenie1 Welcome back ! I was waiting for your return... :))

    It looks like you had a great time, I'm looking forward to your report and will ask u questions.. for sure :))

    Please let us know how was the weather? was it warm enough to go for a splash @ the pool after a full day .. I'm going next Feb. 2018 too; also as you mention it is a busy itinerary, is there any chance possible to do some Spa treatments after the day activities? what are the chances in Fes ( great Givenchy Spa :) ) or Casablanca? according to your day activities with the group and arrival @ the hotel?
    In Fes , Jewish Q. , local cuisine or the craftsmanship of the artisans? jajaj!! so much good stuff to chose from...
    Camel, desert how did that go..? give us the scoop.

    Also Tauck mentions the possibility of either doing (in Marrakech) a cooking class, Hammam or the visit to the seaside town of Essaouira, which did you do? I'm staying 2 xtra days after the tour to complement Marrakech sightseen...
    Please let us know more or less how late where the arrivals to the hotels? early afternoon or more towards early evening?
    I've seen the hotels and I kind of agree about the Rabat hotel.. I have try to contact them several times and no response..

    Thank you kindly for keeping your promise. :))
    Hope to hear from you soon. Take care
    Milena
  • I will do my best here.
    Weather in Feb. could be too cool for swimming... I do not know. Marrakesh will be your warmest and the pools are beautiful.
    You will have a choice of spa/cooking or Essaouira on the last day in Marrakesh. Included in tour. I took the Jewish Tour in Fes, since we could make choices there also. Interesting. Yes, you could squeeze a spa treatment in here and there. One of the days in Fes, I said , " I am taking the day off" and did.
    Casablanca, no time. We were there overnight for about 14 hours. That was it. As large city. We could not get into the Mosque because the king was there.
    The night in the desert was done SO well. I do not want to spoil it for you, but it was beautiful. The person who caters this event and puts it together is from Paris and he has style. Food was delicious. Prior to we visited a Berber village and had tea in one of the homes with the family. When we arrived at the tent site, the camels were waiting for us.... all 4 of them. I had ridden in Kenya, so I just watched this time. What a hoot!! There ere 2 locals all "duded" up in their native dress, playing music. Very well done.
    Local cuisine is fabulous. Some better than other, but all good. I had fish several nights. Some nights menu was arranged by Tauck, others were ala carte and we could go into the hotel restaurant and order whatever we wanted. In Casablanca, we ate at Blu' in the hotel, right on the sea and fresh seafood. The lamb dishes are soon good, chicken, seafood, beef ( did not have) and etc.
    I took the cooking class in Marrakesh at La Maison Arabe and then returned for dinner that evening. Husband went to Essaouira. We got back at 10:00pm and had to leave at 2:30 am for the 2 hour drive to Casablanca airport. I do hope they change that and end the tour in Casablanca!
    Days ended at different times, but in my opinion, too rushed. I do plan to write a tour report. The distances to travel take time, roads are good and the bus is good. I would prefer to have some windows of time, have a drink and relax. OH, that reminds me, The Four Seasons in Casablanca, at this time, does not have an alcohol license. Built across the street from a Mosque, so serving alcohol is a no no. Our tour visited a day before Volubilis Winery for wine tasting and lunch. The wine is awesome!! Most of us bought wine for the hotel and took it with us.
    The Fes Hotel grew on me. The property was lovely and the room configuration was so different. After a day, I really liked it and spent a peaceful day there by myself and one other stayed behind.
    The 2 4 Seasons are just beautiful. I preferred the one in Marrakesh, but so inefficient! Service was so slow, but we survived. Rabat was our least favorite.

    I might have missed some things or misspelled. Just trying to keep it all in order!!!!!! All done for now. Until next time.

    Susan
  • Thank you Susan.
    Not sure if this is your final detailed report, but this one is a great , awesome start.....!! no pressure :))
    Have a great day and relax.
    Thanks
    M.
  • It will be a little while before I can write my report. I am still looking for a place, other than this, forum, to do that.

    I am happy to help you.

    Susan
  • Good morning Susan.
    Please let me know when you do :)). My email is [email protected]
    Have a great weekend and Thanks again.
    Milena
  • Thank you for all the information. I'm considering Morocco trip in 2018. Would you please comment on the following:

    1) does the bus have a toilet?, 2) what are the bathroom breaks like during travel days and, 3) what is the drinking water situation? Does Tauck make bottled water available?

    I also thought the itinerary looked less than perfect and agree/hope they conclude the trip in Casablanca. I will check for your response. Thanks so much. Mary Ann
  • Hi MaryAnn,

    Brand new bus, but not a toilet. Was never an issue. Tauck would make regular stops and even provided change for attendants and toilet paper. They chose their stops carefully.

    We did not drink the local water. The bus was loaded with water and hotels had it in our rooms.

    It is a great trip. It showed me people of many backgrounds, religions and beliefs living together in harmony. Mixed traditions, delicious foods, interesting sights and terrific Tauck employees. I am sure it is not perfect, but we never felt any issues.

    As posted, I plan to get a report out and there are a few situations that need to be fine-tuned. It is always that way.
  • edited April 2017
    mel0849 wrote:
    Hi Susan. Happy Monday !
    Hope you had a great weekend.... During mine, I was thinking about questions I could ask....
    and I do have a few, but please let me know if you prefer for me to wait till your report is done. :)) I just couldn't resist.

    Here they are:

    1- Does this tour goes inside the Royal Palace in Rabat? at least to some of the internal courtyards or is it only from outside that we get to see it & take pictures ?

    2- Is there and actual visit to the Fez & Marrakech Medinas?

    3- Also a visit to the Fez Medersa?

    4- Maybe a chance to do any quick souvenir buys as the tour moves along... - magnets etc.. little stuff. I collect them and always buy 1 from each town.

    5- did your husband like the visit to the seaside town in Marrakech " Essaouira " is it worth doing?

    I personally want to do it and then do the cooking class on my own on my post stay. I have already contacted Le Maison Arabe and reserved the day. Did you like the class?

    Thanks for all your advices.... it makes it even more exciting! :))
    Milena
  • Good morning,
    1. No, did not go inside the Royal Palace. Drove around it, the best I can remember.

    2. Medinas are awesome. Yes to both. Not too much free time in Fes, but we had lunch in Fes medina and skipped desert and found 30 minutes. Narrow alleyways, donkey carts pulling their wares. Most interesting. Wait till you see the food area!! Marrakesh, more time. One day we had a partial walk-through.. The next day, they took us at 10:00, split up into groups and shopped. Truck representatives were around to help us. The medina is so large, if you went in by yourself, it may 24 hours later when you find your way out! Unbelievable day. We rode a horse drawn carriage, saw snake charmers has so much "eye candy", you need to know what you want ahead of your visit and how to bargain.
    Brief visits to medersas. I remember the SMALL student rooms where they lived.

    You will think there is no shopping time, since so much of it is at the end. That was frustrating and Tauck needs to adjust that in Fes. and along the way. There were many people getting "antsy", but it worked out toward the end. The matter still needs to be readjusted. There was lack of anytime to stop along the way. Too regimented.

    3. Husband did enjoy Essaouira. A lot of driving, not much in-between, but he was OK. He does not cook or spa, so ?? He bought ne additional Aragon Oil and I was happy.
    I totally enjoyed the cooking class. Very interested in cooking. Truck does need to build a visit to a spice stop. We go into a room filled with products, spices, aragon products and etc. They show us about 15 and explain, then we have an organized buying experience. I wanted the Moroccan mixed spices and several others. One of the highlights. About 10 of us went.

    I filled out a form from Tauck yesterday for a review, but poorly represented. Very limited room for comments. I hope they are reading this!

    The Morocco Tour is fascinating and we really enjoyed our opportunity to visit this most interesting country.
    If there was a way, I personally would skip Rabat, add additional time in Fes and Marrakesh and stops along the way.
    Casablanca is a large city, and we drove around it only because the king was at the Mosque and we could not go inside. I am sure there has to be something there beside the mosque and Rick's Cafe, but?? Beautiful hotel and had no chance to see it! 12 hour stay!
    Another concern is air transportation. We arrived in Rabat a day early as others did. Coming home, we returned from Casablanca. We got up at 1:30am for a 2:15am transfer. 2.5 hour drive back to Casablanca for a 7:40am flight to Paris. It went like clockwork, but the tour should somehow, end in Casablanca. Very little international air out of Marrakesh, from what we were told.

    Hope this helps you. My pleasure . Susan
  • edited April 2017
    My dear Susan , Thank you soooo much.

    Yes, these does help, specially after seeing someone gave this tour a 1 star review... never ever seen before for a Tauck tour. :(( Golush the reviewer claims 50% of the time was in the bus driving around and that some lunches lasted up to 3 hours ... to then have dinner again in the next 3.5 hours apart.;( CONFUSED... Lolol!!

    So .. the fact that you like it ,gives me peace of mind. I have follow your posts before and I think you pretty much think and like same things as me and I'm confident Tauck will improve the trip .

    The shopping matter is not a big deal, it was for little souvenirs stuff like magnets ... for the good ones like spices etc.. I will have xtra days... post tour. The cooking class I heard is excellent, that kitchen is well known... Do they sale spices on site?

    Spa time! that's my thing :))) I'm thinking 1 in Fez and 1 in Marrakech. do you think is possible. I was planning one @ arrival in Rabat, but the hotel is impossible to contact. What do you think about this hotel, do they even have a concierge desk? I'm arriving a day earlier and thought I could do a day tour to the Chellah etc..

    One sad thing.. is that This tour does not stop @ the Blue Town Chefchaouen , this would had been lovely. I spoke to a Tauck rep. they did try but was not suitable because of the distance.. maybe later.

    Yes, there is more stuff to see in Casablanca.. but it's like the trips to Cuba ( not talking about Tauck) people think Cuba is just all about Hemingway... so they visit his house, the many bars.. he went to.... many! Lolol!! and that's it, they love Cuba.. Lolol!!

    So, tell me please the mornings that according to the itinerary are free time is it really possible to go out and do something? or am I better off staying @ the hotel? this is on same day as the Berber tea and Desert

    About the air since I'm staying 2 xtra days , the last tour day + 1. I booked the flight out of Casablanca @ 6:00 pm which works perfect because I'll stay overnight in Paris and then take the direct flight to Seattle, now a days better to do direct flights as possible.... (to much drama @ the airports :( ) So Tauck will pick me around 12:00 pm just when I have to checkout.
    Well lady, Thanks again. if You happen to remember more please share.
    Have a lovely day.
    Milena
  • edited April 2017
    Tauck does make it very clear that their Tours make shopping time very low priority which I personally like. If people feel the need to have more shopping time, then they should extend their time in the beginning and end destination so that others, like me, can enjoy the site seeing. Tauck generally schedules free time on most tours so that people can shop, relax or see more cultural things. Or choose another tour company where there is more time for shopping. I do shop, but do research before i go on a tour about what may be of interest to me and then shop very quickly at the destinations so that it does not impact me seeing what is important to us.
  • edited April 2017
    WELL, SOMEHOW THIS SOUNDS LIKE AN ATTACK ON SHOPPERS....:))) and having read and share some posts with you British and having you been so helpful with GREAT! information before.. I know it's not your intention.... :))

    Yes, for 98% of us ...the reason for travelling is to see and enjoy other countries and their culture.! I'm in that 99%. :))))
    and Yes! I'm staying 2 xtra days after the tour.. not so much for the shopping but because I'm going to do xtra day trips to Ouzoud( the Cascades) the Ouarzazate ( Unesco site) and the movie studios ( Game of thrones ) and also a photography tour inside Marrakech ( alankeohane.com/morocco.html ) . But I did wanted to know if there was any possibility to buy magnets as we go.. :))))
    So, thank you very much for reminding us the purpose of Taucks trips and yes! Happy Travels.....
    Have a lovely day.
    Milena


  • We enjoy a good mix and shopping is one of the mix. I did research prior to going and like it or not, Morocco is known for several unique products and we wanted the time to look and purchase.
    Truck did not want us to go into the Marrakesh souk unattended. It is quite large and hectic. They were trying to make sure we did not get lost and I respect that.

    Time management on this trip is a problem and Tauck will work it out. A unique destination with much to see and do. We did not keep to our schedule and that made us return late.Logistics another. The trip needs a little downtime. I know we do not go to a place to rest, but there are some wonderful opportunities for spas, spices, food and having some time to just take in the customs. Too much time eating! As awesome as the food is, we had too much. I guess that is better than not having enough.

    I am sure Tauck will work with gathered information and fine-tune as they move along.

    Morocco is a grand destination.
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