WHEN choosing Morocco as your holiday destination, it is vital to go there for several full days to tap in to the soul of the country.
You can do just that on The Senior/Travelrite International's 2020 tour of the entrancing North African country, which serves up a generous helping of Spain and Portugal as well.
And what's more you can it in style, cruising between most of the ports aboard the comfortable and relaxed Celebrity Apex.
Guests on the tour, which will run from May 8-27, will spend five full days in Morocco, visiting such famous places as Marrakech, Casablanca and Fez, with a host of marvellous sites in between.
Whether it's a visit to a souk, or market, with its amazing colours and spicy scents, an astonishing Moorish palace or a surprisingly cool and green garden, the memories will last a lifetime.
Departing Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, guests fly to London and a tour of the city before transferring to Southampton the next day to board Celebrity Apex for Le Havre in France. Disembarking after a night at sea, passengers the head off to Giverny, to visit the villa and renowned gardens of Impressionist painter Claude Monet.
After the next leg enjoying the wonderful facilities of the ship, the vessel arrives in the Spanish port of Bilbao. After a period of decline this Basque city is thriving again, as can be seen its astonishing architecture. Guests will enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Old Town, including a visit to Frank Gehry's gleaming Guggenheim Museum.
Still in Spain, the city of La Coruna is next. See the Romanesque collection of squares and medieval churches, and the famous Tower of Hercules, a lighthouse believed to have built by Emperor Trajan in the 2nd century AD.
Day nine finds visitors in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, with its eclectic blend of neighbourhoods, culture and architecture. After a tour of the city, visitors are taken to mesmerising Sintra, which with its palaces and castles, is like a page of a fairytale book. For those with a nautical bent, monuments dating back to the voyages of discovery are also on the itinerary.
Next day the vessel anchors at Gibraltar, and of course there is a tour of the Rock, which has been held by Britain for centuries. Make you see the Barbary apes.
Cartagena in Spain is the next port of call. Highlights will include the city's most impressive art nouveau building, Cervantes House, and the mighty Roman theatre of Carthago Nova.
On arrival at Barcelona on Day 14, guests bid farewell a final farewell to Celebrity Apex and hello to Morocco, after a flight to Casablanca. Then it's a drive straight to beguiling Marrakech, for three magical nights.
Located to the north of the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, Marrakech is an ancient city kept bustling by craftspeople and the art and design scene of the Ville Nouvelle.
Accompanied by a local guide, guests visit the Koutoubia Mosque, the largest in Morocco, before working their way to Jemaa el Fna, a square full of fortune tellers, musicians and food stalls. Another stop is Le Jardin Secret, a traditional garden. Once owned by a powerful local chief, this historic riad is one of the most beautiful in Marrakech and combines exotic and traditional Islamic gardens.
Next day it's off to the 19th-century Palace of Bahia, spread over eight hectares and resplendent with oriel windows, marble, carvings and paintings surrounded by refreshing green courtyards. Saadian Tombs, near the Kasbah Mosque, dates back to the 16th century but was only rediscovered in 1917. It is most famous for the Chamber of the 12 Pillars, made from Italian Carrara marble and pure gold.
Day 16 is spent in Morocco's the largest city, Casablanca, where guests will visit to Hassan II Mosque. A showcase of Moroccan artisanship, it's one of the few mosques in the country that tourists are allowed to enter. On a more secular level, Ricks Cafe, a recreation of the bar made famous by Bogie in the movie classic Casablanca, is also on the itinerary
En route to Fez, guests visit the imperial city of Meknes, famed for its Spanish- Moorish style. Tour stops include Heri Es Souani, the king's immense granaries and stables. Arriving in Fez, be amazed by the World Heritage-listed medina, made up of winding alleyways full of market stalls and craftsmen. A visit the famous tannery and its dye pits is a must.
On Day 19, guests bid farewell to marvellous Morocco, heading for Casablanca and their flights home to Australia, where the tour ends on May 27.
Launching in April 2020, Apex features an innovative outward-facing design. A destination it itself, the vessel will soon have guests surrendering to the pleasures of the Rooftop Garden and enjoying fine cuisine at its stylish restaurants, bars, and lounges.
With so many facilities on board, there are options galore at sea. You may like to take a cooking class or enjoy a little pampering or a massage in the day spa, or maybe just a fun game of bingo or trivia. Or perhaps take a ride on the Magic Carpet, a floating platform that reaches heights of 13 stories above sea level. Want to learn more about where you're going? A destination enrichment talk is the thing.
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Prices for the 19-night tour start at $7990 (twin) and $10,990 (single) and include flights, accommodation, guided sightseeing, tours and meals. To learn more, or obtain a brochure or full itinerary, call 1800-630-343 or visit travelrite.com.au
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