Thank you (Indus) for arranging our recent travels.
We returned from our Magical Douro Cruise and the Marvellous Morocco tour last weekend. We would like to offer some feedback on our travels.
The cruise was excellent overall. We were very pleased with the ship, the destination and the meals. The staff were very friendly. Our room was efficient and clean. The entertainer on board was not very entertaining (I know that is not under your control). The scenery along the river is amazing. The optional excursions were satisfactory, but a little pricey, and usually involved a fairly long bus ride with not quite enough time at the destination (about half the time was the ride). The price of the cruise was a good value. We would recommend the cruise to others.
We enjoyed seeing Morocco, but somehow we missed out on a day of sightseeing. The Indus itinerary has the tour participants arriving in Casablanca for the first day (day 2, April 17 - day 1 is for the overnight flight to Casablanca). There are no other details of activities for that day in your description, other than being transferred to the hotel. While we did not use your services to book our flight, as we travelled independently in Portugal after our cruise, we did arrive in Casablanca at a reasonable time (mid-afternoon) on April 17. You had advised us of a change in itinerary in advance, and that we would be staying in Fes that evening. The driver, much to our delight, did greet us at the airport and take us to Fez. It was a 4-hour drive. The next morning, we met our tour guide on the bus at 8:15. That day, we were driven from Fez to Rabat, where we had a tour of a few hours, then to Marrakech to our hotel. The total driving time that day was about 7 - 7 1/2 hours. We basically back-tracked the route from the day before from Casablanca to get to Marrakech. We are wondering why we weren't just put up in a hotel in Rabat, and the tour group could have met us there, instead of all that extra driving (Casablanca to Fes, only to sleep, and then back to Rabat and then Marrakech, passing by Casablanca. (Look up the cities on a map if you are unsure.) We asked the others on the tour, and they had visited Meknes and Fes the day before. So we missed out on this part of the tour, despite arriving on the day when the tour began. (Meknes was not in your tour description, but the village of Beni Mellal is.)
Our tour guide, Moustafa (I think), from Monarch Tours, was very friendly and knowledgeable. The bus driver was safe and punctual, the bus was clean and comfortable, and the size of the group (9) was a bonus! The hotels we stayed in were all excellent - very clean and spacious, with lovely grounds and excellent food.
The optional Fantasia show outside of Marrakech was interesting, but we were disappointed overall. The dancers and musicians were enthusiastic as they greeted us, but there seemed to be an expectation of giving a tip for photos, which seemed unnecessary after having already paid a fairly high price for the excursion. The food was tasty, but the servers did not serve with much enthusiasm. The food was served no earlier than 9 pm,, which I feel was too late for most of us who are not used to eating so late (yes, I realize that there are cultural differences, but I believe that most of the tourists who were present do not normally eat so late). The show itself in the arena seems to have been very entertaining, but it was very dark in the arena (it began around 10 pm, and was not well-lit) and therefore it was difficult to appreciate the riding exhibitions and the belly dancing. So we would say that this show could be significantly improved if done in the daytime, when one could see and appreciate it better.
We had 3 nights in Marrakech. The day after our arrival there, we had a full day with Moustafa, and saw a number of sights in this fascinating city. The next day was a full day on our own in Marrakech, and the following day, after our arrival in Casablanca (shortly after noon), we had that day to ourselves, as well as the next day to ourselves.
So of our 6 days in Morocco (day 7 we flew home), there were no arranged activities/tours on 3 of the days.(I realize that the Hassan Mosque tour was cancelled, as you had informed us). We felt that we were a little shortchanged on our "tour" of Morocco. Based on what we saw (or didn't see) of Morocco, we would not recommend this particular tour.
Sal and Catherine Badali