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Cruises to Tangier

35 Reviews
Tangier (Photo:Paul Kelly/Shutterstock)

About Tangier

Expect a heady blend of Middle Eastern magic, Berber tradition and European flair when you arrive in Tangier, located on Morocco's northwest tip. Overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar and less than 10 miles from southern Spain, this cosmopolitan city with soaring minarets and domes, has seen occupation by 12 nations since the fifth century. Tangier experienced a revival in the mid-19th century when European colonial governments fought for influence over Morocco. The city became a glamorous haunt of early 20th century writers and aristocrats. People like Matisse and Degas went there to paint, Tennessee Williams and William Burroughs to write, and others, including Errol Flynn, Gore Vidal, Winston Churchill and Aristotle Onassis, made it a place to see and be seen.

Known as the White City because of its dazzling buildings, the once-seedy Tangier consists of a walled medina, or old quarter, as well as the Ville Nouvelle, new town. At the center of the Ville Nouvelle is the Place de France, lined with banks, office buildings, cafes and restaurants and a favorite meeting place for expats. Opposite the French Consulate is the Cafe de Paris, one of Morocco's most famous cafes. During World War II, it was one of the meeting places for secret agents from Britain, Japan and America. Inside, it still has it original fittings and vinyl-covered banquettes. As with many Moroccan cafes and restaurants, alcohol is not sold (it gets top marks for mint tea and strong coffee, though).

Tangier's main square, Grand Socco, is hemmed with cafes, making it ideal for people watching and a good place to start a tour of the city. It is the entrance to the medina and comes alive at night with buskers, snake charmers and traders selling spices, rugs and vegetables. The sultan once lived in the Kasbah in the north of the medina, the highest point in the city. The gate opens onto a courtyard that leads to the Kasbah Museum. The Petit Socco -- little square -- in the medina is home to the Grand Mosque. Although entry is forbidden to the Mosque for non-Muslims, it is said to be built on the site of a Roman temple.

  • More about Tangier

  • Why go to Tangier?

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225 Reviews
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Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
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225 Reviews
Leaving:Genoa
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
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225 Reviews
Leaving:Alicante
Cruise Line:MSC Cruises
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14 Night
Canary Islands & Moroccan GemsDetails

155 Reviews
Leaving:Lisbon
Cruise Line:Seabourn Cruise Line
Apr 8, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Tangier

Why go to Tangier?

Pros:

Unique shops selling everything from handmade decor to antiques are hidden throughout the city

Cons:

Local guides trying to sell excursions can overwhelm tourists with what they see as pushiness

Bottom Line:

Tangier awes visitors with its beautiful white buildings, ocean views and peaceful aura

Tangier Cruise Port Facilities?

The port area has been undergoing redevelopment, with plans for a shopping mall and restaurants. It has been a slow process and isn't scheduled to be complete until 2016 or 2017. Besides an ATM, cafe and a couple of small shops selling trinkets, soft drinks and snacks, there are few facilities. A cable car transportation system is under way that will link the cruise terminal to the medina and will be a tourist attraction itself. But why hang around in the port area when the magic of Tangier awaits?

Good to Know?

Tangier is a relatively safe and peaceful city, but it is sensible not to walk around alone at night, especially in unlit areas and on the beach. Be careful of your possessions at all times, and don't flaunt any items that could be considered by some as a show of wealth. Solo female travelers might face unwanted attention from Moroccan men.

The only other annoyance you may encounter is from persistent touts whom you should ignore. Besides those who hang around the cruise port, you will see them in and around the medina and along the beachfront promenade. Some touts are obvious, while others may present themselves as friendly locals. The latter, referred to sometimes as "false guides," will try to give you a tour of the town and accompany you for as long as they can, then ask for money. Remember, a firm "No, thank you" -- La shukran -- usually does the trick.

Getting Around?

On Foot: It's easy to walk round Tangier, which is quite compact and simple to navigate. The two main roads are Boulevard Mohamed V, which runs close by the medina through the Ville Nouvelle, and Boulevard Mohamed VI (formerly Ave des FAR), which runs along from the beachfront from the port to Malabata.

By Taxi: "Petit" taxis are blue and hold three passengers, while "grand" taxis are cream colored Mercedes vehicles that hold six. Petit taxis are required to be metered, though drivers often refuse to charge by the meter. Make sure to agree to a price before getting in. Grand taxis are not metered, but even if you have agreed a price, drivers will sometimes try to overcharge you. Insist on getting the correct change.

By Guide: To arrange a guide, contact the helpful tourist office (29 Boulevard Pasteur; 0539 94 80 50; open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday)

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The dirham is the Moroccan unit of currency. There are plenty of ATMs in town where official rates automatically apply, but daily withdrawal limits can seem low if you are, for example, paying cash for rugs in the souks. For updated currency-conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. Credit cards are accepted at most higher-end hotels, restaurants and shops. Money and travelers checks can be changed at major banks, exchange bureaus and some hotels. ATMs can be found at Arab Bank on Avenue de la Resistance, a five-minute walk from where you're docked, and Credit du Maroc on Rue Lafayette, about a six-minute walk.

Language?

Moroccans sometimes switch languages mid-sentence, reflecting the different cultures -- Berber, Arab, French and Spanish -- that have saturated the country. Arabic is the official language, and the Moroccan dialect, Darija, is spoken on the street. French is still widely spoken in cities, though confusingly Spanish is often spoken in Tangier. If you only speak English, then it's no problem, you will get by in the main tourist areas. One Arabic phrase worth remembering, though, is "La shukran," which means "No, thank you."

Where You're Docked?

The cruise port is located not too far from the medina, about 500 feet from the Ville Nouvelle. It swarms with taxi drivers and tourist guides and is undergoing development work started years ago. There is a bus shuttle service into town.


Tangier Cruise Reviews
Again travelled independently and hired a guide for the day. He was fascinating, many stories of the cult era of the past. Lots of interesting buildings and history. Many shops in the bazaar with bargains. I love MorRead More
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Housie
Went to old town area which was like stepping back in time a few centuriesRead More
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Beachwood boy
Fabulous island experience.Read More
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Jeanniegwt
Walked around tangiers as it was ana ddition to cruise, we actually enjoyed the walk around but thats about it.Read More
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coach913

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