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Passage to Morocco (Hebridean Sky)

Passage to Morocco (Hebridean Sky)

From GBP £4,795

Description

Located in Sicily and on the North African coast, between the desert and the sea are some of Ancient Rome’s most magnificent sites which we will discover during this fascinating voyage from Malta to Casablanca. Our cruise begins with two days of exploration in Sicily, an endlessly fascinating island which lends itself beautifully to discovery by small ship as most points of interest are close to the sea. We will visit the magnificently sited Doric temples of Agrigento and Segesta, one of the grandest Doric monuments to survive.

Like Sicily, North Africa’s Barbary Coast is best explored by sea and after a morning in the Sardinian capital of Cagliari we will sail south to Algeria where the favourable desert influenced climate has been remarkably kind to the historic sites. During our two days in Algeria we will visit Bejaia from where you can discover the Roman ruins of Djemila, some of the finest preserved in North Africa. We also spend a morning exploring the ancient city of Tipaza which was probably founded by the Phoenicians but really came into being under the Romans and Medieval Tlemcen, one of the country’s finest cities.

For those who enjoy exploring the ancient world, this itinerary has it all. The magnificent sites provide an unparalleled experience of life in classical times which, with the help of our knowledgeable Guest Speaker and local guides, will be brought vividly back to life.

Trip Name
Passage to Morocco (Hebridean Sky)
Days
10
Overview
Vessel Type: Expedition Length: 90.6 metres Passenger Capacity: 118 Built / Refurbished: 1992 / 2016 The MS Hebridean Sky is one of our three flag ships and sister vessel to the MS Island Sky and MS Caledonian Sky. All three vessels were built in the same ship yard in Italy at similar times and share the same excellent attributes that make them three of the finest small ships in the world. Formerly known as the Sea Explorer, the vessel underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment in Sweden in Spring 2016 before being re-launched as the MS Hebridean Sky. Your Suite. On board there are 59 exceptionally spacious and well-designed suites. All feature a sitting area and fourteen suites have private balconies. The feeling of luxury is enhanced by the wood panelling and brass which predominates throughout the vessel conveying the atmosphere of a private yacht. The passenger accommodation is arranged over five decks and all suites have outside views with suites on the Scott and Shackleton Decks featuring private balconies. Each suite affords considerable comfort with en-suite bathroom featuring vanity unit with sink and walk-in rainfall shower, large wardrobes, dressing table with large mirror and stool and excellent storage. There is a minifridge, flat screen television and a telephone in each suite. Refillable water bottles, towelling dressing gowns and slippers are also provided for your comfort. Additional facilities include a programmable electronic safe, hairdryer, assorted Molton Brown toiletries and individually controlled air-conditioning and heating. Soft hues and blended tones enhance the traditional maritime style making the passenger accommodation an inviting and relaxing place to be. The beds in each suite can be configured as twins or double with the exception of suite 601 and 602 which feature fixed double beds. The impressive Hebridean Suite, located on the Shackleton Deck consists of a separate bathroom and sitting room with extra large balcony stretching the length of the suite. Additional benefits of booking this marvellous suite include complimentary mini-bar stocked with your preferences and complimentary laundry. Your Space. The spacious and finely decorated public rooms on board the MS Hebridean Sky include a large lounge on the Byrd Deck featuring a selection of seating options from individual armchairs and sofas to side cushioned benches. Daily briefings given by the Cruise Director and talks from Guest Speakers and expedition staff take place in The Lounge which is fitted with the highest standard of presentation equipment including multiple screens. In addition to the Lounge, there is also The Club, located on the Mawson Deck which features the main bar where the onboard pianist plays periodically throughout the day. The Club also offers a 24-hour tea and coffee station. Towards the aft of the ship on the Mawson Deck is The Library which is well stocked with reference books pertaining to the destinations the vessel is visiting and a selection of essential reads. A collection of games and devices to access the internet via the ship’s satellite can also be found in the library. Access to the ship’s satellite Wi-Fi via your own device is complimentary on board (signal strength varies depending on location and demand). The Dining Room which can seat all guests at one sitting is located on the Amundsen Deck and is a bright and charming setting to enjoy the delicious meals on board. Outside there is a rear Lido Deck located on the Scott Deck where meals are served in warm weather under shade. Whilst heaters and blankets make dining al fresco comfortable in cooler climates. Further to this, on the top Shackleton Deck there is an observation area which offers a fantastic platform for spotting wildlife complete with deck furniture, ideal for relaxing with a book or catching up with fellow travellers. You will also find a clinic and Doctor on board and a lift that serves all decks. Additionally there is a small hairdressers with appointments made on request. Your Dining. It is quite a task to create a dining experience as that found on board our Sky vessels when you are cruising in far-flung corners of the globe, indeed it takes a team of highly talented chefs to deliver fresh, varied dishes no matter where you are at sea. Fortunately, our catering teams are well adapted to the world of small ship cruising where no two days are the same and the menus are often scheduled and tailored around the days’ excursions. With only one sitting and a maximum of just over 100 passengers, the cuisine on board is of a consistent superior quality that befits such vessels. Where possible and when it meets their high standards, our accomplished chefs will obtain local produce in markets. Such purchases enhance the well-stocked larders and enable the chefs on board to exhibit their culinary skills and bring a local touch to the varied menus, emphasising the international expertise of the chefs on board. Afternoon tea and pre-dinner canapés take place every day in either the comfort of the Lounge or out on the Lido Deck when the weather is favourable. Tea and coffee are also available 24 hours a day. Special diets can be catered for with sufficient notice. In keeping with the informal atmosphere on board, when dining you are able to choose your seating arrangements at your leisure. Whether that be joining a table of four to six other passengers outside on the Lido Deck in the evening’s sunshine or whether you prefer to enjoy meals in the à la carte restaurant. For those travelling alone, our onboard friendly restaurant staff will take care to ensure you are seated with other like-minded travellers. In the main elegant dining room, breakfast is served buffet-style, with certain items cooked to order on request. Lunch and dinner are à la carte with an excellent choice of dishes, with the menu reflecting the daily catch or local delicacies. To enhance your dining experience even further a selection of wines are included with both meals and there is also a comprehensive wine list with a wide selection of new and old world wines from which to choose. The onboard catering and restaurant staff are experienced at sea and enthuse a passion for superb service. Whether it be ensuring you have an outdoor blanket as you enjoy the crisp sea breeze on the Lido Deck or sharing their knowledge of the characteristics of the days’ wine selections, you will experience a service on board like no other. You may also enjoy sumptuous barbeques on deck whilst at times, the chef will make your dish to order at special pasta or stir fry stations. For Your Comfort. The MS Hebridean Sky is equipped with the latest safety, navigation and communications equipment along with roll stabilizers to minimize the ship’s motion. During your voyage we hope to offer the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the Bridge to check the vessels progress by charts and learn more about your journey. There is also a dedicated channel on your television in your suite showing the routing of the vessel along with technical information and estimated times of arrival and departure from port. On board you will also find a clinic and Doctor and a lift that serves all decks. Smoking on board is restricted to a specific area on deck. Life Onboard. If large resort-style vessels accommodating many thousands of passengers are your ideal, then our ships are not for you as you will not find endless entertainment, round the clock buffets and the people management which is so much a part of today’s big ship on board style. However, if like us you prefer a more peaceful life at sea you will find our flagships the perfect vessels. When choosing your next voyage the choice of vessels is astounding. You can select a ship carrying in excess of 4000 passengers with impersonal service or join us aboard the MS Caledonian Sky, MS Island Sky or MS Hebridean Sky where peace, high quality service and attention to detail are the order of the day. We promise there will be no organised entertainment, fancy dress, deck games or any of the usual big ship experiences. Instead, the atmosphere is warm and convivial and more akin to a private yacht or country hotel in which you can learn more about the wonders of nature, culture and ancient civilisations in the company of like-minded people. A little music in the lounge or bar after dinner, Guest Speakers and informative port briefings from our Expedition Leader or Cruise Director and of course good food with wine included at lunch and dinner, all contribute to make any voyage aboard these wonderful vessels a memorable and joyful experience. After a day ashore you will return to the comfort and peace of an exceedingly comfortable ship. The daily programme on board is in the capable hands of our Cruise Director or Expedition Leader and staff who coordinate with the Captain and Officers to make the most of each day. Briefings and talks will be provided throughout the voyage together with a ‘Daily Programme’ that is distributed every evening to your suite outlining the next day’s activities. Dress on board is casual and relaxed and there will be no ‘black tie’ evenings.

Itinerary



Day 1 - Day 1 London to Valletta, Malta.
Fly by scheduled flight. On arrival transfer to the MS Hebridean Sky and enjoy welcome drinks and dinner as we sail this evening.
Day 2 - Day 2 Agrigento & Valley of the Temples, Sicily.
Although handsome in its own right and awash with Medieval atmosphere, Agrigento is not our main reason for calling at this southern coast port. Close by is the Valle dei Templi, a series of Doric temples and the most captivating of Sicilian Greek remains, and a grouping unique outside Greece. Surrounded in the greenery of olive and almond trees, admire the Temple of Hera, the Temple of Concord, the Dioscuri Temple, the Temple of Olympic Jove and the Temple of Hercules. After lunch on board the afternoon is free to explore Agrigento and shuttles will run from the port to the town and the excellent archaeological museum where you can explore at leisure.
Day 3 - Day 3 Trapani.
Trapani was the landing point for Peter of Aragon in 1282 to start the Spanish occupation of Sicily and is our base for the day. From the port choose to either travel to the nearby town of Erice, famed in antiquity for its temple dedicated to the goddess of love, the Phoenician Astarte, Greek Aphrodite or Roman Venus. A tour will take us to this stunning site high above the sea and to the beautifully preserved Medieval town characterised by its winding cobblestone streets and beautiful courtyards. Alternatively, travel inland to explore Segesta, one of the grandest Doric monuments to survive. See the unfinished temple dating from 424 BC as well as the theatre from which you can enjoy excellent views of the countryside and distant coastline. Both tour options will end at an 18th century family run olive oil farm where we will learn about the production process and also enjoy a lunch of locally sourced dishes and wines. After lunch there will be time to explore Trapani at your leisure or return to the ship before we sail later this evening.
Day 4 - Day 4 Cagliari, Sardinia.
Arrive over breakfast in the Sardinian capital of Cagliari, an ancient city which dates back to the Phoenicians and Romans. During our walking tour we will stroll around the old town with its narrow streets running along a steep hillside. See the terraced Piazza del Palazzo and the 14th century Cathedral of St Mary. Alternatively, drive along the southwestern coast to reach Nora which was founded by the Phoenicians but also has Carthaginian and Roman ruins. After a period of Roman prosperity, there was a decline and in the 3rd century AD the city was engulfed by the sea. Still visible today are the remains of Carthaginian warehouses and various Roman buildings including the baths with splendid mosaics and the theatre. Return to the ship for lunch as we sail this afternoon towards the North African coast.
Day 5 - Day 5 Bejaia, Algeria.
Bejaia is built on a beautiful bay protected by mountains which give the city a splendid backdrop. A minor port in Roman times it was named Saldae having been founded by the Roman Emperor Vespasian and is our base for a choice of excursions today. Maybe choose a full day tour to Djemila, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 due to its unique adaptation of Roman architecture to a mountain environment. In a remarkable setting the ruins are some of the finest preserved in North Africa. We will drive along a very scenic route and traverse spectacular scenery as we climb from little Kabilya towards the high plateau of Setif where the Roman ruins are located. View the Arch of Caracalla, the Forum, the Basilica and the Temples before seeing the mosaics which are displayed in the museum, representing the best collection in Algeria. This is a long but rewarding excursion. Alternatively, there is the option to drive through the valley of the Soumman, the legendary meeting place of the leaders of the Freedom Fighters. It was here that they launched the revolution of the 1st November 1954 which lasted for seven years until they gained independence for Algeria on the 5th July 1962. Afterwards visit a Berber village in Kabylia where we see a typical house and various workshops where things are still made in the oldfashioned unhurried way. Enjoy a “dégustation” of Berber olive oil whilst tasting the different types of bread and other local produce as we gain an insight into Berber culture and history.
Day 6 - Day 6 Algiers.
Depart this morning for the ancient city of Tipaza which was probably founded by the Phoenicians but really came into being under the Romans. The city was extended by Emperor Claudius and grew wealthy on Mediterranean trade. It was built on three small hills which overlooked the sea. There are ruins of three Basilicas, two cemeteries, the baths, the theatre, the Nymphaeum and the unusual oval shaped Amphitheatre. After visiting the city we will enjoy a typical Algerian lunch before continuing to the mysterious Mausoleum of Mauretania, which lies in the hills above the sea about 18 kilometres away from Tipaza. It is one of the most breathtaking sights in Algeria. The vast pyramid-like structure is named the Tomb of the Christian on account of the large crosses that decorate the tomb which predates Jesus Christ. We return to the ship via the Martyrs‘ Monument which offers spectacular views over the city.
Day 7 - Day 7 At Sea.
Spend the day at sea, maybe join a lecture or find a spot on deck to relax.
Day 8 - Day 8 Ghazaouet for Tlemcen.
This morning we reach the western side of Algeria and the port of Ghazaouet located close to the border with Morocco. From here we drive approximately 50 miles inland to Tlemcen, an interesting and cultured city. Our visit will include the 11th century Great Mosque and the deconsecrated Sidi Bel Hassan Mosque which was transformed into a museum in 1901 and houses a selection of mosaics, carvings and pottery. After a local lunch we will continue to El Mansourah to see the remains of an old minaret and El Mechouar, which was built as a citadel in 1145 before it became the royal residence of the Zianide dynasty in the 13th century.
Day 9 - Day 9 Tangier, Morocco.
Having passed the Straits of Gibraltar this morning we arrive in Tangier at lunchtime. Since Tangier was founded in the 4th century BC, Carthaginians, Romans, Phoenicians, Vandals, Arabs, Spaniards, Portuguese and the English have jealously fought for the right to control it. On an afternoon walking tour we will explore the Medina, see the views from the Kasbah situated at the highest point of Tangier, visit the museum and then wander through the Grand Souk. Alternatively, drive across the beautiful Rif Mountains to Tetouan. Visit the unique School of Art Dar Sanaa which is situated in a former palace and teaches the most traditional of Moroccan crafts to its students. We continue to the ancient Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, full of narrow alleys and streets with vendors selling local handicrafts, foods and spices. Our tour will end at the old Royal Palace, a 17th century building which is itself a reflection of the Hispano-Moresque architecture, and the nearby Hassan II square. Stop to savour the Moroccan tea and fresh pastries at a local Riad in the heart of the Medina before returning to Tangier.
Day 10 - Day 10 Casablanca to London.
Disembark this morning and transfer to the airport for our scheduled flight to London.
Day 11 - Please Note:
Itineraries are subject to change.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
04-10-202113-10-2021GBP £4,795Amundsen Deck Standard Suite
04-10-202113-10-2021GBP £6,195Scott Deck Deluxe Balcony Suite
04-10-202113-10-2021GBP £6,495Shackleton Deck Owner's Balcony Suite
04-10-202113-10-2021GBP £6,995Shackleton Deck Hebridean Suite
04-10-202113-10-2021GBP £4,995Byrd Deck Superior Suite
04-10-202113-10-2021GBP £5,295Mawson Deck Premium Suite
04-10-202113-10-2021GBP £5,695Mawson Deck Corner Suite
04-10-202113-10-2021GBP £5,995Amundsen Deck Standard Sole
04-10-202113-10-2021GBP £6,195Byrd Deck Superior Sole

Inclusions

    • Discover Agrigento & Valley of the Temples, Sicily.
    • Visit Trapani & Cagliari, Sardinia.
    • Explore Tangier, Morocco.

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