Last-minute advice for Morocco tour

Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 11:19 AM
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Last-minute advice for Morocco tour

This will be my first, short, trip to Morocco.
This is the tour I am close to booking
www.isram.com/isram/index.htm

The abridged itinerary is
Day 1: SATURDAY: EN ROUTE
Day 2: SUNDAY: CASABLANCA/RABAT
Day 3: MONDAY: RABAT/MOULAY IDRISS/ MEKNES overnight in Fez
Day 4: TUESDAY: FEZ
Day 5: WEDNESDAY: FEZ/BENI MELLAL/MARRAKESH
overnight in Marrakesh.
Day 6: THURSDAY: MARRAKESH
Day 7: FRIDAY: MARRAKESH/CASABLANCA
Morning at leisure in Marrakesh for shopping or relaxing. OR, take a day trip to Essaouria. Return to Marrakesh
departure to Casablanca. overnight in Casablanca.
Day 8: SATURDAY: EN ROUTE
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the U.S.

It's a rushed itinerary, a quick trip, but I can't spend more time on this occasion and I'm thinking of it as a Morocco sampler. Comments very welcome, including whether to take that last day trip to Essaouria
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 11:49 AM
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hi Elaine.i am moroccain , and i work in tourist fils , and as i read your tripe planning, i thought that you are going to miss something very important. you are coming to morocco , and i can tell you that , even you have short tripe, that there is something very beautiful and magic you are going to miss in your tripe, it is the desert.have nice tripe,
Rachid
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Old Jan 23rd, 2008, 12:22 PM
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I think that you have to focus just on the other days and you have to skip going to Essaouira inorder not to get tired because you will have too much driving doing this trip .
I wish you a nice trip
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Old Jan 24th, 2008, 05:09 PM
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Essaouria would be on the last day, I imagine I'll already be tired from this fast-paced itinerary.

I will be sorry to miss seeing the desert, but not sure I can manage that on a short trip and still see the cities.

any other comment, such as on the tour company Isram?
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Old Jan 25th, 2008, 05:43 AM
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Hi dear all Fodors team .

This will be right we had did the imperial cities and desert on 8 days trip :

first night ; Meknes
second night(visit ....) ; Fes
threeth night ; Desert
fourth night ; desert
fiveth night ; Ouarzazate
sixth night ; Marrakech
sevnth night ; Marrakech
At morning transfer to Casa airoport .

even we had shot time we really enjoy it and we had wonderfut trip , we used berberespace.com , sames good , longe experience , you can contact them my have chance.feel free to ask .
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Old Jan 27th, 2008, 10:27 AM
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<<FRIDAY: MARRAKESH/CASABLANCA
Morning at leisure in Marrakesh for shopping or relaxing. OR, take a day trip to Essaouria. Return to Marrakesh
departure to Casablanca. overnight in Casablanca.>>

Unless you go to Essaouria on Thursday, I don't think you have time to go to Ess, back to Marrakesh and then on to Casablanca for the night before your flight.

Do you know how long the drive, or bus/train ride is? My impression is that it's a few hours both ways so you wouldn't get much time there if you go on Friday.
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Old Jan 29th, 2008, 12:13 PM
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I have booked the trip, have decided not to include Essaouria. It's a hectic trip as it is, and a few hours there won't make that much difference, I fear.

I'm looking for a private guide for Fes. The tour provides a sightseeing tour, but I want to spend time in the Jewish Quarter, and don't know if my group tour will spend much or any time there.
Guide recommendations appreciated.
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Old Jan 30th, 2008, 09:21 AM
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elaine, I used ISRAM to tour Morocco for 10 days in April 2007.I did the same tour you are doing plus the desert.

Overall I found their reliability to be EXCELLENT. Our driver was always on time and was always exactly where he said he would be.

We drove 800 miles with him in those 10 days and saw a large part of the country. On days when we were driving a lot, we took breaks at nice clean cafes or restaurants with nice facilities.

We chose a tour of 4 and 5 star hotels and they were ALL unbelievably gorgeous. Marble lobbies, beautiful pools and gardens, gorgeous dining rooms, just spectacular. Especially at night with the up-lights on the palm trees.

In each city we took a tour with a local guide, very knowledgeable and very good english.

I do have some complaints. More than once the local guide took us into a shop (under the guise of seeing some authentic something or other) where the sales pressure for whatever (rugs, ceramics, etc.) came on very hard. We found the whole ritual to be exhausting since we often were not buying but the sales pitch just keeps going.

The other complaint is that there was no place for sponteneity. Every sight, every cafe break and every restaurant for lunch was planned out
and pre-determined. I under stand that this is done to ensure the traveler a clean, tasty meal in the allotted time but often we were delivered to a restaurant and told "You take your lunch now"
when we werent even hungry yet or we wanted something else.

oh well. you take the good with the bad.

good luck with your trip planning. ISRAM was competely professional and dependable. There was not one singe moment when we did not feel looked after.

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Old Jan 30th, 2008, 02:49 PM
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elaine -

Isram as very reliable.
Just looked at the itinerary and as it's not the Jewish Heritage tour, doesn't seem they include these sites (though from friends who have done this previously, they did manage a few heritage stops). You might want to discuss with Isram what you want to do in Fes and ask for recommednation of guide. There must be one, who does this for their scheduled Jewish Heritage tour.

Do you know how many others are scheduled for this trip? If only a few or just you, it might be easy enough to modify once you're in-country.

And, as to comments re being brought to shops for souvenirs, etc., never (anywhere in the world) feel uncomfortable saying no!
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Old Jan 30th, 2008, 06:54 PM
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thanks so much for the feedback on Isram. I've traveled a fair amount, but this is my first group tour, and I'm a bit worried, but so far I haven't read anything that I don't sort of expect. I do plan to skip out on the Isram sightseeing for the day in Fes, and work with my own guide. We overnight again in Fes that night anyway, so I won't risk missing transport or not catching up with the group at the hotel.
I did opt to splurge on the deluxe hotels.
I essentially will see nothing of Casablanca, which I've heard both pros and cons about. No desert either. ):

I've heard of the hard sells in shops on group tours. I'm resigned to the lack of spontaneity, as the itinerary is chock-full and almost no free time is mentioned. I'm thinking of this as a "Whitman's Sampler" of Morocco--pre-determined choices, not unadulterated, generic, but, reliable and safe.
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Old Jan 30th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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forgot to add, the group is said to be 15 or fewer.
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Old Jan 31st, 2008, 02:00 PM
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Elaine-
One of the things I liked about booking with Isram is that they would guarentee the tour with a minimum of two people.

While I also imagined there would be about 15 peole or so, when we arrived in Casablance we found out that our tour would be made up of ONLY TWO PEOPLE - me and my husband! The two of us with a private driver in an SUV.

We frequently bumped into another Isram tour group which was made up of only 6 people.



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