We'll be visiting Casa by ship and not excited about the offering from the cruise line for tours. Does anyone have any good personal suggestions for alternative tour companies or other ideas? Interested in architecture, the markets, art in particular. Is it safe to wander around by ourselves? Thanks!
It's safe and cosmopolitan, large city. You may need to take a taxi, so insist that they use the meter. Do be careful of your valuables, as you would traveling anywhere. We recommend a money belt for deep reserves that you might not need to access. The big mosque is the key sight of the city. The old Medina is small, so I don't think you'll get lost, and the newer one is more orderly.
Casablanca is quite a modern city, so I'd be looking to go elsewhere to get more of a taste of Morocco. Rome2Rio.com says Rabat is 60 to 75 minutes away. It shouldn't be a problem to make that trip and get back to your ship. There must be some information on cruising web sites. A guidebook to Morocco should lay out the transportation options. I made the one-way trip myself, about 30 years ago, but I don't remember whether it was by bus, train, or shared taxi. Unless they've improved a lot, you might not be happy with the condition of some of the buses or of the shared taxis. If Rome2Rio can be believed, a regular (not shared) taxi would be the equivalent of 45 to 60 euros one-way. A private tour would probably be affordable. Sorry that I don't have any experience with that sort of thing.
Morocco is kmown for its lovely crafts. I'm sure there must be some good shopping possibilities in Rabat or Casablanca.
In addition to responses here, you can ask on Cruise Critic. Here's their Africa and Middle East Ports Forum: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=32&order=desc
It looks like there's a train every half hour, which takes one hour between Casa Port and Rabat Ville stations; www.oncf.ma.
We were in Casablanca for a port stop in March 2011. We wanted to go to Marrakesh, but it seemed a bit much to get there. Some people did it ok.
We took a tour to Rabat, the capital city, saw the Royal Palace and some interesting historical sites. It was a pretty nice day. The only thing to see in Casablanca is the huge mosque. We did stop at the end of our tour and had a photo stop of 15 minutes.