First Gay Cruise To Visit Casablanca Turned Away

Currently sailing on what was promoted as “the first gay cruise to visit Casablanca,” gay and lesbian passengers on a chartered cruise were turned away by Moroccan authorities over the weekend. The Problem? Morocco’s Islamic religion and the laws of the North African country punish homosexuality.

Holland America Line’s 2106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam was chartered by RSVP Vacations for a seven-night, round-trip Mediterranean sailing to Barcelona that began June 29 and will end July 6.

The RSVP website highlights each stop on the itinerary, saying “we’ll be the first gay cruise to visit Casablanca, Morocco’s most famous coastal city,” inviting those on the special sailing to “bargain in the New Media markets, explore the Hassan Mosque, or head over to magical Marrakech.”

RSVP Vacations specializes in organizing tourist trips for gay and lesbian travelers. As FoxNews confirmed, on Saturday, RSVP’s agent in the port of Casablanca reported, “the authorities have cancelled the scheduled July 1 visit despite having previously confirmed it.”

Scheduled during the call in Casablanca was a visit to the Hassan II Mosque (pictured) and to several traditional marketplaces in the city.

After the stop in Casablanca, the ship was scheduled to sail to Cadiz, also in southern Spain, and then to continue on to Ibiza in the Balearic Islands, then to the eastern Spanish city of Valencia before ending in Barcelona.

Sunday, the ship docked in the southern Spanish port of Malaga after Moroccan authorities prohibited it from making its scheduled port of call in Casablanca.

[Flickr photo by Alex E. Proimos]