Cool Cruise Event: See African Continent

By Marina Aagaard, MFE


Mediterranean Cruise Day 5: Excursion Day Tunis, Tunisia


The DAILY program a.m. offers only a Morning Walk in Tunis – apart from the usual daily fitness, spa, pools, sports equipment and games on your own.

So it is easy to make your mind up. Mine was made up even before this cruise started.

Arrival 06:45 La Goulette (birthplace of Italian movie star Claudia Cardinale)
All on board 13:30. Departure 14:00.

تونس‎, Tūnis, is the capital of the Tunis Governorate and the Tunisian Republic.
Greater Tunis population around 2.4 million. Total in Tunisia, the smallest country in North Africa, is 10.7 million. Busy neighbours: Algeria to the west and Libya to the east …

Option 1: Buy cruise ship half day tour excursion: EUR 99.
Option 2: Step off the ship (moored at La Goulette, the port of Tunis), go for an organized morning walk in the area or go on your own to Tunis … but it is 20-25 minutes by taxi or bus to the city centre. And don’t be late!

Visiting Tunis for the first time; I chose the excursion and got lucky.
A brilliant Tunisian guide with a wealth of interesting information about country and culture and entertaining, too.
An all-round nice excursion, too short though with so much see in and around Tunis.

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The Tunis Tour started with a short tour through La Goulette.

Then, finally, a visit to the extraordinary archaeological remains (especially the baths) of the ancient Phoenician-Roman city of Carthage, a UNESCO world heritage site, 18 km from Tunis.

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The Bathrooms of Carthage. The presidential palace in background.

The site oozes with history and reminders of how stupid war is …

“Ceterum autem censeo Carthaginem esse delendam”.
(Furthermore, I consider that Carthage must be destroyed)

Above Buzzword in the Roman Republic was uttered especially and persistently by the Roman senator Cato the Elder in his speeches in reference to the Punic Wars, a series of three wars between Rome and Carthage from 264 BC to 146 BC.

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Tunis is divided into the old medieval city, the Medina, and the new city; on half day tours the Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the target destination.

Full of narrow alleys home of several souks (marketplaces) and shops, for tourists (touristique routes) and for locals (off the beaten track), as well as palaces, mosques and mausoleums. Exotic and intense. You ought to spend at least a day there.

However, be careful not to get lost in the maze; this is apparently a frequent occurrence … also with cruise ship excursions, to the dismay of waiting companions.

Cruise Tunis Medina Perfume shop

Perfume shop in the Medina. Their samples will linger on, so beware.

As seen before shopkeepers are trying to get you into their shops with great perseverance, however, be careful, as much of the goods are ‘Made in China’.
E.g. look for rough edges and surfaces on pottery, if not, it is probably mass-produced.

Cruise Tunis Medina Alley

Medina back alley. When shopping look for the R-sign seen top right.
According to the guide a sign of guaranteed local ‘goods’.

Cruise Tunis Medina Doors

Summary:
Pro: Genuine African and Arabic hospitality and wonderous sights.
Con: A day is simply not enough, you need much more time to see Tunis and Tunisia; a popular holiday destination for e.g. Danes.

Late afternoon: On board once again, enjoying two mega-meals; for the first time made it back to ship in time for the 4-course lunch, lucky me, and a little later, in an informal dress, 5-course dinner.
Hungry for more?

Program of the evening:
Zumba Fitness, Let’s Dance with the Entertainment Team, Cadeaux French Style Variety Show, Salsa Dance Lesson, King of the Caribbean, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand Dance Music with Fabio at the Disco.

On a cruise it’s hard to avoid one’s mid-section getting too big,
so check out the dance program and take your pick, pick and pick.

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