Is Tunisia safe these days?

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#1
46 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
I admit it. I'm a weenie. But hey - we'll have the kids with us. Is Tunis safe these days? Back in October they issued a safety warning, but I'm sure a zillion ships have stopped there since. Anyone been there recently? Also, if we do get off the ship, maybe we could just "stay close" to the ship. Is there anything right there at the pier other than the rip-off camel rides? Thank you so much
#2
19,523 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
I was in Tunisia in late October last year. We had stops in La Goulette (Tunis) and Sousse. The ship I was on, run by Swan Hellenic, includes most shore excursions, so I took those, but never felt unsafe. In fact, I really liked Tunisia (this visit confirmed the impression I got from my first visit there the year before) and am planning to go back for a 2-week land tour in October of this year.

Safety is relative, I guess. My "safe" might translate into someone else's "I wouldn't go there." Some ships were still cancelling stops in Tunisia when we were there. But Tunisia is much more stable than many of the surrounding North African states (e.g., Libya, Algeria).

There's not much to do near the port other than the already-mentioned camel rides and a (mostly empty) building that's supposed to offer shopping opportunities.
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#3
46 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Thanks for the reply. We usually don't purchase shore excursions from the ship, but I'm thinking in this case we will - why that makes us any more "safe" I don't know, but it gives me a little piece of mind
#4
Wirral, England
1,428 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
We have been fairly regular travellers to Tunisia over the last 15 years or so. We last went in autumn 2010 (booked on a very good offer just after the uprising settled down there on a very good price). It was much the same as ever, but quieter obviously. Someone had said that there were more bag snatches and scams have always been around in North Africa generally (eg. I work at your hotel......... - hoping to act as your guide)!

There is a Metro train line that runs very close to the cruise terminal and you can go into Tunis that way, but equally you can go in the other direction to Sidi Bou Said (a picturesque blue and white coastal town) and Carthage (historic ruins which spread along a stretch of coast), so you would not have to travel into Tunis. Details can be found online. In Tuniis, you will find the train station to the Medina to be one side of the town and the government buildings are beyond the medina from the main train stations. We have usually stayed in Sousse and have done the mainline train to Tunis as well as a lot more independently (including short hotel stays elsewhere by train and car hire. The traffic is extremely busy by Tunis and the port area, so we turned back in our hire car, deciding to do it by train someday. We have never visited Tunisia by cruise ship.

If you are not used to North African countries you may well be better sticking to a trip, but a third alternative would be to get a taxi to the coastal area I mentioned - suspect that you will be ripped off as cruise passengers, (you may need to haggle a bit), but it would be cheaper than a trip. Must admit we are going to Egypt and a couple of Greek ports next month and we have decided to do ship's trips because of the uncertainty of transport there. Tunis is not unsettled in the way those coutries are, but La Gouette is in a busy part of the Country. The trains a good and have a regular service - but check online if you are going to do that.

I will still be round for about a week and will be happy to answer any questions you may have in that time. I do not have first hand knowledge of the port area, but remember getting a good view of the train line on Google earth. You would probably need local currency for the train and you cannot get it outside Tunisia as it is a closed currency. I have heard Euros are accepted by Taxis, but would imagine those rates to be a total rip off. I have never come accross anyone accepting anything other than Dinars.
#5
Wirral, England
1,428 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Sorry I meant we were there autumn 2011 booked previous April. Dates do not mean much to me now we are retired!!

Barbara
#6
California
1,709 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
We were there last November and it was very safe. We were being very careful and booked our only ship excursion at that port. Many people took the taxi and they seem to have a good system at the port where set prices were posted.
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#7
46 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Thank you much for the information. I would like to take the train to the MEdina, and then to the WWII cemetary. Can you tell me the best way to do this? This is the only port that is making me a bit nervous! Was thinking the train to the Medina, (is it medeena or medina?) and then a cab to the cemetary.
#8
Wirral, England
1,428 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
annim -

I cannot place a world war II cemetary in, or near, Tunis, but that does not mean there is not one there. The Medina (walled old town and souks) is faily near the train terminus - just walk down a main road. I assume you can find maps. Tunis Medina is quite big and easy to get lost in, so you would be best allowing time to get lost and then find your way out again. The roads in central Tunis (near the Medina) are very busy so, unless the cemetary is very nearby, we may prefer to do a tour ourselves, if we were needing to get back to a ship later that day.

We have been away for about a month and I know some news broke during that time about a resignation in Tunisia - President I think - so I do not know what may have happened over there, but you probably do.
#9
593 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
It has been about a month and a half since the assasination of an opposition leader and a month plus since the resignation of the president.

Cruise ships still goes there, so I guess it should be relatively "safe"?
#10
St Ives, England
2,155 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by annim
Thank you much for the information. I would like to take the train to the MEdina, and then to the WWII cemetary. Can you tell me the best way to do this? This is the only port that is making me a bit nervous! Was thinking the train to the Medina, (is it medeena or medina?) and then a cab to the cemetary.
The cemetery you mention shows at around 4.12 in this http://youtu.be/d5KJCAV9uks
I don't know exactly where it was but it was very close to the La Malga Cisterns. All the best, Tony
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#11
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
253 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
WE just got back from a 34 day T/A from Ft Lauderdale to Dover. One of the stops was La Goulette (Tunis). We booked a private tour for 6 for a very reasonable cost which included Carthage, Sidi bou Said, and the medina in Tunis. In Tunis itself there was a small demonstration in the centre of town, and the army was fairly conspicuous. A fair amount of barbed wire around some monuments, but everyone looked very casual and laid back. We never felt anxious in any way, even walking in the area.

Our guide, Kemel, was a fount of information and gave us a good introduction to life in Tunis. Democracy, as we know it, is comparitavely recent in most of N. Africa, but religious freedom has always been a big part of normal life in Tunisia. Islam, Judaism and Christianity all seem to mingle very well. It is, after all, only the fanatics who claim that God only likes their way to worship him.

I would have no hesitation in returning to Tunisia, and hope to be able to explore more of this wonderful country in the future.
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#12
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
253 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
I should add thathen we were there our guide took us to the cemetary (American) but it was closed, probably as a safety measure because of the recent demos.
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#13
Hudson Valley New York
5,679 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
Sounds like a good spa day. Just my gut feeling.
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#14
NY
505 Posts
Joined May 2013
Originally posted by Davensteph
WE just got back from a 34 day T/A from Ft Lauderdale to Dover. One of the stops was La Goulette (Tunis). We booked a private tour for 6 for a very reasonable cost which included Carthage, Sidi bou Said, and the medina in Tunis. In Tunis itself there was a small demonstration in the centre of town, and the army was fairly conspicuous. A fair amount of barbed wire around some monuments, but everyone looked very casual and laid back. We never felt anxious in any way, even walking in the area.

Our guide, Kemel, was a fount of information and gave us a good introduction to life in Tunis. Democracy, as we know it, is comparitavely recent in most of N. Africa, but religious freedom has always been a big part of normal life in Tunisia. Islam, Judaism and Christianity all seem to mingle very well. It is, after all, only the fanatics who claim that God only likes their way to worship him.

I would have no hesitation in returning to Tunisia, and hope to be able to explore more of this wonderful country in the future.
Hi Davensteph, We are going to do a ship excursion in Tunisia. We have to pick two locations and most are places you visited (Carthage, Medina, & Sidi Bou Said, which you went to, and the Bardo Museum, which you didn't mention). Did you prefer any stop in particular? Thanks!
#15
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
253 Posts
Joined Jan 2006
Hi Juvesgirl

We didn't do the Bardo museum, although I understand there are some beautiful mosaics there. We did go to a high point in Carthage where there is an old convent which has been converted into a museum. Wonderful artifacts and mosaics there too.

One place our guide took us to which I have not seen mentioned elsewhere, was the Roman aqueduct and cistern, built to bring water to Carthage from the Atlas mountains.

All in all it would be difficult to pick one place as a favourite

Be aware than some more violence has flared up downtown. Mostly the problem is between the old guard who want to enforce sharia law and the modern (mostly young) who wish to retain the rights and freedoms of a secular society. A great shame that religion can destroy a beautiful people and culture.
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#17
Chicago & Florida
5 Posts
Joined May 2013
Originally posted by Davensteph
WE just got back from a 34 day T/A from Ft Lauderdale to Dover. One of the stops was La Goulette (Tunis). We booked a private tour for 6 for a very reasonable cost which included Carthage, Sidi bou Said, and the medina in Tunis. In Tunis itself there was a small demonstration in the centre of town, and the army was fairly conspicuous. A fair amount of barbed wire around some monuments, but everyone looked very casual and laid back. We never felt anxious in any way, even walking in the area.

Our guide, Kemel, was a fount of information and gave us a good introduction to life in Tunis. Democracy, as we know it, is comparitavely recent in most of N. Africa, but religious freedom has always been a big part of normal life in Tunisia. Islam, Judaism and Christianity all seem to mingle very well. It is, after all, only the fanatics who claim that God only likes their way to worship him.

I would have no hesitation in returning to Tunisia, and hope to be able to explore more of this wonderful country in the future.
Could you provide contact info regarding your guide?
#19
Northeast Georgia
596 Posts
Joined Aug 2002
In looking at tours for Italy I discovered that Share A Shore Excursion dot com does a tour in Tunisia.
It covers, Carthage, Sidi Bou Said, the Medina, and the Bardo Museum. You can book for 1 to 20 people. In comparing it to the Best of Tunisia tour offered by our HAL Noordam cruise it would be slightly more expensive if we get 6 people to sign up, but probably worth it to not deal with a crowd of people. Just a thought. This is a highly recommended company on Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor (at least for Italy).
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#20
Winnipeg, Manitoba
35 Posts
Joined Apr 2014
Originally posted by love_the_sea
In looking at tours for Italy I discovered that Share A Shore Excursion dot com does a tour in Tunisia.
It covers, Carthage, Sidi Bou Said, the Medina, and the Bardo Museum. You can book for 1 to 20 people. In comparing it to the Best of Tunisia tour offered by our HAL Noordam cruise it would be slightly more expensive if we get 6 people to sign up, but probably worth it to not deal with a crowd of people. Just a thought. This is a highly recommended company on Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor (at least for Italy).
Hi Anne How was your tour I am on HAL Noordam May 7th and wonder if its worth a tour like this?