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Is it safe to get off the ship in Tunisia?

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Apr 20th, 2011, 10:05 PM
  #1
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Is it safe to get off the ship in Tunisia?

Our HAL Mediterranean cruise is scheduled to stop for a day at La Goulette, Tunisia the middle of May. Has anyone disembarked there recently? Our media tells us it is unsafe to go there. Would HAL stop there if we were at risk? Would appreciate input.
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Apr 21st, 2011, 07:29 AM
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We were there last summer and took the ship's tour and found it rather uninteresting, or maybe it was just the tour that was up to the usual curise ship standard - captive shopping. The point is, you most likely will get lucky and have the port of call changed. At wny rate, I, personally, would stay on the ship.
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Apr 21st, 2011, 11:10 AM
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We stopped there with HAL about 1 1/2 years ago -- before the recent unrest. We generally wander about on our own but for this port we took a shore excursion because we were unfamiliar with the country and the ship terminal was a long distance from the center of town. The excursion stopped at a museum and the main bazaar. Guide was overbearing and bossy but both my husband and I really enjoyed getting off the ship and having a look around. All in all, we found it well worth having the chance to at least see a glimpse of North Africa. Given the volatility of the region, I would probably book a shore excursion, but this may be an excess of caution. Hope this helps and enjoy your cruise. We sail on the Noordam next week but will not be stopping in North Africa this trip.
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Apr 21st, 2011, 01:48 PM
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insuremytip.com always wise

and group tours always best in unstable areas

monitor travel.state.gov for current safety advisories

Good luck!
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Apr 21st, 2011, 06:13 PM
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We were also there before the current unrest. When we got off the ship, we hired a cab driver to take us to the Bardo Museum (fabulous), a driving tour of the city, and to the Medina, where we did a self-guided walking tour I found in a book, at the Grand Mosque, a palace, and some small museums. We thought it was a wonderful day.
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Apr 22nd, 2011, 06:18 AM
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Tunisia has great museums and some excellent Roman ruins that aren't far from the cruise port, so I guess it depends on your interests. La Goulette is not in Tunis itself, and I suspect it's going to be fairly tranquil there if the cruise line has decided to resume port calls. If you feel uncomfortable going into Tunis by yourself, then don't, but I haven't heard any reports from people who have been there recently because most of the cruise lines have stopped their calls. I'd make sure that HAL hasn't rescheduled this port call for you, but most lines are going back to Egypt now, and it's safe ... I suspect the same can be said for Tunisia.
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Apr 22nd, 2011, 09:21 PM
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I'd love to see the Bardo museum, ruins, etc in Tunisia and had looked forward to it--when we booked our cruise last year. But I sure don't want to be foolish and take unnecessary risks either if disruptions and demonstrations are occurring regularly at this point. I figured if HAL is saying they are still scheduling Tunis as a stop, then other cruisers must have stopped there recently. I was hoping to hear from someone who has been there during the past month or two. Thank you everyone for your input.
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Apr 23rd, 2011, 09:18 AM
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No one has been there recently. Port calls haven't started up yet, and I suspect yours will be one of the first if it does happen. But the State Dept. Travel Advisory is still in effect until July, so my guess is that, while the State Dept. says the situation has stabilized in the tourist zone, HAL will cancel at the last minute and redirect you to Malta or Sicily. That's just a guess, however. I have no inside information. I suspect the decision will be made in conjunction with HAL's insurance carrier. Go on an organized excursion and perhaps visit Carthage. Just avoid Tunis, and that will take you away from the possible demonstration areas, though things there have been much quieter of late.
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Apr 29th, 2011, 09:03 PM
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Thanks Doug. Appreciate your thoughts!
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May 1st, 2011, 08:30 AM
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Hi

We stopped there last year. Of all the ports in North Africa, this port felt the "safest". Port is in the middle of nowhere so you are left with three options: private tour, ship tour or cab. A word of caution, however ... our private tour guide decided not to show up one day before. We were left with the cab option which was absolutely no problem.

Cabs were very well organized with a long line of them just outside the ship exit. Prices and excursions available are clearly posted. I think we paid on the return.

Infrastructure of country is very nice, good roads. Cabs were small, but clean. We visited the Medina where there were many annoying people trying to get you to visit their shops. Somewhat of a maze so try to remember shops on corners where you turn or get a map before you leave. We then continued to the American cemetery and Carthage. All in all a great day.
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May 1st, 2011, 01:46 PM
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Another point, when we were there - July 2010, the Bardo Museum was open, but under repair. It is said to be spectacular, but was a portion of itself. Somewhat disappointing.
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Jul 19th, 2011, 10:08 PM
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Decided to take an excursion in Tunisia--May 11,2011. It was a wonderful experience! Felt completely safe staying with group and guide. Went to Carthage. Saw a mini coliseum that we could completely walk through and explore on our own; the Carthage museum; a huge, beautiful excavated roman bath at the base of the presidential palace; and other places. Sidi Bou Said was a fun experience bartering with the shop keepers on prices--tip: NEVER pay the asking price. They were very appreciative to have tourists shopping because they really want/need our $$. The local people we encountered were friendly and respectful. I certainly wouldn't have just ventured out on my own, though.
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Jul 26th, 2011, 12:20 AM
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Elaine, thanks for posting back! I remember your thread from a few months ago, and it's really great to hear that everything went well.
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