Posted May 10, 2012
Squeezed between Algeria and Libya, Tunisia is a gem of the Mediterranean, brimming with ancient history and a new and exciting luxury travel scene. This small nation is a Princess cruiser's dream with its diverse natural landscape and perpetually warm sea breezes. During a Mediterranean cruise, passengers will have countless opportunities to work on their tan and visit some of the oldest ancient relics in the world.
Due to its small size, much of the natural scenery can be seen during a brief shore excursion with Princess Cruises. Toward the north, small lakes teeming with majestic pink flamingos are surrounded by lush forests and rolling hillsides lined with wild olive and citrus trees. Further south, the outskirts of the Sahara Desert provide an eerie orange hue and wavy heat mirages taken straight out of a classic Western film. Situated throughout the countryside are ancient sites that bridge together African and European histories.
Explore Carthage during a Princess shore excursion
The ancient city of Carthage was founded in the 9th century B.C. and was once the greatest trading empire of the Mediterranean. Home to the brilliant Phoenicians, Romans and finally Arabs, this port city remains as one of the most famous historic sites of the ancient world. Carthage was the birthplace of maritime construction and for centuries dominated the high seas.
Tunis was a trading ground for precious commodities such as ivory, gold, pottery and jewelry, serving as the gateway between Europe and Africa. Fought over for hundreds of years by the Greeks and Romans, Carthage has emerged today as a prime example of Roman extravagance and grandeur.
The foundation of the city is still intact and passengers on Mediterranean cruises will have a few hours to roam around the ruins, taking memorable photos of millennia-old stoneware and sculptures. While walking through the city, visitors may notice that it bears similarities to modern metropoles with its carefully thought-out grid system. Many of the larger meeting places such as theatres, baths and temples have remained shockingly complete.
Don't miss the blue-and-white city on the hill: Sidi Bou Said
Perched on the hillside overlooking the Bay of Tunis, the blue-and-white Sidi Bou Said is a milestone of any Mediterranean cruise vacation. With its plaster-cast walls and royal-blue doorways, colors that are mandated by the city, Sidi Bou Said is a great stop to take a pleasant walk and peruse through authentic bakeries and cafes. The hilltop city is filled with cobblestone streets and warm locals that are more than happy to talk about their favorite spots to snap a photo. Notorious for giving dozens of kisses on the cheek, Tunisians are among the most charming people on the Mediterranean.
Passengers who want to get the best view of the sea in northern Africa can take a short walk to the tip of Sidi Bou Said, where they'll be treated to panoramic views of Tunisia's coast and the emerald waters.
Spend an evening indulging in a Tunisian cocktail
Before heading back to your Princess ship, spirited passengers may want to spend some time mingling with the locals at one of the luxurious and vibrant cocktail lounges in Tunis. The friendly staff at Manhattan know how to whip up an immaculate cocktail in just minutes, which is perfect for passengers who want to get back onboard to enjoy an evening of fine dining on their cruise ship.