Decision in Venice
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venice cruise ship ban

After years of going back and forth, Italy finally passed a law to ban some cruise ships from going through Venice. However, it should be no surprise as petitions by people concerned with the ecology, local residents and celebrities had secured enough awareness to overturn a previous decision.

Italy once again changed their decision regarding whether larger cruise ships will or will not be allowed into the famed city of Venice. Presently, arrival into Venice is a star attraction for cruise passengers and 650 cruise ships pass through the city each year.

Environmentalists asserted that irreversible damage to the Venetian lagoon’s ecosystem is caused by ships sailing through the city’s shores. There has been also been additional concerns are about potential damage to some of the iconic landmarks of the city. Cruise lines may now only pass 1000 feet away from the legendary St. Mark’s Square to provide a stunning view without upsetting the delicate balance of the water.

The About Turns

About2Cruise ran this story in November 2013. It reflected in turn about the directive being passed regarding cruise ships in Venice. Enrico Letta, the then-Prime Minister and the Italian legislation ordered a directive stating that ships weighing more than 96,000 tons would not be permitted to sail in the waters. It went further and determined that cruise lines with fleet members weighing in at 40,000 tons or over must be reduced by at least 20 percent.

However, in March 2014, those restrictions were rescinded following an appeal by the Venice Passenger Terminal Authority. Travel in Venice via a cruise was back in business. With the amount of ships continuing to make its way into the lagoon, the public outcry and celebrity involvement only made the government’s concern slightly more justifiable to have another look.

Celebrities such as Julie Christie, Cate Blanchett, Sir Michael Caine, Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon, Isabella Rossellini and Diane Lane petitioned against cruise ships from entering into the Venetian lagoon. Passing historic buildings such as St Mark’s Basilica by a cruise ship had to end and it appears they have finally won their battle.

“It seems to me to be a balanced solution which takes account of our duty to remove the skyscrapers of the sea from the canals of Venice, while safeguarding a world heritage city that is the envy of the world and protecting the city’s economy which is so linked to cruise tourism”, stated Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi when making the announcement.

The New Route is still in the Discussion Stage

No doubt this will take a large percentage out of the cruise industry’s influence in the region. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) vowed to keep the ships out of both the Giudecca Canal and Saint Mark’s basin. They added, ”We agree that a sustainable solution for Venice requires a new alternative route for ships and so we are pleased that the Italian government is working very hard to find a sustainable solution”.

The unknown route that ships will be forced to take in the coming months remains in the discussion stage. One proposal that sounds promising is to dig a new channel stretching three-miles and reaching Venice’s main shipping terminal, ‘Stazione Marittima’.

CLIA has urged the Italian government to be swift on this alternative route and begin dredging immediately. Any delay in construction could mean that some cruise lines will not be able to offer Venice as a port of call in 2015.

Most Ships wiil be Unaffected

Most ships are unaffected by tonnage restrictions and will continue to enter the lagoon. The ships that are mostly definably banned and in excess in weight include the Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Silhouette, Costa Fascinosa, Costa Magica, MSC Fantasia, MSC Preziosa, P&O Ventura and Regal Princess. Which ships over 40,000 tons that will be part of the 20% cut is anyone’s guess at this date?

However, there is a silver lining for certain members of the industry, such as Azamara, Oceania Cruises, Saga, Seabourn, SeaDream, Silversea and Voyages to Antiquity. Their passengers will continue to have unsurpassed views whilst arriving in Venice and meandering through Saint Mark’s basin.

What is your opinion on this decision?

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Venice Cruise Ship Numbers WILL Be Limited
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Venice

After years of tireless campaigning and countless protests, the Italian government has announced that it will start limiting the number of cruise liners that will be allowed to dock in Venice. Starting in January of 2014 the government has stated that cruise line numbers will be cut by around 20%.

Protesters have been campaigning for many years as there are a number of reasons why cruise ships sailing into Venice, through the main lagoon is detrimental to the city. It is thought that although cruise ships traverse the lagoon incredibly slowly, almost inching along, they still cause an incredible amount of damage to this fragile city.

Venice is a city that is already known to be sinking and cruise ships put even more strain on the delicate foundations. It is already well-known that Venice won’t be around forever, as it is slowly dissipating and slipping into the waters that surround the city.

SO SAD THAT FUTURE GENERATIONS WON’T BE ABLE TO SEE THIS CITY

It’s terrible to think that a city as beautiful as this won’t be around for future generations to see and if banning or reducing the number of cruise ships will preserve it for longer then I absolutely think everything possible should be done to make it happen.

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta announced plans to open up a new canal route into Venice which would allow cruise ships to continue to visit this wonderful city, but to enter by a completely different route thereby completely cutting the damage to the foundations of the city.

From November 2014 cruise ships which are larger than 96,000 tonnes will be banned from entering the city via the lagoon. There are modern cruise ships which now gross more than 200,000 tonnes and can carry more than 6,000 passengers and 5,000 crew members.

People from the groups who have been protesting have commented in the press that this is a good first step in their fight to ban cruise ships from Venice, but that it is simply a first step and their campaign to ban ships completely will go on.

Watch the Video below to see How Big a Cruise Ship looks in Venice

Campaigners argue that as well as damaging the foundations of the city, cruise ships bring unsustainable numbers of people to the city. They argue that having cruise ships bringing thousands of passengers each and every day during the summer months and having them flood into the canals, alleys, streets and bridges of the city has a negative impact as it becomes too crowded and touristic.

There are however, a large number of people who have a positive view of cruise ships visiting Venice as they welcome the economic benefits that come with having large numbers of tourists visit. This is obviously unbelievably helpful for shop, bar and restaurant owners in Venice who rely on tourists for their income throughout the year.

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Venice Cruise Ship Debate Reignited
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The debate over the sailing of cruise ships into and out of Venice has been raging on for years however, it has been wholly reignited due to the recent death of a tourist on the congested waterways of the city.

German tourist, Joachim Vogel, was enjoying a gondola ride with his family when he was crushed against a dock by a reversing water bus near the world-famous Rialto Bridge. This tragic accident has understandably led to a strong crackdown on water traffic within the city and Italy’s Environment Minister, Andrea Orlando, has yet again put forward proposals that cruise ships be banned from the narrow waterways.

Gondolas in Venice

The rise in cruise ship traffic in 2013 alone has been around seven per cent which has seen the anti-cruise ship protesters up in arms yet again. Although they enjoy the economic benefits of cruise ships passengers visiting the city and buying souvenirs, taking tours with local operators, eating meals and generally contributing to the economy, they believe it is not worth it for the level of corrosion that ships passing through the lagoon cause.  

If you’ve ever visited the undeniably beautiful city of Venice before then you’re sure to have noticed the high levels of congestion that exist within the city’s main waterways. Authorities have now introduced many new safety regulations on the canals, including a ‘floating congestion zone’ on the Grand Canal which they feel will ease the chaotic rush hour waterway traffic.

Grand Canal

In June of this year Venetian residents organised a flotilla of protesters who want rid of the giant cruise ships from the city and they managed to hold up the departure of a cruise liner. They believe that the large ships cause irreparable damage to the delicate foundations of the city and its canals.

The Mayor of Venice has proposed that cruise ships dock at the nearby port of Porto Marghera instead of travelling through the lagoon, in front of St. Marks Square, easily dwarfing the entire city.

There have also been calls to create a floating off-shore port which would then see cruise passengers brought into Venice via smaller tender boats. This however, would surely not be a viable option given the latest cutbacks on traffic in the waterways of the city.

Another viable option is to dredge a different route for cruise ships to pass into the city and allow them to use the same port as they do today. This newly dredged route would not see ships pass so close to the centre of the city and St. Marks Square.

St Marks Square

I have previously stated that I’d prefer cruise ships to be banned from Venice’s canals and moved to another nearby port instead. I believe that if it means the preservation of the city for a longer period of time then it will be absolutely more than worth it. Venice is a beautiful and unique city with a rich and vibrant history that we should be aiming to protect for further generations to explore and enjoy.

Do you think cruise ships should be banned from entering Venice in order to protect the city?

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Venice the highlight of many Cruise Itineraries
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Venice is undoubtedly one of the most famous cities in the world. It is the highlight of many cruise itineraries and sailing into and out of this wonderful port is sure to leave you with many wonderful memories.

Although at present cruise liners are able to sail right past Piazza San Marco, offering cruise passengers unrivalled stunning views over the city, this could soon be a thing of the past. There have been many protests recently over the damage that large cruise ships sailing up the canal are causing to the fragile foundations of the city.

Piazza san Marco

It is likely that cruise ships will soon be banned from entering the port of Venice through this route and instead be forced to call in at a nearby port and passengers will have to be transported to the heart of the city of Venice, or ships will have to enter into the port via another route. So, if you want to enjoy views of Venice from the upper deck of a cruise ship sailing into or out of the city then you should probably do so soon before cruise ships no longer enjoy this luxury.

Once you reach Venice you will no doubt be caught up in the magic of the city. The stunning architecture is one of my favourite things about the city. The Bridge of Sighs, St. Mark’s Basilica, the Rialto Bridge and the opulent buildings which line the Grand Canal are all absolutely stunning and well worth visiting.

St Marks Basilica

Beyond all the main tourist sights, one of the main things I recommend anyone to do in Venice is to put down the map and simply wander through the maze of streets away from the tourist crowds. You don’t have to worry about getting lost in Venice though – there are signs dotted throughout the city that will steer you back to Piazza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge. It is in the back streets of the city where you will get a charming glimpse of local life in Venice that many tourists simply do not see.

History lovers are bound to fall head over heels for the city of Venice and it’s fascinating, scandalous and enchanting past. Venice was once one of the most important port cities in the world and as such was a prosperous and exciting place for residents to live. A tour of the Doge’s Palace and the jail next to it will enlighten you on many of the details of Venice’s past and give you a glimpse into what it was like to live here at this time.

Doge's Palace

Venice is one of the most photogenic cities in the world. Everywhere you turn your eyes will rest on something beautiful, whether it’s a gondola gently floating down a canal or an opulent building slightly crumbling due to the force of the waters upon which it rests. This is one port to make sure your camera is fully charged and ready to capture those sights!

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The Environmental impact of Cruising
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In a world which is becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of its actions, it is only right that the environmental impact of cruising be looked into and constantly monitored and improved. With cruise holidays becoming more and more popular with more passengers travelling by ship every year and bigger ships constantly being built environmental impact is undoubtedly a contentious issue.

How responsible is cruise tourism for the environment and is it an eco-friendly form of travel? How are cruise companies working to reduce their negative impact on the fragile environment?

With 24 new ships(including NCL’s Breakaway below) scheduled to be constructed within the next 5 years in Europe alone and cruise ships are increasingly becoming larger and larger and evolving into floating cities, rather than a simple means of transportation and their impact is something which clearly needs to be closely monitored.

Norwegian Breakaway

There are many regulatory bodies such as the International Maritime Organisation who ensure that the cruise industry is one of the most highly regulated within the travel industry. There are a number of steps which cruise companies have taken in recent years to ensure their environmental impact is reduced.

Fuel efficiency is one of the main ways cruise companies try to ensure they aren’t causing the environment unnecessary damage.

A number of changes have been brought in over time to ensure greater fuel efficiency and less consumption which has included reducing cruising speeds and cruise ships spending longer in many ports in order to preserve fuel. This is also excellent for passengers who can enjoy a few extra hours on land exploring new places. A number of cruise companies have opted to stay overnight in many ports such as St. Petersburg, Venice and Singapore which allows passengers to see these places by night and gain a new perspective on them.

Singapore

All newer ships are designed with fuel efficiency and economy in mind. This includes their hulls being painted, designed and continually cleaned in order to greatly reduce drag through the water.

Older ships have also had their engines completely replaced with newer, more efficient engines which has worked to immensely reduced fuel consumption and thus, environmental impact.

Cruise companies have also improved their on board waste sorting and recycling facilities. I haven’t seen a cruise ship rubbish bin for years that hasn’t had separate compartments for different types of waste such as aluminium cans, paper and glass. Many cruise ships even have recycling facilities on board which allows them to crush items into manageable sizes which are then transported to recycling plants on land.

With all these practices in place, plus many, many more, it is clear that the cruise industry as a whole are committed to reducing their environmental impact and are attempting to be as green as possible.

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