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Kick me if you've read this before....

In the on again off again saga off where to park the cruise ships in Venice, it's off again.

The long-running debate about cruise ships sailing through the waterways of Venice, Italy took a turn on March 25 with ministers from Italy agreeing to a temporary ban on large cruise ships docking in the historic city. When the cruise industry returns to service, large ships will divert to a nearby industrial port.
https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/italy-agrees-to-divert-cruise-ships-from-venice-to-industrial-port

The government admits this is a temporary solution. I do wonder if it will also be a partial solution to the crowding issue since it will be more inconvenient for passengers to get into Venice and so maybe cruise lines will bypass.
This will leave only the ships that originate at Venice meaning passengers will likely stay for a few days prior to their cruise and spread the visits away from daytrippers to overnight.

Posted by
1623 posts

When you see a cruise ship pull into port it's a good idea to go in the other direction.

Major tourist cities need to reevaluate tourism.

Posted by
4445 posts

If the ships will be going to Marghera they'll still be traversing the lagoon. The biggest problem, as I understand, has been the traffic through the Canale della Giudecca, north of the island of Giudecca. Seems like they could still use Venice's own terminal but travel south of Giudecca instead. Then passengers could disembark much closer to the city as they do now. I don't get why it's an improvement to bring them the long way from Marghera through Mestre and onto the causeway. Unless the idea is to try diverting some to other mainland destinations like Padova and Verona.

I like the idea of reserving the Venice terminal for cruises starting and/or ending in Venice, in hopes that passengers will spend more than a day there and add some revenue. But I'd think that would be the majority of cruises -- no?

Posted by
3559 posts

It was discussed a year or so ago, but I thought at the time it was further down the coastline.
Let's face it, anyone that hasn't been to Venice will still want to at least do a day trip, and you can bet that bus transport will be available...either as ship tours, or port transport. It may reduce ships in the main city, but people will still come and all go to St. Marks.

Posted by
123 posts

The coverage in the Guardian notes that there is now a 'call for ideas' on where to build a new cruise ship port OUTSIDE the lagoon.
The Maghera location, still inside the lagoon, but NW of Venice itself, is a temporary fix. And may be closer by bus than the airport express, which is how I usually arrive in Venice. As lovers of Venice know, a decision to stop cruise ships sailing past St Mark's was overturned by a new mayor, and in any case seemed to be thwarted by owners having their vast boats towed past St Mark's. Lip service to the complaints. Some wonderful videos have appeared showing the clear, settled waters of Venice full of marine life as the constant boat traffic was stopped for the first time since WW2. Vast cruise ships are not safe in the pandemic. and only if Venice builds a power grid link at the new terminal will the ships be able to turn off their diesel engines. It can be done - Vancouver does it.
By the way, Jan Morris died last year; her 1960s book on Venice sits next to Donna Leon's essay collection on Venice on my shelf.

Posted by
3419 posts

From the article linked: "passengers will no longer have the opportunity to enjoy the scenic transit of the canal past the famed St. Mark’s Square and other historic locations."

I say hooray to that.

It's images like this, with big ships dwarfing St. Mark's that make me hope they will never be allowed anywhere close to beautiful Venice again. 

Posted by
4338 posts

If you want to see Venice (or most places) then you can’t cover much in a day off a boat. Those who really want to see Venice will go and have longer there and spend more money for the locals.

Posted by
1594 posts

I couldn't find the article I was looking for, but sometime in the past year I read an article that discussed the negative environmental impacts if the cruise ships moved somewhere else and provided transportation into Venice. The most likely scenario was boat transport to St Mike's Square which would add even more traffic congestion to the area. For every action there is a reaction, and not always positive. Just math in my head and not based on any statistics, if 4000 passengers on a cruise ship needed to be transported by boat to Venice, and each boat had space for 50 passengers, that's 80 boat trips. If its a busy day with 5 cruise ships that's 400 boat trips. What's the environmental impact of that?

In any case, to reinforce the title of this post, here's an article from 2012 announcing that cruise ships will no longer be parking within Venice. https://www.travelweekly.com/Cruise-Travel/Venice-plan-would-reroute-cruise-ships-away-from-city-center This is an issue that is never going away.

We took a cruise out of Venice in 2017 and loved it. But we also spent 5 days in Venice prior to the cruise and when I'm asked, I'll always answer that Venice needs more than a day trip, but I also loved my cruise.

Posted by
4129 posts

Could some massive cruise ships be used right now to download some of the cargo on that boat that’s wedged in the Suez Canal? It might lighten its load. Is anybody kicking themselves, waiting for the passage to clear? I hope you’re not too bruised from your post, Allan - could be some kicking going on, if someone actually took you up on your suggestion.

Posted by
24616 posts

Could some massive cruise ships be used right now to download some of the cargo on that boat that’s wedged in the Suez Canal?

Something similar has been considered, not using cruise ships which don't have acres of flat deck to hold containers. This morning it was said that offloading the containers would add two or three weeks more.

Posted by
4129 posts

Too bad there wasn’t a cruise, and they had passengers do a “ shore excursion,” transferring to the cargo vessel, then reboarding onto the cruise ship with an armload of goods. They’d have a little photo backdrop to take a selfie with their arms full of cargo, then could go back to the pool or the buffet. Not the same as a big crane, and the shipping containers couldn’t be removed all at once, but it might move the needle a couple of millimeters.

I wonder if the toilet paper that’s apparently so much of the cargo on the ship was, ironically, ultimately headed for Venice?

Posted by
24616 posts

I don't see the link between containers of toilet paper and Venice...

Posted by
4129 posts

Apparently a lot of the cargo on the marooned ship is toilet paper, and reports have been suggesting that until the ship is freed, another round of TP shortages could happen worldwide, although for a different reason than the store shelves were empty a year ago.

Big boats have been inundating Venice in recent years —> the stuck cargo ship is a big boat —> if it’s got TP destined for Venice, and that’s not getting to Venice, and a shortage occurs in the interim, it’s another situation in Venice with a big boat in the equation, however small that connection might be.

And toilet paper is handy while in Venice, occasionally. It’s currently something that links much of humanity. Venice is a desired destination shared by much of traveling humanity.

Posted by
4129 posts

And TP, generously stuffed into the seat of one’s pants, might just provide some level of padding, should that person get booted in the rear. Allan could maybe use that padding, if someone takes him up on kicking him, as the thread title suggests. He might have hockey padding, though, that’ll do a better job, and if there’s no more TP around, it won’t be an option anyway.

Posted by
24616 posts

where do you see what cargo is in the ship's containers?

The only references I can see to toilet paper is that a wood pulp seller is concerned about finding enough containers, nothing about the stranded ship is full of toilet paper.

Posted by
4129 posts

To wrap up the TP bit, several news sources, on TV, radio, and Internet, have mentioned toilet paper as being among the items being held up by the grounded ship fiasco. I don’t know how much, or where it was being transported, but allegedly it’s a significant amount, and its delay could reportedly be problematic.

Steering back to the topic, easier than that Suez cargo ship can steer at the moment, Venice is clearly trying everything they can to balance desired tourism with its deleterious effects.

They’re also looking at curtailing AirBnB opportunities, as I posted here a couple days ago, although that hadn’t generated any responses as of now:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/florence-and-venice-restricting-airbnb

Posted by
1480 posts

I've watched several travelogues and documentaries about Venezia in the past few years, I'm surprised no one has mentioned the other real problem with huge ships in the canals. Namely, waves! The buildings in Venice are all slowly eroding because of all the wakes from passing boats, but a cruise ship takes this to a whole new dimension. And those shots of giant cruise ships passing St. Marks Square are terrifying. And as for why people only do a day trip to Venice from the ship - because that's all they get, and so that's all they do! Nicki Positano mentioned that Asian tour groups are notorious for doing day trips from Rome that include Pompeii and Capri, think about THAT for a minute.

Posted by
4129 posts

notorious for doing day trips from Rome that include Pompeii and Capri

Wow - is all that accomplished in the morning, so they can stop off in Naples for a pizza lunch, too? Being in Venice for the night, after the cruisers are back on their floating community, certainly lets you have a different experience than a hit-and-run shore excursion.

Posted by
1594 posts

Wow - is all that accomplished in the morning, so they can stop off in
Naples for a pizza lunch, too? Being in Venice for the night, after
the cruisers are back on their floating community, certainly lets you
have a different experience than a hit-and-run shore excursion.

Our first European adventure was a Mediterranean cruise and our last stop was Naples. I had always wanted to see Pompeii and my wife had always wanted to see the Amalfi Coast and so we compromised and found and independent excursion that did both. Big mistake. We didn't see much of either. However, I will have no problem cruising again if it fits my agenda. Before that trip I had told a friend that I was concerned about the lack of time in some locations and he gave me some really good advice that help me put the trip in context. He told me it is what it is, and treat it like a quick peak to help you decide where you want to go back to spend more time. That really helped with that trip.

Posted by
4129 posts

A lot of folks, then, might decide to return to Venice for a longer stay. In the meantime, they’ll get a quick peek at the industrial port where their cruise ship is temporarily rerouted.

Posted by
1681 posts

We avoided Venice on our last trip to Italy because of the cruise ships.

When we were in Rome, we took a lovely evening stroll with Walks of Italy. Our tour guide was a veteran of 35 years. She spoke of the change in Rome once the cruise ship industry exploded. For her it was a nightmare, significantly swelling the crowds. She said some people thought it was unfair to blame the cruise ship day trippers, that overall tourism had grown. She said while that was true, all you had to do was observe the city after about 4:00 when all the cruisers went back to their ships.

The cruise ship industry is horrible. They burn the most polluting fuel oil allowed. They treat their staff like slaves and pay them poorly. They register in tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of the infrastructure in their ports of call. River cruise ships are only marginally better and are a very expensive way to do a drive by visit. All types of cruising is the antithesis of responsible traveling as promoted by Rick Steves.