Did anyone else hear the NPR story yesterday about the colossal cruise ships in Venice's waterways? It was hugely interesting. In case anyone else wants to know: http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2013/07/15/202347080/In-Venice-Huge-Cruise-Ships-Bring-Tourists-And-Complaints
Here's a video I took a few years ago. Venice cruise ship It starts off, ironically and intentionally, with the small boatyard in Venice where they make gondolas. Then I pan to show a cruise ship going by.
Thanks. The most telling point was that no one really knows how much business the cruise ships really bring to Venice. Day-trippers may eat a meal, but they have huge breakfasts and dinners on the ship. If a cruise begins or ends in Venice, some of the cruisers will stay a night or two in a hotel before or after the cruise, though a lot of the cruises stay overnight in Venice, reducing those numbers too.
We saw one come in when we were in the campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore. It was appalling. It was bigger than the city. We took a photo and everyone who sees it is horrified. The next day we were near the Accademia when a group of 100 people came by with a leader. Then another 100. And another and another. We realized that was only a very small portion of the thousands on the ship. They should be banned in such a small place.
:: shakes fist at Tim :: I was coming in here to post that story!
I sure would hate to be in a gondola on the Grande Canal when one of those ships roared by. Yes, I think it's appalling. But I think most cruise ships are appalling and do little in the way of helping passengers actually enjoy a destination. How can a cruise tourist ever experience the true Pearl of the Adriatic on a 10 am - 5 pm visit??? Same goes for Rome or Athens or any other cruise ship destination.
Those pictures of cruise ships in Venice make me sick at heart. That being said, about cruising in general, I wonder if it really is the best option for some people. I have very little interest, as I'd prefer to spend my travel time at actual destinations. But I'd like to take my mom to Europe someday. She has not been since she went to her family's home in Portugal as a teenager. Now she has health problems, including a leg that causes a lot of pain, and has limited energy and mobility. She is not yet 60, but her lifestyle is fairly sedentary compared to mine, so it's not going to get any better for her. A cruise might strike a balance between seeing places and giving her the rest she needs between excursions, so it's something I would consider when I have the money to treat her to Europe. I also think it would be a nice way to see Alaska or the fjords in Norway. Otherwise, it's not something I'd plan for myself unless I were taking my mom. But just because it's not for me, that doesn't mean it's not useful or ideal for someone else's travel style and needs. Though I sure wish they'd dock a ways from Venice.
If I remember correctly Rick has a video posted on Youtube of a giant ship in front of San Marco. It was indeed horrifying. I enjoy cruising, but in the Caribbean where it is about warmth, sun and the ship itself. I could never cruise Europe. I remember sitting alongside the water for dinner in Villefranche-sur-Mer watching all the cruisers get tendered back to their ship. We sat and drank our wine, watched the sun set, drank more wine and had dinner, and ended our evening strolling the town as it twinkled in the night and listened to some street entertainment. Magical. At the time I thought if I was on that cruise, I would have just opted out of getting back on board. How could someone omit European evenings from their itinerary? And I don't buy that it is a relaxing or accessible way to see Europe. Getting up early, off the ship, onto a bus (or whatever you're doing), racing around to see the sights all while watching the time... sounds like way more effort than choosing a location well and spending five or seven days in one place, and then moving to another area.
Here is a more in-depth article on the same subject (NPR apears to have used this as its source): http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/jun/20/coming-death-venice/?pagination=false Note on page 4 that the Italian Ministry of the Environment has banned ships larger than 40,000 tons from sailing down the Giudecca Canal (note they they do NOt ever sail on the Grand Canal). That is smaller than the 46,000 ton Titanic. These cruise ships are all 100,000 tons or more. No one enforces the ban. It is pretty horrifying. Although we don't go on cruises, I have nothing against them and think it is a great way to see the wonders of Alaska and many other places. But these ships should not enter the Venetian Lagoon. Let them dock someplace else.
perhaps we should advocate the closing of Venezia Santa Lucia train stationa lot more tourists arrive there on a daily basisand do flock out to the Grand Canal by the hundreds at a time-perhaps limiting the number of people selling splat balls and knock-off purses on the narrow streets would ease the traffic flowtourism and travel comes in all different forms-I.m sure a lot of cruisers would like unwashed backpackers banned from the streetslol we should support whatever action Venice takes in its own interestswhatever that isjmho
Good one, Michael!
Some people are just cruisers. They love to cruise and they take a lot of cruises. I loved taking a few cruises when I had a teenager. There was something for everybody and my only child made tons of friends. Some people take a cruise, fall in love with a place and go back for longer vacations. I think I am now that person. I am cruising with my husband for the first time without our son. We look forward to seeing Dubrovnik and the Cinque Terre (among others). Two places I probably would not see on the same vacation. And I bet I go back to one of them for an extended visit.
Each to their own!
Just a note that these large cruise ships do not go in or out of the Grand Canal. They do appear going past San Marco but San Marco is not in the Grand Canal either. It's along the Canal di San Marco according to the map. The ships turn slightly and go up and down (or in and out of) the Giudecca canal. We have stayed at the Hilton on the Giudecca canal and from the upper floors where we were located, the ships were still taller than where we were standing. The ships are massive. And yes, the cruisers appear to be the dominate form of visitor during most of the day.
Venice's main industry is tourism. They say most people who visit Venice spend just one day and seems most of those are around San Marco. I love Venice in the early mornings and evenings. I have only been to Venice is February and early May so there were no big ships in port but the scale is amazing but the lenses used compress space making it look like it is 2 meters from the buildings, but it's not. True they don't really go through the canal but they go around the Punta della Dogana to the Giudecca Canal around the back of the Dorsorduro.
I still don't get why people go on cruises. They are like huge shopping malls, you don't even feel like you're on water.