CRUISE ships sailing into Venice’s much lauded heart could soon become history with moves to ban these huge floating hotels from the city’s waterways. Venice’s residents claim that cruise ships – sometimes twelve storeys high – sailing in the city’s celebrated lagoon, can cause waves that erode nearby canals and the city’s fragile foundations.
Cruise companies pay expensive port fees to sail into St Mark’s Basin, and already this year the number of ships floating past the celebrated square has grown by 7 per cent.
Italian authorities want to introduce new safety regulations on the Grand Canal to ease the chaotic waterway traffic. These would call for cruise ships to dock at Port Marghera outside the lagoon, or at a floating off-shore port, or there would be a limit on the number and size of cruise ships allowed to enter the lagoon.
As australiancruisingnews.com notes, Venice known as the Queen of the Adriatic, is a regular departure and disembarkation port for cruise ships. A short vaporetto (water bus) service gives easy access to St Mark’s Square and the city’s busy tourist precinct.
Just about every international cruise line now has ships sailing to or from the port of Venice for easy access to the Western Mediterranean as well as Greece, Turkey and Croatia.
Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess, currently being built in Italy, will make her maiden cruise of the Mediterranean on a 17-night round trip from Venice in June next year.
She will carry 3500 passengers, and 2000 crew, many of whom are certain to test their nerve on a glass enclosed walkway that extends over the ship’s side as they peer down to the ocean below, www.princess.com