Venice reroutes cruise ships away from historic city centre

Starting next month Venice will begin rerouting cruise ships away from its historic centre and redirect the vessels to dock at the Fusina and Lombardia terminals.

There’s something extremely romantic about hearing Andrea Bocelli sing Con te partirò as you sail past the historic centre of Venice. In fact it’s become a time-honored tradition on board MSC Cruises to play Bocelli’s most famous song every time a ship leaves port. But pretty soon that may be a thing of the past, at least for cruises departing Venice.

Is it really ‘time to say goodbye’ to Venice?

Following years of protests and two recent incidents, the Italian minister of infrastructure and transport, Danilo Toninelli, has finally taken a decision in the ongoing saga of large cruise ships sailing to Venice. That is to say he announced that the government will decrease the number of big cruise ships passing by Giudecca and San Marco.

From September until the end of the year some large cruise ships will dock at the Fusina and Lombardia terminals, which are located several miles from the historic centre of Venice but still inside the city’s lagoon. By next year a third of the cruise ships will be rerouted towards new berths.

Toninelli also said a public consultation would be held to solve the problem of cruise ships in the longer term, with other terminals including Chioggia, at the mouth of the lagoon, and Lido San Nicolo, a ferry terminal on the Adriatic side, under consideration for use.

So while some are shouting that Venice has banned cruise ships, the fact is that some ships will indeed no longer be allowed to dock near the city center, others will simply have to use another route to reach the cruise port.

“There is currently no ban in place preventing cruise ships from visiting Venice.” – CLIA, Cruise Lines International Association

In 2017 the Interministerial Committee for Guidance, Coordination and Control on the Lagoon of Venice (the so-called ‘Comitatone’) put the Vittorio Emanuele Canal forward as the alternative route for larger cruise ships to access the Marittima berths without transiting the Giudecca Canal. The Vittorio Emanuele Canal is used by commercial vessels and lays on the westside of the Venetian lagoon, closer to the mainland.

To identify the technical solutions needed for use of widespread moorings and to move part of the large ships out of the Giudecca canal as early as September, a so-called technical table, appointed by Minister Toninelli, was held at the headquarters of the Port Authority in Venice.

The table was attended among others by representatives of the Venice Port Authority, the Guardia di Finanza, the Border Police, the State Property Agency and cruise companies.

During the meeting it was established that all the participants will present a summary of the actions to be taken, each for its own field of competence , to move the first large ships out of Giudecca, through diffused moorings, such as the Fusina and Lombardia docks. The final solutions are to be presented at a meeting in Rome at the end of August. To be continued…

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