Venice to ban giant cruise ships from August - what it means for your cruise

Author: Harriet Mallinson

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Venice is banning huge ships from sailing into the lagoon city in Italy from next month after years of anti-cruise protests. What does it mean for you?

Italy will ban cruise ships from entering Venice from August 1.

The prohibition will apply to the lagoon basin near St. Mark’s Square and the Giudecca Canal.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini announced the ban at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

He said the Italian government decided to act urgently “to avoid the concrete risk” that UNESCO would add Venice to its list of “world heritage in danger.”

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UNESCO recommended placing Venice on its World Heritage in Danger sites last month.

The government’s decision was “awaited by UNESCO and by all those who have been to Venice and who have remained disturbed by the huge size of these ships passing through the most fragile and most beautiful place in the world,” Franceschini told reporters.

Will the Venice cruise ship ban impact your cruise holiday?

The ban applies to ships weighing more than 25,000 tons or longer than 180 meters (530 feet).

It also impacts vessels with other characteristics that would make them too polluting or overwhelming for Venice’s environment.

Ships that are “are considered sustainable” or smaller than the above limits may continue to dock - these often have around 200 passengers compared to the thousands of guests gigantic liners carry.

Discover Venice, Italy's famous floating city, with NCL. Credit: Shutterstock

The ban on cruise ships was mooted earlier this year but a date had yet to be agreed upon.

Protesters have long called for the lagoon city to be rid of mammoth ships which disturb its delicate marine environment while day-trippers often overwhelm the city when disgorged in their thousands from liners.

The Cabinet decree now “establishes an unbreakable principle, by declaring the urban waterways of St. Mark’s Basin, St. Mark’s Canal and the Giudecca Canal a national monument,″ Franceschini said yesterday.

Where will large cruise ships dock from August?

The Italian government has approved creating at least four temporary docking sites near the industrial port of Marghera, located on the northwestern Adriatic Sea.

This is a temporary solution until a more suitable docking area can be established elsewhere in waters outside the centre of Venice.

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