However, Venetians love for cruise ships is dwindling, with many calling for a ban on larger vessels docking in the Italian city’s historic centre altogether.
On Wednesday (7th August), just weeks after a collision in June which saw a small tourist boat hit by one of the larger vessels, the Italian government has announced plans to keep ships away from the ancient city’s centre, re-re-routing them to nearby ports instead.
Just missing peak cruising season, some cruise lines will be re-routed from as early as next month, docking at Fusina and Lombardia terminals away from the ever-fragile city centre, but still inside the lagoon.
According to the Financial Times, Danilo Toninelli, minister for transport revealed he had been looking for temporary cruise ports to ‘avoid witnessing more invasions of the Giudecca by these floating palaces, with the scandals and risks that they bring”.
By next year, a third of cruise ships will have been re-routed, with Mr Toninelli suggesting that a longer-term terminal be agreed by the Venetian public. Possible ports that under construction include Chioggia, at the mouth of the lagoon and Lido San Nicolo, a ferry terminal on the Adriatic coast.
Cruise ships bring more than 1.5 million people to the picturesque city each year. Speaking up against the re-routing the cruise lobby claims that the average cruise passenger spends up to €170, often staying overnight in the city and boosting the economy by €280m a year.
However, Venetian activists argue these figures, believing that cruise passengers actually don’t spend much money at all as they are only in port for a few hours, simply causing congestion.
Discussing the new plans on Twitter, popular cruise blogger Danielle Fear (CruiseMiss) said: “When it comes to the large cruise ships, I think it’s overdue, personally. I’d rather have to take a three-mile trip into the floating city than docking in the heart of it if that means preserving it for longer.”
World of Cruising reader Sean Craven agreed, tweeting: “It’s a shame but totally understandable! We loved the sail away with @NCL_UK @CruiseNorwegian on the star two years ago.”
“Agree that cruise ships should be directed away from central Venice to preserve it. Buses for transfer to city centre is a real bonus,’ added cruise lover, Brenda Bergen from Ireland.”