Cruise ship rules and regulations in 2023

The cruise industry had a difficult few years during the pandemic but its problems might not be over yet. A growing number of popular destinations have introduced strict limits on the ships.

While cruise tourism can be beneficial to local economies, many residents in cruise ports complain about the pollution. Cruise tourists have also been blamed for overcrowding problems in several top hotspots.

Local residents on the Greek island of Mykonos have described cruise ships as a “nightmare”. Mega cruise ships have also been accused of blocking the island’s iconic sunset views.

In several Norwegian ports, a campaign group put up posters addressing cruise tourists as “parasites” and asking them not to disembark from the ships.

So which top destinations have introduced cruise limits?

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On October 22, Barcelona will ban cruise ships from its northern docks. The plan has been designed to limit exhaust gases in the city centre. The Spanish city is the most polluted in Europe from cruise ships.

All cruise ships will need to dock at the city’s southern ports, which is currently already used by larger ships, such as those operated by Royal Caribbean. Passengers have to take a shuttle bus or taxi to the city centre.


Amsterdam Council has banned cruise ships from the city centre to limit visitor numbers and pollution. Politicians have said cruise ships are not in line with the city’s sustainability goals.

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Ilana Rooderkerk, a city official, said: “Cruise ships in the centre of the city don’t fit in with Amsterdam’s task of cutting the number of tourists.”


The Italian city banned cruise ships from its lagoon back in 2021 in a bid to cut down on pollution and tourist numbers. The move was welcomed by the city’s anti-cruise campaigners.

While the move proved divisive among cruise customers, one who said they’d never cruise there again, it has helped to significantly reduce cruise pollution in the city according to a report released earlier this year.

Palma, Majorca

Palma, the capital of Spain’s Majorca, has limited the number of cruise ships allowed in the port at one time to three. The city was aiming to promote more sustainable development.

However, the move hasn’t been welcomed by everyone. Local business owners have complained of a drop in revenue and begged the city not to “demonise cruise passengers”.

Cruise protests

Anti-cruise protests have taken place in several of Europe’s top destinations, including the French city of Marseille. Despite the protests, cruise holidays remain popular and the world’s largest ship is due to launch next year.

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