What Travelers Need to Know About Venice’s New Cruise Ship Regulations

The Italian government has had it with cruise ships. On Wednesday, officials announced they will start rerouting the massive boats away from the historic center of Venice.

In 2017, the government announced plans to limit the number of large cruise ships allowed to pass through the canals of Giudecca and San Marco, two of the city's main waterways. Now, that plan appears as though it’s finally coming to fruition. The plan’s implementation comes just two months after a cruise ship slammed into a dock in Venice and injured five people.

"The aim is to reroute about one-third of the cruise ships already booked on Venice toward new berths by 2020," Danilo Toninelli, the Italian minister of infrastructure and transport, said at a hearing on Wednesday, according to CNN. "We've been talking about big ships for 15 years, and nothing has been done. These floating palaces will start to go elsewhere."

Starting in September, some liners will be forced to dock at Fusina and Lombardia terminals, according to CNN. Although the terminals are still within the city's lagoon, they are out of the historic center. Toninelli noted, the city will be soliciting feedback from locals for a long-term solution to its cruise problem.

The city has been battling for years to ban cruise ships from its center. Protests began in 2006 when residents said that the large cruise ships were damaging the foundations of the city and displacing water levels. In 2013, local officials attempted to reduce the number of cruise liners larger than 40,000 tons from entering from the Adriatic, The Telegraph reported. However, in 2014, a regional tribunal overturned that rule.

The good news is, the cruise industry is apparently onboard with this most recent decision.

“The cruise industry has worked diligently with the Mayor of Venice, the Veneto Region, the Port Authority and many others to find viable solutions to allow larger cruise ships to access the Marittima berths without transiting the Giudecca Canal,” Adam Goldstein, Chairman of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) told The Express. "We are in agreement with the solution developed by Comitatone in 2017 to utilize the Vittorio Emanuele Canal as the best and most prudent means to move larger cruise ships away from the Giudecca. CLIA cruise line members welcome and will support the urgent implementation of this solution.”

Curbing the number of cruise ships entering Venice isn’t the only thing officials are doing to combat its over-tourism problem.

Earlier this year, the mayor of Venice announced the city's plan to implement a tourism tax, making it the first Italian city to apply a daytime entrance fee. Still, these two tourism control moves likely won't result in you having the city all to yourself. Some 25 million people are estimated to visit the city every year, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations on Earth.

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