Changes to Venice Cruising

New regulations on Venice cruising take effect at the beginning of 2014

Venice, Italy is considered one of Europe’s top cruise destinations – but things will be changing for the city with new limits on large-ship cruise traffic in parts of the main lagoon, near St. Mark’s Square.

A law was enacted last year that bans all large ships from sailing close to the shore in all of Italy, which grew out of concerns about the effect of cruise traffic on the seabed in Venice’s lagoon. Though the ruling was temporarily suspended in Venice, new measures in the city related to the ruling take effect at the beginning of 2014.

In January, the number of cruise ships sailing in Venetian waters weighing 40,000 gross tons or more will be limited to five per day. There are numerous instances in 2014 when six ships of this size are scheduled to dock, and it is uncertain which of these ships will actually be accommodated.

Other changes will begin in November 2014, when no cruise ships over 96,000 tons will be allowed to cross the Guidecca Canal. Of the ships larger than the limit scheduled to visit the port in 2014 – Celebrity Equinox and Silhouette, Costa Fascinosa and Magica, MSC Fantsia and Preziosa, and Regal Princess – only the MSC and Costa ships are scheduled for November, after the ban goes into effect.

With the new regulations, cruise lines are carefully considering their 2015 plans, while Venetians and cruise planners contemplate alternate docking locations. The most recent statements from Venice suggest that cruise vessels will be diverted through the Canale Contorta Sant’Angelo, further from the most popular areas of Venice. However, there are calls for environmental impact assessments of the plan.

Previous proposals have included the construction of a floating port outside the lagoon, or docking ships at Porto Marghera, a suburb from which cruise passengers would reach the main parts of the city by bus.

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