Story written by AP (it is a little unclear in places - like the writer does not understand cruise ships)
A special commission on Tuesday approved a plan to divert cruise ships away from Venice's historic center by 2016, but activists seeking to rid the city of the giant ships expressed reservations about the proposed new route.
The fatal sinking of the Costa Concordia in January 2012 ratcheted up pressure to divert the ships from the central Giudecca canal and St. Mark's Basin. Currently, cruise ships pass within 300 meters (1,000 feet) of St. Mark's Square, granting a stunning view to those aboard the ship but presenting a jarring sight against the backdrop of Venice's Byzantine architecture.
Venice Mayor Giorgio Orsoni said the decision "finally inverts the tendency toward gigantism in the lagoon."
A commission comprised of government ministers and local officials approved digging a new canal so ships can enter the lagoon from the west, avoiding the historic center, Premier Enrico Letta's office said in a statement. The Venice Port, which campaigned successfully to preserve the existing passenger terminal, estimates the project will take two years to complete.
A committee of citizens opposed to the cruise ship traffic in Venice called the ship diversion "a first victory for our movement," but said it will now concentrate its campaign on the environmental impact of the new canal, calling that project "devastating."
In the meantime, smaller ferries will be banned beginning in January from passing through Venice, reducing traffic in front of St. Mark's by one-quarter, while cruise ship traffic will be reduced by 20 percent. Last year, 661 cruise ships arrived with 1,775 passengers, according to Venice Passenger Terminal statistics.
As of Nov. 1, 2014, ships larger than 96,000 tons, with a capacity of 3,000 to 3,500 passengers, will be banned from Venice.
Venice in the space of just over 15 years has become one of the world's most important cruise destinations, with up to nine cruise turnarounds a day in high season. The new measures would limit to five the number of cruise ships berthed at one time, and restrict passage to sunrise and sunset.
I can see some benefits here, but in the end they will not have enough room for all the cruise ships during the peak season. I think some will feel the lost revenue of less ships in port. While building a new cruise ship terminal, they may not reap all the benefits of spending the moneys to do this.... I am sure the city does see some passenger spending directly from cruise ships....?? Guess, time will tell.
An important thing to note is Venice is not a large city. The 'city proper' has only 60,000 inhabitants, although the surrounding region - akin to the suburbs in America - does bring that total up to around 270,000. I suspect most Americans think of Venice as a huge place akin to Rome or Milan, with a million or more citizens.
I am sad about this but can understand it. Venice is a beautiful city and one of my favorite destinations. However, it has become overrun with ships. While this has been a boom for small business owners it hasn't really helped hotel, restaurant, higher end shops and other businesses too much.
It is also a not too pretty to continuously see cruise ships going in and out of the canal. Yes, cruise ships are neat and we all love them but they can become an eyesore after awhile.
While we were walking on the opposite side of St. Marc's square "near San Giorgio" the wake of a ship almost came over the embankment and onto the sidewalk. There has to be quite a bit erosion caused by the big ships.
As David said: "Venice is not a large city." Multiple cruise ships put a lot people in a fairly small area.
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As Bernie, said, this has been a long time coming..Mixed emotions for many, to be sure. I remember watching an interview, done at a villa by the canal, and a huge ship, sailed by...the woman winced,and wished them away...It was indeed a startling sight visually, to see it from her vantage point..
Trip, with her book & tea!
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