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I’ve done quite a lot of posts over recent years about the continuing arguments about cruising into and out of Venice. Here’s a link to the collection of posts. During the early summer several cruise lines which have done day calls at Venice, e.g. Royal Caribbean, have announced that they will in future call at Ravenna rather than Venice. Of course, these calls at Venice haven’t been happening this summer anyway, and in the case of the lines doing day calls the earliest they would restart would be some time next spring.

In August there was a further development. The two cruise lines doing turnarounds at Venice, Costa and MSC, announced that they would no longer do so – in future they would use either Trieste or Genoa. In the case of these two cruise lines, cruises either have already restarted (in late August) or will do so shortly (early September), and part of the reason for the switch is that the port facilities at Genoa and Trieste allow for easier application of social distancing rules and other required procedures during the Covid-19 outbreak. There’s no indication if this is a permanent move.

In fact, these two lines had already shifted many of their cruises away from Venice. Since the introduction a few years ago of the size regulations on ships transmitting the Giudecca Canal on their way into Venice, the largest ships belonging to these two lines were shifted to other ports as they exceeded the limits. The only Costa or MSC ships that have still been visiting Venice have been their smaller ships with a tonnage of less than 89,000 tons.

Is this the end for cruising into and out of Venice? I have a feeling that it might be the end of the traditional sail-in along the Giudecca canal. However, if the Italian authorities ever build the alternative approach to the cruise terminal, which requires a deep channel to be dredged from the existing channel up the mainland coastline, then I think the ships will return. The alternative is to provide alternative ways of getting from the alternative ports into historic Venice, either by rail or road, and those will bring their own problems. People want to visit Venice, and it seems unfair to say that visitors by air and rail may do so, but cruise passengers may not.

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