‘In Venice, cruising has been unfairly demonised but can be improved’, my comments for ‘Cruise ships: Blessing or blight?’ a Good Tourism Insight Bite including many contributions

These multiple contributions by travel and tourism stakeholders were published by the Good Tourism blog on 2 May 2023. You can read them by clicking on the following link and registering free for the Good Tourism blog, which I highly recommend:


This is the text of my own comments:

In Venice, cruising has been unfairly demonised but can be improved

Cruise ships have been banned from navigating through the centre of Venice since August 1, 2021. 

Is this because they are dangerous? 

The ban came two years after a cruise ship crash in Venice in 2019 that injured five people. Yet the safety record of cruise ships in Venice is better than other water vessels. 

People have died in Venice as the result of speed boat and gondola crashes during the last decade. No one has died in Venice from cruise ship crashes. 

Indeed, cruise ships were usually attached to tugs with chains to be pulled for tricky manoeuvres through the centre of Venice. Pilots from local authorities who know the lagoon’s channels well joined cruise ships to guide them. 

This makes an accident like the tragic Costa Concordia cruise ship crash off the coast of Tuscany in 2012 unlikely. That crash was due to errors by the captain, who was jailed for causing the accident and manslaughter.

Is the ban due to pollution? 

Despite recent efforts to reduce pollution from cruise ships, they have undoubtedly caused fuel and noise pollution. However, journeys by thousands of vessels in Venice every day also pollute and create damaging waves.

Cruise ships generate waves too, but also wakes that have many negative impacts on the lagoon. Nevertheless, other large ships create similar wakes.

I welcome proposals to construct a port for cruise ships and other large vessels outside the lagoon on the Lido or offshore. Passengers and cargo could be transferred to smaller vessels or, preferably, underwater trains linked to Venice. 

Modernising cruising infrastructure in Venice and elsewhere would be hugely beneficial.

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