ABOVE: Thanks to a new decree by the Port of Venice, megaships like Celebrity Summit will no longer be allowed to moor along the waterfront above the Piazza San Marco when they're visiting Venice for the day.
Seatrade Insider, an online newsletter for the cruise industry, reports that Venice is tightening up its restrictions on cruise ships in the wake of the recent Costa Concordia incident.
For example, ships larger than 40,000 GRT (which includes most ships of lines such as Celebrity, Costa, Holland America, MSC, Princess and Royal Caribbean) will be subject to the following rules:
- They won't be able to moor at the Riva dei Sette Martiri, a pier next to the public gardens and Biennale exposition grounds above the Piazza San Marco and the Doge's Palace. Instead, the ships will need to use the main Marittima cruise basin. (This will be a slight inconvenience for cruise ships and passengers who are spending the day in Venice, but it won't affect cruises that begin or end in the city.)
- When arriving or departing, such ships will need to stay 2 miles apart, and smaller ships will need to remain 0.7 miles apart. (This will require ships to stagger their arrival and departure times more than they've done in the past.)
- Vessels larger than 40,000 GRT will be banned from using St. Mark's Basin and the Giudecca Canal "as soon as alternative routings have been identified." (In practice, there are no alternative routings, and there won't be unless or until the Venice port authorities come up with massive amounts of money to dredge an alternative deepwater shipping channel in the Venetian Lagoon.)
The Seatrade Insider article didn't cite an implementation date for the new rules, so it's too early to tell how many of this year's cruise departure and arrival times will be affected. If you're cruising from Venice this year, watch for e-mails from your cruise line and check the Venezia Terminal Passeggeri's ship schedules for pier assignments, arrival times, and departure times.