Cruise Ships: Venice Vixens or Victims?


Good luck with this one…

Environmentalists are urging Italian super star actress Sophia Loren to abandon ship, and disassociate herself with the MSC Divina, renounce her role as the ship's Godmother, in the name of conserving Venice's fragile ecosystem.

And good luck with this one, too…

Conservationists under the No Big Ships Venice Committee banner want to keep all large cruise liners out of Venetian waters because "Venice and its lagoon are both world heritage sites and risk an environmental disaster every day because of the passage of these monsters of the sea" because they pollute the air and their vibrations and wakes erode the foundations of the old buildings.

It's almost like saying that New Orleans should be wiped off the map because it sits below sea level.

Not going to happen.

On our last visit to Venice, just a few weeks ago, we were curious about this problem with erosion. Now we're hardly environmental experts, but the first thing that occurred to us was that cruise ships make up a tiny portion of the boat population of Venice. And they're not all the size of motorboats…we saw many BIG private yachts (see above), not to mention an army of "water taxis" that are the ONLY way for tourists to travel in Venice.

The second thing that occurred to us is that the wake of our ship — the Oceania Riviera — looked milder than the wakes from some of the other ships on the fringe of the city. Undoubtedly the speed of these "monsters of the seas" is controlled by law.

And the third thing was that the cruise ships — the Riviera, the Celebrity Solstice and the Costa Fortuna were all in port — are moored outside the lagoon, unless we read maps incorrectly. Let's put it this way: You have to take a private water taxi to get anywhere close to the Grand Canal that meanders through Venice.

It's not that people shouldn't be concerned about erosion in Venice. It's that if there is an environmental disaster waiting to happen, it appears that cruise ships are only a part of the problem.

Holland America Zaandam
7 nights
June 24, 2012
Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Anchorage
Oceanview: $399
Cost per day: $57

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