On March 31, the Italian government issued a decree that would see cruise ships and large commercial vessels banned from the Venetian lagoon, and calling for tenders to be sought to construct a new port outside the lagoon.
Yet just 15 days later, MSC Cruises announced that the MSC Orchestra would be heading up the Giudecca Canal, gliding past St Mark’s Square and docking in the city-center port on June 5.
MSC’s two ships for this season will be joined by one from Costa Cruises. The Costa Deliziosa will use Venice as its homeport from June 26.
Stories have been swirling for several years about the possibility of cruise ships being banned from the historic center of Venice.
As things stand, their approach to the current cruise port — located on the edge of the city center — sees the ships sailing past the UNESCO World Heritage site of St Mark’s Square.
They then continue along the Giudecca Canal, a body of water separating Venice “center” from the island of Giudecca, which sits opposite the central district of Dorsoduro. The wide canal is already a major thoroughfare for ferry and water taxi traffic.
At the moment, ships sail along the Giudecca Canal…