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    Venice to allow big cruise ships back into lagoon


    Venice has been ordered to allow large cruise ships back into its lagoon, months after the Italian government decreed that they should be banned because of the environmental damage they do to the World Heritage-listed city.

    A regional tribunal overturned a law introduced last November which reduced the number of cruise liners of more than 40,000 tons permitted to enter from the Adriatic and plough their way towards Venice’s cruise ship terminal.

    More stringent rules, which would have banned outright ships of more than 96,000 tons – some of which are twice as long as St Mark’s Square and dwarf Venice’s centuries-old spires and domes – were to have been introduced in 2015.

    But the law has been suspended by a regional court in the Veneto region, which ruled that alternative routes for the ships to reach the terminal have not yet been agreed on and that the risks posed by the vessels had not been proven.

    The decision is a victory for the cruise ship industry, which has dismissed concerns that cruise liners cause damage to Venice’s delicate foundations and scoffed at suggestions that another Costa Concordia-style disaster could occur if a passenger liner strayed off course.

    Gian Luca Galletti, the environment minister, said that while the tribunal’s ruling would be respected, there was an urgent need to find a solution which would prevent giant cruise ships from “continuing to pass along Venice’s ancient canals”.

    One of the largest cruise ships to visit the lagoon city, the MSC Divina, has a gross tonnage of nearly 140,000 tonnes, is more than 1,000ft long and carries nearly 5,000 passengers and crew.

    Dario Franceschini, the culture and tourism minister, said it was “unimaginable that such giants should be allowed to pass right in front of St Mark’s Square. Nobody with an ounce of common sense can understand it.”

    The suspension will last until June, when the issue will be discussed again.

    The more stringent regulations had been introduced in response to the Costa Concordia disaster of Jan 2012, when the 115,000-ton cruise liner rammed into Giglio, off the Tuscan coast, after its captain apparently misjudged a sail-past of the island.

    By Nick Squires, The Telegraph

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    Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more

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    We’ll be making our first visit to Venice this August when we sail roundtrip from there aboard Celebrity Silhouette. Since it’s not a port stop I don’t think this will affect us much either way. We’ll be spending a couple of nights there before the cruise to experience the city so we just need to get to the ship (wherever it’s docked) and to the airport afterwards. Of course sailing in to or out of Venice is one of cruisings famous embarkations and we’d love to see that, but if it’s determined to be damaging to this historic city we’ll be happy to see it in other ways.

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    One of my dreams is to sail into Venice. I may have to go with a smaller ship if this becomes a law against the bigger ships. I respect their right to keep the city safe and solid, and looking good, Michael and Amy...hope you have a wonderful cruise...would love to hear about it when you return, and see a few pictures if you can.

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    Michael and Amy...hope you have a wonderful cruise...would love to hear about it when you return, and see a few pictures if you can.

    Thanks Shari – we’re really excited about this cruise! We haven’t been the best about writing reviews but I imagine we’ll be eager to talk about this adventure!

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