When Italian cruise liners restarted voyages again this weekend, a stop they are not making is Port Venice. Prior to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Venice City was a popular call port handling 32,000+ passengers each day between April-October. However, when MSC Grandiosa set sail on Sunday, August 16, she departed from homeport Genoa (Milan) and headed to Valletta Malta, visiting Civitavecchia-Rome, Naples and Palermo Sicily along the itinerary.
Another MSC Cruises itinerary route between Italy and Greece will also skip Port Venice. Meanwhile, the Italian cruise shipping company Costa Cruises is sailing out of homeport Trieste to Greece, and from Genoa to Malta, without visiting Venice.
Italy's Government cleared cruises to restart on August 15 but is requiring operators to use European routes and bans tourists from outside the list of approved countries of the European Union.
Activists who lobbied against large cruise ships in Venice are now planning a community celebration of summer without cruisers. Former mayor Paolo Costa recently said he viewed the COVID-19 tourism slowdown as an opportunity to reimagine both local tourism and the reliance on tourists of the Venetian economy.
Before the pandemic, the port city had been struggling under the weight of over-tourism, and in an effort to manage crowds, it implemented a USD 11 entrance fee for day-trippers.
In 2019, Venice began pushing the largest cruise ships out of downtown instead making them dock at ports outside the city centre. By then, one ship - MSC Opera - had run into a smaller boat in downtown Venice, sending onlookers scrambling.