Venice (Venezia) is a major seaport in the Adriatic (northeastern Italy) and one of Italy's most visited ferry and cruise ports serving turnaround operations (roundtrip Mediterranean itineraries) and also connecting to North Africa and Middle East. The city is the capital of Veneto (one of Italy's 20 regions) and has population over 260,000.
Venezia was established in the 7th century as a cluster of all 124 island settlements. Current-day Venice City is located across 118 isles (Venetian Islands) separated by canals and interlinked by 400+ bridges. All these isles are in the Venetian Lagoon - a bay between the mouths of two rivers (Po and Piave). The entire Venetian Lagoon and part of Venezia are designated as UNESCO Site.
Fincantieri (one of world's largest shipbuilding companies) owns the merchant shipbuilding yards Monfalcone (Trieste), Marghera (Venice), Sestri Ponente (Genoa), Ancona, Castellammare di Stabia (Naples) and Palermo (Sicily). The company also owns the naval shipyards Riva Trigoso (Genoa) and Muggiano (La Spezia).
IMPORTANT: In mid-June 2020, RCI-Royal Caribbean replaced Venice (as homeport) with Ravenna. The change affected the Rhapsody of the Seas ship's Mediterranean cruise schedule 2021 (May 1 through October 23). Ravenna is located approx 144 km (90 mi / road distance) to the south from Venice, or ~2,5 hours drive (via SS309 / Ravenna-Chioggia road).
- The itinerary change was explained with "increased concerns regarding the future of cruising in Venice Italy due to port congestion and the ability to control port traffic".
- Customers with already purchased through Royal Caribbean airfare received complimentary shuttle bus transportation (pre- and after-cruise). Optionally was offered purchasing bus transfers from both the Ravenna cruise terminal and/or the Venice Marco Polo Airport.
Porto di Venezia is a seaport in northeastern Italy, ranked country's 8th largest commercial port and also among the largest and most important cruise ports in southern Europe (Mediterranean Sea). As shipping volumes, in 2006 the port handled around 30,937 million cargo tons and over 1,453 million passengers (ferry and cruise).
Port Venice is currently the 2nd largest Mediterranean cruise port (after Barcelona) by passenger volumes. However, due to environmentalist campaigns (since Concordia's sinking in 2012) to stop large-sized liners in Venice (vessels over 10 decks high), Port Venice started progressively to lose ship calls. In 2017, their number dropped over 10% - from 529 (in 2016) to 470. Cruiseship passenger numbers decreased by 11,4% (to around 1,4 million), which resulted in income fall. Since mid-1990s, cruising tourism is an important income source for the city and its citizens.
Environmentalists demand larger cruise vessels to stop navigating along Guidecca Canal to reach the seaport, as the route takes them within just 300 m (1000) ft of Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square). Besides the visual impact, other concerns are the damage caused by marine diesel engine pollution and the vessels' water displacement. New port regulations will require cruise ships to reduce emissions by switching to LSDO (lower-sulfur diesel fuel) before entering Venice Lagoon.
The controversy over whether cruise ships should be allowed into Venice was heightened right after Costa Concordia ship's capsizing near Giglio Island. Following the accident, the government issued a law banning cruise liners with gross tonnage over 96,000 GT from navigating the Guidecca Canal. The number of smaller cruise vessels (over 40,000 GT) along the channel was limited to 5 per day. In 2014, this law came into effect, just to be thrown out 2 months later by the Venice Court of Appeal.
In mid-June, 2017, over 18,000 Venetians voted in an unofficial referendum about banning large cruise vessels that navigate near St Mark Square. Activists set up a total of 60 polling booths, where 17,874 citizens voted to eject the ships which produce waves shaking the city's wooden foundations. In September 2017, three of world's largest cruise companies (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, MSC) run shipping simulations on large liners navigating the Vittorio Emanuele III Channel route (Stazione Marittima) as a proposed alternative to the banned Guidecca Channel route. Since November 2017, Venice seaport access (through Giudecca Canal) is denied to cruise liners with GT tonnage over 100,000 tons. Instead, the vessels are rerouted to Port Marghera, from where passengers are ferried to downtown.
Since September 2019, Venice City charges day-trippers a tax of up to EUR 10 / USD 11 pp, which brings tens of millions of EUR annually. Of the ~24 million tourists in 2019, ~15 million were day-trippers. The new tourist tax (entrance fee) was approved by the Italian Government and contained in country's 2019 budget. The new charge is included in the cost of hotels, trains, buses and cruise ship tickets. The tax ranges between EUR 2.50 to EUR 10 per person, depending on arrival time (low or high season).
- Venice-Piran route is served by Venezia Lines with 1 weekly crossing (travel time 2,5 hours).
- Venice-Pula route is served by Venezia Lines (4 weekly crossings) and Atlas Kompas (3 weekly crossings), travel time is 3 hours.
- Venice-Porec route is served by Venezia Lines (7 weekly crossings) and Atlas Kompas (5 weekly crossings), travel time is 3-3,5 hours.
- Venice-Rovinj route is served by Venezia Lines (7 weekly crossings) and Atlas Kompas (3 weekly crossings), travel time is 2,5-3,5 hours.
- Venice-Umag route is served by Venezia Lines (1 weekly crossing) and Atlas Kompas (1 weekly crossing), travel time is 2,5-3,5 hours.
- Venice-Corfu route is served by Minoan Lines (2 weekly crossings, time 26,5 hours) and ANEK Superfast (1 weekly crossing, time 25 hours).
- Venice-Igoumenitsa route is served by Minoan Lines (2 weekly crossings, time 28,5 hours) and ANEK Superfast (2 weekly crossings, time 25,5 hours).
- Venice-Patras route is served by Minoan Lines (3 weekly crossings, time 30,5 hours) and ANEK Superfast (2 weekly crossings, time 32 hours).
- Venice- Ancona route is served by Minoan Lines with 2 weekly crossings (travel time 6,5 hours).
MOSE - Venice flood barrier project
MOSE project is designed to protect Venice and Venetian Lagoon from flooding caused by high tides (up to 3 m / 10 ft). The integrated system consists of rows of large mobile gates at 3 inlets (Lido, Malamocco and Chioggia) through which Adriatic Sea water enters and leaves the Venetian Lagoon.
These gates are able to temporarily isolate the lagoon from the sea during high tides as they open and close separately thus controlling the water flow.
In the Mose system's control center is in Venice’s Arsenal, where 9 people constantly monitor the lagoon's conditions. The monitoring staff's training started in 2011 by simulating real-time flood defense operations. During that period was also collected data about water levels, waves, water pressure, fresh river flood.
Flooding due to high tides mires Venice during winter months. During high tide forecasts, sirens all over the city sound a warning, and real-time information is provided (online and via mobile phones). Other measures are setting up temporary elevated platforms in city parts with heavy pedestrian traffic. High tides usually last 2 1/2 hours. The flood of November 4, 1966, saw water levels reaching up to 194 cm (6 ft). This was the end of the agriculture in the lagoon and also resulted in the death of the majority of its plants. Previously, the lagoon was a winemaking region.
The Mose barrier concept was first proposed in 1988. The consortium Venezia Nuova was contracted by Italy's Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. Construction works (simultaneously at all 3 lagoon inlets) started in 2003. The project also included other anti-flood measures - coastal reinforcement, raising quaysides, lagoon's improvement. The project was 85% completed in 2014. In 2016, the gates arrived and were inserted into their concrete foundations. Project's total cost is EUR 5,4 billion (GBP 3,9 billion). Completion is scheduled sometime between 2018-2020.
Construction works on the MOSE system were slowed due to investigations into corruption, with allegations of bribery and illegal political parties financing. The investigation resulted in 35 arrests (in June 2014). Among the arrested was the Consorzio Venezia Nuova's former president, who was accused of diverting funds to Venice's mayor for financing his campaign for office in 2010. Construction works included pre-building concrete foundations (23,000 tons each), then lowering them into the lagoon. Gates have spares (for each inlet), which allows to be removed every 5 years (for maintenance) without interrupting the barrier's service. All hinges on the gates are equipped with a waterproof camera that permits removal operations to be accurately monitored and controlled.
- The commercial harbor is impacted each time the gates are lifted. The amount of electricity used for the operations is also considerable.
Venice cruise terminal
Port Venice is the leader not only in one traffic segment. It is the largest Mediterranean cruise port (in terms of annual passenger shipping numbers) and also main cargo port. Roundtrip cruise itineraries from Venice (homeport) go mainly to ports in Adriatic Sea (Croatia, Montenegro, Albania) and Aegean Sea (Greece and Turkey). Port Venice has 10 multifunctional (cargo) terminals and 6 dedicated cruise piers/passenger terminals.
Venice Cruise Port Terminal (VCT or Terminal Venezia Passeggeri) is Europe's 3rd busiest cruise port and world's 13th largest. Each year, Port Venice handles thousand cruise ship calls and over 1 million passengers. The seaport is located at the end of Venice (the road to the continental Italy, at the 4th km).
The seaport is in the Venetian Lagoon and the Porto di Lido channel links it to Adriatic Sea (Mediterranean). Over 20 cruise companies are hosted by Venice Cruise Terminal. Major companies, like NCL Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and MSC, homeport large-sized liners here.
The cruise port has 3 main quays, the biggest being Marittima basin. It has 3 passenger terminals with capacities to handle world's largest liners. The cruise port comprises TM Quay, Piave Quay (berth 117), Tagliamento Quay (berths 107, 109, 110, 112) and Isonzo Quay (berths 18 and 20). Two terminals serve smaller ships - San Basilio (berths 29 to 31) and Santa Marta (berths 24 to 28). All these docks are in the Giudecca Canal.
On November 8, 2017, was officially announced the decision to not allow Venice seaport access (through Giudecca Canal) to cruise liners of GT tonnage over 100,000 tons. Instead, the vessels are rerouted to Port Marghera, from where passengers are ferried to Venice.
Venice tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
Venice is known to be the “Queen of the Adriatic”. It is one of the most romantic world cities. Venice can enchant anyone with its breathtaking palazzos, canals and beautiful bridges. This city is so spectacular, that you will need at least three days to enjoy some of its wonders. Spend a day in a gondola at the narrow channels and be amazed by Venice. Go to Murano, the Venetian glassmaking center, or visit some of the famous places near the St Marks Square:
- Basilica: the place where you can see Pala d’Oro. This famous altarpiece dates since 976. It is made of solid gold by the Byzantine goldsmiths and it has precious gems encrustations.
- Doge’s Palace: situated right to the Basilica. You can see the Council Hall, plaques of the Doges (all 76, except Doge 55) and the world-famous Bridge of Sighs (the last walking place for the criminals before their transfer from the palace into the jail).
- Campanile: dating since 912. The Campanile is the third building you have to see. There is astonishing city view from the top of it. This is not the exact original of the building, but a rebuilding with the original materials after its collapse in 1902.
From Venice City are offered tours to Bologna - located approx 130 km (80 ml) to the southwest. Train travel time is 1,5 hours.
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