Italians on the waterways of Venice will be breathing a sigh of relief, after the Italian government announced that large cruise ships will be banned from the city's grand canal.

On Wednesday the Italian government announced that large pleasure craft of 1000 tonnes or more will be removed from Venice's main waterway the Giudecca Canal.

The minister for Venice Danilo Toninelli told the Financial Times that from the end of this month cruise ships will dock at Fusina and Lombardia terminals. These ports are away from the city centre but still on Venice's Lagoon. From next year a third of cruise traffic will be rerouted.

New berths to accommodate cruise traffic outside the city will have to be built, with location to be determined by public consultation.

Collision course: Protestors take action after the MSC Opera lost control in the Venice Canal. Photo / Getty Images
Collision course: Protestors take action after the MSC Opera lost control in the Venice Canal. Photo / Getty Images

Calls to ban cruise ships from the main water channel have been circulating for years, however the argument was accelerated after an MSC cruise ship crashed into the side of the canal.

On June 2, the 13-deck MSC Opera experienced an engine failure causing her to plough into the moored River Countess tourist boat, injuring five.

The dramatic event with footage that was seen by millions was recognised as a tipping point buy the cruise industry and public.

"CLIA cruise line members welcome and will support the urgent implementation of this solution," said Andy Harmer regional director for Cruise Lines International.

"The cruise industry has worked diligently with the Mayor of Venice, the Veneto Region, the Port Authority and many others to find viable solutions to allow larger cruise ships to access the Marittima berths without transiting the Giudecca Canal."

Some of the cruise industry members have downplayed the ban on large 1000+ tonne vessels.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio said his fleets were "not at all impacted by the rhetoric."

Speaking to the Seatrade Cruise News, he said the company has 70 ships calling in at Venice this year with the same amount of visits planned next year. The cruise itineraries do show that there is a downsizing in capacity, with half of these sailings for smaller ships in the Regent Seven Seas and Oceania fleet.


"We don't expect to see any major changes in the near term, but this is government and the government can do anything they want to do."