June 18, 2024

Celebrities Join fight to stop Cruise Ships in Venice

The Noordam, at just 82,000 tons is quite a bit smaller than the large ships currently cruising into Venice.

The port of Venice may become a “no-cruise” zone if some celebrities have their way with Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Ministry of Culture. Cate Blanchett, Susan Sarandon and Calvin Klein sent an open letter to Italy’s highest ministers to “urgently request an immediate…halt” to the “devastation” brought by large cruise ships.

Huge cruise liners passing though the famed Giudecca Canal and to access the architectural marvels of Venice have sparked fierce controversy following a surge of cruise tourists in the last decade. About 1.8 million cruise passengers docked in Venice last year in ships that can be nearly 1,000 feet long.

Residents who fear those ships could damage the city have staged protests a number of times. But others want to leave the cruise liners’ route unchanged, fearing that a less spectacular route could damp tourists’ enthusiasm. The ships cruise slide right by St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, offering a thrilling view to passengers.

Last year, local and national authorities agreed that large ships would reach the lagoon city through an alternative route that steers clear of the historic center – but only in 2016. Italy will begin to limit large cruise ship traffic to Venice in November this year and the biggest vessels – of more than 96,000 gross tonnes – will be banned.

But Michael Douglas, who also acts as a U.N. Messenger of Peace, Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Nobel Laureate Vidia Naipaul plus 60 other world-renowned figures of the cultural world think they must stop now.

“Having prevailed against flood, pestilence, and war for more than thirteen centuries, Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic, and unparalleled UNESCO Word Heritage site, now, in a moment of relative tranquility, finds herself mortally threatened by the daily transit of gargantuan ocean liners, indifferent to the probable risk of catastrophe,” they wrote in a letter published Monday.

See the complete story at The Wall Street Journal, Venice

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