On March 31, the Italian government issued a decree that would see cruise ships and large commercial vessels banned from the Venetian lagoon, and calling for tenders to be sought to construct a new port outside the lagoon.
Indeed, it arrived on June 3, taking the usual route past St Mark’s Square and up the Giudecca Canal, before parking up at the port to await the city’s first cruisers in 17 months.
Anti-cruise campaigners immediately swung into action. The Comitato No Grandi Navi, which opposes the cruise industry in the city, announced a protest for the ship’s departure on June 5, with campaigners occupying the waterfront along which it will pass.
This isn’t the only ship coming to Venice this year. MSC will have two based out of Venice, while the Costa Deliziosa will use the city as its homeport from June 26.
So what exactly is going on?