The “No Grandi Navi” movement has been alive and well in Venice all summer long, and now has gotten a response: the biggest of the big ships will be banned, starting a year from now! Italy’s Prime Minister met with transport and culture ministers, the governor of the region and Mayor of Venice, and has now approved plans to limit or shut down cruise ship traffic in one of Europe’s busiest cruise hubs.
In 2014, the number of ships more than 40,000 gross tons allowed to pass through the Guidecca Canal will be cut 20%. Ships more than 96,000 gross tons will be banned from the canal completely, beginning November 2014. A new channel is being developed to the main Venice terminal which could accommodate the biggest ships, but we’ll have to wait and see. Ships like the Carnival Sunshine and Royal Princess will officially be too big next November.
Do you know how big a big ship is? Let’s compare. The Carnival Sunshine, which visited Venice this year, is 102,853 gross tons – too big for the canal. The American Glory is 87 gross tons. Wow! I had to double-check that, because the discrepancy was so huge – but that’s what my research says! The American Glory is .00086% the size of the Carnival Sunshine (can someone double-check my math?). The American Queen is larger than the American Glory – 3707 gross tons. That’s still .03% the size of the Carnival Sunshine! Passenger counts: American Glory – 49; American Queen – 436; Carnival Sunshine – 3006. The “No Grandi Navi” movement has gotten lots of attention since the Costa Concordia disaster almost two years ago off the coast of Italy. That ship was 114,147 gross tons, hosting 3,780 passengers – even larger than the Carnival Sunshine! It is possible to make a ship too big – and Venice has decided that those ships cannot pass through the Guidecca Canal!