Following the decision that the ban on the largest ships would be implemented, and a reduction made in the number of medium-sized ships passing through St Mark’s basin, it had been assumed that the only long-term option was the dredging of a new channel linking the existing coast-hugging deep water commercial channel up to the port of Maghera on the mainland with the Venice cruise terminal. This channel (now known as the Contorta-Sant’Angelo channel) would be 4.8 kilometres long, would cost €115m, and the whole project would take up to two years. Now there’s a new proposal.
This would see a new, free-standing jetty being built out of prefabricated concrete units and situated to the east of St Mark’s basin – somewhere just outside the sea-defence gates near the bottom of the Lido, I think. From there passengers would transit through St Mark’s basin to the existing cruise terminal in some sort of ferry – the current suggestion refers to a ‘large catamaran’ for this transit. For cruise turnrounds (and several lines do turnrounds in Venice, e.g. MSC, Costa, NCL, and of course P&O), check in would be done at the cruise terminal and then passengers would be conveyed to the ship in the ‘ferry’.
It all sounds reasonably practical, until you start to think of all the services that the ships need. There’s food, of course, which at the moment can be delivered by road – the cruise berths are literally at the end of the road in Venice. Delivering food and drink stocks for a new cruise to this new location would involve transhipping them from a road vehicle to a sea-going one, and then onto the ship. Passengers’ luggage will also have to be moved by water from the ship to the cruise terminals, and vice-versa. The catamaran would have to be running all day, as passengers will want to be able to leave and return to the ship whenever they wished. And of course the ships themselves will also need to be bunkered and perhaps have fresh water delivered. Provision for these services is already built-in at the cruise terminal, and shifting that provision out to a quay to the east will be expensive and fraught with some risk – what’s the environmental hazard of moving a bunker barge from the cruise terminal (where the pipeline ends) down the Giudecca canal, past St Mark’s, and on out through part of the lagoon to the Lido?
Sorry, I don’t think this one will work. There don’t even seem to be any cost advantages – the initial estimate is said to be €128m and would take two years to construct and introduce.