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European Ports in 2023: Cruise Ship Changes Amid Environmental Concerns

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In travel news for November 1, 2023 we talk about More European ports are saying no to Cruise ships.

Travelers who enjoy setting sail on luxurious cruises might need to tweak their travel plans. As the cruise industry rebounds from the pandemic, several European ports are reconsidering allowing large cruise ships into their waters due to concerns about overtourism and environmental impacts.

Key Points

  • Many European ports are re-evaluating the presence of large Cruise ships.
  • Environmental concerns, including emissions, play a significant role in these decisions.
  • Overtourism strains local resources and affects the quality of the travel experience.

Environmental Concerns for Ports and Passengers

The Transport & Environment organization has shed light on an alarming issue. In 2022, Cruise ships in Europe produced sulphur oxides, a harmful pollutant, at a rate four times that of all cars on the continent. This level even surpassed the emissions before the COVID-19 pandemic. This revelation might have travelers questioning the environmental responsibility of their chosen mode of travel.

Impacts on Popular Destinations

For destinations such as Venice, Italy, the effects of these gigantic ships are more than just environmental. The massive influx of tourists strains local resources, affecting not only residents but also the overall travel experience. Venice took the bold step in 2021 to prohibit large Cruise ships from anchoring in its core areas, citing damage to the iconic city's historic structures and canals.

A representative from the Cruise Lines International Association expressed support for this decision, suggesting a willingness among cruise companies to adapt to new norms. However, travelers should note that, without alternative docking areas outside Venice's lagoon, many cruises are still stopping there despite the ban.

Traveler Adjustments in Other European Cities

It's not just Venice that's pushing back. In Barcelona, Spain, measures have been introduced to mitigate the impact of overtourism. By 2026, the city will only allow cruises to operate from the Adossat wharf. Similarly, in Marseille, France, local residents have expressed their concerns, leading to tightened restrictions in other Mediterranean cities such as Santorini, Greece, and Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Travelers looking to embark from or visit Amsterdam, Netherlands, might also face changes. The city's council recently voted to close its Cruise terminal, aiming to curb pollution and reduce the swarm of tourists. Relocating the terminal outside of the city's heart seems to be the most feasible solution.

What Does This Mean for Cruise-goers?

For travelers who love the convenience and luxury of cruises, these changes might mean having to rethink itineraries or even choose alternative modes of travel. Moreover, even if they dock, the number of passengers disembarking and spending in these European cities appears to be on the decline. A study from Bergen, Norway showed that almost 40% of passengers chose to remain aboard.

Final Thoughts

The evolving dynamics between European ports and the Cruise industry is a clear sign that travel is undergoing significant changes. As environmental and social concerns become paramount, travelers need to be adaptable, informed, and responsible. Choosing to cruise in the future might come with more considerations than just the itinerary and onboard amenities.

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