MONFALCONE, Italy — Vittoria Comparone had never been to Venice. So for her coming honeymoon, she booked a dream cruise including a majestic approach to the city past St. Mark’s Square, the Doge’s Palace and all the astonishing, photogenic treasures along the Giudecca Canal.
At dawn on Saturday, the 2,500-passenger ship, the MSC Orchestra, glided toward its designated Venice stop, and Ms. Comparone, 28, and her husband, both from Caserta in southern Italy, stepped onto their cabin’s balcony. Under a glorious salmon-hued sky, the couple took in the view.
Towering cranes bent over a vast shipyard. A peppermint-striped thermoelectric cooling tower loomed over walls wrapped in barbed wire. Signs in the distance advertised the main cultural attraction, the Shipbuilding Museum.
“It’s not exactly as charming as Venice,” Ms. Comparone said.
A navigating error did not bring her to Monfalcone, an industrial port with a renowned history of shipbuilding more than two hours’ drive east of Venice. The government did.
On July 13, a day after Ms. Comparone’s wedding, Italy’s prime minister banned cruise ships and other enormous boats from the Venice lagoon and canals — a move long sought by environmentalists and local activists to protect the fragile ecosystem and exasperated residents after years of mass tourism.
By Saturday, the last day before the ban went into effect on Aug. 1, cruise ship companies had already given up on Venice and rerouted to other ports, including Monfalcone. Locals wading opposite the port on a beach sullied with rusted debris and abandoned buildings with shattered windows admired the ship. “Spectacular in the morning light,” said Sabrina Ranni, 55, whose husband worked on a larger mega-cruise ship still in the yard.
But some passengers were less satisfied with Monfalcone than Monfalcone was with them.
“We were really upset,” said Erika Rosini, 43, who learned of the change once the ship set sail. “It wasn’t great to wake up this morning and see this horrible spectacle.”
She decided to avoid the long bus trek into Venice and spend the day with her family on the boat. “The pools are awful,” she said while standing in one of them, drinking a mocktail, shouting over thumping music and trying to look toward the sea rather than the shipyard. “It’s small with a lot — a lot — of people.”
Some passengers, including the newlyweds, braved the bus.
“I hoped we would arrive by sea, but with these changes we knew something would be different,” said Ms. Comparone as she got off the bus at Venice’s cruise ship terminal wearing a black T-shirt reading “Life Is Good.”
“It’s doable,” she said.
She, her husband, Gaetano La Vaccara, 32, and the rest of their group climbed into a smaller boat that brought them down the same Giudecca Canal that the cruise ships used to traverse. They shared space comfortably with public Vaporetto buses, water taxis, an array of motorboats and rocking…
Go to the news source: Looking for St. Mark’s Square? You May Find Yourself in a Shipyard Instead