Venice is a northeastern Italian city and the capital of the Veneto region. It is a famous tourist destination that needs no introduction. Venice is an amalgamation of 118 small islands connected by canals and land bridges. A principal maritime power and a commercial centre of the medieval era, the city, is recounted in history as the place of the Crusades, the battle of Lepanto and the hotbed of the Italian Renaissance.
It is also known as one of the world’s most beautiful and romantic cities. Venice has wooden foundations, and the city suffers from floods annually. The cruise ships and influx of tourists have also increased pollution levels in nearby water bodies and canals, despite government interventions.
Nonetheless, Venice is on everyone’s bucket list and what’s better than reaching the enchanting city on a cruise ship. Mentioned below are the major cruise ports in Venice.
1. Port of Venice
The strategic geographical location and numerous advantages of the Port of Venice make it a popular choice for international maritime trade. It is also a renowned Mediterranean homeport for cruise ships and one of the most extensive cruise facilities for passenger handling.
It has many terminals catering to passenger vessels such as ferries, cruises, fast ships, yachts, catamarans, and mega yachts. It is an amalgamation of modernity and Italian heritage at its best. Approximately 2.5 million passengers pass through the passenger terminal of Venice every year.
Cruise ships from Venice connect the Adriatic seaports of Croatia, Albania and Montenegro, including the Aegean seaports of Turkey and Greece. Venice port has ten cargo terminals and six cruise facilities.
The Venice cruise terminal is the third busiest facility in Venice and the 13th biggest in the world, handling a thousand cruise ships each year. The passenger terminal lies in the Venetian lagoon and connects the Adriatic sea via the Porto di Lido waterway.
More than 15 prominent cruise companies like Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean operate from the port.
Port of Venice is a popular cruise destination, but it is fast becoming a significant hub for yachts. Several new and modern facilities were constructed to moor the vessels in scenic areas near Riva Delle Zattere, Riva Degli Schiavoni and San Basilio, all part of the Venice passenger terminal, managed by the company Venezia Terminal Passeggeri.
The cruise facility has three quays, the largest being the Marittima. The world’s biggest ocean liners are docked at the passenger terminals. The cruise facility consists of the TM Wharf, the Piave wharf, the Tagliamento Quay with its four berths and the two berths of the Isonzo wharf.
Venice port authority has implemented the concept of the green port. Hence, the passenger terminal is dedicated to upholding the sustainable port guidelines and preserving the marine environment.
Istria is linked to the city of Venice by high-speed crafts and Hydrofoils. Ships sail from Venice to Slovenia and Croatia as well. Many catamarans offer services to the Kvarner Gulf. More than 1.5 million people use this service annually to reach the coastal settlements of Labin, Lussino, Portorose, Umag, Rovinj, Piran, and Pula.
Numerous ferry lines connect the port of Venice with the eastern Mediterranean coastline. Apart from people, cars, trailers and lorries, even vehicles are transported in ferries to Mediterranean countries through the Venice RORO terminal. Regular ferry services to the Greek cities of Igoumenitsa and Patras are operated from Venice port all year round.
The biggest basin in the Port of Venice passenger terminal, Marittima, has several piers and terminal buildings within walking distance from Piazzale Roma, the taxi booth, the bus stand and the historical centre.
Earlier, all types and sizes of cruise vessels were welcomed at the port. However, now it accommodates ships up to 25,000 gross tonnes. Larger ships use berths in the industrial port of Marghera or other harbours on the coast.
Marritima is a few minutes from Piazzale Roma via taxi or bus. A shuttle bus plies on the weekends and Mondays during the peak season. One can also opt for the new Venice People Mover from Piazzale Roma, which goes right to the entrance gate of Marritima.
3. San Basilio terminal
The San Basilio terminal has three berths located in the Giudecca canal. Passengers can reach the maritime station from Tronchetto via the Santa Lucia railway line and from P.le Roma. From April to November, services are provided to the popular resorts on the shores of Slovenia and Croatia.
The single-storey building was constructed in the 1990s and renovated after that. It accommodates small cruise vessels, hydrofoils and catamarans. Covering more than 1620 m2 of area, the terminal lies on the ground floor and can be accessed by people with special needs. It has a 60-seater waiting room, 8 Check-in counters, a departure hall, two baggage control lines and four restrooms.
A modern building inaugurated in 2004, terminal 103, is close to the car park. It is located on the first floor and covers 3700 square meters. It has escalators, a wheelchair ramp and a huge waiting area accommodating 280 passengers.
Spanning 5000 m2, the terminal became operational in 1999 and was used for managing ferry traffic until 2013. However, after ferries were transferred to New Motorways of the Fusina terminal, it was refurbished and transformed into a cruise port with three berths. Terminal 123 lies in the Marittima region and has many attractions, such as the famous interior garden housing Mediterranean flora, accessible to the public.
The Isonzo terminal has two buildings inaugurated in 2010 and 2011. This facility intends to offer passengers a memorable experience and contains a 1450 m2 terrace area with a panoramic view of the beautiful city. It has a parking area for third-party vehicles and a separate parking lot for passengers’ cars. Numerous hotels are located in the vicinity of this terminal.
Restored in 2005, terminal 107/108 can be accessed via a mobile boarding bridge and a Ship boarding bridge. The automatic conveyor belt transfers the luggage to the quay directly.
4. Venice Yacht Pier
Venice yacht pier offers 950 metres of dockage and accommodates up to 21 superyachts. The viable location of the berths close to Saint Mark’s Square or the Punta Delle Dogana provides a perfect view of the city, its culture and architecture. The finest resorts, hotels, restaurants and cafes are in the vicinity.
Apart from operating the leased berths, the Yacht pier is trying to identify new regions for moorings, given the city’s infrastructure and wooden foundations. Venice does not have extensive marinas but small or medium-sized terminals with draft restrictions.
For instance, all yachts weighing above 500 tonnes must utilise the services of an agent for their paperwork before entering the pier.
Numerous services are provided at the marina, including laundry, chandlery and professional handling. The berths are illuminated for easy mooring and equipped with fresh water, wifi and electricity supply. Refuelling and Bunkering facilities are also available. The pier has many bars and restaurants, recycling bins and a water recollection unit.
Venice Yacht pier operates the following berths-
1. Santa Marta
The berth of Santa Marta covers 120 metres and has a 5.8 m draught. It can be reached by taxi or shuttle bus and is close to the Fondamenta delle Zattere, considered the second starting point of Venice.
2. Banchina Adriatica
With 115 metres of quay and a 7.7 m draught, Banchina Adriatica is situated close to the Guidecca Canal, one of the most beautiful areas of Venice. Adriatica is near the main city centre, known for its medieval Churches, Museums and Art galleries. It is a preferred mooring location for crew and passengers alike, given its proximity to Campo Santa Margherita and the numerous bars and clubs located within walking distance.
3. Punta Della Salute
A picturesque waterfront, Punta Della Salute has around 410 metres of mooring posts and a 6 m draught. It is opposite Piazza San Marco and San Girogo islands. One can enjoy the scenery and solitude here.
4. Riva San Biago
One of the most impressive and premier docks, Riva San Biago, has 97 metres of quay and 7.8 m draught. It is a kilometre from Piazza San Marco and the Art and Architecture Biennale, held in the gardens. One can start exploring Venice from San Biago, which offers a beautiful view of the San Marco basin beyond comparison.
5. Riva dei Sette Martiri
This berth offers 145 metres of quayage and a 9.5 m draught. It is close to Giardini and Biennale d’Arte, offering another starting point to explore Venice. The area is famous for its supermarkets and the craft market. Tourists can taste wine and buy chocolates, souvenirs, and olives.
Back in the day, the ships docked at Riva Dei Sette Martiri. The small dock was convenient for the tourists but not for the local inhabitants and people who lived in the vicinity of the pleasure port.
This is precisely why Riva Dei Sette Martiri was transformed into a yachting facility. It has not seen a cruise vessel for many years. Though the berth offers proximity to Piazza San Marco and is comfortable for passengers, it was just not the same for the residents.
However, if the Marritima passenger terminal is congested, then a cruise ship may dock at Riva dei Setti Martiri. Such a situation is rare and most likely during summers. Generally, no embarkations or debarkations are allowed at this port.
You may also like to read:- 10 Largest Cruise Ports in the World
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Zahra is an alumna of Miranda House, University of Delhi. She is an avid writer, possessing immaculate research and editing skills. Author of several academic papers, she has also worked as a freelance writer, producing many technical, creative and marketing pieces. A true aesthete at heart, she loves books a little more than anything else.