Amsterdam Is Dramatically Changing Its Approach to Cruise Ships

Big changes are on the horizon

Houses in Amsterdam
Houses with a water view in Amsterdam.
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The early days of the pandemic may have seemed like a cautionary tale for people considering a cruise ship as their next vacation, and yet the industry appears to have rebounded dramatically. At the end of last year, Reuters cited plenty of evidence that 2024 would be a bigger year for the industry than 2023; as if that wasn’t enough, the world’s largest cruise ship entered service earlier this year.

Even with all of that in mind, though, it certainly sounds like traveling to popular cruise destinations in the year to come could be very different. As Shift’s Dawit Habtemariam reports, Amsterdam recently announced plans to reduce the number of cruise ships that arrive in the city each year — and, eventually, relocating where those ships will dock as well.

This includes reducing the number of cruises that can stop in the city by almost one half beginning in 2026. Habtemariam writes that the city currently allows 190 cruises to stop there; that number will drop to 100 in two years’ time. And by 2035, the terminal that those ships used will relocate to a space outside of the city proper.

Those aren’t the only changes in the works; regulations are also set to go into place that will require ships to use power generated on land, as opposed to using the ship’s engines and creating more noise.

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These decisions will almost certainly have broader effects within the industry. But they’re also part of a growing tension between the revenue that tourism can bring to a city and the disruption that can accompany that industry. Recently, one Scottish destination requested that ships not sound their horns, while Venice has explored different ways to reduce the impact of tourism on the city itself. Amsterdam is the latest city to adopt measures like this, but they’re unlikely to be the last.


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