Cruise lines are working with Italian authorities to look at the option of moving the port in Venice to another part of the canal after concerns over the ships’ impact on the city.

Speaking at a Clia press conference earlier today, Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, said the industry was working with officials to find a solution and was looking at different canals to establish which would be the best alternative.

His comments came just days after protesters delayed a procession of cruise ships for over an hour by leaping into Venice’s Guidecca canal. The demonstrators believe the cruise ships are threatening the city’s foundations and want the port moved to an island away from the city.

Vago said the issue was “deeply emotional” for some Venetians, however the majority support the cruise lines calling at the destination.

He said there was no environmental impact on Venice by the vessels as cruise lines had already agreed to have a low sulphur admission on entering the city.

Vago said lines and authorities were looking at the ecosystems in the waters surrounding Venice to establish whether there was an alternative and appropriate route.

He added: “We (the cruise industry) are important to the city of Venice, everybody understands that.

“One shop out of six lives because of the cruise industry, 33% of the hotel industry lives because of the cruise industry. It is an emotional impact.”

Howard Frank, Carnival Corporation’s vice chairman and chief operating officer said he agreed that the issue was not a environmental one.

He said the industry needed to do a better job in getting the message out about how environmentally friendly cruise ships had become.