Locals in pretty European city take revenge as huge cruise ships block views

Residents furious at giant, towering, cruise ships thundering into their port and spoiling their view are taking revenge by telling them to go home and wafting sheets in their gardens.

The locals in the beautiful city of Stavanger, Norway, say the massive cruise liners, some with nearly 10 floors of balconies, are like “floating hotels” with tourists swarming the town and the ships blocking their view.

One campaign group even resorted to posting flyers which read: “Please go back to your boat and tell all on board that you are parasites. You are not welcome in Norway!”

And there are also reports that locals are trying to spoil tourists’ views in retaliation by hanging sheets in their gardens.

One former resident, who lived there for four years in a flat overlooking the port, but moved on last month, said: “I actually really liked seeing the boats come in – and they stopped during Covid.

“But they have always been a big discussion. Residents of Gamle Stavanger – the old part of the town with cobbled streets immediately adjacent – put out a sign in English and Norwegian below a statue popular with tourists saying tourists are welcome but ships are not. 

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“It’s a beautiful town and a real tourist attraction and it is like a hotel coming in over night. Sometimes the smell blows the wrong way. It has always been a debate as long as I was there.”

The former resident says that the ships have seemed to have got “bigger and bigger”. He added: “If you hang your washing out and they were running an engine – it looked quite dirty, the smell coming out.” 

A travel advisor has also confirmed reports that locals have now taken to hanging out sheets in their gardens in protest.

The travel advisor, for travel tech company Voyagu, said: “Previously, only Hurtigruten, the Norwegian Coastal cruise company, used to stop in Stavanger, and these were small carriers that didn’t raise any questions among the locals.

“Now, because St. Petersburg was dropped as a port, the main cruise lines like RCCL and Carnival Corp. changed their routes and started coming to the city. 

“This change has sparked dissatisfaction and led to protests, including the display of ‘go home’ posters and hanging out sheets.”

However, they added that sheets can also be used to protect cover flower beds in the area.

Last year anti-cruise campaign group CruiseNOTWelcome put up 1,000 posters at ports in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger and Flåm to say that the cruise liners were causing both social and environmental damage.

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‘A floating block of flats’

One of the posters said: “You have just arrived in my home town on a floating block of flats that burn asphalt for propulsion and energy. 

“The ship is registered in some bandit state or in an offshore secondary register to exempt them from all our laws about tax, environmental protection and workers rights [sic].

“You paid for your trip to a company that does not pay taxes to Norway or at all, and the workers are exempt from all relevant labour laws.

“Please go back to your boat and tell all on board that you are parasites. You are not welcome in Norway!”

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The founder of CruiseNOTWelcome, Bengt Erik Waldow, said in June last year: “The industry is doomed because the whole concept of moving a floating town from port to port can never be CO2 efficient no matter what fuel they use.”

Last year the Cruise Lines International Association told the Independent: “CLIA and our member lines work closely with communities and local Governments in ports and destinations around the world to deliver sustainable tourism.

“Cruise tourism brings joy to millions of passengers and enormous social and economic benefits to communities, particularly in coastal and often remote regions.”

Express.co.uk has approached CruiseNOTWelcome, Bengt Erik Waldow and the Port of Stavanger for comment. 

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