We all know that one of the most annoying and stressful parts of cruising is getting on the cruise ship. The time consuming and crowded, long lines can be a real pain so when you are planning to take a cruise, one of the first things you look at is where your cruise will leave from. The bigger the port, the longer the lines. Living just a short drive from Charleston in South Carolina, I automatically looked at availability from the Port of Charleston.
Most people say the Port of Charleston, when compared to other ports, is small, old and out of date. I think charming is a better word since the city of Charleston is a great charming and historic place to visit itself. Charleston, South Carolina’s port is served by only one major cruise line – Carnival Cruise Line, with only one ship docking there.
The port is easy to get to by car and also offers shuttles from Charleston International Airport.
Because of it’s small size, leaving from the Port of Charleston is without a doubt one of the easiest and quickest ports to board a cruise. When you arrive by car and follow the directions to the secure parking for the length of your cruise, the port personnel are friendly, efficient and guide you through the process within minutes. Mid-way through the parking process, you will stop, unload your bags and porters will place them in containers to be loaded on the ship. Be sure your cruise tags are on your bags! You will continue to your parking spot and within minutes load a shuttle to the ship.
Parking in the secured area costs $20 per day of your cruise which you should be prepared to pay when entering the area.
When you enter the terminal building itself, getting through security is simple as long as you have all of your documents in order. The Port of Charleston employees are both pleasant and efficient as you make your way to the Carnival Cruise Line personnel servicing the desks. Keep your documents handy at all times since you will need to show your identification and cruise documents at several spots.
Charleston has long been regarded one of the country’s top travel destinations for its history, natural beauty, and Southern charm, and it’s an ideal cruise port with an efficiently run operation. Although the building and site are old, not at all like the Port Canaveral or Miami terminals, it is a usable cruise terminal that offers quick and efficient service. The South Carolina State Port Authority has been hoping to build a new, modern, state of the art terminal for several years but as of now those plans have not been finalized. The new 35 million dollar terminal will allow for larger and more cruise ships at the port. In the meantime, the “old” port terminal works just fine!