Hey all, I was in Charleston at the port this past Monday. They have some quirks or issues to work out there. While waiting on the pier I witnessed several passengers walking up to the terminal and being told to walk back to Parking Lot B and take the shuttle back. Mind you this was in 90 something degree heat and humidity.
The port isn't set up where can simply drop your luggage off at the terminal and go park. From my understanding you have to go to another area drop your luggage, and then go park and take a shuttle back. Even if you park at the City garage across from the pier (which by the way does have weekly rates) they will not let you walk up to the terminal, you must be delivered to the terminal door via shuttle. It was the weirdest thing to me and many others that witnessed this.
Now for the good news, Carnival corporate said they have made a commitment to building a new port facility in Charleston. They also said it could be 2 - 3 years down the road. Where it will be I don't know for sure yet. The location of the current terminal is optimal because of it's convenient walking distance to the historic district and the famous sites of Charleston.
Carnival corporate also explained the main problem is the limited size of the existing terminal. The same room they use to put luggage in and that Customs uses has to be totally cleared after each debarkation, and then set back up for embarkation check-in.
Now Charleston itself is divided as to whether they want the cruise ships or not. Some are against it claiming it will ruin Charleston. The Hospitality industry, restaurants, and merchants are for it. Cruise ships have been porting in Charleston for many years. I guess when "Big Daddy" Carnival came to town on a year round basis the debate got going.
Don't count on your GPS to get you to 196 Concord Street as you may get an error if coming from the north as there is a detour along the water front now. They have Police stationed at the detour and I must say they are the nicest I've ever encountered. I pulled over behind one of the Police cars to ask directions. One Police man started giving me directions and another went to his car to get a map to mark the new route for me. I love southern hospitality. Of course this wouldn't have happened if I would have driven down 17 from home instead of I-26 and went along E. Bay Street and down as I am familiar with that route.
Sorry for the long post, just wanted to give a heads up about some problems I encountered.