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.
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.
I suppose the same would apply if arriving by taxi or car service -- get dropped off at the luggage drop-off point and then shuttle to the pier?
When we where there in Feb this year is was the same. You had to wait in the old warehouse where you park and are not allowed to walk to the terminal....I am not sure why it is right in front of you but if you try you are turned back and it is the same if you arrive by taxi, bus or whatever. Our problem was worst because of the Ship not being held overnight due to the Nor virus everyone showed up at the same time the next day WHOA that was not fun.
Thanks janfred, I wasn't sure about the taxis as I parked in the city garage across from the pier as I was only going to be aboard for 4 hours. Come to think of it I sure don't recall any of them driving past the check point on the pier.
I'm sure dealing with that wasn't much fun at all.
I guess I am missing something with them doing this this way as it doesn't make much sense to me. Instead of paying "Lancaster Tours" or whoever they are paying for the shuttle service, just put a big tent up and let the people walk over, and then go through security if that is the issue. Heck, give them some Water or Sweet Tea while they wait and welcome them to South Carolina!
Sorry if I am overly passionate about this. I campaigned for so long as many others did for Carnival to bring a year round ship here and now they can't get the logistics worked out more favorably for guests? Then again I also heard it was some type of Port Authority thing.
I am sure they will "Git 'er fixed" eventually. Things just move a little slower down here is all I know.
Thank you so much for the information, Dwayne. That will sure help out if I'm lucky enough to make that Bermuda sailing
It is much easier to drop luggage off, then park, then walk to the terminal. But, if they want us to shuttle, it's ok, too. I don't truly understand the efficiency/cost of that, but maybe someone's brother-in-law owns the shuttle company
Thanks Cruise Fanatic and IslandCruz. I love Charleston and it's been a long time since I have visited. Now if Princess would just go there, dang it! Although, there's nothing wrong with Carnival and I really, really enjoy sailing with them. And that October Bermuda cruise is really looking good. It's just that I miss Princess.
Hang in there with Princess. Not to spread rumors as it is just my gut instinct thinking if Carnival puts out a bunch of money to build or help build a new port Princess will come. That in my opinion would be a perfect match. I'm still interested in the Bermuda cruise too. I have some cruise friends wanting me to head up a group cruise on the Dream during that time frame though so I'm waiting to see what they decide. I'd love to go to Bermuda as I've never been before. Another island to pin as visited on my map.