Charleston SC USA Cruise Port (2024)

Charleston SC USA Cruise Port (1)


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The Port of Charleston cruise ship terminal is located in the peninsular city at 196 Concord Street at the foot of Market Street. It is in the heart of the historic district, offering the possibility of combining a visit to one of America's oldest cities with a fun-filled cruise. On the day of your cruise, the Union Pier Terminal Main Gate will be your entry point. The address of Union Pier is 32 Washington Street.

The airport is only 20 minutes from the terminal.
The meter fare for taxi departure from the Airport is around $35.
CARTA’s bus No. 11, a public bus which serves the Airport for only $3.

Take advantage of the new pre-paid parking process. Parking costs $17 per day.

The design and building of a new cruise terminal at the Port of Charleston has been delayed several times.

Charleston's new cruise terminal will be located further north on the SCSPA's Union Pier property within an existing structure. It will replace the current cruise terminal that opened in 1973.

Just about everything you want to see is within walking distance.

Hotels near the Cruise Terminal

Printable map to take along on your cruise.

Cruise calendar for this port.

Watch a destination video.

Live Nautical Chart with Wikipedia Markers

Port Location on Google Maps

Monthly Climate Averages for Charleston SC USA


Charleston is a city in the state of South Carolina in the United States of America. It is located, rather like Manhattan, on a peninsula formed by two rivers flowing into the Atlantic, and protected from the open ocean by surrounding islands. It was captured early in the Civil War without much property damage, so the older part of town has buildings that are hundreds of years old. The skyline has practically no tall buildings and is dominated by the stunning Arthur Ravenel cable stay bridge. The city is a major port on the eastern seaboard of the US.

When in Charleston, consider taking a carriage tour of the city. Several groups operate horse-drawn carriage tours of the historical sites in the city. Most of these tours leave from stands on Market street, next to the Market itself. While reservations are not required for these tours, they are run on a first-come-first-served basis, so plan to wait during peak tourist season. Luckily, most of the tour services assign a departure time, rather than making customers wait in line, so tourists waiting for a carriage can take the opportunity to visit the Market shops. Discount coupons are available in free tourist maps and guides.

Charleston Museum. Founded in 1773 and commonly regarded as “America’s First Museum,” Focusing on the South Carolina Lowcountry, modern collecting emphases include natural history, historical material culture and both documentary and photographic resources.

Fort Sumter. Where the American Civil War Began. Decades of growing strife between North and South erupted in civil war on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on this Federal fort in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumter surrendered 34 hours later. Union forces would try for nearly four years to take it back. Fort Sumter is located on an island in Charleston Harbor and is only accessible by boat.

Joseph Manigault House. The Joseph Manigault House is a historic house museum at 350 Meeting Street in Charleston, South Carolina that is owned and operated by the Charleston Museum. Built in 1803, it was designed by Gabriel Manigault to be the home of his brother, and is nationally significant as a well-executed and preserved example of Adam style architecture. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.

Equally fun walking tours include guided history tours and scary ghost tours through the streets of Charleston.

Tours Excursions Transportation:

Charleston is a city that is best explored on foot.

A good place to start a tour of Charleston is the Visitor Reception and Transportation Center, located at 375 Meeting Street, not far from the entrance of I-26 into the city. Here, a visitor can receive maps and guides, book tours, and tour a small museum dedicated to the history of Charleston.

It pays to compare your cruise line tours here

Nearby Places:

Shopping and Food

The Market and the shops lining Market street are a popular shopping destination for tourists. The Market itself is a large gathering of small vendors that sell everything from blankets to candy. More traditional shops line Market street and most of these sell merchandise that is aimed at tourists.

Upscale shopping in downtown Charleston can be found at the shops lining King Street. These shops are known for selling high-quality merchandise.


The official U.S. currency is the United States dollar (symbol: $). ATM's everywhere.

Major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are widely used and accepted, even for transactions worth only a few dollars. In fact, in some cases, it may be the only way to make a transaction.Note to overseas visitors: Prices of goods and services always seem lower than they really are, as taxes and gratuities are seldom included.

Most states have a sales tax, ranging from 2.9% to nearly 10% of the retail price; 4-6% is typical. Sales tax is almost never included in posted prices (except for gasoline, and in most states, alcoholic beverages consumed on-premises), but instead will be calculated and added to the total when you pay.

Tipping in America is widely used and expected. While Americans themselves often debate correct levels and exactly who deserves to be tipped, generally accepted standard rates are:

  • Full-service restaurants: 15-20% (Often this is the only income of the wait(ress). Tips are either left in cash or you can add it to the credit card slip) Note: Few restaurants add an automatic service charge, in which case it is up to you how much you tip extra. Check your bill!
  • Taxi drivers, hairdressers, other personal services: 10-15%
  • Bartenders: $1 per drink if inexpensive or 15% of total
  • Bellhops: $1-2 per bag ($3-5 minimum regardless)
  • Hotel doorman: $1 per bag (if they assist), $1 for calling a cab
  • Tour guides: Depending on tour length, size, and overall quality of guided tours; for half day tours or less $5-10 per person, for longer tours $10-20 per person.
  • drivers: $2-5 (optional)
  • Private car & limousine drivers: 15-20%
  • Housekeeping in hotels: $1-2 per day for long stays or $5 minimum for very short stays (optional)
  • Food delivery (pizza, etc.): $2-5, possibly more for very large orders

Currency Converter


The U.S. has no official language at the federal level, but English is by far the standard for everyday use. Several states have declared their official state language as English. Spanish is also official in the state of New Mexico, where it is widely spoken; French is official in Louisiana and the Hawaiian language is official in Hawaii, but neither approaches the use of English and are official for primarily historical reasons.

Emergency 911

Opening Hours and Holidays:

In major metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles, many drugstores and supermarkets are routinely open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, while department stores, shopping centers and most other large retailers are typically open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and often with shorter hours on Sundays - generally 11 a.m. or noon to 5 or 6 p.m. On holidays, the tendency is to remain open (with the exception of the most important holidays like Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day where stores are generally closed)

Holidays in the USA

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Charleston SC USA Cruise Port (2024)


Why is Charleston, SC cruise port closing? ›

At the end of this year, cruise ships will no longer be able to dock at Union Pier in Downtown Charleston, as Carnival Cruise Line's contract with the ports authority is set to expire. Now some people are hoping Mount Pleasant will take over as the Lowcountry's next cruise terminal.

Can you walk to Charleston from port? ›

The pedestrian path is where you see people walking from the port down a causeway into Charleston.

Are cruises still going out of Charleston? ›

Cruise ships can continue to dock at Charleston, but only for brief, same-day port of call stops. CHARLESTON, S.C. — Cruise ships will no longer start their journeys from Charleston by the end of 2024, the South Carolina Ports Authority said.

What cruise lines sell out of Charleston South Carolina? ›

There are three main cruise lines out of Charleston: Carnival, American, and Silversea.

Is Carnival not cruising out of Charleston? ›

South Carolina will be bidding farewell to Carnival Cruise Lines in 2024. The state will be ending it's deal with the cruise line after 14 years, resulting in the end of departures from Charleston.

What happens when a cruise port is Cancelled? ›

If a port of call is cancelled during the course of a voyage, guests will be alerted via letters sent to their rooms and announcements over the ship's loudspeakers. All port fees related with that specific port of call will be returned, as will any shore trips booked via the cruise line for that port.

Where do you board a cruise ship in Charleston? ›

All cruise passengers should come to Union Pier Cruise Terminal. Your entry to the terminal will be Gate 2 (intersection of Laurens and Concord Streets) if arriving by car. Use Gate 1 (Main Gate at 32 Washington Street) if arriving by taxi or bus.

Is the trolley in Charleston free? ›

The DASH Trolley is free to ride and loops around Charleston's historic district daily. Here's a map below. If you're using the trolley it's best to park at the Charleston Visitor Center garage (375 Meeting Street) since all 3 trolley routes intersect there and you can easily go from one route to another.

Where do you park when cruising from Charleston, SC? ›

Long-term vehicle parking is available on Port property for cruise passengers vehicles. Reservations are not required. Parking is in controlled-access areas available only to cruise passengers not the general public. The sites are secured and patrolled by Port Police during the cruise.

What port does Carnival use in Charleston, SC? ›

The Cruise Terminal is located within Union Pier Terminal. From I-26: Follow I-26 East into Charleston. Take Exit 219 - B (Morrison Drive & East Bay Street) and turn left at the foot of the exit ramp.

Do you need a passport for cruises? ›

If you take closed loop cruises (meaning your trip begins and ends at a U.S. port), you can sail to a variety of dreamy destinations as a U.S. citizen without a passport. For “closed-loop” cruises, U.S. citizens will need to provide: A boarding pass. A government photo I.D.

Does Savannah have a cruise port? ›

On the east coast of the United States in the historic and vibrant cruise port of Savannah, Georgia, separated by neighboring South Carolina by the Savannah River. The height of southern culture, the city may be smaller than you think: its 145,000 residents are ever-proud to show off the area's heritage.

What is the best Carnival ship out of Charleston? ›

Get to Know Carnival Sunshine

There's plenty to find atop this ship, where you can spend your days being kissed by the warm rays of the sun. Visit the biggest Serenity area ever, featuring three decks, plenty of recliners... and even a waterfall.

How many cruise ports are in Charleston SC? ›

The Port of Charleston is a seaport located in South Carolina in the Southeastern United States. The port's facilities span three municipalities—Charleston, North Charleston, and Mount Pleasant—with six public terminals owned and operated by the South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA).

What ship is docked in Charleston South Carolina? ›

The USS Yorktown is an 888-foot (271-meter) aircraft carrier. The naval ship served in several wars, earning a host of battle stars. Today it lies in the water off Patriots Point in the Charleston Harbor and is open to the public as a memorial and museum.

Why are cruise casinos closed at port? ›

Casinos and shops are generally closed while the ship is in port to comply with local gambling rules.

What happened to Ocean Village cruises? ›

She was renamed Ocean Village in 2003 when the brand was established. Ocean Village was the sole cruise ship of the Ocean Village brand after the Ocean Village Two became the Pacific Jewel. In 2010 the Ocean Village brand ceased its operations and she was transferred to P&O Cruises Australia and renamed Pacific Pearl.


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