Cruise NewsCarnival Cruise LineNew South Carolina Cruise Port? Public Meeting Faces Choppy Waters

New South Carolina Cruise Port? Public Meeting Faces Choppy Waters

Charleston, South Carolina has been looking to part with its cruise terminal for years.  After taking a cruise from the downtown Union Pier, I saw firsthand the kind of congestion that embarkation day brings.

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But a meeting to discuss building a new cruise terminal right across the Charleston harbor in Mount Pleasant just took place on Monday.

Charleston cruise port Carnival ship
Photo 303439320 | Charleston Cruise © Walter Arce |

The clock is ticking for Charleston’s cruise industry. On December 30th, 2024, Carnival’s final ship sets sail, marking the end of a 10-year contract with the South Carolina Ports Authority.

With that, the historic city’s cruise terminal will be out of service.

In the public meeting to bring a cruise terminal to Mount Pleasant, members were able to voice both concerns and support for the project.

There is currently a proposal to build a 30,000 square-foot terminal and a 1,200 car parking garage in the area that is only a few thousand feet across the water from the Charleston dock.

Support for the move was driven by jobs.  By keeping the cruise industry in the same region hundreds of jobs would be saved.

Vice President of the International Longshoreman’s Association, Benjamin Flowers, brought up this point in the meeting.

“We’re concerned about over 500 to 800 jobs per week.  It really affects us because it’s a lot of jobs lost, it’s a lot of tax base that’s going to be lost from the community,” Flowers stated, also reminding members in the meeting of the economic boost the project would be for Mount Pleasant.

charleston sc things to do
Charleston, South Carolina, USA at Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

Another proponent of cruise ships in the area, Councilman Gary Santos has previously mentioned the extra revenue the city would bring in through the project.

“The benefit is, it will create more jobs for people in Mount Pleasant, definitely. And it will create revenue for, you know, the Medal of Honor Museum and the Yorktown and the business over there,” the councilman said according to a news report from WCBD-TV last year.

But Mayor Will Haynie and Town Councilwoman Guang Ming Whitley are both very much opposed to the idea of cruise ships coming to their town.

Mayor Haynie has made this clear when speaking on the issue in October of 2023.

“The people that are pushing this have no interest in this land, they have no leasehold stake in this land, and I think what’s offensive about this is they are trying to push an issue on the town about land that they have no right to be pushing this issue on,” said Mayor Haynie.

The mayor added that state law doesn’t even allow for these kinds of ships at Patriots Point.

During the meeting on Monday, council member Jake Rambo echoed the sentiment of cruise ships not being a good fit for the town.

“Cruise ships are not right for Mount Pleasant. I’ve heard resoundingly from our residents and citizens that this is not something they want for our town,” Rambo said.

The meeting concluded with council members agreeing to send a request to the South Carolina Ports Authority, asking for their opinion on the matter.

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J. Souza
J. Souza
Jon is the co-founder of Cruise Fever and has been on 50+ cruises since his first in 2009. As an editor, 15-year writer on the cruise industry, and avid cruise enthusiast he has sailed with at least 10 cruise lines and is always looking for a great cruise deal. Jon lives in North Carolina and can be reached at [email protected].
Cruise NewsCarnival Cruise LineNew South Carolina Cruise Port? Public Meeting Faces Choppy Waters

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