Downtown Charleston Hotel near the Port of Charleston
Cruising Out of Charleston
Anyone considering a stay in historic Charleston likely knows about the city’s amazing attractions, rich traditions and southern charm but many are unaware that the city plays home to one of the largest ports on the eastern seaboard and has been hosting cruises since 1913.
The Port of Charleston, ranked as the 8th largest in the United States, serves as a hub for more than 150,000 visitors who depart on cruises from Charleston each year.
If you’re one of the many visitors considering a Charleston cruise and looking to see all that the Holy City has to offer during your trip, the Andrew Pinckney Inn — one of the top boutique hotels in Charleston, S.C. — is a perfect place to stay.
Imagine a starting your week-long trip to a tropical locale with a few days of Lowcountry cuisine, high-end shopping and top-notch accommodations in historic Charleston.
If this sounds like the dream vacation to you, here’s a few more details on how to get started on making your dream a reality:
Types of Cruises
Whether you’re looking to depart to Bahamas, Bermuda or the Carribean, wanting to take a river cruise through the historic south or just hoping to set sail for a quick tour around the harbor, there are Charleston cruises perfectly suited to you.
The city is home to one of the world’s largest cruise lines, Carnival Cruises, as well as American Cruise Lines, a small-ship cruise service, and various local companies offering harbour tours .
Carnival Cruise Lines
The city’s Union Pier Terminal — in operation since 1973 — has hosted major international cruises from Carnival Cruise Lines since 2009, with the company’s Carnival Fantasy ship calling Charleston home since 2010.
Fantasy, the senior vessel in Carnival’s fleet and the lead ship in its “fantasy class” line is a 2,000 passenger cruise ship that departs weekly from Charleston.
Trips on Fantasy range from 2 to 5 days in length and sail to ports of call in Nassau, Freeport, Little Cay and Half Moon Cay in The Bahamas, as well as Grand Turk in Turks & Caicos.
Cost for these Charleston cruises generally begin around $400 per person and can range upwards of $2,000 depending on the length of stay and type of accommodations.
American Cruise Lines
Offering a very different, yet just as unique experience is the Historic South and Golden Isles Cruise offered by American Cruise Lines.
This 8-day, 7-night Southeast Cruise from Charleston departs for Jacksonville, Florida, travelling the Intracoastal Waterway — a protected network of bays, rivers, and canals which is home to the most beautiful historic cities in America including Savannah, Jekyll Island, and Beaufort.
As you cruise between ports, expansive wildlife refuges and remote islands stretch out before you, offering an extraordinary view into the wilderness and wildlife of the South and a glimpse at history, legend, grace, and beauty that will leave you inspired.
With no more than 150 passengers on board, American Cruise Lines’ ships — American Star, American Glory and Independence — are designed to provide smooth travel and an intimate, one-of-a-kind experience.
For more information call 1-800-460-4518 or visit americancruiselines.com
A harbor tour cruise from Charleston is one of the best ways to see point of interests around town from the comforts of Charleston Harbor and on the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
The companies such as Charleston Harbor Tours and Spiritline Cruises will take you past some notable sights such as Fort Sumter, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church and the USS Yorktown.
There’s even a variety of themed tours such as the Blues and BBQ tour, which sails Thursday nights from spring through fall. Here, you can board the Carolina Belle for an amazing two-hour tour featuring a delicious all-you-can-eat Southern BBQ Buffet with pulled pork BBQ, smoked chicken, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw and southern sweet tea.