Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
cruisinmems

Charleston parking and terminal questions

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I hope I don't get in trouble for posting this here, but I tried the East Coast Departures board and no one is answering my questions.  If not allowed, I apologize and please delete.

 

Questions for anyone with answers:

 

What time do they allow parking to start and enter the terminal?

Are they strict with check-in times?

I heard that it doesn't matter if you are D, P, Suite or FTTF their is no priority boarding.  I have never seen this at any other port, so I didn't know if it was true or not as I have never sailed from Charleston before.

 

Thank you in advance for your answers and any other information you may be able to provide.

Edited by cruisinmems

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is priority boarding in Charleston. We got to the terminal around 9:45 the last time we sailed from there was boarding shortly after. 

 

As far as parking, I can't answer that since we didn't park at the port. It was cheaper to get a hotel and park there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pack your patience.  

 

First, you drive figure eights all around passing the same stuff multiple times to get to the parking area.  Then you must check your bags as you board a shuttle to drive you to the terminal.  There is priority boarding, but no separate priority entrance,  If you are there early, no worry.  If you are there during peak time, you stand in line until you get into the building, then get "prioritized".  

 

At debarkation, if you are leaving early with carry-on bags, the shuttle has a trailer where you must put your bags then board the shuttle to get back to the parking area.   

 

We've done it once and if we ever do it again, plan to stay overnight and take hotel or carnival transfer to the port.    All that being said, it was a nice cruise and we saw dolphins on both departure and arrival.  Hope you have a great cruise!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cruising from Charleston can be a  challenge....very unique "situation"  in large part due to historical district.  Easiest solution is park and stay. 

 

Leaving this here since Carnival is only cruise line home porting here since the situation is a bit different

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've been out of Charleston on the Fantasy-class ship but will be going on the Sunshine later this year. I wonder how parking will be impacted with a larger ship docking there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone!  Park and cruise seems like easiest solution.  Guess I need to start looking at hotels.  Any suggestions?  :classic_smile:

 

thanks Host Carolyn for letting me past on this one. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, cruisinmems said:

Thanks everyone!  Park and cruise seems like easiest solution.  Guess I need to start looking at hotels.  Any suggestions?  :classic_smile:

 

thanks Host Carolyn for letting me past on this one. 

 

We like the Springhill Suites in Mt. P. $20 for an UberXL to port.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were just there and it is unique, we live 3 hrs away and because we know how traffic can be we arrived early.  First we were lined up on the street, then they opened the gates and you drive to the first station and give them a credit card for parking (no cash) and they review your boarding pass and identification.  You drive on to the next station and they take your luggage. At this point we were originally told we could park but as we did we were told that it was too early and sent back out to the street to line up again.  We did not wait too long until they finally let us park (you are directed to your spot) and then catch the very short, could walk but your not allowed to, ride to the ship.  At the port there is a line for priority (we are platinum) and they quickly did our registration but after that regardless of Carnival level everyone gets on together.  We were told it is because of space and that they want to build a new building to be able to offer this but the city of Charleston is fighting it and really does not want the ships in their ports.  They can also not do any announcements over the ship speaker, so muster drill is inside and debarkation becomes really interesting   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, dbrucern said:

We were just there and it is unique, we live 3 hrs away and because we know how traffic can be we arrived early.  First we were lined up on the street, then they opened the gates and you drive to the first station and give them a credit card for parking (no cash) and they review your boarding pass and identification.  You drive on to the next station and they take your luggage. At this point we were originally told we could park but as we did we were told that it was too early and sent back out to the street to line up again.  We did not wait too long until they finally let us park (you are directed to your spot) and then catch the very short, could walk but your not allowed to, ride to the ship.  At the port there is a line for priority (we are platinum) and they quickly did our registration but after that regardless of Carnival level everyone gets on together.  We were told it is because of space and that they want to build a new building to be able to offer this but the city of Charleston is fighting it and really does not want the ships in their ports.  They can also not do any announcements over the ship speaker, so muster drill is inside and debarkation becomes really interesting   

Thanks for all of this detailed information, we also will be going out of Charleston later this year for the first time.  We live in NC, however have a vacation property in MB, SC, so decided to stay there for the night, and drive in next morning.  Curious as to what time you first arrived at the port?  Trying to plan what time to leave that Sat. morning for the port.  Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dbrucern said:

  We were told it is because of space and that they want to build a new building to be able to offer this but the city of Charleston is fighting it and really does not want the ships in their ports.  

The "city" is not fighting it and is not against ships in port. We love all you tourists and the money you bring us. It is some of the NIMBY crowd, environmental  folks and folks who still wish the city was a sleepy non tourist town form ye olden days. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, cruisinmems said:

Thanks everyone!  Park and cruise seems like easiest solution.  Guess I need to start looking at hotels.  Any suggestions?  :classic_smile:

 

We always use (whether sailing from Charleston or for spending the night there for any other reason)
Hampton Inn Charleston/Mt. Pleasant-Patriots Point

255 Sessions Way, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, 29464,
USA TEL: +1-843-881-3300

Rate Details Park Stay Go 1-4 people:

Package includes complimentary on-site parking while you cruise and transportation service to and from the Charleston Cruise Ship Terminal for up to 4 people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, 13cheermom said:

Thanks for all of this detailed information, we also will be going out of Charleston later this year for the first time.  We live in NC, however have a vacation property in MB, SC, so decided to stay there for the night, and drive in next morning.  Curious as to what time you first arrived at the port?  Trying to plan what time to leave that Sat. morning for the port.  Thanks!

We also stayed in NMB the night before and where told that because of traffic towards Murrell's Inlet and Mt. Pleasant that we needed to give ourselves 3hrs rather than the 2 1/2 that google says it takes going down 17.  We were up had breakfast and on the road by 8am and found ourselves in Charleston at 9:45 for some reason there was absolutely no traffic and we were not speeding by any means. We found about 5 cars lined up on the narrow street outside the gate. We are actually headed back there for a quick cruise at the end of August. 

 

Edited by dbrucern

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We generally Park and Cruise from a hotel when cruising from Charleston, but in December we will have our 4 year old grandson (in a carseat).  This presents somewhat of a problem.  How do we shuttle, taxi, or uber to port?  We're not thrilled with the prospect of toting the carseat along on the cruise!  We were considering parking at the port, but from the responses, it sounds like a pain.  Anyone have experience with this? Thanks, in advance, for your feedback.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, pcvtmom said:

We generally Park and Cruise from a hotel when cruising from Charleston, but in December we will have our 4 year old grandson (in a carseat).  This presents somewhat of a problem.  How do we shuttle, taxi, or uber to port?  We're not thrilled with the prospect of toting the carseat along on the cruise!  We were considering parking at the port, but from the responses, it sounds like a pain.  Anyone have experience with this? Thanks, in advance, for your feedback.

 

We use a BubbleBum. Since we need a booster seat for our youngest in ports when we're out riding in a car or when we've rented a car in Florida, it's nice to have that so that way when it's not in use we can deflate it and throw it in a bookbag. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's an option!  Thanks for the suggestion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/10/2019 at 5:24 PM, teknoge3k said:

 

We like the Springhill Suites in Mt. P. $20 for an UberXL to port.

 

Yup, stay in Mt pleasant would be much cheaper. And plan a day before/after at Patriots Point. https://www.patriotspoint.org/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, CRocks!  We've toured Patriots Point three times.  Always enjoyable side trip!  We love the Charleston area 💕!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

On another site I found updated info for parking in Charleston now that the Sunshine will be there. Since there will be 1000 more guests on the ship they've adjusted the parking flow

 

Quote

 


Information received from the manager of Cruise Operations and Parking (I have further questions out to him, but here you go in the meantime time)

This is more of a temporary solution to help comfortably handle the increase of 1000+ passengers the Sunshine will bring. Listed below is how our new process works:

 

1. ALL vehicles with the exception of oversized buses or motorhomes will enter our facility via Gate 2 at the corner of Laurens St. and Concord St. Vehicles will no longer be sent back out into town. Once their vehicle enters our facility they will stay.

2. Proceed through the queue line and into the pay tent

3. Once paid you will be directed to the luggage drop off tent

4. Upon exiting the luggage drop off tent you will be directed to parking. If you are being dropped off you will be directed to the passenger drop off location.

5. After you park your vehicle you will then walk over to building 324. There are multiple signs and a walking path leading you to building 324. For everyone’s safety PLEASE UTILIZE THE WALKING PATH. For reference, building 324 is located just to the right of the luggage drop off tent.

6. Guests will check in for their cruise inside building 324 and will then wait there for their zone number to be called to board the ship. There is 600+ chairs inside this building for guests to comfortably wait for their zone number to be called to board.

7. Once a guest’s zone number is called they will be shuttled from building 324 to the passenger terminal where they will go through security and then board the vessel.

 

 

Q. Priority guests:
A. As far as I know these guests will be able to board directly after checking in as they did in the past.

 

Q. Guests arriving early (prior to their assigned check in time on boarding pass):
A. Guests will not be turned away but they will not be allowed to board until their zone number is called.

 

Q. Carrying on luggage (as they did previously):
A. Yes they will be able to carry their own luggage

 

Q. Handicapped parking:
A. Yes there is an area for handicapped parking.

 

Q. Handicapped drop off:
A. Please follow the one way road around until you arrive to the designated drop off location. This location is very close to building 324.

 

Q. Handicapped / guests with mobility limitations - shuttle from parking lot to building 324:
A. There is no shuttle but guests will be able to be dropped off very close to building 324. If someone does have mobility issues please alert someone on my staff and we will do our best to produce a ride for them.

 

Edited by yaddayaddayadda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm taking my first cruise on sunshine from Charleston this September. How does the park and cruise work at these hotels? Do they charge you extra for the parking? Would you be allowed to be parked and checked out of the hotel? I live in West Columbia and it would only be about one and a half hours to port. It would be $160 to park in port for eight days. We considered being dropped off, but it is our honeymoon. We might want to be alone. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wondering if the parking at the hotels is as safe as cruise parking- under lock and key. I don’t want to leave my car out where others can have access to it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/21/2019 at 6:40 AM, dbrucern said:

The site does not work so we called and were told not to worry about it plenty of parking and there was just remember they do not take cash for parking

Hmm, maybe there is a current issue with the website, we sailed out of Charleston this past February and prepaid through the port website with no issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have cruised out of Charleston 3 times and have had zero problems with the port.  I have left my car twice and been dropped off once and it was easy and we were on the ship before noon 2 out of three.  The third one we got on at like 12:15 which is still pretty good.  I think if you are a patient person it will be fine. if you are an impatient person you will find a problem with even the most perfect scenario.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I drove in the day after Florence hit landfall just north of there.  I arrived early worried about weather conditions and possible detours.  I got there early early.  They allowed me to drive into the parking lot to drop off my bags.  They do this in the parking lot a distance from the terminal. Then I had to leave the parking lot and sit on the street for a good while.  Not sure what time it was but i want to say 10am they allowed us to park.  They have shuttle busses running back and forth but i chose to walk.  it is about a 2 block walk over all.  They didnt blink about check in times but that could be cause of the storm and loads of cancellations.  I am platinum and there is a VIP route. There was a man directing us to a seperate door for entry into the terminal.  it is not a large terminal and not set up like the Florida terminals but they manage.  I will drive there again in the future.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...