Sure, Charleston’s cute — it’s been ranked the number one US city by Travel + Leisure readers seven years in a row. But once you’ve snapped pictures of Rainbow Row or explored the mansions of the Battery, venture to the waterfront to set sail on a Carnival Cruise.
Cruises from Charleston, SC
Carnival is the only company offering cruises sailing from Charleston. If you’ve never sailed with Carnival before, read about its activities and all-you-can-eat restaurants to find out if this cruise line is for you.
Carnival’s seven-day Bermuda cruises from Charleston also stop at Princess Cays. Plus, an overnight in Bermuda means time to check tourist activities off your list and unwind on the beach. At sea, laugh the time away at the Punchliner comedy club, and zoom across the deck on its myriad of water slides.
Eastern Caribbean cruises from Charleston
After leaving Charleston, you’ll spend two days at sea before docking at St. Thomas, the gateway to the Virgin Islands. Next, sail to Dutch-French St. Maarten, heavenly St. Lucia, the oasis of St. Kitts, and the capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan. Rates for a 10-day Eastern Caribbean escape with Carnival start at less than $100 a person, daily.
Bahamas cruises from Charleston
These four-night cruises to Half Moon Cay are the perfect dose of beach bliss. Brag to your friends about sailing to a private island with Carnival’s exclusive Half Moon Cay. There’s meandering nature paths, two miles of white sand beach and four beachfront bars standing at your service.
Southern Caribbean cruises from Charleston
Let your hair down in Aruba, see a coral nursery in Bonaire, ride an ATV through Grand Turk, and sail a glass-bottom boat through the glittering water at Princess Cays. Carnival’s Eastern Caribbean cruises from Charleston last for seven or ten days — how long you cruise is up to you. You might never want to come home.
How can I find last-minute cruises from Charleston?
The best way to find last-minute cruises from Charleston is to use a site like Cruisedirect.com, to see all the upcoming itineraries in one place. From the Cruisedirect.com home page, click Last Minute Cruises and select Charleston as your departure city. It shows you the lowest rates for cruises just around the corner.
Keep in mind that booking last-minute isn’t the only way to score cheap cruises from Charleston. It also offers up to 30% off fare for early-bird reservations. Check out Carnival’s Cruise Deals page to see its early bird offers.
Current Carnival cruise deals
6-night Caribbean cruises from $321 on Carnival!
Exclusive – up to $500 to spend on board, plus 10% off shore excursions!
No, three-night cruises from Charleston don’t really exist. The shortest length is four-night cruises from Charleston, which go to Half Moon Cay or Nassau in the Bahamas.
When it the best time to cruise from Charleston?
Carnival’s cruises from Charleston are available pretty much year round. However, budget travelers should avoid cruising around Christmas or Thanksgiving, when rates spike. Instead, sail in January for the best deals — though it might be chilly for the first night or two at sea.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November, and peaks in September. To be safe from the threat of hurricanes, we recommend sailing in April or May. Accordingly, cruise fare from Charleston tends to be lower in September — and if your itinerary is canceled because of bad weather, Carnival issues a 100% credit to cruise another time.
Getting to the port for your cruise from Charleston
The Charleston cruise port is located at 196 Concord Street — in the heart of the historic district. If you’re driving yourself, there’s parking available nearby for $20 per day.
If you’re coming from Charleston International Airport, expect a 20 to 30 minute drive, depending on traffic. Hail a taxi, or call an Uber or Lyft. Here’s what you can expect to pay for each:
Uber and Lyft. $20 to 25.
Taxi. About $41.
Carnival offers a shuttle from the Charleston airport to the cruise terminal, but fare is $31.99 per person — each way. So families with kids could end up paying more than $100 each way to ride the shuttle.
From Charleston, you can cruise to a huge array incandescent island locations, whether you’re looking for a quick four-night escape or are looking to sail away for a longer getaway. Whatever your plans, check for discounts and deals before booking.
Frequently asked questions
No — but it’s always good to confirm this with Carnival before booking, just to be sure.
Typically, if your cruise begins and ends in the US, then you can hop aboard with only a government-issued photo ID and a birth certificate or certificate of US naturalization. You can cruise to the Bahamas, Bermuda, Mexico and most islands in the Caribbean without a passport.
If the cruises from Charleston don’t suit your fancy, check out cruises that depart from Jacksonville, Florida. While Jacksonville is a four hour drive south of Charleston, you’ll have more options and a wider variety of cruises to choose from.
Sometimes, yes — Carnival has offered northeast cruises from Charleston in the past. But at the time of this writing — December 2019 — none were available.
Amy Stoltenberg writes about lifestyle and money for Finder, researching the best options for shopping, banking, insurance and authentic travel experiences. After studying writing and fashion at Savannah College of Art and Design, she worked designing apparel at a corporate behemoth before opting for a career with unlimited travel time. When her laptop’s closed, she can be found wandering the streets looking for happy hour and hole-in-the-wall eateries.
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