Last week, the South Carolina State Ports Authority and Carnival Cruise Lines announced a year-long regular cruise schedule that will leave directly out of the Port of Charleston. Berkeley Senator Larry Grooms says the new partnership is great for the state.
“That’s excellent news for the State Ports Authority, which has been struggling for the last few years. Now that we have some new leadership at the port, a direction and a focus was placed on: what help can we do to increase business to make South Carolina engines fire? Let’s get our economy going. How can we make the economic engine of our state fire on all cylinders? And one way, an untapped market, is the cruise industry,” says Grooms.
The Carnival Fantasy will have around 70 vessel calls a year, and board nearly 2,000 passengers per voyage.
Although state leaders and some citizens see the announcement as a upside for the state’s economy and jobs, some are hesitant because of the traffic influx the cruises will bring to the already crowded streets of Charleston. State Representative Chip Limehouse says citizens should focus more on the positive impact the cruises will have, and how they will outweigh the negative.
“In the name of prosperity, I’m willing to put up with all that, cause when the cruises do come in and go they do clog the streets up a bit, and sit in that traffic coming into my office. It will be a little bit of that, but I’m willing to put up all that for all of the dollars with the folks flying into the airport, and getting transportation, and getting downtown, and help with all of the meals, and getting on their ship will spend,” says Limehouse.
The cruises leaving the Port of Charleston will begin next May, and the ports of call include Key West, Florida, and the Bahamas.