Charleston Cruise Port Guide

On Charleston cruises, discover the “Holy City,” a moniker given because of its many churches. The second you arrive, you’ll experience its old-world charm. From cobblestoned main streets to wrap-around porches where locals lounge unhurried, the mood in Charleston is relaxed, making it a perfect spot to vacation. This port of call on select Bermuda cruises encapsulates the American South effortlessly.

Cruises to Charleston

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Top Sights & Attractions for Cruises to Charleston

Fort Sumter

The American Civil War broke out in 1861, and its first major battle began at the historic Fort Sumter in Charleston. In many ways, Charleston represents the heart of the conflict. A walking tour of the fort is a harrowing reminder of the country’s past.

The French Quarter

Take a stroll along the French Quarter in Charleston to see some of the city’s original architecture dating back to the 1700s. Walk along its cobblestoned streets and snap photos of the pastel Victorian buildings. Stop in local art galleries before finding a bite to eat on the bay.

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Located along the Ashley River in Charleston, Magnolia Gardens are the oldest gardens in the U.S. Take a nature tour and discover the flora and fauna of South Carolina along the way. You’ll discover the history of South Carolina’s plantations from the 19th century to today. 

South Carolina Aquarium

The entire family will love an excursion to the South Carolina Aquarium, which is located along the beautiful Charleston Harbor. There are daily shows, like sea turtle experiences, plus dozens of species of colorful marine life to admire.

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Top Things to Do in Charleston

Shuck Oysters on the Bay

Don’t miss the chance to try fresh oysters while in port from Charleston cruises. The city’s coastal location provides delicious seafood, and there are plenty of cafes, bars, and eateries with bayside views for you to take in the sights.

Enjoy a Horse & Carriage Ride

Whether you’re looking for a romantic excursion with your loved one or an unforgettable ride for the family, a horse and carriage trip through the cobblestoned streets of Charleston is an experience for all ages. Admire the Antebellum architecture as you go.

Shop at the Historic City Market

Find the perfect souvenir or handmade craft to bring back home at the Charleston Historic City Market, which is one of the oldest public markets in the United States. Shop the stalls and chat with dozens of local vendors.

Top Food and Drink Spots Near the Charleston Cruise Port

Luckily, Charleston has a variety of dining experiences for every palate, whether you prefer fast casual or fine dining. Many of the city’s chefs and restaurants have received a James Beard award, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the food is pretentious. Cuisine in Charleston is inventive while sticking to classic flavors and Southern comforts. For meat lovers, head to the casual Artisan Meat Share for bratwurst and all sorts of fine meats. At 167 Raw, slurp down a dozen fresh oysters in style. The Codfather is a local favorite for authentic fish and chips.

Culture & History of Charleston Cruise Port

Founded in 1670, Charleston is the oldest city in South Carolina and one of the oldest in the United States. It was named “Charles Town” after King Charles II of England. Originally, the local economy was fueled by tobacco and pine, which was shipped back to the Old World. Over time, Charleston became known as an international hub for the slave trade. The first battle of the American Civil War took place in Charleston in 1861 at the Battle of Fort Sumter. In the 20th century, the city made major efforts to preserve historic landmarks and grow the city’s intellectual and cultural contributions. Today, Charleston is well loved by history buffs and has a growing tourism industry.

Charleston Port Facilities & Location

Charleston, SC cruises dock in the Port of Charleston, which is very centrally located to the historic downtown area. Shops, restaurants, and tourist activities are a short walk away from the terminal.

Transportation in Charleston

Getting around in the center of Charleston is pretty easy, particularly if you walk to major sights in town. Taxis, as well as Uber and Lyft, operate in Charleston. Car rentals are available. A free trolley called the DASH trolley operates along multiple routes through town.

Shopping Near the Charleston Cruise Port

You won’t find much in the way of shopping in the cruise port itself, but you’ll be very close to the historic center of town where shopping options, boutiques, and souvenir stands are aplenty.

Local Currency & Tipping Customs

You’ll use the U.S. dollar (USD) while you’re in port on Charleston, SC cruises. Tipping here is similar to other parts of the United States. Leave a 10-15% tip for bartenders and taxi drivers. It’s polite to leave a small tip for your barista when you order a coffee. For exceptional dinner service, tipping between 15-20% of the bill is recommended.

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