The Port of Charleston in South Carolina is one of many cruise departure points on the Eastern Seaboard and ranks among the most charming. Before boarding ship and setting sail for the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Bermuda or even a far-flung adventure through the Panama Canal, ease into vacation mode through the historic sights and celebrated cuisine of the city of Charleston. Many cruise lines offer itineraries featuring Charleston as a port of call, and a handful have cruises departing from there. The latter present options that vary in terms of destination and duration.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line offers nine cruise options departing from the Port of Charleston. They range from four to 12 days and are on the Carnival Ecstasy or Carnival Sunshine. Four-day cruises to the Bahamas are round-trip from Charleston to Nassau, the Bahamian capital. A five-day version features two days at sea and two ports of call before returning to Charleston – either Half Moon Cay and Nassau, or the private island of Princess Cays plus Freeport on Grand Bahama. Carnival's six-day Bahamas cruises take you to Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport.
Carnival's Eastern Caribbean cruises from Charleston take place over seven or eight days. The week-long cruise includes three days at sea and calls at destinations in the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Ports in the Caribbean include Grand Turk, the main island in the Turks and Caicos archipelago, and Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic. Featured ports on the eight-day cruise are San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Maarten, or St. Thomas, San Juan and Amber Cove. The cruise also includes four full days at sea.
Carnival presents two Southern Caribbean round-trip cruises from Charleston. The 10-day cruise goes to Aruba, Bonaire, Grand Turk and Princess Cays, with five days spent at sea. The 12-day itinerary comprises six days of sailing and visits to Amber Cove, Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, and San Juan.
Six- and seven-day round-trip cruises from Charleston to Bermuda offer one full day, night and morning, or three nights and two full days in Bermuda, with the remaining time spent cruising Atlantic waters.
Crystal Cruises has two cruise options departing from the Port of Charleston, both on the Crystal Serenity. The 14-night Holidays in the Caribbean is round-trip, taking you from Charleston to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, then on a two-day voyage across the Atlantic to Antigua/St. John's in the West Indies. Next you'll cross the Caribbean, landing in Scarborough in Trinidad and Tobago, followed by St. Lucia, Martinique, St. Barts and Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. The cruise ends with two days crossing the Atlantic back to Charleston.
The longest and most far-flung voyage departing from Charleston is the Crystal Cruise 20-night Panama Passage, a one-way trip that ends in Los Angeles. Between Charleston and the Panama Canal, the ship calls at Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale and Key West, then crosses the Caribbean Sea to Cartagena, Colombia. A day cruising the Caribbean follows before the Serenity transits the Panama Canal and docks at Panama City. Entering the Pacific Ocean, the ship heads northward up the coast of Central America, stopping to explore Caldera, Costa Rica, and the Mexican ports of Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. The penultimate port of call is San Diego, California.