Cruise Operators

The Port of Charleston offers cruise operators outstanding cruise facilities located in the heart of one of the world's premier tourist destinations. We are capable of hosting any size cruise ship, and can cater our operations to fit the needs or desires of any cruise ship operations team. In fact, the QE2, the QM2, the Norway, the Majesty of the Seas, and the Meridian, have all enjoyed our Charleston hospitality.

The Port of Charleston is well-situated to operate as an embark/debark point for cruises in the South Atlantic including Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Eastern and Western Caribbean. The port city is also a fantastic option for a port-of-call.

There are 33 major metropolitan areas within 5 1/2 hours and 350 driving miles of Charleston.

One of Charleston’s key benefits to cruise operators is the ease of access to our terminal. Less than one hour from the open sea, our facilities are located on the finest natural harbor on the U.S. East Coast. The water is deep, the channels are wide, and the transit is short. Details of our dockside operations are offered below.

Entrance Channel: 54.2 ft MLW

Entrance Channel (M): 16.5 m MLW

Main Channel: 52 ft MLW

Main Channel (M): 15.9 m MLW

Depth Alongside: 35 ft MLW

Depth Alongside (M): 10.67 m MLW

Turning Basin: 42 ft. MLW

Turning Basin (M): 12.8 m MLW

Tidal Shift: 5.8 Feet

Tidal Shift (M): 1.77 m

Tidal Range: 4.4 ft. – 6.0 ft.

Tidal Range (M): 1.3 m – 1.8 m

Open Sea: 1 Hour

Air Draft Restrictions: None

Harbor Operations: 24/7

Local Pilot Required: Yes

Tugs Available: Yes

NOAA Charts: 11521 & 11524

Cruise Ship Berth: ~1,100 ft.

Cruise Ship Berth (M): ~335.28m

Mooring Dolphin: 150 ft.

Mooring Dolphin (M): 45.7 m

Dock Height: 12 ft. MLW

Dock Height (M): 3.66 m MLW

Dock Apron Width: ~25 ft is the most narrow width (varies between warehouses)

Dock Apron Width (M): ~7.62 m

Water Available at Dock: Yes

Hose Size: 2.5

The Port of Charleston landside operation is smooth and efficient. Our cruise team has decades of experience in politely and professionally working with both cruise operators and passengers, all the while maintaining an excellent relationship with security and Customs and Border Protection staff. Details on our landside operation are provided below.

Passenger Terminal: 18,000 sf

Passenger Terminal (M): 1,672 sm

  • Climate controlled heat and AC.
  • Indoor check-in and Customs area.
  • Dedicated information desk available to assist passengers and crew as-needed.
  • Private office and telephone for agents and shipline use.
  • Elevator. Fully handicap-accessible.
  • Moveable check-in counters.
  • Public address system for announcements/music.
  • Handtrucks, carts and wagons for portage of passenger luggage.
  • Safe and convenient gangway system in place.
  • Passengers may board at dock level or via an upper-level balcony.
  • Dedicated pierside access for supply delivery.
  • Landside and waterside security provided by SCPA Port Police, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.