10 Best Cruises out of Charleston SC in 2023


Southern Charm and Hospitality

Nestled in the heart of South Carolina, Charleston is not just renowned for its southern hospitality and historic charm, but also as a premier hub for some of the best cruises departing from the East Coast. Whether you’re a cruise newbie or a seasoned sea traveler, the Charleston cruise port serves as a launchpad for a diverse array of sea adventures to suit every preference and taste. As the embarkation point for some of the best cruises to the Caribbean and beyond, Charleston South Carolina offers an array of travel experiences right from the moment you step on board.

downtown charleston sc
Diverse Cruise Options

Charleston’s rich history and welcoming atmosphere make it a unique starting point for your cruise holiday. The port is conveniently located, providing easy access to the cruise terminal and numerous pre and post-cruise attractions, making it one of the top cruise ports in the eastern USA. Charleston’s cruises offer an immersive travel experience, whether you’re seeking a family cruise, a luxury voyage, or an adrenaline-filled adventure.

Let’s Dive Right Into The 10 Best Cruises out of Charleston SC!

Carnival Sunshine: A Fun-Filled Cruise Experience

Experience the Joy of Fun and Entertainment at Sea

When it comes to sea adventures full of lively and entertaining experiences, Carnival Sunshine, departing from Charleston, emerges as a favorite among cruise-goers. This vibrant ship promises an unforgettable experience with a variety of on-board activities, ranging from thrilling water parks to captivating live shows, to theme parties that ensure a buzzing atmosphere round the clock. Coupled with exploring stunning Caribbean destinations, the Sunshine stands as a top choice for those seeking the best Caribbean cruises from Charleston.

Carnival Sunshine waterpark

Additional Insights on Carnival Sunshine Experience

Adding to the list of Sunshine’s attractive offerings are the ship’s top-tier amenities. From fine dining options to comfortable accommodations and engaging kids’ clubs, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re on a family vacation, a couple’s retreat, or a fun getaway with friends, the Carnival Sunshine cruise from Charleston caters to all, making your journey as enriching as the destinations themselves.

carnival sunshine top deck, best cruises out of charleston sc

Norwegian Encore: Luxury and Elegance at Sea

Indulge in Unparalleled Luxury and Entertainment

The Norwegian Cruise Line’s Encore is a benchmark in luxury cruise ships and vacations departing from Charleston. This modern, elegant ship offers an array of exceptional dining options, world-class entertainment, and luxurious accommodations, setting the stage for an unforgettable cruise vacation. Whether you’re heading to the Bahamas or the Caribbean, the Encore offers you a taste of luxury, making it one of the best cruises out of Charleston SC.

Norwegian Encore sailing in blue waters with green landscape around

Additional Insights on Norwegian Encore Experience

Beyond its luxurious offerings, the Encore aims to provide a unique, personalized cruising experience. From custom-tailored itineraries to personalized service from the staff, every detail is taken care of, ensuring a hassle-free and unforgettable journey. When you embark on a Charleston cruise on Norwegian Encore, you’re signing up for an experience that transcends traditional boundaries of luxury and comfort. Can’t get enough luxury and beautiful beaches? You can’t miss these top luxury cruises to the Caribbean!

Norwegian Encore luxurious lobby area

Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas: An Adventure-Packed Journey

Embark on Thrilling Adventures and Create Lasting Memories

For travelers seeking excitement and exploration, the Majesty of the Seas from Royal Caribbean promises a cruise experience packed with adventure. The wide range of adrenaline-pumping activities available on this ship, from thrilling water slides to rock-climbing walls, caters to the adventure enthusiast in everyone. As you depart from Charleston and sail towards stunning destinations like the Bahamas, you embark on one of the most exciting cruises from Charleston.

Royal Caribbean's rock climbing wall with islands in background

Additional Insights on Majesty of the Seas Experience

The Majesty of the Seas is not just about the thrill, but also about creating cherished memories. The ship’s crew is dedicated to providing exceptional service, ensuring your onboard experience is as unforgettable as the destinations you explore. So, whether you’re on a family vacation or an adventure trip, Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas promises a thrilling journey from Charleston.

Royal Caribbean majesty of the seas top deck empty

Carnival Sunshine: Your Passport to an Unforgettable

Soak in the sunshine, on the Sunshine!

Among the myriad of cruises departing from Charleston, Carnival Sunshine is an undeniable favorite, standing out for its lively and fun-filled experiences. The ship’s myriad of onboard amenities, including thrilling water parks, captivating live shows, and vibrant theme parties, ensures non-stop fun from the moment you embark. Additionally, Carnival Sunshine offers the chance to explore breathtaking Caribbean destinations, positioning itself as a top choice for the best cruises out of Charleston SC.

Carnival Sunshine overhead picture sailing in deep blue waters

Additional Insights on Celebrity Summit Experience

Carnival Sunshine goes the extra mile to enhance your cruise experience. With diverse dining options catering to every palate, spacious and comfortable accommodations, and a dedicated and friendly crew ready to meet your every need, Carnival Sunshine guarantees an unforgettable cruising journey. Whether you are planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a fun-filled trip with friends, a Carnival Sunshine cruise from Charleston is an experience that promises to be as enriching as the destinations it takes you to.

Carnival Sunshine top deck nighttime movie on big screen

Celebrity Summit: A Stylish and Sophisticated Escape

Immerse Yourself in Elegance and Unparalleled Service

For those seeking a sophisticated cruising experience, Celebrity Cruises’ Summit offers just that. Known for its elegant ambiance, exquisite dining options, and luxurious spa treatments, Summit takes your cruise experience a notch higher. As you depart from Charleston and head towards captivating destinations in Bermuda, the Caribbean, or Canada, you experience the elegance that makes the Celebrity Summit one of the best luxury cruises from Charleston.

Celebrity Summit cruise ship in port

Additional Insights on Celebrity Summit Experience

While luxury and sophistication are synonymous with Celebrity Summit, the ship also offers a range of activities and entertainment options. From relaxing by the pool to trying your luck at the casino or dancing the night away at the onboard nightclub, being aboard the Summit ensures there’s never a dull moment. When you book a Celebrity Summit cruise from Charleston, you’re signing up for an upscale escape to luxury. This level of peace and blissful relaxation docks the Celebrity Summit on the prestigious list of the 10 Best Cruises out of Charleston SC for this year.

Celebrity Summit inside casino

Disney Fantasy: Enchanting Cruises for the Whole Family

Experience the Magic of Disney on a Memorable Cruise

Disney Cruise Line’s Fantasy marries the enchantment of Disney with the excitement of a cruise vacation. As you set sail from Charleston, embark on a journey that caters to families, where both children and adults can immerse themselves in a world of Disney magic. With first-class entertainment, luxurious accommodations, and exclusive Disney experiences, the Fantasy promises a magical voyage that makes it one of the top family cruises from Charleston.

Disney Fantasy cruise ship walking towards ship in port

Additional Insights on Disney Fantasy Experience

In addition to the Disney-themed entertainment, the Disney Fantasy offers a variety of dining options to cater to all palates, state-of-the-art fitness centers, and adults-only areas for parents to unwind. Disney is one of the best cruises out of Charleston SC by their name alone! Any boy do they live up to it in the way they designed every aspect of your adventure with the. Whether you’re a Disney enthusiast or looking for a unique family getaway, the Disney Fantasy cruise from Charleston guarantees a magical adventure for everyone on board.

Disney Fantasy luxury lobby image

MSC Cruises’ Meraviglia: European-Style Elegance

Discover European Sophistication and World-Class Cuisine

The Meraviglia from MSC Cruises offers a taste of European elegance, combined with the charm of Charleston as your departure port. With gourmet dining options, luxurious spa facilities, and mesmerizing live performances, embark on an unforgettable cruise to destinations like the Bahamas or the Caribbean. The ship can accommodate more than 4,500 passengers and even has a full waterpark with water slides.

MSC Cruises' Meraviglia overhead image sailing at sea

Additional Insights on MSC Meraviglia Experience

What sets the Meraviglia apart is its commitment to providing a unique, culturally rich experience. The ship’s itineraries are designed to give guests ample time to explore each destination, truly immersing themselves in the land and local culture. Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a seasoned traveler, MSC Meraviglia offers a unique European-inspired cruise experience from Charleston. When it comes to the best cruises out of Charleston SC, you just can’t leave this one out.

MSC Cruises' Meraviglia luxury lobby image

Viking Venus: A Serene and Culturally Enriching Voyage

Immerse Yourself in Tranquility and Enriching Experiences

The Viking Venus from Viking Ocean Cruises offers a serene and culturally enriching journey as you set sail from Charleston. Known for its refined atmosphere, spacious accommodations, and curated shore excursions, Venus promises an enriching cruise experience, making it one of the top Charleston cruises to destinations such as the Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America.

Viking Venus beautiful top deck pool with sea in background

Additional Insights on Viking Venus Experience

Beyond its serene ambiance, the Viking Venus is committed to promoting a deep understanding of the destinations you visit. Onboard lectures by historians and experts, cooking demonstrations and wine tastings, and included shore excursions are designed to deepen your appreciation for the places you visit. When you embark on a Viking Venus cruise from Charleston, you’re in for an immersive, culturally enriching voyage.

Viking Venus chef class

American Cruise Lines: Exploring American Waterways

Cruise Along American Rivers and Coastal Waters

American Cruise Lines offers a unique cruising experience as you explore the rivers and coastal waters of the United States, starting from Charleston. The Intracoastal Waterway, home to some of the most beautiful historic cities in America, is a protected network of bays, rivers, and canals. Start your journey in Charleston, lined with cobblestone streets and antebellum houses, and where the first shots of the Civil War were heard.

American Cruise Lines in charleston sc river port

Continue to scenic Beaufort and learn what life was like on a southern plantation from our resident expert in period costume. Enjoy the scenic beaches and abundant wildlife at Hilton Head, before traveling to Savannah to tour its historic districts showcasing 19th-century wealth and opulence.

Additional Insights on American Cruise Lines Experience

What sets American Cruise Lines apart is its dedication to providing an immersive, culturally enriching experience along with their small and intimate ships. Onboard lectures and workshops by historians, naturalists, and local experts, coupled with included shore excursions, allow you to delve into the history and culture of the places you visit. As you embark on an American Cruise Lines voyage from Charleston, you’re not just signing up for a cruise, but an enriching journey through the heartland of America. The cruise line is also in the process of building 12 Hybrid Catamaran “Go-Anywhere Ships” that allow access and comfortable sailing along lakes, rivers, and America’s coastline.

American Cruise Lines hybrid catamaran

That wraps it up for the handpicked best cruises out of Charleston SC! Which one are you going to pick to make your 2023 an unforgettable year?

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are some of the top destinations for cruises departing from Charleston, SC?

Most cruises leaving from Charleston, SC, sail to destinations in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. Some also travel to Bermuda, Mexico, Central America, and along the American coastlines and rivers.

How can I get to the Charleston South Carolina cruise port?

The Charleston cruise port is a site easily accessible by car, taxi, or shuttle from the Charleston International Airport. It’s located in downtown Charleston, making it convenient for travelers staying in the city before their departure.

What facilities are available at the Charleston South Carolina cruise terminal?

The Charleston cruise terminal offers amenities like comfortable waiting areas, restrooms, and vending machines. Also, it’s located close to the historic district of Charleston, where you can find hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions.

What types of cruises depart from Charleston South Carolina?

Charleston serves as a departure port for various types of cruises. These include family-friendly cruises, luxury cruises, adventure-packed cruises, and cruises that offer cultural enrichment. Cruise lines such as Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean, among others, have ships depart from Charleston.

Do I need a passport for cruises departing from Charleston, SC?

While it’s always recommended to carry a passport for travel, certain “closed-loop” cruises (those that begin and end at the same U.S. port) may allow U.S. citizens to travel with just a valid government-issued birth certificate and a photo ID. However, a passport might be required depending on the countries visited during the cruise. It’s best to check the specific requirements of your cruise line. Don’t have a passport? Check out these amazing destinations where you can enjoy a perfect vacation without a passport.

How early should I arrive at the Charleston South Carolina cruise port before my departure?

It’s generally recommended that passengers arrive at the cruise port at least 2-3 hours before their scheduled departure. This allows sufficient time for check-in, security procedures, and boarding. Check the specific recommendations provided by your cruise line.

Are there any special considerations due to COVID-19 for cruises departing from Charleston South Carolina?

Cruise lines have implemented enhanced health and safety measures due to COVID-19. These may include requirements for proof of vaccination, negative COVID-19 test results, mandatory mask-wearing in certain areas, and additional sanitation procedures on board. Check with your specific cruise line for the most up-to-date information.

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