If you will be cruising out of Charleston cruise port on your next vacation, you may be wondering how to get to the cruise port. You could be coming from the airport or directly from a hotel. You have the option of a taxi, walking, taking a bus, taking the train, using the shuttles, carpooling, or renting a car.
With so many options to choose from, you will have no issue getting to the port and embarking on your next adventure!
Driving Directions to Charleston Cruise Port
Driving is probably the fastest and most efficient way to get around Charleston and to the port. Keep in mind, you will need to pay for parking for the duration of your cruise if you choose to drive. If you use a rental vehicle, it would make more sense to return the vehicle to the rental company and use another method to get to the cruise port. Otherwise, you will have to pay for the rental and parking.
The address to the port is 196 Concord St. in Charleston South Carolina.
Directions from Charleston International Airport
- Head northeast on International Blvd. towards Dreamliner Drive
- Make a U-turn at Dreamliner Drive
- Turn left and merge onto I-526 E toward Mt. Pleasant
- Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 17
- Merge onto I-26 E toward Charleston
- Take exit 219B toward Morrison Dr/E Bay St
- Turn left on to Mt. Pleasant St. You will see signs that read “E Bay St” ”U.S. Rte 52” “U.S. Rte 78”
- Continue on to Morrison Drive
- Continue on to East Bay St.
- Turn left onto Inspection St.
- Make a right on Washington St.
- Continue on Washington and keep slightly left. It will turn into Pritchard St.
- Continue on to Concord St.
- Follow signs to the appropriate terminal
Driving from the airport is relatively easy, and keep in mind that there will be signs posted all along the way.
Driving in From the North
If you are coming in on the highway and need to make it directly to the port, you can follow these simple directions. Again, there are signs posted all along the route once you reach Charleston.
- Take I-95 South to I-26
- Follow I-26 to the end and then take 17-North
- Get off the highway on the East Bay St. exit
- Make a right onto East Bay St.
- Turn left on Calhoun
- Make a right on Washington
- Follow the signs to the designated terminal
Driving in From the South
Coming in from the south is just as easy as it is to come from the north. Once again, there will be signs to guide you once you get closer to the terminal.
- Take I-95 North to I-26
- Follow I-26 until you reach the end
- Take 17-North
- Use the East Bay St. exit to get off the highway
- Make a right onto East Bay St.
- Turn left on Calhoun
- Make a right on Washington
- Follow the signs to the designated terminal
Although driving may be the most convenient method for you to get to the cruise port it is also the most expensive way to go. You could end up paying hundreds of dollars for parking and rental fees for the convenience of driving yourself.
Traditional Taxi services
Taking a taxi in Charleston to the cruise port is easy. There are many highly rated companies to choose from that will take you from the airport, or your hotel, to the cruise port. They all go to the port on a daily basis and will know how to get you there.
Here are the top three taxi companies in Charleston.
Charleston Green Taxi
Charleston Green Taxi is focused on providing quality transportation at a reasonable price and in a greener way. Their vehicles are all hybrids and allow there to be a smaller carbon footprint while still getting you where you need to go in a convenient way.
Their prices are very reasonable. They charge flat rates and claim to never surge their prices. This company has been voted “Best of Charleston” for three years now. They are easy to contact by phone, email, facebook or app. They ask that you call in advance if possible, although they can usually accommodate last-minute rides.
- Phone: (843)819-0846
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharlestonGreenTaxi/
- Search “Charleston Green Taxi” on the app store!
Charleston Taxi Service
The Charleston Taxi Service is another highly rated company that brings people to and from the cruise ports on a daily basis. They allow you to use their services singularly, or you can split the cost with a group. They will take last-minute riders, but they would rather you make reservations so that the driver can make sure they can get you there in time.
Charleston Taxi Service also allows you to set up your reservations for the return trip in advance. This is especially convenient because people often get stuck in long cab queues with all their luggage waiting for a way to get back to their hotel or to the airport. They warn that there can often be overcharging and long wait times in those queues when you decide to wait until the last minute. You can contact them by phone, website, and facebook.
- Phone: (843) 900-1221
- Website: https://charlestontaxiservice.com/services
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Charlestontaxiservice/about/?ref=page_internal
Charleston Yellow Top Taxi
Charleston Yellow Top Taxi is a reliable cab company that provides twenty-four-hour services to those in the Charleston area. They have temperature-controlled vehicles that are kept clean and in good repair. They pride themselves on having friendly drivers who know their way around the city without any issue.
Charleston Yellow Top Taxi is one of the highest-rated cab companies in Charleston, and you can feel confident in knowing you will get to your cruise ship safely and comfortably all for a reasonable rate. You can contact them by phone or website.
Phone: (843) 568-4444
Rideshare services, like Lyft and Uber, are probably the easiest and most convenient way to get where you need to go without driving yourself. They allow you to get picked up anywhere and be dropped off anywhere. They are also more affordable than traditional cabs for the most part.
Using a rideshare option is pretty simple. All you need to do is download your preferred app and save all of your information. From that point forward, all you need to do is open the app and input your current location and your destination. There are usually drivers available twenty-four-hours a day.
There are cons to using rideshares. They depend upon regular people to sign up to be drivers. Sometimes, especially very early in the morning or very late at night, there may not be as many drivers available. You may need to wait a while. They also have price surges, so during peak hours, you can expect to see much higher pricing.
In general, the rideshare options are cheaper than other taxi services and they give you the added benefit of not charging you per person as the shuttles and buses do. You can choose between a smaller vehicle at a reduced price, or get a larger vehicle for larger groups.
The bus lines in Charleston may not be the best way to get to the cruise port if you have a ton of luggage for a long cruise. However, the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority, or CARTA, is an easy and cheap way to get around if you are traveling light. You may be the type to travel with a carry-on or backpack, or maybe you are only going on a three-day cruise.
Whatever the case, if you don’t have too much to carry and you want to save money, the bus is for you! Directions on how to get to the cruise port from the airport by public transportation are provided here, but the website is also listed so you can plan out your trip from anywhere else.
- Leave the airport and head east on International Blvd
- Head towards Fuel Farm Road
- The bus stop will be on your right
- Take the XP3 from Fuel Farm Rd./Dreamliner Drive to downtown Charleston
- Get off at the visitor’s center / Charleston Museum
- Take the #7 HOP Shuttle
- Wait five stops and get off at East Bay St./South Market St.
- From the bus stop, you will walk south on East Bay St. toward Cumberland St.
- Turn left onto Cumberland
- Turn right onto Concord
- Take a left into the entrance to the port
Taking public transportation saves you money and is great for the environment. It gets you where you need to go while saving you the hassle of figuring out parking and shelling out the extra cash for cabs and shuttles. You can contact CARTA about any further questions at:
- Phone: (843) 724-7420 or (843) 745-4101
- Website: https://www.ridecarta.com/services/
Some people opt to take a train to Charleston instead of flying or driving. Taking a trip on a train can provide you with a scenic and relaxing ride that gets you where you need to go faster than driving and for cheaper than airfare.
Charleston is serviced by AMTRAK. AMTRAK has a station located at 4565 Gaynor Avenue in Charleston. Getting from the train station to the port will require you to either call rideshare, a taxi, or take a bus. Bus directions are included here. This trip will cost you two dollars.
- Head southeast on Gaynor St toward Rivers Ave
- Continue on to Rivers Ave
- Turn right at Durant Ave/State Rd S-10-39
- Turn left onto Rivers Ave, where you will cross the street to the bus stop. This walk will only take about three minutes.
- Take bus #10 from the corner of Rivers Ave and Meeting Street Rd.
- Wait for 27 stops
- Get off on the corner of Meeting St. and Mary St.
- You will get on the #20 bus from the same stop
- Get off after 6 stops at Meeting St. and Cumberland St.
- Now head east on Horlbeck Alley toward Meeting St.
- Continue onto Cumberland St.
- Turn right onto Concord
- Walk until you get to the cruise port. This walk should take no more than 8 minutes in total.
Taking the train into Charleston and then taking the bus to the port is an economical way to get to your cruise. The train is cheaper than a plane or car parking and gas, and the bus is much cheaper than a cab or renting a vehicle in the city. This is your best option is you need to budget or if you just want to really see your surroundings and enjoy the trip.
Shuttles to the Cruise Port
The cruise lines usually provide shuttles from the airport to the cruise port. They can be pricier, but they also provide convenience and save you a little money on parking. Some of the drawbacks of using the shuttle services include the cost and the fact that they are limited to the airport and only run at certain times of the day.
You can take a shuttle for an average of $30+ one way, and $60+ for a round trip. This may not be the most economical option, but it does allow you to be taken from the airport directly to your cruise ship. Because the shuttles are run by the cruise lines themselves, the ship will wait even if it runs late, although that is very rare.
If you do decide to take a shuttle, it is easy to schedule. You just need to call your cruise provider, for example, Carnival or Silversea Cruises, and ask them to set up your shuttle service from the airport when you arrive. Remember, to use this option you need to be planning to go from the airport directly to the port. There is no hotel service.
Car Rentals to Charleston Cruise Port
Renting a car can be the easiest way to get around once your plane lands in Charleston. Whether or not the rental is worth it is another matter. If you plan to visit the city for a few days before and after your cruise, then the car rental is a great idea. If you plan to go directly to the cruise port or spend one night at a hotel sleeping, then you would be better off with a cab or rideshare.
There are many rental car companies in the area. The three most affordable and highly rated are Enterprise, Hertz, and Thrifty. Contact them ahead of time to reserve a vehicle to guarantee they have what you want available. You can also usually get lower pricing by booking in advance. If you wait until you get there they may not have what you need.
- Phone – (843) 723-6215
- Address – 398 Meeting St, Charleston, SC 29403
- Website – Enterprise Charleston
- Phone – (843) 573-2147
- Address – 3025 Ashley Town Center Dr, Charleston, SC 29414
- Website – Hertz Charleston
- Phone – (843) 552-7533
- Address – 3826 W Montague Ave, Charleston, SC 29418
- Website – Thrifty Charleston
Renting a car to enjoy the city can be a great idea. It may be more costly, but if you want the most convenient way to get around while visiting the beautiful city of Charleston, it may be your best choice. Buses save you money, but you cannot use them when you have lots of luggage. Uber and Lyft are great, but they cost money and you have to wait to go anywhere.
A rental car provides the convenience of your own vehicle while allowing you to take a plane or train to the city and save your personal vehicle from the wear and tear of such a long trip.
This may seem like an odd suggestion, but carpooling is a great option when you need to get from a hotel or the airport to the cruise port. Most cruises have forums and facebook pages where people can “meet” before they actually go on the cruise. You can use these meeting boards to connect to other people going on your cruise to plan a carpool.
Carpooling for a cruise may include splitting costs for a rental, gas, and parking. Or maybe just parking if the person you are riding with already owns their car. People like to save money where they can, and splitting gas and parking with others is a good way for them to save on those expenses.
When carpooling it is important to remember to check out the person offering the ride. Make sure they are who they say they are. Ask to see their license and their cruise boarding pass. In general, carpooling is extremely safe. The hotels near a cruise port are full of people going on the same cruises, so it won’t be hard for everyone to figure out hotel and pickup details.
Lines like Carnival have their own Facebook groups and forums. To find someone going on the same cruise as you to set up carpooling, join forums and groups and search for your date and what ship you will be on. You could even make your own post and start a discussion.
If you have spent the night at a hotel the night before your cruise, and your hotel is close to the port, consider walking. Walking saves you time, money, and allows you to see some of the sights. This won’t be the best option if you have a lot of luggage, but in any other case, it may be a good choice.
The entire downtown area is full of life. It has beautiful restaurants and scenery. You could walk down some of the historical streets while admiring the architecture. Once you get to the port, it will be easy to board your ship and head right to your cabin without having to park your car and pay up to twenty dollars or more per day.
Conclusion on Traveling to the Port of Charleston
Transportation is not usually the first thing you think about when you think about a vacation, but it is an important consideration. You have so many options, and each one presents its own list of pros and cons. Let’s recap.
You can drive in with your own vehicle or get a rental. This will provide you with the convenience and ease of being able to get around quickly and on your own time. It will also save you the hassle of needing to make reservations or find schedules. However, you will have to pay for gas and parking, and that can be a significant expense.
You can take a traditional taxi. This is a great option, as taxis are easy to find and reasonably priced. They are usually pretty quick to get to you, although some companies do require that you make plans in advance.
Rideshare is another great option. It gives you the convenience of a cab, but with a lower cost and a more personalized service. This is usually recommended, but there can be some drawbacks. There are not always drivers available, and sometimes the prices can change drastically. You may expect a ten-dollar ride but you end up with a twenty-dollar ride.
Trains and buses are your most economical choice, although these options are only really available if you don’t have a lot of luggage and you have some extra time to get to where you are going. They are best for a leisurely vacation. Seeing the sights and taking your time while traveling light is the way to go for these modes of transport.
Shuttles can be pricey, but they will get you from the airport to the cruise port with convenience and comfort. The cruise lines themselves send the shuttles, so you know you will get there on time. Some people do not find them worth the time or money, but they do provide an easy way to get from plane to port quickly and efficiently.
Getting to and from the cruise port is an important part of your trip, but it is not the most important. Remember to have fun! Getting ready for your cruise is full of excitement and the feeling of pending adventure. You can’t wait to get on the ship and start the journey. You are thinking about dancing, swimming, being out on the wide-open sea and seeing the beautiful coastline. Just remember that half of the adventure is getting there!
FAQ On Getting to the Charleston Cruise Port
The airport is 13 miles and approximately 20 minutes by car from the cruise port. Charleston makes it an easy trip! They have signs posted all along the route to ensure you don’t struggle to find your way from the airport to your cruise.
196 Concord St. in Charleston is the address to the main Port of Charleston entry, however, there are several other entrances to the port on Concord St. Different cruise lines have their own entrances and parking garages. Make sure you call or visit the website for your specific cruise line to be sure you have the right entrance!
The bus is the cheapest way, although it takes longer. The cheapest way to take a car is through rideshare providers like Uber or Lyft. The bus will cost you approximately $2.00 from the airport to the cruise port, while rideshare services would cost between $8-20.