The Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) reported last Thursday that the State Ports Authority board of directors voted to move ahead with plans for the proposed new passenger cruise terminal in downtown Charleston's Union Pier. The board also reaffirmed its commitment to control the cruise business, allowing no more than 104 cruise ship calls a year.
The new terminal will be located immediately to the north of the current terminal, utilizing what has been a facility for cargo handling. The existing area of the Union Pier will undergo redevelopment when the new cruise terminal is complete. Work is slated to begin by the end of this year and be finished by the end of 2012.
The pier's redevelopment plan will result in improved traffic flow and also limit the terminal to a single ship at a time, which is more than what some opponents would like. Thankfully, cooler heads have prevailed and Charleston will be able to offer a more pleasant and seamless passenger drive up, park, and embark/disembark process. Charleston is currently the year-round homeport for Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Fantasy.