An unusual debate continues over the use of Charleston, South Carolina as a cruise port and the scale of the cruise industry’s presence in this quaint old southern town.  There is a lot to argue about – air emissions, waste discharge, traffic, noise and passenger congestion as well as the visual pollution of this beautiful city.  

The debate is unusual insofar as few places, other than Alaska and California, have taken steps to hold cruise lines accountable to public health and community standards. 

Cruise Billboard - Charleston South Carolina Cruise lines such as Carnival Corporation have a deplorable history of air emissions and waste discharge.  They are used to having their way with third world countries and U.S. ports, only to suddenly leave town when they can think they can get a better deal elsewhere.

Consider Carnival’s abandonment of places like Antigua, Mobile and, just last week, Bermuda.   

The Coastal Conservation League, the Preservation Society of Charleston and Charleston’s Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood are wise to try and hold Carnival accountable to local laws and regulations.

The Charleston City Paper reports that the debate over cruise ship regulations in Charleston has now led to a "billboard kerfuffle." 

The newspaper explains that in September, a citizens’ group called Charleston Communities for Cruise Control put up a billboard (top) on I-26 that reads "SAVE CHARLESTON: SUPPORT CRUISE CONTROL."  The billboard depicts the smoke funnels of a Carnival cruise ship looming over the skyline.

On Monday, an anti-regulation business group calling itself erected its Cruise Billboard - Charleston South Carolinaown billboard (bottom) with the message "CRUISE ON IN … WELCOME and THANK YOU." 

Its exciting to actually see this debate continuing about a cruise industry which usually bullies its way without discussion into one-sided business deals which contain no guarantees for the host ports.  The billboard battle reflects that Charleston, unlike 95% of cruise ports, is a community with citizens of intelligence and integrity who are not about to roll over and let the cruise industry turn their community into a place like Key West or Nassau.

One day Carnival will pull out of Charleston with no notice when it finds that it can make more money sailing from another port which has no concern for issues like pollution and congestion. Carnival will then leave Charleston’s businesses with nothing more than their welcome billboards.    

  • Here’s the deal. If Charleston doesn’t want the cruise ships, send them here to Jacksonville.

    We will have the Mayor with the key to the city, local high school marching bands, the City Council AND an F-18 flyover when the ships arrive.

    We welcome cruise ships!

    Follow me on Twitter @scottlara1961

  • Billy Smith

    The Cruise Line boldly claim that they create jobs in ports but they do not create any jobs on their mammoth ships unless you are from a third world country!!

  • Robert

    You’re just an ambulance chaser with an anti business, pro run companies out of bankruptcy agenda. We’re getting our cruise port in Charleston and we are extremely excited for it. 🙂

  • Robert – When you are not afraid to identify your last name and not use a fake hotmail email address, come back and post an intelligent comment. I’ll be pleased to debate the issue of whether tax avoiding corporations created in Panama like Carnival are really a sustainable economy for your community.

  • Robert Ingram

    Apparently my mail was hacked and not accessible within the last day or so. Regardless, you want to debate? Let’s go for it. I fail to see how adding tourist to a community is a bad thing. My boy isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and drives down to the ports. This will certainly be more work for him. No he doesn’t have a nice cushy office like I bet you do. It must be nice to sit in your ivory tower and look down at us peasants though. I bet you travel in a private jet so a cruise ship is just terrible compared to that too.

  • Robert:

    Trading insults is not a debate and I don’t fly in a private jet.

    Regards Jim Walker