CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Carnival Cruiseline has announced that its ship, Carnival Sunshine, will be back in the Charleston Harbor in 2022.
Carnival voluntarily extended its pause in operations numerous times since its initial pause in March of 2020. In the calendar year 2019, representatives with the South Carolin Ports say there was a total of 262,776 cruise passengers.
Travel agents such as Crystal Lovelady with Cruise Planners told News 2, that since the announcement many have already begun to make their plans for January 13th, when the Sunshine will set sail.
Lovelady said, this morning alone, hours after the announcement, she had 6 to 8 bookings. She believes that many are just excited to go back out of Charleston as opposed to having to make the trek to another port.
Guests who are looking to be on the Sunshine will be asked to complete an online questionnaire three days before their trip and they must be fully vaccinated. Those who are too young to get the vaccine must get a COVID-19 test before, during, and after the trip.
For those who are unvaccinated, you are able to do excursions only with those who are unvaccinated.
Lowcountry staples such as the Avocet Hospitality Group who own and operate the Vendue in Downtown Charleston said that area really blossoms when cruisers are in the Lowcountry. He said they give their business and the downtown area an uptick in the room stays, purchases, and restaurant use.
Ken Merkel, the SVP of Operations for the Avocet Hospitality Group said he thinks that 2022 will be another strong year. Even more, “I think a lot of the hoteliers would love to have some group business back, the business traveler back, and or the leisure traveler that is going to be in town due to the cruise lines.”
Merkel said in addition to looking forward to cruisers coming back in 2022, they also are readying for more travelers with SEWE and the Charleston Wine + Food Festival.
Lovelady said with many rules constantly changing, it’s best to plan your trip with the help of travel agents.
All the protocols, all the testing, getting all documentation that you need so that you do not get denied boarding—because that’s the last thing you want is to get on that ship and then them say oh I’m sorry you’re missing a piece of paper, you can’t be here…we can also help you cancel your trip if for any reason.Crystal Lovelady, Cruise Planners
A representative with the SC Ports said they will spend the next several months preparing for operations to resume, as well as continuing to work with local health authorities, DHEC, and cruise partners to align with all CDC requirements and Carnival protocols.
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