Unexpected 30-Minute Warning Leaves Carnival’s Charleston Cruise Passengers in Disbelief

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The Carnival Sunshine cruise ship will be departing Union Pier half an hour early starting July 1, according to Miami-based Carnival Corp.

Carnival Cruise Line — which has long offered passengers a way to get onboard quicker, for a price, through its Faster to the Fun option — is now giving everyone a chance to sidle up to the buffet or get that first fruity cocktail a little earlier than usual.

The Miami-based pleasure ship operator, which homeports its Sunshine vessel at Union Pier Terminal in Charleston, recently said it will depart its downtown berth 30 minutes early for most of its final seven months in the Holy City.

Instead of leaving at 4 p.m., as it has done for years, the ship will now depart at 3:30 p.m. for its trips south to the Bahamas. The early sailings will take place July 1 through Nov. 28 and again Dec. 12 through Dec. 30.

The only voyage that isn’t affected by the change is a 10-day jaunt through the eastern Caribbean that leaves Union Pier on Dec. 2. That cruise will actually leave later, at 5 p.m., according to Carnival’s website.

The Sunshine’s year-round trips will depart Charleston for good when Carnival’s contract with the S.C. State Ports Authority expires at the end of this year. The SPA has said it plans to only host port-of-call day trips for cruise lines starting in 2025 as part of its plan to sell Union Pier.

Carnival didn’t give a reason for the early departure policy, although the Cruise Hive website speculated that it could be a fuel-saving measure. By leaving a little early, the Sunshine can travel at slightly slower speeds.

“Tidal schedules, port operations, ship capacity and other factors all also play a role in departure scheduling,” the website noted. “Cruise travelers should always stay in close communication with their cruise line for updated details on any possible itinerary changes, departure adjustments, delays or other notices as their sailing date approaches.”

And if a 30-minute head start isn’t enough, Carnival is still offering its Faster to the Fun program, which lets passengers bypass long lines with priority check-in and early cabin access. For cruises leaving Charleston, that service is available for $99.95 per stateroom.

Golfweek has ranked The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island at No. 14 among the top 200 U.S. layouts built since 1960.

In golf, a 16 is an embarrassingly high score — unless it’s referring to the number of Palmetto State courses that have made a new ranking of some of the best places to play the game.

In this instance, Golfweek recently released its top 200 U.S. tracts built in the modern era, defined as since 1960.

South Carolina is home to a whopping 16 of them, led by The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, which was rated at No. 14 overall and where the PGA Championship will return for the third time in 2031.

All but two of the other layouts are along the coast between Georgetown County and Hilton Head Island. The exceptions are Sage Valley Golf Club near Aiken, which was tied for No. 49, and the Cliffs at Mountain Park in Travelers Rest, which was tied for No. 129.

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The others that made Golfweek’s cut are: Congaree in Ridgeland (tied for No. 24); Harbour Town Golf Links and Long Cove on Hilton Head (Nos. 59 and 70 respectively); Secession near Beaufort (tied for No. 86); Colleton River Club’s Pete Dye design in Bluffton (tied for No. 107). Old Tabby Links in Okatie (tied for No. 134); Cassique on Kiawah (tied for No. 147) May River at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton; the River Course on Kiawah (tied for No. 176); Chechessee Creek in Okatie (tied for 187); Caledonia Golf & Fish Club on Pawleys Island (tied for No. 187); and Colleton River’s Jack Nicklaus layout in Bluffton (tied No. 200).

Only Florida had more courses among the top 200 with 20.

Past President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Leroy Petry, Bobby Cox of Sig Sauer, and Congressional Medal of Honor Society Executive Director John Falkenbury hold the personalized handgun donation.

The organization in charge of the Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point found itself staring at the barrels of some guns when it reopened the military exhibit last month after a $3.5 million renovation.


They were gifts from New Hampshire-based SIG Sauer Inc., a firearms provider for the Department of Defense. The company donated to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society three custom-made stainless-steel pistols with grips featuring replicas of the nation’s highest military award for bravery.

The group, which is headquartered aboard the Yorktown in Mount Pleasant, shared the news on social media. It said the pistols will be added to its archives and collections.

SIG Sauer also gave similar sidearms to each living Medal of Honor recipient engraved with their names and dates of action, according to the society.

CO opened at 340 King Street in 2012.

A southeast Asian restaurant opened on King Street in downtown Charleston a dozen years ago now offers more options to satisfy pho and dumpling cravings in North Carolina than in its home state.

CO recently expanded to the Durham market by taking over a long-vacant space in The Streets at Southpoint Mall near I-40.

This marks the seventh restaurant overall and fourth in the Tar Heel State for CO, which is owned by Collected Hospitality Group. Beyond its original Holy City establishment south of George Street, the company has expanded the concept to Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte (with two locations), and Raleigh.


David Wren, Megan Fernandes and John McDermott of The Post and Courier contributed to this report.

Business and Tourism Reporter

Megan Fernandes is a Business and Tourism Reporter for the Post and Courier. She is an award-winning reporter, who has worked in the newspaper industry from coast-to-coast.


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