Cruise ships in Savannah? Could happen

As if Savannah isn’t already a hot tourist destination.

Now it’s looking to be a sort of cruise capital.

The city’s council is considering spending $279,500 to study what it would take to bring a cruise ship terminal to the riverfront, the Associated Press and Savannah Morning News report.

Three sites are being considered.

The study would look at the impact _ economic and otherwise _ of running cruise ships in and out of town. Cruise ship traffic would have to be coordinated with Port of Savannah traffic, for one. Another concern that’s been raised is possible pollution.

A temporary cruise terminal supposedly would create 288 jobs.

11 comments Add your comment


August 31st, 2012
12:01 pm

I would take a cruise from Savannah. I say go for it.


August 31st, 2012
12:07 pm

bad idea if parked near riverstreet

if over on Hutchinson Island, maybe not so bad.


September 1st, 2012
4:02 pm

I cruise every year and would love to take a cruise out of Savannah. Save $300 net in travel expenses rather than flying down to Fort Lauderdale. However, I bet it would be like Carnival and not like Princess, Celebrity or Holland America,cruise lines like I prefer.


September 1st, 2012
6:07 pm

Good idea, being able to take a cruise out of Georgia instead of going all the way to south Florida.


September 2nd, 2012
12:05 pm

A terrible idea – Savannah is already saturated with tourists and trolleys. The city would have to endure extreme traffic congestion, passengers who only buy a beer and a T-shirt in town, air pollution, NO new jobs, vertically integrated company whose supplies come from elsewhere and employees all from other countries, extreme taxpayer cost of building a terminal, and the fact that they could sail away at a moment’s notice to name just a few concerns.

Skeptical Taxpayer

September 2nd, 2012
12:51 pm

The first study–a $125K investment of city and state, i.e., taxpayer funds–produced a sales-job by the consulting firm chosen, an architectural company that designs cruise terminals (surprise, surprise). The study ignored all the major questions of financial risk, pollution, and congestion created by a downtown terminal. Now the city council wants to sink another $280K into a second study that will do the same thing. Neither the credibility of the architectural firm, which has a self-interest in selling the terminal idea, nor that of the terminal advocates, who all have a financial stake, is sufficient to take their findings and claims about a terminal’s ‘benefits’ seriously. And a $60 million investment of taxpayer funds, the cost of the terminal, when the cruise ship corporation invests zero and can sail away at the drop of a hat (see Mobile Ala and San Diego for examples last year)? Who dreamed this up and wants to screw the taxpayers? That’s the first question to ask before spending more money…


September 3rd, 2012
7:55 am

Brilliant idea! Stimulate Georgia tourism and create jobs in Georgia instead of Florida. And, it would be so convenient.


September 3rd, 2012
10:52 am

I like the idea, but Skeptical Taxpayer makes some good points. If the cruise ship companies don’t have an investment in the plan, it doesn’t seem sustainable.

Moses Woodruff

September 5th, 2012
6:57 am

In many respects, why is Georgia always responsive, rather than taking the lead to other SE cities? I gladly welcome and hope Savannah gets the cruise port, but isn’t this a little johnny come lately?

Jim Kerr

September 6th, 2012
7:24 pm

Several cruise ships already call on Savannah, which is a popular stop for a day. Three hi-end cruise ships, Regent Seven Seas Navigator, Crystal Cruises Crystal Symphony and Azamara Cruises have scheduled one-day stops in Savannah in April, November and December, 2013. What is the impact on the city for one day when an average of 400-500 passengers call? They don’t need parking places and they are generally ready to spend money in this beautiful city. As a non-resident who loves to visit Savannah, I’m not sure where they park the ships, since there is no terminal. But the city can control which cruise lines are allowed to dock at any new city-financed terminal. Also, if a few ships – spread out over the season – originated or ended cruises in Savannah, taxis, hotels, B&Bs, restaurants, tour opeartors, vendors etc., would all benefit.

Skeptical Taxpayer

September 6th, 2012
9:29 pm

Jim Kerr makes some rational points about how, in an ideal world, Savannah, ‘the city’, could control and manage cruise ship calls. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. If the city chooses to use somewhere between $60 and $100 million in taxpayer money to build a terminal (land and infrastructure costs included), the city will have no control over which cruise lines use the terminal or when they call. That’s right. The cruise ship companies have no stake or involvement in the terminal; write one year contracts that allow them to retain rights on all scheduling matters; and can leave the terminal owners high and dry with as little as 90 days notice when they sail away. Any notion that cities and port authorities control the game, is unfortunately not supported by the facts. And, worse than that, the cruise ship corporations have a strategy that plays one port city off against the other, moving their ships to suit their bottom line (a function of their cost management as well as the revenue generated in one port vs. another) with no say given the ports. In other words, with the exception of certain cruise ‘hubs’ like Miami, a small time port such as Savannah or Charleston has no leverage over companies such as Carnival. It’s great for people in ATL to have the chance to choose between JAX and SAV for a low-budget cruise; it’s a horrible deal for SAV that takes all of the risk, earns next to nothing from the cruise lines (they procure nothing locally), and hosts visitors who park and retrieve their cars and spend less than 20 percent of what destination tourist spend in the city, if anything at all, and at the end of the day, do nothing to boost the local economy. Why do small cities build cruise terminals? Barnum had it right: there’s a sucker born every minute.