March 07, 2012
We Charlestonians sure do know how to get worked up over tourist boats. In June, the Coastal Conservation League, two neighborhood associations, and the Preservation Society of Charleston slapped Carnival Cruise Lines with a lawsuit for, among other things, violating downtown building codes by docking their huge ships in the harbor. The City of Charleston signed on with Carnival as a co-defendant in the suit, meanwhile refusing to relocate the soon-to-be-renovated cruise terminal away from the historic district or to demand a written limit on cruise traffic from the State Ports Authority. In September, a citizens' group called Charleston Communities for Cruise Control put up a billboard on Interstate 26 Eastbound near downtown reading "Save Charleston: Support Cruise Control." It featured a not-quite-to-scale Carnival ship dominating the city skyline like a mutant shark fin. Two months later, a group of port businesses fired back with another I-26 billboard, this one reading "Cruise On In ... Welcome and Thank You." The sign mimicked the style of the original, only with a less aggressive-looking cruise ship fin. We're anticipating a TV commercial featuring the theme from Jaws next.