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HomeCruiseCruise passengers return to South Carolina, find cars totaled from flooding

Cruise passengers return to South Carolina, find cars totaled from flooding

Story at a glance
Like many other locations in downtown Charleston, the parking lot belonging to the South Carolina Ports Authority flooded during a Nor’easter that caused heavy rain, significant flooding and record tide levels on Sunday.
Many cruise ship passengers returned to vehicles that had been flooded and wouldn’t start.
It took many of the passengers hours to get home, and many are still dealing with insurance companies.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Some cruise ship passengers in Charleston, South Carolina, returned home from their vacation to cars that had been totaled because of flooding.
Stephanie Royal and her husband travelled to Charleston from North Carolina for a weekend cruise in the Bahamas on the Carnival Sunshine. The guests returned to Charleston Monday and were met with an unexpected discovery.
“When we got to the parking lot, we basically were told that nobody’s cars would start. That they had been flooded,” said Royal.
Like many other locations in downtown Charleston, the parking lot belonging to the South Carolina Ports Authority flooded during a Nor’easter that caused heavy rain, significant flooding and record tide levels on Sunday.
Royal said passengers were stuck in the lot for hours, trying to figure out what to do next since their cars had been flooded as well.
“There was a couple of people in the parking lot that had gone around trying to jump start cars but the only ones that would jump start was the older models,” Royal explained.
Between a rideshare, rental car, and tow truck, Royal said getting home cost her an additional $700. The couple made it back to North Carolina, but their car remains in Charleston, totaled.
“The fact that you come back from a vacation to find your car totaled, you know, made for a pretty rough trip. Becuse right now, not just us, but several of those people that were involved, their cars are totaled,” Royal said.
A spokesperson for the South Carolina Ports Authority released a statement detailing its teams alleged efforts to help affected drivers.
“The recent record high tide and unprecedented flooding that occurred throughout downtown Charleston resulted in some cruise passenger vehicles being impacted,” the statement reads. “The South Carolina Ports team worked closely with passengers to provide assistance from the moment they arrived until the last passenger departed the terminal. Port police ensured passengers had the necessary reports to document damage for their insurance companies. Passengers were not charged for additional days to use the parking lot and are able to leave their vehicles as long as necessary. Port staff worked around the clock to call tow companies on behalf of passengers, assist with jumping vehicles and pumping out water, and helping them find transportation to area hotels. While SC Ports does not assume liability for vehicles or personal property left in the passenger parking areas, we are committed to continuing to support our valued cruise customers.”
A representative for Carnival Cruise Line, in a statement, also said its employees attempted to provide aid to customers, but noted that the cruise company did not own the lot.
“We regret that some of our guests’ vehicles parked in the garage were impacted by the recent storm. We have let officials know that people were unhappy, and we suggest you contact the parking authorities. We assisted in some ways where we could, for instance with helping guests connect with their insurance providers, but ultimately this was not our facility.”
Royal said she wished the situation had been handled differently.
“Not so much financially, but it would’ve been nice to have that transportation to the airport or somewhere that we could’ve gotten additional help like a rental car or even a flight home,” she suggested.
According to Royal, she is still waiting to hear from her insurance company about a payout for her totaled car.
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