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Friday, June 28, 2013 - 12:11pm

No Cruise Ships For Savannah

Savannah will have to investigate other ways of boosting tourism now that the city is abandoning its interest in cruise ships.

City officials voted down another study into a cruise terminal after four years of work.

Savannah officials began looking into a possible cruise ship terminal after the city's historic rival, Charleston, started hosting cruise lines three years ago.

But in the end, Charleston's experience might have dissuaded Savannah.

Charleston is locked in legal fights over quality of life issues that Savannah residents brought up in this week's City Council debate.

Savannah Resident Melissa Ralph says the city's tourism economy doesn't need cruise ships.

"I only could see, from the three locations proposed, that those passengers were going to subsequently need transportation into our historic district," says Ralph. "Meaning, what? More motor coaches?"

The city has struggled for decades with how to balance increasing tourism with its thriving historic district, a prime reason visitors come here in the first place.

The move elated the idea's opponents like Pam Miller, who says cruise ships have changed other waterfront cities -- and not for the better.

"Cruise ships have come into historic districts," says Miller. "They have really taken away the significance of those historic districts -- too many people, overcrowding -- it's not the same respect for the historic properties of the city."

City Council members cited similar concerns when they unanimously rejected any more studies of a possible cruise ship terminal.

On the same day, the city's chief executive announced plans for a new office to coordinate tourism-related issues in Savannah.


Larissa Allen contributed to this report.