Cruises From Houston Or Galveston: Which Should You Choose
Editor’s note: As of April 2016, Houston is no longer an active cruise port.
When deciding whether you want to cruise from Houston or Galveston, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of each port city. How easy is each one to get to? How many cruise lines offer sailings from each port? What’s difficult about sailing from each city? If you’re trying to decide between cruising from Galveston or cruising from Houston, read on for the key differentiators.
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Vaccination, Testing and Travel Document Requirements
Travel requirements and health protocols are constantly evolving and vary by port of departure. We will continue to publish more protocols as they are developed. Booked guests will be advised of their specific requirements before setting sail. See more details by ship and homeport.
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Cruise Ship Engine Power Propulsion Fuel
In 2020, IMO implements its global 0,5% sulfur cap on marine fuels. If not using scrubbers , owners of older vessels must use as ship fuels either MGO , ECA Category Fuels , new modified fuels and blends, LNG or electric/battery power. Each fuel option is based on vessel type and age, routes/itineraries and powerplant. Most newbuild passenger ships are LNG-powered. Worlds largest seaports plus numerous smaller ports already have installed shoreside power capabilities providing shore-to-ship power supply to berthed vessels. In many ports, shorepower is in addition to LNG bunkering capabilities.
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Cruises From Galveston: The Pros And Cons
Find out the pros and cons for cruises from Galveston, Texas. This should make your decision easier and what to expect when cruising from the port.
Youre planning on taking a cruise and youre not sure whichport you want to ship out from. Between Louisiana, Florida, Texas, and variousother states, the options are endless. Which one do you choose, and why?
For the purpose of this article, we will discuss everythingyou need to know about cruising from the Port of Galveston, on Galveston Islandin Texas. Well cover the pros as well as the cons, so you can make awell-informed choice of whether to go to Galveston or look for something else.
Norwegian Prima To Homeport In Galveston For 2023 & 2024
Norwegian Cruise Line becomes the next cruise line to homeport one of its newest ships in Galveston, Texas. The cruise port is becoming more and more popular, and from 2023 Norwegian Prima will be visiting the port to embark new guests every week.
The ship is still under construction in Italy but is expected to cost the cruise line $850 million when completed. The 142,500 gross ton vessel will have space for 3,215 guests at double occupancy.
Norwegian Prima will sail on her maiden voyage on August 17, 2022, on an itinerary from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Reykjavik, Iceland, with stops in Zeebrugge, Bergen, and Geiranger in Norway, and Akureyri and Isafjordur in Iceland.
On further cruises, the ship will be calling in a wide variety of ports in the UK, Belgium, and France before heading to Bermuda, New York, and Miami. She will then sail to her new homeport of Galveston.
From Galveston, the ship will be the only vessel offering Western Caribbean cruises to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico Harvest Caye, in Belize, which is exclusive to guests of NCL and Roatan Island, Honduras. As guests expect from Norwegian Cruise Line, all visits will include between eight and nine hours in port.
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Fully Vaccinated Woman Reportedly Dies Of Covid
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings on Monday announced the launch of its first voyage since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the cruise industry to a grinding halt last year.
The company said its Norwegian Jade ship set sail from Athens, Greece, with a fully vaccinated population onboard as well as additional health measures including universal testing prior to boarding.
Our long-awaited Great Cruise Comeback has officially commenced with the return of Norwegian Jade, the first ship in our fleet to resume cruising, Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said in a statement.
He added that the company has announced further plans to resume cruising that extends into April 2022 for all 28 ships in its fleet.
We continue to see incredible pent-up demand for future cruise vacations and I look forward to welcoming our loyal guests back onboard, he said.
The first Norwegian cruise to start in the US is scheduled for Aug. 7 aboard Norwegian Encore. It will sail to Alaska from Seattle, the company said.
The cruise industry was among the first sectors to be hit hard by the coronavirus as it spread from Asia to Europe and across the world. Some of the earliest outbreaks outside China occurred on cruise ships, leading to at-sea quarantines and the deaths of some passengers.
Beginning in March 2020, data from the CDC showed more than 3,600 confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 on cruise ships in US waters, and at least 41 deaths.
What Is The Dress Code On Regular Nights On A Norwegian Cruise Line Cruise
Norwegian have the most relaxed dress code of any cruise line that Ive ever cruised with. Jeans are acceptable at all times in the main dining room as long as they are not too ripped/faded.
Realistically as long as you are dressed and clean you wont be turned away from the main dining room on a Norwegian cruise.
Norwegians website says the following:
Dress cruise casual anytime during the day, in the buffet and in most speciality restaurants. For women, it includes summer and casual dresses, skirts, regular or capri pants, shorts, jeans and tops. Khakis, jeans, shorts and casual shirts are fine for men. Swimwear is acceptable at the buffet and outdoor restaurant, but a shirt or a cover-up and footwear are required.
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Norwegian Cruise Line Coming To Galveston For First Time
As the cruise industry prepares a post-COVID comeback, a new face will appear in Galvestons cruise port. Norwegian Cruise Line has added Galveston to its portfolio. NCL will bring its mega Norwegian Prima ship to the Lone Star State. This new ship will be the first of a new class that NCL is establishing.
Norwegian Cruise Line joins Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line. This brings all of the Big 4 cruise lines in North America to Galveston and Texas. Currently listed on their website are itineraries taking you to Aruba and Cozumel.
When the pandemic hit, many cruise related jobs were lost as a result. Having the ships return is bringing back relief to workers that relied on the industry for employment. The problem extends across the world and few industries have been hit as hard. The news of NCL coming to Galveston follows Carnivals announcement that they will be returning their ships to the port of call. As many residents have been out of work during the pandemic, this is a sign of relief.
Royal Caribbean has also recently broken ground on a new state of the art cruise terminal in Galveston. With the new terminal, this gives three total cruise docks serving the island. Moving RCs ships to the new terminal will relieve some capacity in the current docks. This is part of the reason NCL was able to make a splash into Galveston.
Theres No Way To Go Hungry While Youre Aboard A Norwegian Epic Cruise
One great thing about really any Norwegian cruise ship? The cruise line can be relied upon to outfit each of its ships with plenteous dining options. While some ships simply cant deliver when it comes to good eats and plenty of them, thats not the case here.
A Norwegian Epic cruise gives travelers more than a dozen different dining options, both complimentary and for a fee, with a range of European, American and Asian cuisines to choose from. The cruise line is also pretty great about adjusting for dietary needs, if thats a concern.
Complimentary dining includes dining in the two manning dining rooms, Manhattan Room and Taste. While the latter is open for three meals a day, the former is only open for dinner and has a more posh vibe. The good news? Neither works on fixed seatings, so you can dine whenever you please while the two are open.
You also have access to the buffet on a complimentary basis, as well as the pub, OSheehans, which offers more American-style food than pub fair.
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Differences Among Ships Within The Sun Class
The main difference between the two Sun-class ships is that Norwegian Sun has just a little bit more of most things than Sky in the way of restaurants and cabin choices. Among these extras, Norwegian Sun boasts the Moderno Brazilian churrascaria restaurant, Teppanyaki hibachi eatery and Los Lobos Mexican venue.
As for cabins, the ship has family-designated balconies, ocean views and inside rooms, while Sun has only family-designated ocean view and inside cabins. Sky is the only one with mini-suites.
With that said, Sun has a Starbucks outlet, as well as the Sugarcane Mojito Bar, while Sky does not.
Norwegian Sky Embarkation In Miami
We have previously posted about the embarkation process for Royal Caribbean in Galveston and for Carnival in Puerto Rico. Today, I want to describe the process of embarking on the Norwegian Sky in Miami. I will talk about some of the key things you want to be sure to do within your first few hours on board. Over the next several days, please follow us for more details on the excellent ship and trip. In summary, though, Norwegian Sky embarkation in Miami is really easy. Lets talk about boarding time, lunch the first day, and business to take care of as soon as you board.
I selected an arrival time of 10-10:30. I dont have any kind of elite status on Norwegian, and I was not staying in a suite. Not wanting to get caught in long line, and wanting to board ASAP, I selected the first time available. It turns out I didnt need to do that. I caught an Uber from the Hilton to the port, and I quickly found a luggage porter. I then went to a dude checking that I was at the right terminal, a security check, and immediately to a check-in counter all without slowing down.
When I reached the top of the escalator, I was given a boarding card:
As far as I could tell, the group numbers were assigned randomly. They later called suite guests first, so I am sure they were able to ask for a higher priority card. However, if that applies to you then you should definitely ask. When I had that, I began the rather long process of sitting.
Can I Bring Bottles Of Wine On Board
Yes! While guests are not allowed to bring other types of alcohol, soda or water on board, they can bring corked, sealed bottles of wine or champagne. At embarkation, passengers are charged a corkage fee for each bottle, whether the intent is to consume the wine in a restaurant or in the guests stateroom. The corkage fee is $15 for 750 ml bottles and $30 for 1,500 ml Magnums.
Wines gifted to passengers, whether by friends who arrange to have a bottle left in their stateroom or travel agents, is also subject to the same fee. The one exception to the no bottled water rule is in regard to factory-sealed purified water needed for medical devices or baby formula.
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Go Bold From Galveston
YWith its postcard-pretty pier, stately Victorian architecture, thriving arts scene and famous Texan cuisine, Galveston is a great city to kick off your next cruise vacation. Rent a kayak and paddle out onto Galveston Bay, hit the Moody Gardens Golf Course, or join a ghost tour the opportunities to fill a few days are endless.
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Can You Wear Shorts On A Norwegian Cruise Line Cruise
Norwegian do allow dress shorts in some of the main dining rooms onboard but shorts are usually not allowed in the speciality restaurants. Many of the cruise ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet will have a more formal main restaurant which will not allow shorts.
For example, on Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway, there are three main restaurants. Two of these, Taste and Savour, will allow shorts but the third, The Manhattan Room, will not.
Shorts are always allowed in the buffet and outdoor restaurants and children are allowed to wear shorts in all dining venues.
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About The Galveston Wharves At The Port Of Galveston
Located at the entrance to Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel, Galveston Wharves has been a thriving maritime commercial center since 1825. Just 45 minutes from open seas, the 840-acre port has infrastructure and assets to serve growing cruise, cargo and commercial businesses. As the fourth most popular U.S. cruise port, it welcomed more than 1 million cruise passengers in 2019. Also one of the busiest in Texas, the port moved 4.3 million tons of cargo in 2020 and has an estimated annual state economic impact of $2.1 billion.
How Does The Free At Sea Promotions Work
Although considered a special promotion that could end at any time, Free At Sea is offered pretty much year-round. The program offers perks based on the level of stateroom you book.
Most of the time, inside and studio staterooms are allowed to pick one perk, balconies receive two, and guests staying in the exclusive Haven area may pick all 5 perks.
The changes are made to the program occasionally , the standard perks offered are as follows:
- Specialty dining
- $50 per port shore excursion credit
- 3rd and 4th guest sail free
These perks are offered to the first two guests in the room. Proving there is truly no such thing as free, guests must pay a 20 percent gratuity for the dining and beverage packages.
Norwegian Cruise Line To Bring Its Prima Ship To Galveston
Amanda Cochran, Specialty Senior Content Editor
GALVESTON, Texas Norwegian Cruise Line is bringing its newest ship to Galveston with cruises starting in 2022.
The ship called the Norwegian Prima will begin with two roundtrip western Caribbean voyages from Galveston: a three-day cruise on Oct. 27, 2022, and a four-day cruise on Oct. 31, 2022 — part of the new ships inaugural year sailing bucket-list itineraries, Houston Business Journal reported, citing Norwegian.
Starting in the winter season 2023 and 2024, the ship will homeport out of Galveston, offering seven-day voyages to the western Caribbean out of Galveston. The ship will call to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico Harvest Caye, a private island in Belize and Roatan Island, Honduras.
The ship is 965 feet long, more than 142,000 gross tons and able to accommodate 3,215 guests at double occupancy, according to the cruise line.
The company touted its entertainment options onboard in a news release about the ship, including a three-level go-kart racetrack called Prima Speedway.
The ship will sail on its maiden voyage on Aug. 17, 2022, on an itinerary from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Reykjavik, Iceland, with stops in Zeebrugge, Bergen, and Geiranger in Norway, and Akureyri and Isafjordur in Iceland, according to Cruise Hive.
Take a look at the ship through these promotional photos from the cruise line.
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The Ship Has Received Expansive Revitalizations Over The Last Decade
Sure, when Norwegian Epic debuted, it offered a lot of glitz and glam to its passengers. For example, at the time, it offered the only tube and bowl water slide at sea. Other interesting amenities included a rappelling wall, bowling alley and an ice bar.
But over time, every cruise ship begins to show its wear and tear. As such, in 2015, Norwegian Cruise Line announced plans for a two-year, $400 million, fleet-wide refurbishment program, and Norwegian Epic was a part of this program, which was dubbed The Norwegian Edge.
Norwegian Epic was the first ship to receive renovations under the program, in October 2015. Changes included the addition of new dining and drinking venues, like The Cavern Club, as well as redesigns of popular restaurants and bars aboard the ship, including La Cucina, Le Bistro, The Manhattan Room and more.
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Galveston Wharves To Welcome First Norwegian Cruise Line Ship
Galveston, TX Galveston Wharves announced today that Norwegian Cruise Lines Norwegian Prima would set sail from the Port of Galveston in fall 2022. This is the brands first new class of ships in nearly 10 years and the first-ever Norwegian Cruise Line ship to sail from Galveston.
Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO, said, Were thrilled that Norwegian Cruise Line chose Galveston, the fourth most popular cruise port in the U.S., as one of the first U.S. ports to debut its newest ship.
The ships visit to Galveston, the only cruise port in Texas, is part of a larger effort to debut its newest ship in a number of major markets. Galveston is a major drive-to market with 30 million people living within a 300-mile radius.
On Oct. 15 the 140,000-ton, 3215-passenger Norwegian Prima will depart for Galveston from New York on a 12-night Caribbean voyage that will include stops at Curacao, Bonaire and Aruba. While in Galveston, Norwegian Prima will sail two roundtrip Western Caribbean voyages: a 3-day cruise on Oct. 27 and a 4-day cruise on Oct. 31.
Port officials are in discussions with the cruise line and hope to pen a memorandum of understanding for a long-term strategy beginning in November 2023.
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