Understanding The Why Behind These Restrictions
So why do the cruise lines have policies about selling drink packages on the second day and having limited menus?
To find out, we contacted the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission . While the TABC couldnt comment on specific cruise line policies, they did shed light on rules surrounding drink packages and limited menus.
Drink PackagesAccording to a spokesman for the TABC:
State law and TABC rules prohibit any practice which could reasonably be interpreted to allow or encourage overconsumption of alcohol. This includes all you can drink packages or other promotions which allow unlimited alcohol for a buy-in price. These standards would apply to any alcoholic beverages served or sold within Texas territory, including any waters over which Texas claims jurisdiction. Once a vessel is outside of Texas territory, the states laws no longer apply.
This appears to be the reason that Carnival waits to sell their drink package until the morning after sailaway from Galveston.
But what about Royal Caribbean? Frankly, were not sure. It seems that offering the drink package while the ship is still in Texas waters wouldnt be allowed given Texas laws. However, there may be special circumstances that allow the cruise line to comply with the law for its specific situation.
An email to the cruise line asking for more information about their policies was not answered.
Limited MenusWe also asked the TABC about limited menus and why they might be offered. According to the agency:
Cruise From Galveston Texas
The Galveston, Texas cruise port is home to both Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Lines. Both lines offer year-round cruise options from Galveston. Royal Caribbean cruise ships offer a range of 6 to 9-night Caribbean cruise vacations. For travelers in need of a shorter vacation, Carnival Cruise Line provides anywhere from 4 to 10-night Caribbean cruise options.
Cruises From Galveston Texas
If you’ve always wanted to see the Bahamas or the Caribbean, cruises from Galveston TX are the way to travel. Whether you’re looking for a short 4 day vacation, or have over a week to spare, leaving the itinerary to any of our quality cruises from Galveston TX will give you the chance to view beautiful locations while you rest and relax from the usual day-to-day.
But maybe you want to travel somewhere else you haven’t visited yet, such as Spain. We have a variety of cruises from Galveston TX available for you to book year-round. The best way to get started is to take a look at our calendar of cruises leaving from Galveston to select a vacation at the time of year, price and location that is ideal for you.
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One Last First Timer Heads Up
On your first day on-ship, there will be a mandatory safety training. Ours was loud and chaotic. The stress was mostly due to the large crowds of people trying to get to their assigned location, not to mention the instruction speakers on board were set to full volume. Based off that experience alone I was worried Id hate the rest of the cruise, but am happy to report that once that was over, the rest of the trip was smooth sailing
Plan For Sea Sickness
Though our ship was actually fairly steady and we didnt have any sea sickness issues, we came prepared. Since Dan has had issues with seasickness in the past, we purchased every kind of medication we could find, drowsy, non-drowsy, chewable, an oil to put behind our ear, and bracelets that push on pressure points. We used everything but the bracelets whenever there was a bit of turbulence and never had a problem. You dont want to be caught on a rocky ship when they run out of supplies on deck!
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Disney Cruises Things To Do
- A Disney Cruise Line cruise is designed primarily for families and makes planning a family vacation super easy. Therefore, Disney Cruise Line vacations are directed to multigenerational families, particularly families with young children. However, that does not mean the cruise line forgets the adults, as it features adult-only specialty restaurants, nightclubs, and quiet pools on all its four ships. While the large staterooms attract families, they also invite interest from a small number of honeymooners, couples, and singles. Anyone who wants a more peaceful cruise vacation should choose sailing outside the summer months, as cruise-goers begin to subside and the pace is therefore slower. The people on a Disney cruise enjoy its youthful vibe, as is evidenced by the cruise line’s sail-away dance parties each of which connect some of Disney’s most lovable characters with Disney cruise guests. Pools are also designed for kid-friendly activities and adults who want to relive their childhood once again. If you love activities, such as miniature golf, ping-pong, or similar kid-friendly pastimes, you will feel right at home on a Disney cruise ship. In fact, anyone who loves Disney will also love a Disney cruise ship vacation.
How Far Is Houston Airport From Galveston Cruise Port
In fact, the cruise port is about 40 miles from Houston Hobby and about 70 miles from Bush Intercontinental . Depending on traffic, it can take 1-2 hours to get from the airport to the cruise port. The good news is that a number of services offer transportation between the airport and the cruise port.
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Royal Caribbeans Policy Regarding Drink Packages And Alcohol In Galveston
If you sail on Royal Caribbean , then our understanding is you can use a drink package from the moment you step on the ship. While this has been mentioned regularly around the Internet, we tried to confirm it by pricing out the package for an upcoming 7-day cruise , as well as calling a Royal Caribbean representative to ask directly. We were told there is no waiting period for the package.
In addition, there is no special mention of drink package restrictions for Galveston cruises as found on Carnivals website.
Like Carnival, Royal Caribbean does offer a limited alcoholic drink menu while in Texas. Below is an image of the menu while the ship is in Texas waters.
While the menu still offers plenty of variety including several beers and many mixed drinks everything the ship serves while at sea isnt available while in Texas waters.
Find Cruises Out Of Galveston In 2021 & 2022search Galveston Cruises By Month:
Fla. Seller of Travel Reg. No. ST42496CST No. 2100614-50
WMPH Vacations and iCruise.com are located in Delray Beach, Florida. You may book online or contact us directly. Our business hours and toll-free phone numbers from the following countries are listed below:
Please note that all prices on our website are in US dollars, and travel purchases must be completed with a major credit card. Unless you are considering one of our custom cruise itineraries, certain cruise lines prohibit US-based travel agencies from selling to non-US residents.
All passengers regardless of their home country, citizenship or country of residency are responsible for obtaining the proper documentation for travel. This includes passports and visas for any country they may visit during their trip.
Pricing Terms and Conditions
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Royal Caribbean Ship Out Of Galveston
Royal Caribbean has 3 ships that sail out of Galveston.
The largest is Liberty of the Sea. When built in 2007 she was the largest cruise ship in the world. That made for plenty of room for water slides, a Flowrider, ice skating rink, sports cort, multiple pools and hot tubs and much more. The Liberty of the Sea only does 7 day itineraries but goes to. multiple locations.
The Enchantment of the Sea and Adventure of the Seas have several attractions as well and sail for 4 or 5 night cruises to various locations.
Port Of Galveston Adds New Express Parking Lot For Cruise Passengers
The Port of Galveston has added a new parking lot for passengers, making it much easier to get to and from the cruise ship. The new Express Lot located at Terminal 2 opened in late August and means guests can get to their cruise without the use of a shuttle or crossing busy streets.
Galveston has transformed into one of the busiest departure ports for cruises outside of Florida, serving more than a million passengers per year in normal times. In fact, when Carnival made its debut after the pause in cruising, its first cruise sailed not from Port Canaveral or Miami, but Galveston.
One reason for the popularity of the port is that tens of millions of people live within just a few hours drive of Galveston. Instead of dealing with the cost and hassle of flights, passengers can simply drive themselves to the port.
Of course, that means finding a place to park. Over the years, roughly a dozen different parking lots have sprung up near the port to cater to cruise passengers. In addition, the Port of Galveston also offers its own official parking lots.
Unlike other cruise ports, however, these lots are not right at the cruise ships. Parking at the port means means walking across busy Harborside Drive and the crowded port drop-off area, or taking a shuttle from the parking lot to the cruise ship.
If sailing from Terminal 1, however, the ports SMP Garage is a closer option than the Express Lot. This garage is across the street from the terminal.
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About The Galveston Cruise Port
The Port of Galveston is located on the upper Texas coast at the mouth of beautiful Galveston Bay, just 30 minutes steaming time from the open sea. The two closest airports to the Port of Galveston are Houston Hobby International Airport and George Bush Intercontinental .
The nearest airport to Port of Galveston is Houston Hobby International Airport .The distance between them is 42 miles and the trip takes about 30 minutes. A taxi will cost approximately $85 a carload and the shared shuttle about $45 per person.
An alternative airport is George Bush Intercontinental, located on the north side of Houston, but its about 70 miles from the port and the ride can take about 1 Â½ hours. Taking a taxi will cost approximately $135 a carload and the shared shuttle $55.
If youre driving to the port the parking lots available to passengers are located 1/2 mile from the cruise ship Terminal. The parking lots are safe and secure. Gates will be locked upon vessel departure and no entry will be available on non-cruise days. Lots are to be monitored by Port police every two hours.
Drop off passengers and luggage at the cruise terminal before heading to the parking lot. Porters will assist you with your baggage and Police Officers will direct the driver to the appropriate parking lot for that day. There are shuttles running continuously to take passengers from the lot to the terminal for check-in.
Norwegian Prima Will Have Largest Racetrack On The Ocean
GALVESTON, Texas A new Norwegian Cruise ship with the largest racetrack on the ocean is going to be sailing from Galveston in late 2023.
The Norwegian Prima is the first of six ships in the Norwegian Cruise Lines Prima Class and its set to embark on its maiden voyage next summer.
The massive boat is 965 feet long and can accommodate 3,215 guests at double occupancy, according to a press release.
In addition to the ships three-level racetrack, there will also be a 10-story, freefall dry slide called The Drop where guests will reach the highest G-forces of any cruise line, NCL officials said.
Two escape rooms, a Topgolf Swing Suite, mini-golf course, aqua park with Tidal Wave waterslide and infinity hot tubs will also be featured on the Norwegian Prima.
NCL officials report that the Norwegian Prima will be the only vessel offering 7-day voyages to the Western Caribbean out of Galveston during the winter 2023-2024 season.
Ports of call for the Galveston voyages include Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, Harvest Caye in Belize and Roatan in the Bay Islands.
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How To Get Cheap Cruises From Galveston
Galveston, located on the Gulf Coast of Texas, has been embraced by several cruise lines over the past decade because it offers easy access for drive-to passengers from the Southern and lower Midwest states. And passengers especially those who live within a days drive of the city are discovering that the four- to seven-night Western Caribbean and Mexico itineraries from here can be great deals.
Snagging a great price on a cruise from this port is easy: You simply need to stay informed about the deals being offered and minimize your cost per passenger by choosing the right cabin type. Heres what else you need to know in order to find cheap cruises from Galveston.
1. Choose a four- or five-day itinerary.These shorter cruises typically visit Key West and Cozumel or another Mexican port on Riviera Maya and are a great value you may see five-day cruises in January on Carnival Liberty for as little as $274 per person, for example. Theyre also a terrific way for first-time cruisers or couples with kids to find out if cruising is the right kind of vacation for them without committing to a full week.
5. Bunk up for a bargain.For a family of four, or four friends who dont mind sharing a cabin, to snag a deal, youll need to look for a cabin with fold-down bunks that can accommodate all of you. Make your peace with sharing, and youll lower everyones fare by as much as 20 percent.
Dont Worry So Much About What To Wear
As we were packing for the cruise, I was really daunted by all the different dress codes I was expected to be prepared for casual,smart casual and formal. Just how formal is formal? What does smart casual mean? Luckily, the internet is full of information about what each of these mean for different cruise lines. Since we didnt have to limit our baggage, I packed 3 dressed that could pass for Royal Caribbeans Formal Night standards.
We quickly realized once on board that these dress codes are to be taken very loosely. Some people were in tuxes and ball gowns, but the majority of women wore cocktail dresses or dress pants. No one was turned away and no one really cared if you walked in wearing shorts and a t-shirt.
Dan had one pair of vans, dress shoes and flip flops for his feet with t-shirts, polos and a suit. He mostly wore anything with a collar to dinner and pants until later in the cruise he wore shorts one night and did not feel out of place.
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Answered: First Day Drink Packages And Alcohol On Galveston Cruises
Drink packages are supposed to make things easier. Instead of having to budget and keep an eye on what you are spending, you simply pay one daily fee and drink your fill. Want a beer when you step on board? Just order it and get back to enjoying your cruise. Want a margarita while you sit poolside? Step up to the bar and its yours no additional payments required.
And for the most part, the drink packages are simple and work exactly as planned. You can purchase the package, step on board the ship on the first day of the cruise and start getting your moneys worth. If you want a drink, you order it. Couldnt be simpler, right?
Well, cruises from Galveston are a little different. There are special rules that apply to selling alcohol in Texas that have an impact on your drink package and what you can order.
Remember: Restrictions Are Only Temporary
While weve spent a lot of time covering the ins and outs of drink packages and limited menus when sailing from Galveston, its actually quite simple. Both cruise lines have limited drink menus until out of Texas waters. Carnival makes passengers wait until the morning after sailaway to use a drink package. Royal Caribbean allows the use of drink packages right from the start.
Just dont be surprised if you cant get your favorite drink the moment you step on board. You might have to wait a couple of hours.
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Pre And Post Cruise Options In Galveston
Galveston is an island that is 32 miles long on the upper coast of Texas on the Gulf of Mexico and one of Texas most popular tourist destinations. There are miles and miles of beaches, great lodging, wonderful seafood restaurants, and incredible shopping to enjoy in a semi-tropical climate. The many family friendly attractions in the area make it a perfect add on to a cruise that departs from Galveston.
Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum: Visitors enjoy experiencing the offshore industry first-hand on an actual retired jack-up drilling rig. The museum features three floors of models and interactive displays illustrating the exciting story of offshore oil and gas from seismic technology and exploration and production to pipelining and marine transportation.
Schlitterbahn Water Park: This water park is consistently rated tops by the Travel Channel due to the fact that it offers an extensive variety of activities and rides. There are also many different age appropriate rides and pools so that even young children can enjoy themselves with no safety concerns.
Johnson Space Center: Located in nearby Houston, the center offers unparalleled exhibits, attractions, special presentations and hands-on activities tell the story of NASAs manned space flight program. Its the only place in the world where visitors can see astronauts train for missions, touch a real moon rock, land a shuttle, and take a behind-the-scenes tour of NASA.