Complete Guide To Cruising From The Port Of Galveston
They say everything is bigger in Texas. And while the cruise port in Galveston may not be the biggest , cruising from the island seems to get bigger every season. With only two cruise terminals, a staggering one million passengers call on Galveston in a year.
One of the big reasons for that popularity? Passengers sailing from Galveston usually dont have far to go to get to the cruise port and head out on vacation. The Houston area home to about 8 million people is just about an hour away. Meanwhile, other large Texas cities including San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin are only a few hours drive.
That proximity to so many people makes it easy to see why Galveston has blossomed into the largest cruise port outside of Florida.
The good news is that with only two terminals and ample parking facilities, its fairly simple to get your way around the Port of Galveston. However, many people especially those flying in for their cruise who are unfamiliar with the area may have questions about what to expect.
If youre about to cruise from Galveston, we have this guide to answer everything you would want to know about sailing from the port.
In This Article…
- Distance from Bush-Intercontinental Airport: 75 miles | 75 minutes
- Distance from Houston-Hobby Airport: 45 miles | 50 minutes
- Number of Terminals: 2
- Passengers Carried Each Year: ~1 million
- Cruise Ship Dockings Each Year: ~300
Royal Caribbean Cruises Travel Tips
- A brand name that you know and can trust.
- Industry master, with over 50 years of experience and operation in the cruise line sector.
- They provide an incredible travel experience to all ages and have amazing amenities to help heighten your experience.
- Rock walls, surfing, and even waterparks to offer you something unique that you won’t find on any other cruise ship.
- Simply unpack and settle in once, then relax into your stateroom for the remainder of your trip.
- Our fast processes for embarkation and disembarkation give guests even more time to explore and allow for quicker access to the ship to reach anything you may need from us or your room.
- Incredible staterooms and suites to offer you the most relaxing experience while onboard.
- Incredible personalized experience designed to provide a family-like atmosphere.
- The industry’s most knowledgeable cruise managers and guides, providing you with the best guided experiences in the cruise market.
- Varied excursions available including everything from walking tours to guided biking tours, hikes, and more.
Cruising From Houston Or Galveston: Bottom Line
When selecting whether you want to cruise out of Galveston or Houston, youll need to decide what is most important to you.
For the most cruise line and itinerary choices, both in terms of destination and cruise length, choose Galveston.
If youre flying in, want to get on your cruise ship as soon as possible upon arrival and dont mind waiting for some of the ships venues to open, youll want to sail from Houston. If, instead, you really want all the ships services to open up as near to sailaway as possible and dont mind two hours of transport to the ship, choose Galveston.
Also note that both Galveston and Houston are subject to fog, which can severely affect the start or end times of a cruise sailing sometimes by as much as a day. In a typical year, a handful of cruises will be affected by heavy fog resulting in some people getting back later from their cruise or ending up with a shorter cruise than anticipated. The ports are equally impacted, so weather is not a reason to choose one port over the other.
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Norwegian Prima Homeports In Galveston Texas
After Norwegian Prima concludes her inaugural year sailing bucket-list itineraries as the industry’s newest ship, she will be the only vessel during the winter 2023 and 2024 season offering seven-day voyages to the Western Caribbean out of Galveston, Texas, providing the most extensive port experiences in the region with every itinerary visiting four ports. Norwegian Prima will call to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico Harvest Caye, the Caribbean’s premier island destination in Belize and exclusive to guests of NCL and Roatan Island, Honduras, with all visits featuring between eight and nine in-port hours.With voyages beginning in summer 2022, Norwegian Prima will be 965 feet long, more than 142,000 gross tons and able to accommodate 3,215 guests at double occupancy.For more information about Norwegian Cruise Line ships and their itineraries, or to book a cruise, please contact a travel professional, call 888-NCL-CRUISE or visit www.ncl.com.
Hotels Near The Port Of Galveston
The bad news? There arent a ton of hotels right at the port . The good news? Galveston isnt that large, so in reality every hotel is just a few minutes away.
The island has a wide variety of places to stay, from historic hotels like Hotel Galvez to modern-day hotel chains that are abundant on Galveston. There are also a few resorts with large pools, restaurants and more. No matter your budget of what youre looking for, Galveston has something to fit your needs relatively close to the port.
Most Galveston hotels are along the Seawall. After the hurricane of 1900, the entire island was built up, with a protective barrier along the island facing the Gulf of Mexico. Today the main boulevard on the island runs along the Seawall, and hotels next to it offer unfettered views.
There are also hotels on the mainland, just 15-20 minutes from the island. While these dont offer the views or atmosphere of staying in Galveston, they can be affordable and convenient as they are on the way from Houston.
Galveston Hotels With High Ratings
One thing to know is that a number of hotels in the area offer parking at their hotel while you cruise. So stay a night, and you can leave your car there for little or no cost. If youre driving into the port, its hard to beat this deal. .
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When Is Norwegian Cruise Line Sailing Again
Now! Norwegian Cruise Line first returned to sailing in the Greek Isles this summer, while their first cruise from a U.S. port in over 500 days started in Seattle in August 2021 to relaunch the Alaska cruise season. The first sailings to relaunch from Los Angeles will take place in October 2021 aboard the Norwegian Bliss.
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Things To Do Near The Port
Galveston is a Texas tourist hotspot as it offers a lot to do and a completely different atmosphere than the rest of the state. The island isnt that large and has a lot to do within just a few minutes of the cruise ship.
Pleasure PierJutting out into the water at the site of the old Flagship Hotel, the Pleasure Pier is a 1,000 foot long amusement park. On the pier youll find food, shops, rides, and even a roller coaster. Tickets cost about $30 , but its a great way to spend the day if you are traveling with a family.
Galveston to Bolivar FerryWhile there is only one main road on/off Galveston , there is a free ferry that runs back and forth between the Bolivar Peninsula and the island. The ferry runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but the line can be backed up during the busy summer months. If youd like to ride, simply park in the lot next to the ferry and walk aboard instead of driving. It will save you lots of time waiting for the boat. The ferry ride takes about 15 minutes each way.
SchlitterbahnThe famous Texas waterpark with several locations around the state has a park in Galveston. Here you can relax on a lazy river, get extreme on tons of different slides, and even surf a standing wave. There are also a number of options for all ages so whether you have a toddler or a teenager, they will find a lot to do at Schlitterbahn Galveston.
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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.
First Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Restarts Operations From Galveston Texas
Independence of the Seas becomes the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to resume operations out of Galveston, Texas.
Just in time for her first cruise, Royal Caribbeans Independence of the Seas received her conditional sailing certificate from the Centers for Disease Control last week. The cruise ship has now started cruising from her home port of Galveston, Texas.
Independence of the Seas became the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to set sail from Galveston since the pause in operations in March of 2020. After starting up an additional 4 ships from Friday to Sunday, Royal Caribbean now has twelve cruise ships in operation worldwide.
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Carnival Vista Is First Ship To Cruise Out Of Galveston Since The Pandemic Shutdown
GALVESTON, Texas Cruising is back! Carnival Vista cruised out of Galveston Saturday at 70 percent capacity and is headed to the Caribbean.
Carnival Vista was the first ship leaving out of Galveston and only the second ship to leave from the U.S. since the pandemic shutdown.
The first cruise ship that left the U.S. last week was a Royal Caribbean cruise ship Celebrity Edge that sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale.
There were only about 1,200 passengers on the ship that normally holds more than double that.
All of the adults onboard were vaccinated, and the children who accompanied them were tested for COVID since vaccines arent required for them.
Travelers had to show proof when checking in.
For those who boarded the ship and those who live on the island and benefit from cruises, the voyage is a symbol of things going back to normal.
Allan Debowsky and his family are on board.
Weve been waiting and waiting. Were so excited, Debowsky said.
For the last 16 months, cruise ships have been docked because of COVID-19.
Every time that we thought about going on vacation, we always thought about a cruise, and we couldnt do that, Patricia Debowsky said.
Avid cruisers like the Debowsky family have been waiting for the chance to be allowed back.
Hes been cruising since he was nine months old, Patricia Debowsky said about her son Zachary. He would rather cruise, out of his words, than go to Disney when he was a kid.
Carnival said UTMB provided vaccines for all of its crew.
Carnival Radiance To Galveston
Carnival Radiance will launch a new schedule of five- to 14-day voyages from the Port of Galveston beginning on May 14, 2021. On this route: Five-day cruises depart Sundays and feature the seaside Mexican ports of Cozumel and Progreso or Costa Maya. Three different nine-day options departing Fridays will be offered one calling at Cozumel, Limon , and a partial Panama Canal transit or a visit to Colon , another featuring Key West, Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau, and a third stopping at Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay , Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel. Two eight-port, 14-day Carnival Journeys cruises visiting top destinations throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America and the Panama Canal will also be offered departing Oct. 24, 2021, and Jan. 16, 2022.
Carnival Radiance will undergo an extensive bow-to-stern $200 million renovation next year that will add all of the lines food, beverage, and entertainment innovations, bringing an exciting new option to the Galveston market.
The extensive 38-day renovation of the ship will add a host of new food and beverage outlets including Guys Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse created by Food Network star Guy Fieri, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, Bonsai Sushi, and Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, and the first Big Chicken restaurant created by Carnivals Chief Fun Officer, Shaquille ONeal.
READ MORE CARNIVAL NEWS:
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Royal Caribbean Cruises In October : What To Expect
Fall is in the air, but Royal Caribbean cruises in October are still taking you to places that are plenty warm.
There are many Royal Caribbean cruise ships in operation in October, with one ship returning to service and a couple resuming service in a new market.
This post will share important information what you should know before going on a cruise in October. This month we see the end of cruising in Alaska for the season, but there is still time to see Europe before that season comes to an end. Meanwhile, Caribbean sailings will start to increase with ships returning to start winter itineraries.
Just like September, October is also one of the best times to get a great price on a cruise. The combination of school in session and the peak of hurricane season makes for some really low rates. In fact, last minute cruise prices are pretty good if you can take advantage of certain October sailings.
Best Cruises From Galveston Texas
On the Gulf Coast of Texas in the USA sits the historic port city of Galveston.
Galveston Port was once a commercial port but now caters mainly to cruises.
From some of the top cruises in the world to more affordable cruises, Galveston has something to offer all lovers of the sea.
Here is our list of the best cruises departing from Galveston, Texas.
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Cruises From Houston Or Galveston: Which Should You Choose
Editors note: As of April 2016, Houston is no longer an active cruise port.
When deciding whether you want to cruise from Houston or Galveston, youll 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? Whats difficult about sailing from each city? If youre trying to decide between cruising from Galveston or cruising from Houston, read on for the key differentiators.
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How Many Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships Are Sailing
At the start of this month, parent company Royal Caribbean Group announced its intention to have at least 80% of its fleet operational by the end of the year. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line is well underway to achieve this goal. So far, no less than 12 ships have resumed operations. These ships include the following:
Besides four Royal Caribbean cruise ships starting this weekend, and Oasis of the Seas are also restarting their operations in the coming weeks. will sail from Port Canaveral, and Oasis of the Seaswill make her long-awaited start on the U.S. East Coast from New Jersey.
Feel free to discuss this topic and all things cruise at our new boards. A place where readers can ask questions, help their fellow cruisers and general cruise discussions on cruise lines and ports.
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Galveston Sets Expansion Course
The future looks bright for Galveston, which will receive the Allure of the Seas and the new Norwegian Prima during 2022 and then Carnivals latest Excel-class ship in 2023, the Carnival Jubilee.
Already, Carnival sails three ships year-round from the Texas port, Royal Caribbean one ship year-round and one seasonally, and Disney one ship seasonally.
The fleet expansion will be facilitated by Royal Caribbeans new $125 million, 150,000-square-foot terminal set to open in November with the arrival of the Allure. Thus, Royal will move its ships from Terminal 2 to the new terminal, freeing up more space for Carnival, which already has exclusive use of Terminal 1.
Norwegian and Disney will also be using Terminal 2.
We might have to build another terminal, Rodger Rees, port director and CEO, told CruiseIndustry News. We have a location in our master plan for a fourth terminal.
Being among the first ports to relaunch service, Rees said that Galveston was a step ahead of most ports, having put together an emergency response group more than 10 years ago from various city and county agencies and services. That in turn meant that the city and port were ready to meet CDC guidelines.
When Carnival brought in its first ship, the Vista, Rees said people lined the waterfront to cheer and welcome the ship back. The Vista started sailing last July 3.
We have a years worth of Fridays open.
Carnival Norwegian Cruise Lines Announce Plans To Sail From Galveston
Cruise lines announce sail dates from Galveston
FOX 26 Consumer Reporter Heather Sullivan has more on when two cruise lines will depart from Galveston.
HOUSTONCarnival Cruise Lines hopes to launch what could be the first cruise from the U.S. since the pandemic started in Galveston on July 3rd. And Norwegian Cruise Lines will start sailing from Galveston next year.
Many vacationers and workers are rejoicing that some cruises and jobs are coming back to the Port of Galveston.
The Port of Galveston confirms Norwegian Cruise Lines will sail from Galveston for the first time ever, in the Fall of 2022, as it debuts its new ship Prima in several major ports.
Norwegian is coming out with what theyre calling the Leonardo Class ship, said Port of Galveston CEO Rodger Rees.
Rees says the 3200-passenger Prima will set sail on a 3-day cruise from Galveston on October 27th, and a 4-day cruise from the port on October 31. And Galveston may see more of Norwegian after that.
We are talking. They are looking to come in here in 2023 with a new ship, I can tell you that. That will be the second Leonardo Class to be delivered, said Rees.
Meantime, Carnival Cruise Lines confirms to FOX26 that it hopes its ship Carnival Vista will launch from Galveston on July 3rd, and Carnival Breeze will sail from Galveston on July 15th.
And he expects more cruise lines to return soon.
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