A Guide to Galveston Cruise Port Terminals
The port of Galveston is a popular destination for cruising lovers.
Even though it is not the largest cruise port, it is a major cruise port in the U.S. that attracts masses every season.
Sitting on approximately 840 acres of land, it is the nation’s largest cruise and cargo port. Currently, the port has three cruise terminals that accommodate more than one million visitors annually.
Its convenience and close access to major southern cities make it an even better place.
Galveston cruise port sits only 45 minutes from the open sea and harbors a rich heritage and history. From here, visitors can access other major cities, including Houston, Austin, and Dallas, among other cities in the southern region.
Visitors get a chance to explore a variety of sights and venues with a whole lot of activities. Designed to accommodate the biggest cruise ships in Texas, visiting it gives you the best views and access to state-of-the-art facilities.
If you love sea adventures, then this is the ideal spot for you.
Given its size and abundance of facilities, there are a few things you must know before getting into the cruise port and terminals. This article gives you an in-depth guide to the cruise port, including the activities you can participate in during your visit. Read on!
Read also: The Best Hotels near Galveston Port
Port of Galveston in Texas
Galveston Cruise Terminals
As mentioned above, Galveston comprises three main terminals. Even though it is among the largest ports, it is more easily navigable. In this section, we explore the three of them.
1. Terminal 25
Formerly known as Terminal 1, this is the eastern terminal, and most visitors identify with it facing the port’s side. At the terminal, you will notice that most vessels are Carnival ships. It is a highly preferred option as it is conveniently located across the street from different parking options. With this, you can easily board and get off the cruise ship anytime.
2. Terminal 28
Terminal 28, previously known as Terminal 2, was home to the Royal Caribbean ships. After moving to the new terminal, Terminal 28 now serves other lines. It is directly opposite the Terminal 25 on the port’s left side. Walking to the terminal is a little farther as compared to Terminal 25. However, some shuttles can drop you at the entrance.
3. Terminal 10
This is the newest Terminal at Galveston Port. With the growing number of visitors and vessels, the port had to make amendments. As mentioned above, it is currently the home of the Royal Caribbean ships and handles some of the largest Oasis-class vessels. It is the farthest of the three terminals and has its parking spots.
Galveston has several cruise terminals and they are:
- Terminal 25
- Terminal 28
- Terminal 10
Getting to Galveston Cruise Port
Sailing from Galveston is pretty convenient. If you live in the area, it is even easier as you can simply drive and park your car at the port. If you will be flying in for your cruise experience, you may need to allocate around 1,5 hours for a ride to the cruise port.
This is because the closest major airport is in Houston. Here are a few ways to get to the port cruise terminals.
This is among the most popular ways for you to get to Galveston. Depending on your location, the distance may range from one to a few hours. It is way more convenient than having to fly in and cruise the same day.
If you have the means, you can drive to the cruise port and park for when you return. It has ample parking space at affordable rates. This gives you peace of mind, knowing you have transportation back after your expeditions.
Cruise line transfers or shuttles
The Galveston Cruise Port is approximately 51 miles from Houston. Considering this long distance, cruise lines have developed shuttle services to provide rides to and from the airport.
Like other shuttle services, they offer shared rides and leave at set times daily. The shared aspect means that the rates will be lower.
Additionally, others offer private car options for enhanced privacy. For instance, if you are traveling with family, it may be easier for you to get on private means so you can make as many stops as you would want to. The only difference is you pay a little more for the privacy and flexibility.
Taxi – Uber/Lyft
Taxi services such as Uber and Lyft are also an option for you to get to the Galveston Cruise Port. While they are often considered the same, taxi cabs are slightly more expensive than Uber and Lyft. The services you get will also be similar as they charge per car and not per person.
When traveling as a larger group or family, this option is cheaper and more comfortable than the shuttle service.
Hotels with Free Shuttle
Your luckiest bet will be staying at a hotel with free shuttle services. Some options you can look into include the The Harbor House Pier 21, Avenue O Bed and Breakfast and The Tremont House.
Most of these options are located on Galveston Island. If you are holidaying here and must get to the cruise port, you can always utilize the free shuttle services.
Private Transportation to Galveston Cruise Port
There are several companies offering private transportation between George Bush Intercontinental Airport or William P. Hobby Airport and the Galveston cruise port. The advantage if you book this service is that you won’t have to wait in a long line of cabs or shared shuttles.
Your driver will wait for you at a scheduled time and you’ll travel comfortably to your destination. These shuttles can be booked to take you to/from a hotel to the terminal and airport.
Check fares for Private Transportation to Cruise Port
Port of Galveston Parking
Parking at the Galveston Cruise Port is relatively easy. As mentioned above, the parking lots are quite affordable and give you easy access.
The port has considered its high traffic and offers ample official parking. Additionally, there are independent lots that you can also utilize during your trip. Here is what you should know concerning the parking.
The Official Port Parking
Nearby all three terminals, the Port has adequate parking. From the parking lot, there will be free shuttle transportation to and from your car.
When writing this, we found that the cheapest rates for parking were $100 for a 7-day cruise and $70 for a 5-day cruise expedition. While this is the base rate, you may pay higher rates for lots closer to the terminals.
The Galveston Cruise Port receives close to a million visitors every year. As such, you must book your slot ahead of time. The newest terminal has a parking lot where you can pay with your preferred means, such as credit cards, cash, or even traveler’s checks.
Independent Parking Lots
With business in the port booming, the surrounding environment has also embraced it, bringing about the rise of independent parking lots. The lots come cheaper and may be closer than the official port’s parking. For this one, you will have to individually navigate each option to know what fits your needs best.
Hotels with Cruise Parking
Being a tourist hotspot, the Galveston Cruise Port has many hotels you can choose from. Each of them has special perks to attract customers, including providing free parking. While some hotels offer cruise parking as part of the package, others will let you leave your car during your cruise expedition. You only have to book with them.
Best Time to Visit and Cruise from Galveston?
The best time to visit and cruise differs from one person to another. While the Port of Galveston is open all year round, various timelines are more ideal than others.
The Cruise Port is a popular destination and a departure point for different cruises. With the wide array of cruisers and voyages here, you will surely get something perfect.
Cruising during the summer months is a popular option as most people take advantage of school vacations. They bring their children and families to enjoy cruises. As such, if you do not love huge crowds, this would not be the best time for you. If you fancy this, booking early ensures you get a great spot.
Additionally, while summer is popular for cruising, most people may be uncomfortable with the hot temperatures. If you prefer cooler cruises, you can avoid the intense summer heat and choose another timeframe. If you travel and cruise during summer, stay hydrated and pack your essentials.
Prices during this time will also be higher as it is peak travel times. If you want to cruise more affordably, consider cruising during late summer or early fall. Evidently, the best time to visit depends on your flexibility, finances, and willingness to explore through the heat and crowds.
Where to Stay Near the Port?
Galveston, as an Island, has a huge variety of places where you can stay during your cruise expedition. While the port is a major tourist attraction, it doesn’t have many hotels in sight. The best thing is that the island is quite small, and you can access hotels minutes away from the port. Here are some areas you can consider.
Downtown the Strand
The Strand is Galveston’s downtown. It is lined with ornate buildings from the 1800s. It has exciting restaurants, art galleries, museums, and shops you can visit. It is less crowded and near the cruise ship docks. While not cruising, you can simply walk around with your loved ones as you explore the food and shop for souvenirs. Some of the hotels you can find here include:
Unlike the Strand, the East End is a little more crowded, with more activities, including restaurants and historical sites. While many Victorian mansions date back to the 1800s, it also has modern business buildings. The streets are quite easy to navigate and give you a good view of the city’s extravagance and charm.
When staying here, you can access Market St and Broadway. Here are the hotels you can stay at in East End.
The Seawall is an actual seawall in Galveston. It was built after the Galveston hurricane in 1900, and claimed over 6,000 people. It was for the protection against future hurricanes. It spans more than 10 miles, and 17 feet high and gives visitors some of the best beaches and restaurants they can explore.
During your stay here, you have a great opportunity to sample cuisines from the restaurants lined out. The beaches here are perfect for running, biking, and walking. Some of the hotels you can stay here include:
Read also: Best Hotels near Port of Galveston
Sights to see
Galveston is a small island in Texas. It is a tourist hotspot that offers many activities depending on your preference. From its rich historical element to the cuisines and beaches, you can surely have fun during your expeditions. Here are the sights to see and things to do at Galveston.
The Moody Gardens are most noticeable when you are coming from Houston. They are visible as three huge pyramids just after the causeway. The Gardens feature a rainforest pyramid aquarium, among other attractions. They are all family-friendly and an ideal place for kids to be.
Downtown Galveston is a rich area with diverse entertainment and leisure options for adults and kids. Commonly known as the Strand, it is the island’s heart and allows you to shop, dine, and get entertainment. The architecture here dates back to the 1800s and gives you a view of the old Victorian houses.
The Pleasure Pier is an amusement park that sits 1000 feet long. While visiting the pier, you experience various foods, souvenir shops, rides, and roller coasters. For a whole day, you get a pass at $30. There is a discount for those under 48 inches for only $23, which caters to children and younger adults. When traveling with your family and fun-loving kids, this is perfect for you to be.
Galveston Island is popular for its beaches. It has over 32 miles of beautiful gulf beaches. Depending on preference, you will find various access spots, some public and others private. You can bike or walk with your loved ones as you enjoy the sunsets. If you book a hotel with a beachfront, you have the best time without interference from vendors.
Galveston is rich in history and culture. It is said that the first inhabitants were the Karankawa Indians in the 16th century. Following its combination of commerce and immigration, it has become one of the fastest-growing cities with an exceptional list of Texas’ firsts. Its historical elements can be seen from its buildings and diverse cuisines.
If you love history and exploration, The Bryan Museum in Galveston is here to help you. It has world-class collections, exhibitions, and educational history for people of all ages. It is a must-visit when you are in Galveston.
(Latest update November 12th 2023)
Please contact us if any information is incorrect or not up-to-date.