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Early Morning at the Beach by Pleasure Pier, Galveston, Texas

Cruise from Galveston, Texas

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Galveston Island is a gem for Texas tourism — and it’s easy to see why. Fascinating history, well-preserved 18th century architecture, gorgeous beaches and thrilling outdoor adventures. Experience all this and cruise out of Galveston with Travel Weekly’s Best Cruise Line Overall 21 years running.

Historic St. Mary's Catholic Church in Fredericksburg. Texas.

Go Bold From Galveston

Unlock the shores of the western Caribbean on our award-winning ships — sailing out of Galveston. From Cozumel to Costa Maya , wander through top-rated, sun-soaked ports. And discover some of the most brag worthy white-sand beaches, exotic jungles and thrilling adventures.

Harmony of the Seas Sailing out of Galveston, Texas


Oasis Class flavors, thrills and beats go full-throttle on the biggest, boldest ship to ever sail from Texas — Harmony of the Seas®. Twist, shout and let it all out down the tallest slide at sea. Over 20 dining venues take you from Italy to Wonderland. And when the sun goes down, head to the AquaTheater or experience the Broadway hit Grease. All while maxing out memories onshore in Mexico and Roatán .


Side View of Mariner of the Seas With Singapore and Caribbean Destinations


Set out on Texas-sized adventures for just a few days onboard Mariner of the Seas®. Hang ten on the FlowRider® surf simulator or race down The Perfect Storm℠ waterslides. And challenge your crew to an epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag faceoff. Max more moments with one-of-a-kind experiences on every deck.


Galveston Shore Excursions

Amazing experiences coming soon., sorry, there are no excursions for this port at this moment., things to do in galveston.

Gulf Beach, Galveston, Texas


Gulf Beach, Galveston, Texas

Unwind along Galveston’s 32 miles of sun-drenched shoreline at one of the many county beach parks lining the Gulf of Mexico. Galveston Island State Park offers quiet seclusion and Stewart Beach is a great family-friendly option, while East Beach is a popular gathering space for livelier beach crowds.

The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier in Galveston, Texas


The Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier in Galveston, Texas

Say hello to the thrills and excitement of the massive amusement park at the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. Galveston cruises give the opportunity to experience all that the pier has to offer. Enjoy the rides before playing all of the classic carnival games — there's even a roller coaster on Pleasure Pier!

Old Strand District, Galveston, Texas


Stroll past well-preserved Victorian-era buildings in the old Strand District during your Galveston cruise. Once called the “Wall Street of the South”, this charming commercial hub, along with the neighboring East End Historic District, is home to mansions-turned-museums, the Grand 1894 Opera House, plus loads of unique shops and cozy cafés.

Gulf Shrimp Plate, Galveston, Texas


Seafood is king on Galveston Island— Gulf shrimp, blue crabs, snapper and grouper come fresh off the boat. But the signature Tex-Mex cuisine equally impresses with sizzling fajitas and tequila-laced margaritas. Old Strand Emporium scoops out ice-cream parlor charm, while La King’s Confectionary is where local candy makers craft saltwater taffy in-house. Don’t miss a drive-through daiquiri stand for a frozen cocktail on-the-go.

Antique Storefront Model Ship, Galveston, Texas

The Strand Historical District is the town’s prime shopping spot, where 19th-century storefronts now house a quirky collection of locally owned gift shops and antique stores. Here you can pick up beachwear, whimsical gifts, model ships, used books, Southwestern turquoise jewelry, and Texas-inspired home décor.

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Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal Port Guide

Located in the heart of Galveston, Texas, the Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal (also called Galveston Cruise Port) on Galveston Island is the gateway to exciting Caribbean cruises and beyond.

Cruises from Galveston are offered year-round and the most frequented ports of call are the Bahamas, Costa Maya or Cozumel in Mexico, Western Caribbean and Central America.

This article will help you to learn more about the Galveston Cruise Port and Terminals plus a handy guide to Galveston to help you make the most of your cruise experience.

Entrance to Galveston Island Pleasure Pier, not far from Galveston Cruise Terminal.

Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal: How to Get There

In This Post...

To reach the Galveston Cruise Terminal, one can utilize several transportation options. If arriving by air, the closest major airport is William P. Hobby Airport in Houston (HOU), approximately 42 miles away.

From there, renting a car or utilizing shuttle services are convenient choices. Additionally, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston is another option, situated about 70 miles from Galveston.

Parking at Galveston Cruise Port

For those driving to the port, the official Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal parking facility offers safe and secure parking options. The cost for parking varies but generally ranges from $15 to $20 per day. You should check the current rates before you arrive for your cruise.

You can also reserve and pre-pay for your parking space at the on-site parking lot and structure. This is probably an excellent idea, especially as more of the really big ships move into Galveston.

The Port of Galveston cruise facility is the only one located on port property.

Norwegian Prima at Great Stirrup Cay.

Hotels in Galveston with Shuttle to Cruise Port

We always suggest that you arrive at least one day before your cruise. After all, this being Galveston, there’s so much to see and do.

Even though many of Galveston’s hotels offer free parking for cruise passengers, not all offer shuttle service.

To make this an easy decision, here are several hotels near the Galveston Cruise Terminal with shuttles to and from the port.

  • Harbor House Hotel & Marina at Pier 21 Location: 28 Pier 21, Galveston, TX 77550 Check with hotel for shuttle reservations.
  • The Tremont House Location: 2300 Ships Mechanic Row, Galveston, TX 77550 Confirm shuttle reservations with hotel.
  • San Luis Resort 5222 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 7755 Check with the hotel regarding shuttle options.
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton 110 Seawall Blvd. Galveston, TX 77550 Always confirm with hotel for shuttle reservations.

Worth a visit, the historic Grand Galves is a huge part of Galveston’s past. Though this beachfront hotel does not offer shuttle service to the port, they do offer 1 1/2 hour ghost tours through this 1911 haunted hotel!

Family-Friendly Activities in Galveston

If you have time either before or after your cruise, add a couple of days to explore Galveston’s family-friendly attractions. Here are some of the top things to see and do.

1. Moody Gardens

Location: 1 Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX 77554

Moody Gardens is a captivating entertainment complex that seamlessly blends education with recreation. The Rainforest Pyramid immerses visitors in a lush and diverse environment, featuring exotic plants, free-roaming wildlife, and even an interactive canopy walk.

The Aquarium Pyramid showcases marine life from the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, with fascinating exhibits and touch tanks. For families, the Discovery Pyramid offers hands-on exhibits exploring science and technology.

Admission prices vary, with combination tickets available for access to multiple attractions.

2. Pleasure Pier

Location: 2501 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550

Stepping onto Pleasure Pier feels like a journey back in time to the golden era of amusement parks.

Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, this historic waterfront attraction boasts a variety of thrilling rides, including a roller coaster that extends over the water, classic carousel, and a towering Ferris wheel.

Families can enjoy classic arcade games, indulge in delicious carnival treats, and take in stunning coastal views. Entry to the pier is free, with individual ride tickets or unlimited ride passes available for purchase.

3. Schlitterbahn Waterpark

Location: 2026 Lockheed St, Galveston, TX 77554

Schlitterbahn Waterpark offers a splashing good time for families seeking aquatic adventures. This expansive waterpark features an array of water attractions, including thrilling water slides, lazy rivers for a leisurely float, and wave pools for added excitement.

With areas designed for various age groups, from toddlers to teens, Schlitterbahn ensures a day filled with family fun. Admission prices vary, with discounts often available for online purchases and group bookings.

4. Galveston Island State Park

Location: 14901 FM3005, Galveston, TX 77554

Nature enthusiasts will find solace at Galveston Island State Park, where the Texas Gulf Coast’s beauty takes center stage. Families can explore hiking trails that wind through coastal landscapes, providing opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observation.

The park’s fishing areas and kayak launches invite outdoor enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. While entry fees apply per vehicle, the experiences offered, including ranger-led programs, make it a worthwhile investment for a day of outdoor enjoyment.

Discover Galveston Island – A Coastal Gem

A brief history:.

Galveston, located on Galveston Island along the Texas Gulf Coast, has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in the early 19th century.

Founded by French pirate and privateer Jean Lafitte, the city quickly grew into a prominent port, earning the nickname “The Wall Street of the South.” Galveston became the principal port for the Republic of Texas and a bustling center for trade, attracting immigrants, businesses, and cultural influences.

One of the most defining moments in Galveston’s history was the devastating Hurricane of 1900, the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. In response, the city constructed the Galveston Seawall and raised the island’s elevation, fortifying it against future storms.

Today, Galveston stands as a testament to resilience, blending its historic charm with modern attractions.

The Strand Historic District

A National Historic Landmark, The Strand is a downtown district featuring Victorian-era architecture, boutiques, galleries, and vibrant nightlife.

Visitors can explore historic buildings, dine at waterfront restaurants, and shop for unique souvenirs.

Galveston Seawall

Stretching for 10 miles along the Gulf of Mexico, the Galveston Seawall is an iconic structure built after the 1900 hurricane. It provides stunning ocean views, a bustling promenade, and a protective barrier against storm surges.

Bishop’s Palace (Gresham House)

Also known as Gresham House, this Victorian mansion is a marvel of architecture. Built in 1892, it features intricate detailing, stained glass windows, and is recognized as one of the country’s most significant Victorian residences.

Galveston Railroad Museum

Housed in the historic Union Depot, the Galveston Railroad Museum showcases the island’s railroading history. Visitors can explore vintage train cars, locomotives, and interactive exhibits.

The Grand 1894 Opera House

A historic performing arts venue, The Grand Opera House has been entertaining audiences since 1894. With its ornate design and impeccable acoustics, it hosts a variety of performances, from Broadway shows to concerts.

Stewart Beach

A family-friendly destination, Stewart Beach offers a wide expanse of sandy shores, lifeguard stations, and amenities like volleyball courts and a pavilion. It’s an ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, and building sandcastles.

Known for its lively atmosphere and frequent events, East Beach is a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike. With live music, festivals, and a vibrant nightlife scene, it’s a dynamic beach experience.

Seawolf Park Beach

Located near the Galveston Ship Channel, Seawolf Park Beach provides scenic views of passing ships and access to fishing piers. The park also features military exhibits, making it a unique blend of history and recreation.

Taking a few days before or after your cruise from the Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal reveals the city’s allure. Not only in its historical significance but also in its diverse attractions, lively beaches, and resilient spirit.

Whether strolling through historic districts, enjoying cultural landmarks, or relaxing by the seaside, visitors are sure to find a delightful mix of past and present in this charming coastal city. And the cruise port is so easy to navigate from parking to terminal to ship!

If you are a U.S. citizen and your cruise begins and ends at the same U.S. port (in this case Galveston) then a U.S. government-issued I.D. and a state-issued birth certificate with a raised seal is acceptable on these “closed-loop” cruises.

Carnival, Disney, MSC (soon), Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean. Currently, there are a total of 13 ships and then 14 when MSC Seascape moves to Galveston year-round.

There are two cruise terminals at the port of Galveston.

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Cruzely.com | Everything Cruising

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 (that title goes to Miami ), cruising from the island seems to get bigger every season. Now with three cruise terminals, more than a million passengers sail from Galveston in a year.

Sign in front of Port of Galveston cruise terminal

One of the big reasons for that popularity? Passengers sailing from Galveston usually don’t 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 three terminals and ample parking facilities, it’s 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 you’re 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: 3 
  • Passengers Carried Each Year: ~1 million
  • Cruise Ship Dockings Each Year: ~300

Port of Galveston Location

Galveston Island sits as a barrier island just off of Texas, attached to the mainland by Interstate 45. If you’re coming from the Houston area, you’ll approach over a short causeway that will bring you just a few miles from the port. Those coming from the east normally take the free ferry between Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula.

The port itself sits on the northern side of the island, protected from the Gulf of Mexico. Its location makes it a convenient spot to set sail as it only takes 30-45 minutes for the ships to get out to the open water.

What’s not convenient is that the port sits at least 45 minutes from the nearest major airport (Houston Hobby). In other words, if you are flying in for your cruise, then you will need to figure out transportation to the ship (we have full details below.)

Given the location, many people choose to drive in for their cruise. If driving into the port, the address is:

2502 Harborside Dr. Galveston, TX 77550

Galveston Cruise Terminals

cruise ports galveston

While ports in Florida may as well be cities they are so large, Galveston in comparison is much smaller and easier to navigate. With the addition of a new terminal that is home to Royal Caribbean, there are now three cruise terminals on the island.

Cruise Terminal 25 (Formerly Terminal 1) Cruise Terminal 25 is the eastern terminal when facing the port. The terminal primarily serves Carnival ships. It’s right across the street from a number of parking options, making it extremely convenient to get to and from the ship on cruise day.

Cruise Terminal 28 (Formerly Terminal 2) Cruise Terminal 28 was the home to Royal Caribbean ships before they moved to the new terminal. Now it serves other lines. It’s on your left as you face the port. If you’re walking to the terminal, it’s a bit farther than Terminal 25, but if you are taking a shuttle, they will drop you off right at the entrance.

Cruise Terminal 10 With the size and growth of the Port of Galveston, it was only a matter of time until another terminal was built to accommodate more ships and passengers. Cruise Terminal 10 (complete guide here) is the new home to Royal Caribbean and has the ability to handle its largest Oasis-class ships. The terminal sits east of the current facilities, costing more than $130 million to build. It is located about a mile from the other two terminals and features its own parking areas. 

Getting to the Port of Galveston (Transportation)

As we’ve mentioned, sailing from Galveston is easy and convenient if you live in the area. You can simply drive and park at the port. If you have to fly in for your cruise, then you’re looking at another 45 to 75-minute ride to get to the cruise port. That’s because the nearest major airports are in Houston.

Not to worry, however. We have all the details on the major modes of transportation on our port transportation page . Below we hit the highlights of the major ways to get to the ships.

Driving to the Port One of the reasons that Galveston is such a popular cruise port is that millions live within a few hours’ drive of the port. That makes it convenient to get to the cruise port and not having to deal with airports or flying. As well, having your car means you can get to the port when you want, leave as soon as you get off the ship, and not have to meet anyone else’s schedule.

One good thing about driving to Galveston is that there is ample parking right near the port that’s affordable. See details in the parking section below.

Cruise Shuttles Given the distance between Houston and Galveston, an industry of shuttles have popped up that provide rides from the airport to the cruise port. Typically these shuttles offer shared rides at affordable rates and leave at set times from both locations. There are also private car options available that can give you a ride for a bit more money, but offer direct service and can even make any stops you’d like.

For cruisers flying in, shuttles pick up and drop off at both airports. You can see the details of your options here . Costs run about $50-75 per person, roundtrip.

Uber/Lyft or Taxi Rideshares and taxis are available at the airports to take you to the port. In general, you can expect Uber/Lyft to be less expensive than taxi cabs. Still, given the distance from the airport, the price can add up. For example, Uber/Lyft will cost you about $50 each way from Houston Hobby and $75 each way from Houston Intercontinental. Cabs run about $105 between Hobby and $180 for Intercontinental.

If traveling with a larger group, then these options can be cheaper as they charge by the car while shuttles charge per person.

Parking at the Port of Galveston

One of the best things about cruising from Galveston is that parking is easy, (relatively) cheap, and convenient. The area around the port offers ample parking, with official Port of Galveston parking lots competing alongside independent lots.

cruise ports galveston

We have full details of all your parking options with complete prices here . Below we cover parking for your cruise in general terms. One tip — always reserve a spot ahead of time as there are discounts at each lot for advance payment.

Official Port Parking The Port of Galveston operates ample parking that’s near the cruise terminals. A shuttle will transport you back and forth from your car and the ship for free. The cheapest rates run about $100 for a 7-day cruise and $70 for a 5-day cruise if you book ahead of time. There are also more expensive lots that are covered and/or closer to the terminal.

With the addition of Terminal 3 — located about a mile from the original terminals –passengers also have official parking options at that port, instead of having to shuttle from Terminals 25 & 28. The port accepts cash, traveler’s checks and credit cards. 

Independent Parking Lots As the Port of Galveston has boomed in popularity, nearly a dozen independent parking lots have sprouted up all around the port facility. These lots typically offer cheaper rates than the official port parking, while sometimes being even closer than the port’s parking. There are also a number of options for covered parking. See a list of independent lots here .

Hotels with Cruise Parking As a tourist destination, Galveston offers a lot of hotels for visitors to choose. In the competition for business, these hotels look to provide guests with perks to attract those about to take a cruise.

One popular perk is free parking for the length of your cruise in return for a one-night stay. Some offer cruise parking as part of a package, others just let you leave your car while you cruise. Click here for a full list of hotels with cruise parking .

Dropping Off/ Picking Up Passengers

Are you dropping off or picking up family or friends? The good news is that it’s fairly simple to drop people off in Galveston. Meanwhile, providing a ride to the port saves a lot of money in paying for a shuttle or having to park during the cruise.

Galveston cruise passenger drop off

To drop off passengers or pick up, head into the port entrance at the intersection of 22nd Street and Harborside Drive. From there, it’s as simple as following the signs to the correct area for passengers to get out.

When it’s time to pick up people at the end of the cruise, you follow the same route for picking up. One thing to know is that it can get busy on cruise day, with lots of pedestrians. If you want to avoid this, you can plan to drop off a couple of blocks from the port. Here it is much calmer and still only a short walk to the cruise terminals.

Map of where to drop off passengers

Those wanting to drop-off at Cruise Terminal 10 will find signs and lanes for drop-off at that pier itself (don’t drop off at Terminals 25/28). More details about dropping off at this new terminal can be found here .

Security & Check-In

Compared to airports, checking-in and security on a cruise ship is a dream.

For example, instead of the familiar blue-shirted TSA officers, security is done through private companies. You don’t have to take off your shoes or belt, you aren’t restricted to only three ounces of liquids, and you don’t have to take electronics out of your bag.

As you approach the terminal, you’ll see lots of porters ready to assist you with your bags. If you wish to check any luggage, you can leave it with the porters, and it will be delivered to your stateroom later in the evening.

From there, you enter the terminal and check your boarding documents with the cruise staff. Once they ensure you’re in the right spot, you’ll head through security. Here, you place your bags on an x-ray machine and you will walk through a metal detector. Assuming everything checks out, you’ll then head to the check-in station.

We all know that waiting in line to check-in for a flight is mind-numbing. On a cruise, it takes just a couple of minutes. You’ll see dozens of check-in agents working with passengers. Once you are called for your turn, you’ll set up your onboard spending account, get your room keycard and then board the ship.

In total, the security and check-in process shouldn’t take more than about 15-20 minutes. Then you’re ready to start your vacation.


cruise ports galveston

If you think people are excited to get on the cruise ship, then wait until the ship gets back home. Despite having a great time on the cruise, people are ready to get off the ship. 

The debarkation process actually starts the night before your cruise ends. At that time you will set any large bags you don’t want to carry with you off the ship in the hallway outside your cabin. The crew will pick the bags and they will be transported to the terminal for you to pick up after debarking the ship.

Many people instead choose to carry all their luggage with them as they get off the ship. The advantage is that those carrying all their bags are allowed to debark first. Unfortunately, so many people choose this option that it can cause long lines and still take considerable time to exit.

Once off the ship, you’ll make your way through the terminal and pick up any luggage you set outside your cabin. You’ll then go through customs and immigration to legally enter back into the United States.

One thing to note is that Galveston has moved to facial recognition, meaning you simply take a photo that’s verified instead of having to meet with an agent (if you have a passport). This makes the process of getting off the ship much faster . In some cases, we’ve debarked and barely had to stop before making our way out the terminal.

After immigration, there is one last spot to visit that’s unique to Galveston. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) collects fees for the alcohol and tobacco that you bring back into the country. If bringing these items, you’ll need to stop and pay the duty to TABC to legally bring your items back home.

Hotels Near the Port of Galveston

cruise ports galveston

The bad news? There aren’t a ton of hotels right at the port (but there are a few). The good news? Galveston isn’t 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 the Grand 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 you’re 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 of the water.

There are also hotels on the mainland, just 15-20 minutes from the island. While these don’t 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

  • Courtyard Galveston Island
  • Baymont by Wyndham
  • Comfort Suites Galveston
  • The Villa Bed & Breakfast
  • Grand Galvez

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 you’re driving into the port and plan to stay the night, it’s hard to beat this deal. Click here to see our list of Galveston hotels with cruise parking .

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 isn’t that large (pop. ~50,000) and has a lot to do within just a few minutes of the cruise ship.

cruise ports galveston

Pleasure Pier Jutting 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 you’ll find food, shops, rides, and even a roller coaster. Tickets cost about $30 for an all-day pass ($23 for those under 48 inches tall). It’s a great way to spend the day (or evening) if you are traveling with a family.

Galveston to Bolivar Ferry While there is only one main road on/off Galveston (Interstate 45), there is a free ferry that runs back and forth between the Bolivar Peninsula and the island. It’s a fun thing to do as the ride takes only about 15 minutes and gives great views of the bay.

The ferry runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but the line can be backed up during the busy summer months. If you’d 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. 

Schlitterbahn The 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 .

Moody Gardens If coming in from Houston, you’ll see three large pyramids on Galveston as you cross the causeway. This is Moody Gardens. It features a rainforest pyramid and aquarium, as well as other attractions that are all family friendly. It’s one of the major attractions on the island and a must-see if you have kids. ( Read our review of Moody Gardens here .)

Frequently Asked Questions

What Time Should I Schedule My Flight Home? We suggest people don’t schedule a flight before noon if flying from Houston Hobby and 1 p.m. if flying from Bush-Intercontinental. Cruise ships arrive early (around 6-7 a.m.), but it can take 2-3 hours for everyone to get off the ship. Then there is the time to get to the airport, going through security, etc. Leaving plenty of time before your flight will help you from feeling rushed to get to the airport.

For instance, we recently sailed from Galveston and foggy weather made us arrive late (9 a.m.) to the port. Then it took another hour before people started to get off the ship. We weren’t out of the terminal until close to 11 a.m.

Are There Cruise Parking Discounts? Yes, there are some discounts we’ve heard about and detailed here .

One thing we know is the EZ Cruise Parking offers a sharp discount of $15 off of a week’s cruise parking if you choose to park and walk to the cruise port. Because of access fees that the Port of Galveston charges parking lots to drop off passengers, the parking lots save money if they don’t have to provide shuttle service, and can pass the savings on to you.

What’s the Cheapest Way to Get to the Port? If you need a ride to the cruise port, then we suggest Uber/Lyft or an independent shuttle for most people (not the shuttles operated by the cruise line). Cruise shuttles offer roundtrip rides between the airports and the cruise terminal for as little as $50 per person. You can read more and get all the details on our Galveston port transportation page .

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I will be dropping my friends at Terminal 28. What is the best street to take to get direct access to the drop-off area?

The entrance is at 23rd and Harborside. Follow signage to Terminal 28 (which is now renamed Terminal 2).

Help- can anyone tell me if I can walk from a nearby hotel in Galveston (1 mile away) directly onto Terminal 10 Royal Caribbean port? Besides the heat and walking a mile (I can do it), are pedestrians allowed to walk to the port and onto the port property? Thank you in advance for any answers!

Sure, you can do that.

We will be doing back to back cruises on both Royal Caribbean Harmony and Princess Regal. What’s the best way to get from Terminal 10 to Terminal 28 for our second cruise? We’re not interested in walking since we will have 2 suitcases. Is there a shuttle of some kind, and is Uber/Lyft interested in such a short trip?

Oh, that’s a tough one. Uber/Lyft will get you there, although it can feel strange taking such a short ride. What you might do since you won’t be able to board right when you get off the first ship is take an Uber/Lyft/taxi to somewhere else on the island (lunch, Seawall, etc.) and then take another when you are ready to board.

Can I do a walkon and buy a ticket in the terminal same day as the cruise or the day before?

No, that’s not possible.


Let me know when you update with current info for new Royal terminal parking and that the trolley car will have a extension there also.

I live here and this Guide is pretty comprehensive. But you left out my favorite area that many cruisers love. The Strand Area. We have met many people who are going on a cruise or just came off of one. We have been coming to the Strand since the 1970s. Lots of history and architecture and nice shops.

Absolutely. (I was raised in the area too.) I should mention that and tell people to look for the Hurricane Ike waterline markers.

Will you be bringing the Wedding packages back?

YOU DIDN’T INCLUDE A LIST WITH CONTACT INFO FOR THE PARKING LOTS NEAR THE TERMINAL!!!!! Makes the entire article worthless don’t ya think?!

There is a link included to our parking page with full details:


What Avis car rentals are close to Port and is Uber available from that point to Port.

Looks like the closest Avis is in La Marque, about 25 minutes away. You can get an Uber from there to the cruise port.

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cruise ports galveston

Cruise Lines From Galveston, TX

The following cruise lines offer departures from the Port of Galveston.

Just offshore from Galveston, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea becomes your playground. Visit exotic, sun-soaked destinations such as Mexico, Belize, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, the Bahamas, and the Honduran island of Roatan.

aerial of a cruise ship docked at the Port of Galveston

  • Royal Caribbean

MSC Cruises

Cruising from galveston.

The following cruise lines offer departures from the Port of Galveston:

  • Carnival Cruise Lines

Royal Caribbean International

Disney cruise line.

  • Princess Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines


Carnival Cruise Line

Set sail from a historic jewel along the Gulf of Mexico on Carnival cruises out of Galveston, Texas. Carnival Cruise Line is “The World’s Most Popular Cruise Line©” with several ships operating voyages to the Caribbean and beyond!

aerial view of the Carnival Breeze cruise ship

Sails To: Western Caribbean Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 2 - 5 Days

Image courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

carnival dream, a carnival cruise ship, sails in the ocean on a partly cloudy day

Sails To: Western Caribbean, Eastern Caribbean, Panama Canal Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 6 - 9 Days, 10+ Days

Carnival Jubilee, a Carnival cruise ship

Sails To: Western Caribbean, Transatlantic to Galveston (One-Way) Sails From: Galveston, TX; London (Southampton), England Duration: 6 - 9 Days, 10+ Days

cruise ports galveston

Sails To: Western Caribbean Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 4 - 8 Days

cruise ports galveston

Sails To: Western Caribbean Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 4 - 13 Days

Come ready and raring for Texas-sized Gulf Coast adventure with cruises to Mexico and the Western Caribbean with a Royal Caribbean cruise from Galveston Island.

cruise ports galveston

Sails To: Western Caribbean, Mexico Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 6 - 8 Days Image courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

cruise ports galveston

Sails To: Western Caribbean Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 9 - 10 Days

Image courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

cruise ports galveston

Sails To: Western Caribbean, Mexico Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 4 - 7 Days

cruise ports galveston

Sails To: Western Caribbean, Mexico Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 4 - 6 Days

new royal caribbean cruise terminal in Galveston

Everything’s bigger in Texas, and the biggest, boldest adventure has arrived in Galveston. Royal Caribbean International’s new $125 million cruise terminal in Galveston, Texas, opened its doors and welcomed the Lone Star State’s largest cruise ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is back to commence cruises from Galveston, Texas! NCL Cruises in Galveston will travel to beautiful ports such as Costa Maya, Roatán, Cozumel and more!

norwegian cruise ship, the norwegian prima

Sails To: Western Caribbean Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 7 Days

cruise ports galveston

Sails To: Western Caribbean & Beyond Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 7 & 14 Days

cruise ports galveston

Sails To: Western Caribbean & Beyond Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 7 Days

Princess Cruises

Discover a world of relaxation and exhilaration as you sail toward new adventures on a stylish retreat with Princess Cruises.

the ruby princess cruise ship by princess cruises sails by large hills

Sails To: Western Caribbean Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 5 - 16 Days

Disney Cruises bring every child’s imagination to life and provide an opportunity for the entire family to reconnect and unplug from the chaos of everyday life. Highlights include kids’ pools, Broadway-caliber musicals, a Marvel Superhero Academy, and a range of eating options.

cruise ports galveston

Sails To: Western Caribbean Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 4 - 7 Days

Texas-sized discoveries await. Starting November 2025, MSC Cruises will call Galveston home when MSC Seascape begins year-round sailings to the Western Caribbean. Get ready to discover new horizons on one of our newest ships as you enjoy award-winning entertainment, world-class dining, and thrilling experiences like Robotron, the only robocoaster at sea.

cruise ports galveston

Sails To: Caribbean & Bahamas Sails From: Galveston, TX Duration: 7 Nights

cruise ports galveston

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Port of Galveston Cruise Guide: Everything You Need to Know Pre-Cruise

J. Souza

Going on a cruise out of Galveston, Texas?  Here is everything you need to know before you pack the bags and leave the house.

The fast-growing cruise port is in the perfect location for residents of Houston and the surrounding area for getaways along the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.

Allure of the Seas cruise ship in port at Galveston Texas showing city in background

If you’re going to be one of the many cruise passengers who will sail out of Galveston this year, this guide is for you. The Port of Galveston is a bustling hub of activity for cruise passengers, offering easy access to a variety of popular destinations across the Caribbean and beyond.

If you’re planning a cruise from Galveston, it’s important to know all about the port’s terminals and parking options , as well as the nearest airports and transportation options.

Additionally, there are plenty of exciting activities, restaurants, and hotels near the port that you won’t want to miss.

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at all of these important factors to help ensure that you have a smooth and enjoyable experience before and after your cruise.

A Little History About the Port

Established in 1825, the Port of Galveston has been a thriving maritime commercial center for nearly 200 years. What started as a humble Mexican trading post has since become a Texan-sized center of commerce.

Boasting 840-acres of infrastructure and just a 45-minute sail from the open seas, the Port of Galveston has grown to the fourth largest American cruise port, with over one million passengers passing through annually.

The Port of Galveston sits just off the coast of Texas at the entrance to Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel on Galveston Island. The Port of Galveston has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s when it served as a major trading hub for cotton and other goods.

In the 1960s, the port began to see the potential for growth in the cruise industry and started to invest in infrastructure to accommodate cruise ships.

A Royal Caribbean cruise terminal at Port of Galveston

Galveston Cruise Terminals

Today, the Port of Galveston is one of the busiest cruise ports in the United States, with over 1.5 million passengers sailing from here each year. The port has continued to invest in infrastructure to keep up with the growing demand for cruises, including the addition of new terminals and parking facilities.

As a result, Galveston has become a popular departure point for many major cruise lines, offering convenient access to destinations across the Caribbean and beyond.

While it has grown exponentially in recent years, compared to other major cruise ports, the Port of Galveston is much smaller and easier to navigate.

It services five cruise lines out of three terminals , the newest of which was completed in 2022. More specific information about each terminal can be found below:

Terminal 25

2502 Harborside Drive

Galveston, Texas 77550

Terminal 25 was formerly Terminal 1. It hosts both Carnival and Princess Cruise Lines and is the easternmost terminal. There are a number of parking options directly across the street, making it convenient to get to on the day of your cruise’s arrival and departure.

Terminal 28

2702 Harborside Drive

Neighboring Terminal 25, Terminal 28 was formerly Terminal 2. The previous home of Royal Caribbean, it now hosts both Disney and Norwegian Cruise Lines. As you face the port, Terminal 28 will be on your left. It is a slightly farther walk from parking options than Terminal 25 is, but is still convenient to get to (especially if you are taking a taxi or shuttle).

Terminal 10

1152 Royal Caribbean Way

Terminal 10 is the newest port, so the roads are newly renamed. If your preferred navigation system does not recognize 1152 Royal Caribbean Way , you can try the old address: 1028 Harborside Drive .

Terminal 10 exclusively hosts Royal Caribbean Cruises. This is the largest of the terminals. Sitting about a mile east of Terminals 25 and 28, Terminal 10 has its own parking areas.

Royal Caribbean's terminal at Port of Galveston

The Port of Galveston’s three cruise terminals are some of the most advanced and well-equipped cruise facilities in the world.

These terminals offer a range of amenities and services designed to ensure a seamless embarking and disembarking experience for passengers, including spacious waiting areas, modern check-in facilities, and easy access to nearby parking options.

Port of Galveston Parking

parking terminal at Port of Galveston

Most of the people boarding cruises at the Port of Galveston drive themselves there, as Galveston is only a short drive from many of Texas’ major cities. If you can drive yourself, this is a great option because parking at the port is easy and affordable.

The port itself offers official parking, there are independent parking lots nearby, and some local hotels offer cruise parking. Regardless of which option you choose, we recommend that you book a spot early so that you can save money with advance-payment discounts.

Official Port of Galveston Parking

The port offers parking at all three terminals; this is clearly marked with blue banners that say ‘ Port of Galveston Cruise Parking. ’

There are shuttles to take you to and from the official parking lots for Terminal 25 and Terminal 28, which are Lot A (160 33 rd Street) and Lot B (224 33 rd Street). There is also an Express Lot at 2702 Harborside Drive that is within walking distance of Terminals 25 and 28.

Terminal 10 offers several parking options including the North Lot (1142 Royal Caribbean Way), the South Lot (1201 Royal Caribbean Way), and the Pier 14 Lot (1390 Royal Caribbean Way).

The North Lot is directly next to the terminal, and spots can be booked there for a premium price. The South and Pier 14 Lots are a bit further away but offer guests a free shuttle service to and from the terminal.

Rates run from about $70 for a five-day cruise and $100 for a seven-day cruise if you book in advance. The port’s official parking lots accept all major credit cards (including American Express) but do not accept cash.

Read more: Port of Galveston parking guide and tips

Independent Parking Lots

There are nearly a dozen independent parking lots surrounding the port facility that offer parking at cheaper rates than the official port parking and are sometimes even closer to your ship than the port’s parking lot. These lots also offer options for covered parking.

Prices start as low as $65 for a five-day cruise and $70 for a seven-day cruise. The methods of payment accepted vary by independent company.

Hotels that Offer Cruise Parking

Many hotels in the Galveston area will offer free parking for the length of your cruise in return for a one-night stay, either as part of a package or as a courtesy consideration for hotel guests. The hotels that currently offer this are:

  • The Hilton Galveston Island Resort
  • Inn at the Waterpark
  • Beachcomber Inn
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites Galveston

Port of Galveston cruise port with Allure of the Seas docked by Royal Caribbean's terminal

What’s the cheapest way to park at the Port of Galveston?

If you’re not planning on spending the night at a nearby hotel, the most affordable parking option at the port is the port’s surface lot located at 33rd Street and Harborside Drive.

This parking lot is about a 10-minute walk from the cruise terminals and charges a flat rate of $10 per day for standard vehicles and $20 per day for oversized vehicles.

Another low-cost option is the Port of Galveston’s satellite parking lot, located off-site at 3212 Harborside Drive. This lot offers a complimentary shuttle service to and from the cruise terminals and charges a daily rate of $7 per vehicle.

However, it’s important to note that availability for these cheaper options can be limited, so it’s best to book in advance or arrive early to secure a spot.

Regardless of where you choose to park, drivers should drop off passengers and luggage before heading to the parking lot to reduce difficulty when boarding your ship.

Porters will be available at each terminal to assist with baggage on embarkation day.

Houston Airports (including transportation)

The closest major city to the Port of Galveston is Houston, which is about 50 miles northwest of the port, so if you must fly to Texas to board your trip, set your sights on a Houston-based airport.

Houston has two main airports, William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), both of which host domestic and international flights. Houston Hobby is generally more conveniently positioned, only 45 miles (about 50 minutes) from the port.

Hobby serves as Southwest Airlines’ operating base, so almost all flight traffic out of HOU is operated by the Texan airline. Southwest provides nonstop flights to over 60 destinations, including a smattering of international airports.

The only other flights are hosted by American Airlines and Delta who have a daily flight to their hubs in Dallas and Atlanta, respectively.

Bush-Intercontinental has a superior flight network but is further outside the city and is situated 70 miles (about 75 minutes) from the Port of Galveston. IAH is United Airlines’ second largest hub and offers nonstop travel to over 185 destinations across 28 airlines.

There are many ways to get to the Port of Galveston from both Houston-area airports, including cruise shuttles, rideshare services/taxis, and public transit.

Cruise Shuttles

Both airports are home to cruise-specific shuttle services that provide round-trip services from Houston to the Port of Galveston. These shuttles leave on a set schedule, with many providers offering several daily departure times seven days a week.

Airport to terminal shuttles can be pre-arranged through your cruise line if you arrive the same day that your cruise departs. Be sure to check each respective shuttle provider’s schedule to ensure that the timing fits nicely with your flight arrival and ship boarding times. You don’t want to be stuck at the airport without a ride!

Costs for these shuttles range from $50-75 per person, but discounts are available through many providers for senior citizens and children.

Rideshare Services and Taxis

Both airports host rideshares and taxis that can take you to the Port of Galveston. These are available to book upon arrival to the airport, so you do not have to worry so much about timing.

Generally, rideshares will run a bit cheaper than traditional cabs—an Uber/Lyft will cost about $80-100 while taxis will cost about $100-150 from each airport. Rideshares also now offer the option to book in advance, so you can lower the cost of your ride by booking it once you land in Texas.

However, if you are traveling with a larger group (whose luggage fits in a standard car!), this option might work out to be more cost-effective than a shuttle.

Public Transit

There is limited public transit options between Houston and Galveston. Amtrak has a bus available, but tickets can only be booked in conjunction with a train ticket for around $90 per person.

Service departs from the Houston Station and the drop-off in Galveston is the Moody Railroad Museum (on 25 th and Strand). This would then require booking a taxi or rideshare service to get to the port.

Your most cost-effective public transport option is the Galveston Express, which offers an affordable public shuttle service from both airports to the Port of Galveston starting from $30 per person. It is recommended to book this in advance.

What’s the cheapest way to get to the Port of Galveston from the airport?

The cheapest way to get to the port depends on how many people you are traveling with. If there are enough people to make splitting a rideshare service worth it (i.e., less than the cost of individual shuttle tickets), then that is your best bet.

Otherwise, the shuttles provide an affordable and easy way to get to your ship.

Things to Do Near the Cruise Terminal

Galveston, Texas is a vibrant coastal city that offers a variety of fun and interesting activities to enjoy before setting sail on a cruise. Visitors can explore the city’s rich history by visiting museums, historic sites, and beautiful Victorian architecture.

There are also miles of beaches to enjoy, along with water sports and other outdoor activities. For those looking for something a bit more laid-back, there are plenty of great restaurants, bars, and shops to explore. No matter what your interests may be, Galveston has something for everyone.

Featuring an indoor rainforest, an aquarium, and educational exhibits, Moody Gardens dots the skyline of Galveston with its towering pyramids. Moody Gardens is less than 20 from the cruise port and is certainly worth the drive for families with children. One of Galveston’s top attractions, Moody Gardens even has a small water park, freshwater lagoons, ziplines, and a golf course.

  Galveston Island’s Historic Pleasure Pier is a 1,000-foot-long amusement park that sits over the sea about a six-minute drive from the Port of Galveston. For $30 per person, you can get all-access all-day to this recently renovated nexus of fun, offering food, shops, carnival games, and 15 rides (including a roller coaster!).

If you’re itching for an educational twist on your pre-cruise recreation, Galveston has plenty of historical offerings. Bishop’s Palace is an ornate 19 th century home that sits six minutes from the port by car. Moody Mansion is another historic building in Galveston, located three minutes from the port by car (or a 15-minute walk). Public entry to both is offered daily from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. for $15 per person per house (children ages 5 and under can tour for free).

Galveston is also home to the 1877 Tall Ship Elissa , a 19 th century ship that was designated a historical landmark in 1990. Elissa is featured as a part of the Galveston Historic Seaport, which is a three-minute drive from the cruise port. The ship can be toured from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. for $10 per person.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of beaches and parks to explore, including Stewart Beach (named one of the “10 Best Beaches for Families”) and the Galveston Island State Park ( great for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and swimming).

Families can take a walking tour of the city’s historic downtown area, The Strand , which is home to beautiful Victorian architecture, museums, and unique shops. The Strand is also the center of Galveston’s seasonal celebrations, including Mardis Gras and the annual ‘Dickens on the Strand’ festival. With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find a valuable way to spend time before embarking on your cruise.

Restaurants near the Cruise Port

Galveston’s Historic Strand District features restaurants, bars, and shops in buildings from the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries. Here you can find mingle with locals as you admire distinct architecture and enjoy great eats. The Strand District is within walking distance of Terminals 25 and 28, but if you are at Terminal 10, you will want to take a rideshare or taxi to reach this area.

  • Stuttgarden Tavern : One of the most popular restaurants along The Strand is Stuttgarden Tavern , a three-floor restaurant with a beer hall and rooftop bar with live music. The Tavern offers pool and dart games to play alongside pub food and draft beer.
  • Yaga’s Café : Also located along The Strand, Yaga’s Café is known for its artisan pizzas, such as coconut shrimp pizza, and its plethora of vegan options. Opt for outdoor seating where you can enjoy your food on one of Galveston’s biggest patios and enjoy live music from local groups.
  • La King’s Confectionary : For dessert, you can visit La King’s Confectionary, an old-fashioned candy shop that has been in business for nearly a century. La King’s is known for its thick shakes and malts, as well as its homemade ice cream and saltwater taffy.

Other restaurants and shops to purchase last-minute items (like sunscreen!) can be found in the hotel district, which runs along the Galveston Seawall. This area is home to chain and independent restaurants as well as grocery stores.

The Seawall is generally a seven-to-ten-minute drive from the Port of Galveston, so you will need to take a taxi or rideshare if you plan to visit this area.

Hotels near the Cruise Port

Galveston Island has a wide variety of places to spend the night, from historic hotels to modern chains and resorts. Most hotels in Galveston are along the Seawall, about seven minutes from the port, offering affordable stays with beautiful views of the ocean. However, there are some hotels closer to the port that can provide a unique pre-cruise experience.

  • Tremont House Hotel : The closest and highest rated hotel within walking distance of the Port of Galveston is the Tremont House Hotel. Situated in The Strand District, this hotel offers a rooftop bar, a café, and easy transportation around the island and to/from Houston area airports.
  • Harbor House Hotel : Found in Galveston Wharf overlooking Galveston Bay, the Harbor House Hotel offers guests gorgeous views only a four-minute drive from the port and two blocks from The Strand District.
  • The Grand Galvez : Located along the Seawall, the Grand Galvez is the only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast, dating back to 1911. This elegant hotel boasts luxurious amenities such as a full-service spa, outdoor pool, and on-site restaurant. The Grand Galvez is about an eight-minute drive from the Port of Galveston and a five-minute drive from The Historic Strand District.
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites : For travelers on a budget, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Galveston Beach is a great choice, offering comfortable rooms and a complimentary breakfast. This option is seven minutes from both the port and The Strand.

To save money (but miss out on beachfront views), there are also mainland hotels between Houston and Galveston that are only a short drive from the island. These might be a good option for travelers coming from Houston, as they are affordable and dotted along the route to the island.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the Port of Galveston offers a fantastic experience for cruise passengers, with a range of convenient parking options, proximity to nearby Houston-area airports, a wealth of activities to enjoy before setting sail, and comfortable pre-cruise accommodations.

From exploring the city’s rich history to soaking up the sun on the beaches, Galveston offers something for everyone.

Learn the cruise secrets most people don't know and cruise like a boss. Check out Intelligent Cruiser here for a better cruise vacation. (Sponsored)

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Great information. Only quibble would be, of the 3 terminals, the Royal Caribbean terminal is the furthest east by a good distance.

Good call out, Keith. The Royal Caribbean terminal at Terminal 10 is about a mile from the other terminals along Harborside Drive.

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Port of Galveston, Texas

Last updated on February 9th, 2024 at 01:17 pm

Depart from the coastal gem of Galveston, Texas, and experience a blend of Texas charm and beachside relaxation. Delight in the city's historic architecture, beautiful beaches, and lively entertainment district before setting sail to exciting destinations aboard your cruise ship.

2502 & 2702 Harborside Dr , Galveston , Texas, 77550 ,

The Port of Galveston is located on Harborside Drive, at 22nd street. With plenty of parking options and nearby access to several hotels, restaurants and local attractions, the port is a great takeoff spot for a wide array of local and international ...

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Hotel day pass galveston/houston.

Looking for something to do between your cruise and your flight? Enjoy the amenities of a luxury hotel with a day pass from ResortPass. Choose from hotels in Galveston or Houston like the Four Seasons or Hyatt Regency. ...

Duration : Day Pass

NASA's Space Center and Houston Sightseeing Tour

See the best of Houston with this sightseeing and NASA's Space Center combo tour. On the city tour, you'll see the best sights of Houston, then stop for a self-guided tour of Houston Space Center where you'll see Mission Control and Apollo 17, plus much more....

Duration : 6 Hours

Activity : Medium

Wheelchair Accessibility : Inquire

Tour Includes: 90 minute tram tour of Johnson Space Center

Houston CityPass

Explore Houston before and after your cruise with the Houston CityPass which gives you admission to Space Center Houston, Downtown Aquarium, Museum of Natural Science, and choice of Houston Zoo, or Museum of Fine Arts, and choice of the Children's Museum or Kemah Boardwalk. Pass is good for 9 days....

Duration : Flexible

Activity : Varies

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Galveston cruise port

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  • Coordinates 29.316, -94.779
  • Local Time 2024-05-27 01:49

Galveston cruise ship schedule

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Galveston, TX

cruise ports galveston

  • Carnival Breeze
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* Coming Soon

cruise ports galveston

Set sail from a historic jewel in the Gulf of Mexico on Carnival cruises out of Galveston, Texas. Perched on the Gulf Coast, Galveston was a major commercial port in the late 1800s and has the restored architecture and proud history to show for it. Galveston’s long seawall stretches from beach to beach and offers gulf views the whole way. Sprinkle in a few museums, amusement parks, attractive beaches and tasty seafood restaurants, and you’ve got a great start to your cruise from Galveston.

  • Shop for antiques in the historic Strand District, near where Carnival cruises from Galveston dock.
  • Hear the sounds of a Central American rainforest at the gardens.
  • Treat yourself to spa day at a historical hotel.
  • Bike the length of the mural-adorned Seawall.

See it all from Galveston.

* Taxes, fees, and port expenses are additional per person.

Galveston Caribbean

Cruises from Galveston, Texas: Gateway to Caribbean Adventures

Discover the best times to cruise from Galveston in 2024 with our month-by-month weather guide. Plan your ideal Western Caribbean voyage with ease.

Galveston Port

Texas’ Premier Gateway to Caribbean Cruises

Port of Galveston parking

Galveston Cruise Terminals

Gateways to the Sea

The Port of Galveston is a popular cruise destination, with over 2 million passengers boarding cruises each year. The port of Galveston offers a variety of itineraries, including cruises to the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Bahamas.

Facilities and Activities at Galveston Cruise Terminals

Galveston has two cruise terminals, which are both located on the Port of Galveston. Both terminals offer a variety of amenities, including check-in desks, baggage handling, and security screening. They also have a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as a number of bars and lounges. These include comfortable waiting areas, efficient check-in counters, and various retail and dining options. Before boarding, passengers can explore the terminal areas, which often host local entertainment and showcase regional art, providing a taste of Texan hospitality and culture.

Cruise Terminal 25

Cruise Terminal 25 is the largest of the three terminals and is used by a variety of cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Line. It is the main cruise terminal in Galveston and handles the majority of cruise traffic. The terminal is equipped with a variety of amenities, including check-in desks, baggage handling, and security screening. It also has a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as a number of bars and lounges. Terminal 25 is located at 2502 Harborside Dr., Galveston, TX 77550.

Cruise Terminal 28

Some smaller cruise lines, such as Carnival’s smaller ships, use Cruise Terminal 28, which is a smaller terminal. The terminal is not as large or as well-equipped as Cruise Terminal 25, but it still offers the basic amenities that passengers need. Terminal 28 is located at 2502 Harborside Dr., Galveston, TX 77550.

Terminal 10

Royal Caribbean International uses Terminal 10 in Galveston, which is the newest cruise terminal, for its Oasis-class ships. The terminal is designed to be energy-efficient and uses solar panels, bike racks, and electric vehicle charging stations. It also offers a number of amenities for passengers, including mobile check-in, facial recognition, and separate entrances for VIPs. Terminal 10 is located at 1028 Harborside Dr., Galveston, TX 77550.

Renowned Cruise Lines and Ships

These terminals serve as the embarkation point for prestigious cruise lines such as Carnival Cruise Line , Royal Caribbean , Disney Cruise Line , Princess Cruises , and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) . The three cruise terminals in Galveston provide passengers with a variety of options and amenities. Whether you are looking for a large, modern terminal or a smaller, more intimate experience, you can find it in Galveston.

Parking Options at Galveston Port

For those driving to the port, numerous parking options are available, offering convenience and security. The port provides both on-site and off-site parking facilities , with shuttle services to the terminals. Pre-booking parking online is advisable, ensuring not only a reserved spot but also access to the best rates. These parking services are tailored to accommodate the needs of cruise passengers, from short-term to long-term stays.

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Cruises from Galveston

An island full of art, architecture, and boutiques.

Princess® returns to Galveston, sailing once again from this city tucked within a quaint Gulf Coast barrier island. Explore the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier and grab some local cuisine, or visit Moody Gardens with attractions and entertainment ranging from a world-class aquarium and a living rainforest to the Discovery Museum and Colonel Paddlewheel Boat, before you embark on a cruise to exciting destinations in the Western Caribbean and Mexico such as Costa Maya, Cozumel and Roatan.

Caribbean cruises

On a cruise from Galveston to the Western Caribbean, explore the beauty of unspoiled coral reefs and underwater caves as well as visit the ancient Mayan ruins throughout the region. One moment you can be walking among the vast ruins of this mighty civilization and the next delving into the culture of the Yucatán Peninsula or simply unwinding on beaches that offer some of the best snorkeling in the world.

What to Know About Cruises from Galveston

Known for its history, beaches and outdoor adventures, Galveston is truly a gem in Texas. Here’s everything you need to know about your cruise from Galveston. 

Galveston at a glance

  • Language:  English
  • Currency:  U.S. Dollar (USD)
  • Time Zone:  Central Time (CT)
  • Docking:  Your cruise from Galveston docks at the Port of Galveston located in the city’s historic downtown district.
  • Attire:  Galveston’s temperatures throughout the year typically range from 48 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning it’s never too hot or too cold to spend the day at the beach.
  • Transportation:  You can get around the island by Uber, Lyft, shuttle, limousine, or rental car. There are also unique transportation options such as surreys along the beachfront and horse-drawn carriages in the historic downtown district.

Things to do in Galveston

Before getting on a cruise from Galveston, start your vacation with a visit to the city’s museums, historic neighborhoods, and cultural icons. Take a walk along the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, home to family-friendly rides, games, and other attractions. Then relax on one of Galveston’s many iconic beaches and enjoy the 32-miles of coastline. Whether you are traveling with family, a group of friends or your significant other, this laid-back island has something for everyone.

Cruise Ship Sailing from Galveston

Join our Princess fleet to sail on some of the best cruises from Galveston. Find the comforts of home along with the luxuries you deserve on board any of our ships. Discover what makes our fleet so unique.

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The best cruises from Galveston for every type of traveler

Gene Sloan

What are the best cruises from Galveston, Texas? I've been on nearly all the cruise ships that sail out of the fast-growing cruise port (and visited all the places they go), and I know which one I would pick: a seven-night sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Prima.

I'm a big fan of the 20-month-old Norwegian Prima's stylish design and upscale feel, and I love its luxurious Haven suite complex. It also offers a solid itinerary out of Galveston that visits several of my favorite ports in the Western Caribbean.

That said, a seven-night Norwegian Prima sailing out of Galveston isn't necessarily the best Galveston cruise for you.

For more cruise guides, news and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Whether you'll have a better time on one of the other cruise ships that regularly sail out of Galveston will depend a lot on the type of traveler you are. The best ship for a family cruise out of Galveston might not be the top pick for a couples cruise or girlfriend getaway.

Nearly a dozen ships currently set sail from Texas. Here we list our top picks for the best cruises from Galveston for five different types of travelers.

Best for families: Harmony of the Seas

cruise ports galveston

Looking for the best family cruise from Galveston? It's hard to go wrong with a sailing on Royal Caribbean 's giant Harmony of the Seas.

Designed specifically to appeal to families, the world's fourth-largest cruise vessel offers more family-friendly activity zones than just about any other cruise ship at sea.

Thanks partly to its enormous size — it's 18 decks high and nearly 1,200 feet long — the 5,479-passenger Harmony of the Seas has room for three separate main pool areas, a water park, a kiddie splash zone, surfing simulators, a miniature golf course, a basketball court and even a zip line. And that's just on its top decks.

Inside Harmony of the Seas, you'll find all sorts of family attractions, including counselor-staffed play areas for kids, a teen club and an indoor ice skating rink. The ship also has lots of family-friendly performances, such as ice skating shows at the rink and acrobatic and diving performances at an outdoor "Aquatheater." At the back of the ship, a New Jersey boardwalk-themed fun zone features rock climbing walls and a hand-carved carousel.

In short, whether you have toddlers in tow or command a troop of teens and tweens, you'll find all sorts of activities to keep them squealing with delight — more than on any other ship that sails out of Galveston, including Disney Cruise Line's family-focused Disney Magic.

Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean cruise ships and itineraries

Harmony of the Seas sails out of Galveston every Sunday on seven-night voyages to the Western Caribbean. The ship stops at Roatan, Honduras, and Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico.

Harmony of the Seas is part of Royal Caribbean's groundbreaking Oasis Class vessels , which are among the biggest and most amenity-filled ships in the world.

In addition to Harmony of the Seas, Royal Caribbean operates two smaller vessels out of Galveston: the 3,344-passenger Mariner of the Seas and the 2,110-passenger Jewel of the Seas. The former ship mostly sails four- and five-night trips to Mexico, while the latter vessel sails longer voyages to the Southern and Western Caribbean.

Best for Disney fans: Disney Magic

cruise ports galveston

As noted above, our pick for the best family cruises out of Galveston are the sailings available on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas. But we say that with one big caveat. If your family is Disney-obsessed and you can't imagine a vacation that isn't infused to the extreme with all things Disney, there is only one choice for your Galveston-based cruise: a voyage on Disney Magic .

Based in Galveston seasonally from November to March, Disney Magic offers the best cruises out of the city for Disney fans. It is, for the record, the only Disney Cruise Line ship that sails from Galveston.

Disney Magic isn't a new ship. It dates to 1998 and is the oldest cruise ship regularly sailing out of Galveston. That said, it still feels modern thanks to major makeovers in recent years.

One overhaul to Disney Magic not too long ago brought such cutting-edge features as the AquaDunk — a 37-foot-tall body slide that careens over the side of the vessel — and a new outdoor kiddie fun zone called AquaLab.

Disney Magic is also home to multiple pool areas and indoor children's zones that cover almost an entire deck, plus multiple themed restaurants that Disney fans will love. (In Disney Cruise Line tradition, passengers — and their waiters — rotate each night among three main restaurants.) The ship also has a large showroom for nightly Disney-themed shows.

Like all Disney ships, Disney Magic has many cabins with split bathrooms — a boon for families. That's not something you'll find on any of the other Galveston-based cruise vessels.

If you've tried Disney's newer Disney Wish or two Dream Class ships (Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream), you will notice that the 1,754-passenger Disney Magic is noticeably smaller — about 42% smaller than Disney Wish and 35% smaller than the Dream Class ships. That results in fewer and smaller attractions than the other vessels. On the flip side, it has a much more intimate feel on board.

Related: The 3 types of Disney Cruise Line ships, explained

Disney Magic sails a mix of four- to six-night voyages from Galveston to Mexico. Four-night voyages typically visit Progreso, Mexico, while five-night sailings add a stop in Cozumel. Six-night sailings typically visit Cozumel and Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands.

Fares for off-peak sailings on Disney Magic often start at more than $1,000 per person for a four-night trip — significantly higher on a per-night basis than the lowest-cost sailings on many of the other ships sailing out of Galveston.

In other words, you'll pay a premium for that Disney magic.

Best for budget travelers: Carnival Breeze

cruise ports galveston

Carnival Cruise Line 's Carnival Breeze is the Galveston-based ship to pick when you're looking for a quick and affordable getaway — something that isn't a big commitment and won't break the bank.

Based in Galveston year-round, the 12-year-old vessel operates short four- and five-night voyages to the Western Caribbean that are often on sale for under $500 per person. For off-peak travel, we sometimes see five-night sailings for sale for around $400 per person — or just $80 a night. This is a third of the cost of similar five-night sailings on Disney Magic.

Remember, the rates for Carnival Breeze mentioned above are not just for your room but for meals on the ship, too.

For would-be Galveston cruisers, Carnival Breeze serves as a sort of "test the port" ship. Its short sailings and low pricing mean you won't lose a lot of time or money if you don't love the experience. It caters heavily to first-time cruisers, as well as Texas locals and Southerners who can book on short notice and drive to the port for a quick escape.

One of three ships in the line's Dream Class that date to the late 2000s and early 2010s, the 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze is no longer the newest or snazziest ship in the Carnival fleet. At around 130,000 tons, it's about 29% smaller than Carnival's newer Excel Class ships and has fewer bars, restaurants and entertainment spaces.

Related: The 8 types of Carnival Cruise Line ships, explained

That said, Carnival Breeze still has a huge amount to offer for all sorts of travelers, from couples to families with kids. The ship was, notably, the first Carnival ship to feature a 4D "thrill theater" and one of the first Carnival ships with a ropes course — attractions that appeal heavily to teens and tweens.

Carnival Breeze also offers a water park with waterslides on its top decks, a miniature golf course, a sports court for basketball and volleyball, and multiple pools.

Interior venues on Carnival Breeze include a comedy club, a piano bar, a casino and a showroom for big production shows. The dining options are similar to what you'll find on many Carnival ships, including an extra-charge steakhouse and Italian eatery, Cucina Del Capitano, as well as no-extra-charge main restaurants. It also has a sushi restaurant and a version of Carnival's Caribbean-inspired watering hole, RedFrog Pub.

Most Carnival Breeze sailings out of Galveston stop at Cozumel, with some adding a stop at Costa Maya and Progreso as well.

Carnival has two other vessels based year-round in Galveston: Carnival Jubilee and Carnival Dream. Both ships operate longer, generally more expensive sailings. Carnival Jubilee mostly sails seven-night trips out of Galveston, while Carnival Dream alternates between six- and eight-night voyages out of the Texas port.

Best for luxury lovers: Norwegian Prima

cruise ports galveston

None of the luxury-focused cruise lines, such as Silversea Cruises or Seabourn Cruise Line , sail out of Galveston. Still, you can get a luxury cruise experience on a voyage from Galveston by sailing on the one mainstream vessel based in the city that has a separate "ship-within-a-ship" luxury zone: Norwegian Cruise Line 's new Norwegian Prima .

Hands down, the 3,099-passenger ship offers the best Galveston cruises for luxury lovers.

Unveiled in 2022, Norwegian Prima was the first of a new class of Norwegian vessel that the line designed to be "elevated," in its words, as compared to earlier Norwegian ships. That is, it was designed to be more upscale.

The high-end turn included loading Norwegian Prima with an unusually large variety of suites (13 categories in all), including what the line said was the largest three-bedroom suites of any recently unveiled cruise vessel. If it's swanky digs you're after (and you have the money to spend), you'll find plenty of options on this ship.

Notably, the entire back of Norwegian Prima is devoted to an upscale luxury enclave for well-heeled travelers called The Haven. Rising eight decks high, it's home to 107 of the above-mentioned suites, a sprawling private indoor lounge area, private outdoor lounge and pool areas, and a private restaurant — all exclusively for the use of those who pay up for one of its suites.

Related: The best luxury cruise lines for elegance and exclusivity

Outside of The Haven, the entire ship has a more elegant feel than you'll find on other Norwegian ships. It has an atmosphere more in line with the ships in the fleets of Norwegian's higher-end sister brands, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises — albeit on a bigger scale.

Alas, Norwegian Prima only is based in Galveston seasonally for the winter, typically from January to March. For 2025, it'll offer seven-night sailings to the Western Caribbean with calls in Roatan, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Harvest Caye, Belize. It'll also operate two longer 14-night Caribbean sailings.

Best for retirees: Regal Princess

cruise ports galveston

Looking for a cruise out of Galveston that isn't full of families with children? Look no further than the sailings out of the city on Princess Cruises ' Regal Princess.

Unlike the other major cruise ships that sail out of Galveston each year — operated by family-focused Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian and Disney — Regal Princess wasn't built with families in mind as the core customer. As is the case with all Princess ships, it's geared toward middle-aged and older travelers without kids, including lots of retirees.

Notably, the 3,600-passenger Regal Princess lacks nearly all the gee-whiz attractions for families found on other ships that sail out of Galveston. You won't find big waterslides, kiddie splash zones, zip lines or go-kart tracks on this ship.

For the most part, the top decks of Regal Princess only offer pools, whirlpools and sunning areas, as is typical for Princess ships. As a result, it draws far fewer families than the vessels above and caters more to an older crowd of mostly couples.

Related: Best cruises for seniors who love to travel by sea

Regal Princess is based in Galveston on a seasonal basis from October to March. It operates some of the longest sailings from the Texas port, including 10- and 11-night trips to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Honduras, Belize and Mexico. It also occasionally offers a 12-night sailing to the Southern Caribbean. These sailings generally appeal to a retired crowd because they require a long time away from home.

The shortest sailings that the 11-year-old Princess ship operates out of Galveston are six nights in length.

Bottom line

Galveston offers a relatively wide range of cruise ships and itinerary choices. Five different cruise lines currently sail four- to 12-night Western Caribbean voyages and visit ports in Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. A sixth line — MSC Cruises — will be starting up cruises from Galveston in 2025.

What is the best cruise from Galveston for you? That'll depend on your personal interests and travel style, as there are cruises from Galveston that appeal to everyone, including family travelers, budget travelers and retirees.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
  • 8 cabin locations on cruise ships you should definitely avoid
  • Cruise packing list: The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise
  • Which cruise brand is best for you? A guide to the most popular lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • 15 ways that cruising newbies waste money on their first cruise
  • The ultimate guide to choosing a cruise ship cabin

cruise ports galveston

11 Reason To Sail on Cruises From Galveston

I n no uncertain terms, a cruise port makes all the difference regarding your entire vacation. After all, the location of your departure sets the tone for your trip moving forward, determining which destinations you’ll reach once you’re on the high seas.

While specific destinations like Miami or Canaveral boast unique strengths, something might also be said for the Port of Galveston, Texas. A smaller port overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, Galveston may not be the largest or busiest destination from which to depart. Yet, there are plenty of amicable reasons to look into this idyllic Texan island for your next cruise-going experience.

1. Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Disney Offer Cruises From Galveston

Looking at it plainly, Galveston has three cruise terminals making up its port. In contrast, far larger alternatives, like the Port of Miami, have eleven terminals. Because of this, Galveston unfortunately cannot house many of the industry’s prestigious cruise lines. However, the port’s terminals support several large-scale cruise corporations, with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian, MSC, and Disney Cruises departing from Galveston regularly.

2. The Nearby Cruise Destinations Are Well Worth It

Admittedly, inevitable drawbacks are attached to cruises from Galveston. Considering how much farther west it is than ports in Florida or along the East Coast, most cruise lines out of Galveston cannot travel to their company’s private islands as many are in the Eastern Caribbean. However, Galveston’s location along the Gulf of Mexico has its distinct perks, including ready access to the Western Caribbean and parts of South and Central America. Though some guests might regret losing a chance at CocoCay, it’s hard to be upset when trekking along the shores of Mexico, Honduras, or Belize.

3. It’s Easier To Navigate Than Larger Ports

There’s no simple answer when it comes to determining the total cost of cruises from Galveston over any other port in the U.S. Like most ports, the final cost of the cruise depends on numerous factors, including the time of year you’re sailing, the location of your cabin, and the cruise line you plan on traveling with. However, the convenience of navigating the port itself makes Galveston a perfect option for anyone new to cruise vacations. Avoiding the large-scale crowds and tedious boarding lines as other major ports, Galveston remains a hassle-free destination for most novice travelers out there.

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4. galveston is conveniently located in the central u.s..

Given Galveston’s distinct location in eastern Texas , it’s one of the most readily accessible ports for travelers across the U.S. Located in the heart of America, travelers from the Western U.S. will have just as easy time reaching it as vacationers from the Midwest or East Coast. After all, who wants to sit on a lengthy plane ride to reach their port of call? Also, Galveston lacks the same high value of traffic as Miami or other popular ports, making it relatively hassle-free to reach.

5. The Port Terminal Is Reasonably Close to the Airport

Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport is the closest airport to Galveston. Roughly 41 miles northwest of the port, travelers can easily navigate from the airport to their cruise terminal in under an hour. Galveston is also close to several major cities, making it an option, albeit a farther one, for anyone flying into Austin or Dallas. However, given Houston’s short driving distance to Galveston, William P. Hobby Airport is your best bet for air travel.

6. The Boarding Process Is Quick and Seamless

As mentioned above, Galveston doesn’t have the same volume of passengers flooding through its port as Miami, Canaveral, or Port Everglades. As a result, boarding a ship is comparatively tamer—especially since the port opened up its third and latest terminal in 2022. Having been constructed in the past two decades and carefully refurbished, these terminals are in fantastic shape, making the onboarding process much more efficient for vacationers. The terminals also come equipped with innovative new features, with Terminal 3 offering mobile check-in and state-of-the-art facial recognition devices.

7. There Are Plenty of Hotels Nearby

Another notable feature of Galveston is the number of hotels near the port. (Because let’s face it: what’s more accessible than simply waking up, hopping in your car, and practically walking onto the ship without worrying about losing track of time?) What’s more, many of the hotels in the Galveston area have special offers for anyone traveling onboard a cruise ship. These offers include free or discounted parking rates and a helpful shuttle that ferry passengers back and forth from the hotel to the ship. While several hotels in Galveston have these amenities, some of the best include the Hilton Galveston Island Resort and the San Luis Resort .

8. Parking Is Easy

Don’t let Galveston’s size fool you—the port itself has plenty of options when it comes to parking. As previously suggested, anyone staying at a nearby hotel might want to consider leaving their car parked there and taking a shuttle, taxi, or Uber over to their terminal. Additionally, travelers can reserve a space in the port’s parking lot ahead of their trip. These parking spaces are safe and secure, and port employees will assist with any luggage brought aboard on cruises from Galveston.

9. Galveston Itself Is a Beautiful Place To Visit

The main reason we believe you should depart from Galveston on your next cruise is the opportunity you’ll have to see what it has to offer. Like most major cities, there’s plenty to do and see around town, with every prospective sight catering to travelers’ interests. For those interested in shopping, the Strand Historical District has plenty of independently owned stores that feature everything from odd tchotchkes to essential beach items. Galveston’s famous Moody Gardens is an educational park built around natural wonders such as exotic sea life, immaculate flowers, roaming monkeys, and sloths.

10. You’re Bound To Find Some Great Last-Minute Deals

As previously mentioned, Galveston is a more scaled-down port than Miami or Port Canaveral, but its three terminals still receive cruise ships constantly. Because of this constantly moving schedule, most travelers will find it incredibly easy to find last-minute deals on select cruises from Galveston—often days before the ship is booked to leave. Sure, it may not be practical for those traveling from longer distances to book something last-minute. Yet these last-minute deals are well worth it for anyone within a short distance of Galveston.

11. Galveston Is Steeped in Rich Maritime History

Galveston is a city rich in history, having first been settled by Indigenous Natives of the Akokisa and Karankawa tribes before the Europeans arrived in the 1600s. Over the next several centuries, Galveston became a hub for maritime trade, eventually attracting such notable figures as French buccaneer Jean Lafitte. All that being said, history buffs will delight at the chance to visit Galveston, taking in some of the numerous historical sights around town—like Lafitte’s personal hideaway at Maison Rouge or the Michael B. Menard House, named after one of Galveston’s original American settlers. Even those who don’t care for history will find these areas fascinating.

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Barge Strikes Bridge in Galveston, Causing Oil Spill

No injuries were reported when the barge struck a bridge that connects Galveston, Texas, to a small island along the Gulf of Mexico, causing a partial collapse.

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By Remy Tumin

A barge struck a causeway connecting Galveston, Texas, to a small island on Wednesday morning, sending debris and oil into the bay, officials said.

The Pelican Island Bridge was hit around 10 a.m., the city of Galveston said in a statement , and the causeway was closed to car traffic until further notice, shutting off the only road to the island. There were no reported injuries. The bridge connects the north side of Galveston Island with the south side of Pelican Island, which is home to a Texas A&M University campus and two museums.

The barge has a capacity of 30,000 gallons, but it was not clear how much oil had spilled into Galveston Bay, the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management said on social media .

Vessel traffic in the channel was temporarily halted, county officials said, and the structural damage to the bridge was being assessed by the Texas Transportation Department. The cause of the accident was not immediately known. Power was temporarily interrupted on Pelican Island but had been restored by Wednesday afternoon.

Richard Freed, vice president of the marine division of Martin Midstream Partners, said the barge is owned and was being operated by one of its subsidiaries, Martin Operating Partnership. The accident occurred, he said, when the barge broke loose from its tow and “drifted” into the bridge.

The spill, which he described as “limited,” had been contained by Wednesday afternoon, he said.

“We have personnel on site assessing the damage,” Mr. Freed said in an emailed statement. “The company has already engaged a salvage company to assist with the removal of the barge from the bridge area.”

The accident occurred on the same day that a senior U.S. Coast Guard official told a congressional committee that states and other bridge operators should be evaluating the types of vessels traveling near bridges, particularly older ones.

The official, Vice Adm. Peter Gautier, was testifying before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which is examining the federal response to the cargo ship crash on March 26 that knocked down the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, killing six people and deepening anxieties about the state of the country’s infrastructure.

The city of Galveston said in its statement that emergency management officials from the city, state and university responded to the crash on Wednesday, adding that the U.S. Coast Guard was assessing the extent of the spill and would “initiate the containment and cleanup processes.”

Texas A&M University at Galveston said on social media that power had been restored to the campus, which is home to the school’s marine and maritime program.

Aerial footage from KHOU-TV , a CBS affiliate, showed a collapsed portion of what appeared to be an abandoned railroad bridge that ran alongside the causeway. A large chunk of concrete and metal lay across the bow of the barge as a long vein of oil leaked from it into Galveston Bay. Emergency responders gathered on the road surface, and live footage showed pickup trucks arriving on the bridge.

The Pelican Island bridge is just west of the Port of Galveston, a deepwater shipping channel that is among the busiest cruise ports in North America. More than 900 cruise and cargo ships and other vessels pass through the port every year, according to its website .

The bridge to Pelican Island was built in 1959 and carries an average of about 9,100 cars a day, most of which are heading to and from the campus, according to The Houston Chronicle . Most of the island is undeveloped, with only a single major road running across it.

In March, The Galveston County Daily News reported that the Port of Houston Authority had approved an agreement with Galveston County to provide land for a new $100 million vehicular bridge and $300 million for a rail bridge to the island.

Remy Tumin is a reporter for The Times covering breaking news and other topics. More about Remy Tumin

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4 warnings and 3 advisories in effect for 34 regions in the area

Fuel barge crashes into galveston bridge, spilling oil and causing ‘major disruption’ in road, water traffic, the only way off pelican island right now is by boat. galveston county judge says fuel is still leaking and shipping is shut down for 6.5 miles getting in and out of the port of galveston.

Ahmed Humble , Digital Content Producer

Robert Arnold , Investigative Reporter

Rilwan Balogun , Reporter

Karen Araiza , Digital Content Lead , Houston

GALVESTON, Texas – A barge hit the Pelican Island Bridge Causeway in Galveston this morning, damaging the bridge, causing an oil spill and shutting off the only access on and off the island by car. It also shut down maritime traffic along the Intracoastal Waterway in and out of the Port of Galveston for more than 6 miles.

  • LATEST UPDATE: Evacuations halted on Pelican Island Causeway following barge strike

Structural engineers from the Texas Department of Transportation in Houston are assessing damage to help determine if the bridge is safe enough to open up any part to traffic.

  • LISTEN: Dispatch audio reveals response after barge strikes Pelican Island Causeway

Just before 10 Wednesday morning, the fuel barge lost control in the outgoing high tide and hit the bridge, according to David Flores, supervisor with Galveston Navigation District 1.

Steel iron beams and tons of cement was being fixed, according to Flores.

BALTIMORE BRIDGE LATEST: Investigation continues into 4 electrical blackouts on ship that caused Baltimore bridge collapse

No one was hurt.

About 200 people are stuck on Pelican Island, Galveston County Judge Mark Henry told KPRC 2′s Rilwan Balogun.

“If we can get everyone off, I do not anticipate an opportunity to return anytime soon,” Henry said. “We don’t anticipate anyone being stranded on Pelican Island for even overnight, much less an extended period of time.”

Between 20 and 25 vehicles are waiting at Pelican Bay to get off the island, and authorities are hoping to open the bridge up to let those folks out this evening.

Galveston officials also tell KPRC 2′s Assignments Editor Terrence Kelly the U.S. Coast Guard has been called to help with the oil spill. The barge holds 30,000 barrels, according to Judge Henry, but he said they don’t know how much fuel was on it, but it was still leaking Wednesday afternoon.

The barge is owned by Martin Petroleum and when it hit the bridge, it knocked out power temporarily. That has since been restored.

No cars are being allowed across the bridge and no boats or barges in the channel.

The Intracoastal Waterway from Mile Marker 350.5 to Mile Marker 357, approximately 6.5 miles, is shut off and a dozen different agencies are onsite.

“It is a significant impact and I can understand their [people’s] concerns. This will be a major disruption to commercial maritime traffic and pleasure,” Judge Henry said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: ‘Couldn’t happen here:’ In light of Baltimore bridge collapse, ship leader says same event wouldn’t happen in Houston

Additionally, Texas A&M has canceled classes for the day, which roughly affected only 30 students because it’s the end of the semester. They’re opening their cafeteria for any students stuck there.

6:30 pm Update: TxDot continues to assess the damage to Pelican Island Bridge. Traffic is no longer exiting Pelican... Posted by Texas A&M University Galveston Campus on  Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Judge Henry characterized this crash as significantly different from the Baltimore crash where a cargo ship took down the Key Bridge.

  • Cargo ship that caused Baltimore bridge collapse had power blackouts hours before leaving port

“The bridge did not structurally fail. While portions of the bridge did structurally fail, the entire bridge did not,” Henry said. “We did see pieces of the bridge laying on the bow of the barge, but the size and scope is dramatically different. It’s much, much smaller.”

The Pelican Island Causeway Bridge is a critical part of the one road leading to and from Pelican Island.

Over 2,000 people including faculty, staff and students at Texas A&M in Galveston depend on the bridge, according to the student newspaper.

It’s the last drawbridge of its kind in Texas, called a bascule bridge.

A worker operates the lift so boats and barges can pass through to get in and out of the Port of Galveston.

Stay informed with KPRC 2's Breaking News Alerts

Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.

About the Authors

Ahmed humble.

Historian, educator, writer, expert on "The Simpsons," amateur photographer, essayist, film & tv reviewer and race/religious identity scholar. Joined KPRC 2 in Spring 2024 but has been featured in various online newspapers and in the Journal of South Texas' Fall 2019 issue.

Robert Arnold

Award winning investigative journalist who joined KPRC 2 in July 2000. Husband and father of the Master of Disaster and Chaos Gremlin. “I don’t drink coffee to wake up, I wake up to drink coffee.”

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