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Galveston Cruise Port: Tips, Attractions and Weather

Carnival Freedom
Carnival Freedom visits Grand Cayman from Galveston. Credit: Wikimedia

Texas is a convenient starting point for a Caribbean cruise for people living in the southwest United States. Galveston is one of two major embarkation ports for the “Friendship” state.

The Port of Galveston is a common starting point for western Caribbean cruises because of the fairly brief distance between it and Cozumel, one of the biggest cruise destinations in the Caribbean. Belize and Roatan, also active cruise destinations, lie just south of Cozumel.

Other destinations for cruises out of Galveston include Jamaica, Grand Cayman, the Bahamas and some eastern Caribbean islands.

Galveston is convenient to reach for people living in Texas and the western half of the United States. Airline flights from the west coast to Galveston are shorter and less expensive than flights from the west coast to the major embarkation ports in Florida.

Five ships operate out of the port. Carnival Cruise lines operates three ships and Royal Caribbean and Disney operate one each, according to the Port of Galveston.

The port has two terminals at 2502 and 2702 Harborside Drive. They are located on Galveston Island, which means travelers will need to take a ferry to reach it. Allow extra time for ferry delays and schedules.

Nearby Attractions

Galveston Cruise Port Map

Taking a ferry to reach the Port of Galveston on Galveston Island may require extra time, but the island makes up for it.

Anyone with extra time before or after their cruise will find plenty to do on the island.

The 36-block historic district is located one block from the cruise terminals. It has more than 100 shops, restaurants and galleries in Victorian iron-front buildings, according to the island’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The island also has the Texas Seaport Museum, Great Storm Theater, 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA,  Ocean Star Oil Rig Museum, harbor boat dolphin tours, and the interactive museum Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast.

Terminal Location and Directions

Two airports serve Galveston and Port of Galveston. They are the George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the Houston Hobby Airport.

The Bush airport is 70 miles northwest of the cruise port and Houston Hobby is 41 miles away.

Carnival offers transfer services between the airport and cruise port that must be scheduled at least five days before going on the cruise.

The transfer rates at the time of this writing were $47 one way and $94 round trip for Bush and $37 one way and $74 round trip for Hobby. See the Carnival Web site for scheduling and more information.

Contact Disney and Royal Caribbean for rates and information on their transfer services.

Other commercial companies also offer transfer services. Numerous options are available via online searches.

Drivers from the east will reach to the terminals by taking State Highway 87 West to Galveston Island. They will need to use the Port Bolivar vehicle ferry system to Ferry Road / Highway 87.

Turn right onto Harborside Drive and go 20 blocks. Then take another right onto Kempner / 22nd Street and keep going to the cruise terminal.

Travelers coming from the north and west should take I-45 South to the Galveston Island exit at 1C. Drive on the feeder road to Harborside Drive and turn left.

Go 4.7 miles to Kempner / 22nd Street and turn left. Continue driving until reaching the cruise terminals.

Terminal Parking

The Port of Galveston has a $5 discount for prepaid cruise passenger parking. Go to the port Web site at PortOfGalveston.com to reserve a space.

Prepaid parking rates at the time of this writing were $55 for four days, $60 for five days, $70 for six days, $85 for seven days and $90 for eight days. Prices are subject to change. Discounts are available for payment in advance. For more days, contact the port via the Web site’s contact links or phone numbers.

Parking can be paid with cash, traveler’s checks or Visa, MasterCard or Discover Card credit cards.

Local Weather

Galveston monthly temperatures
© 2021 Scott S. Bateman

Galveston ranges from slightly warm to slightly hot most of the year. The average high temperatures range from the low 60s Fahrenheit in the winter to the upper 80s in the summer.

Rainfall is moderate throughout most of the year with an average of three to four inches a month except September, when it spikes to nearly six inches.

Anyone who likes the weather warm with a low risk of rain should consider going in May through July. But if the cruise is going to the western Caribbean, spring is better because of lower risk of rain on the trip.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
August 19, 2021

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