We just booked a week-long Caribbean cruise out of Galveston for about $400 per person. Seriously. Where else can you have a fabulous vacation for that price--with all meals provided, professional-quality entertainment, and guaranteed sunny weather?
If you’re a veteran cruiser or haven’t yet discovered the pleasures of ocean voyages, now is a great time to check out the deals. For those of us in the Austin area—or anyone within a half day’s drive from the port of Galveston—cruise rates are rock-bottom.
You'll pay for parking (prepaid rates range from $45-65 per week), but that’s a fraction of the cost for airfare to ports like Ft. Lauderdale or San Francisco. If you want to spend extra time in Galveston enjoying the sights and delicious seafood, go a day early. Some hotels allow guests to leave their cars at the hotel without additional charge while they’re on a cruise.
Fortunately for Central Texans, the cruise business keeps growing in Galveston, which is now the fifth busiest cruise port in the U.S. Regularly scheduled ships include Carnival Magic and Triumph, the only ones that continue sailing from Galveston during the summer. Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas and Crown Princess sail from there through April 2013. The newest addition, Disney Magic will take your family (yes, adults can go without children and have a wonderful time) on a fantasy cruise through May 2013. The ship returns to Galveston next October, in case you want to book early.
With many options regarding length of cruise (4-8 days are typical of Galveston departures), types of cabins, and ports of call, there’s a cruise to fit every style of traveler. In addition to itinerary, you might also consider character of the ship: Is the atmosphere party-time or more subdued? Are there activities/clubs specifically for children, or do you prefer sailing when few children are aboard?
Although balcony cabins are important to my husband and me for some cruises, experience has shown that we’re okay with an inside cabin on a Caribbean cruise because we just don’t spend much time there. During days in port we are off the ship engaged in activities like snorkeling, sightseeing, or shopping. Sea days find us walking around the promenade, lounging by the pool, taking dance lessons, or trying our skill at putting contests.
Whatever type of accommodation you prefer, rates are especially good and choices plentiful during the current “shoulder” season. You can book through a travel agent, online at cruise line sites, or by calling a specific cruise line directly. Discounters book blocks of cabins and then often add their own incentives to get your business.
If you ever wanted to try cruising, now is the time!