Cruising from Galveston, Texas is one of our favorite ways to get out to sea. Why some may ask? Because we like millions of others are within a reasonable drive to the port. In the post 9/11 days flying is far more difficult, and if you are heading to a ship where you will want formal, casual, and work-out clothes along with your swimwear with you. That usually means checking luggage if you are on more than just a quick three or four night cruise. With the luggage come fees unless you have the right credit card, fly the right airline, or have enough miles on the airline where you are considered an elite member of the frequent flyer program. Thus the cost of getting to the ship increases. Security lines and flight delays all add to the frustration that comes with traveling by air in the current day and age.
For those from Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, Ft. Worth, and some areas of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana getting to Galveston is a matter of a few hour on the road. For us, it is almost exactly one hour from the house to the cruise port terminal. We love being able to take our time on departure morning yet still be among the first aboard the ship to explore it before it is full of passengers.
Galveston has a lot to offer cruisers both those who come in ahead of the cruise and those who show up board and sail all in one swoosh. With several parking options available, both at hotels with stay and cruise packages, and at cruise port parking lots getting leaving your car at the Port of Galveston area is so simple. Most of the port parking lots are a few minute walk from the cruise terminal.
Of course Galveston is a great destination unto itself as well. With so many historic sites and specifically buildings to see there are a few days of sightseeing available. There is a railroad museum very close to the port. This museum reopened not too long ago after pulling itself back together after Hurricane Ike. We tried to visit a week before they reopened but weren’t able. Also, at the Galveston airport, there is an aircraft museum featuring various old war birds. Also, out at the airport, for those who like to see helicopters flying in and out to the oil patch in the Gulf of Mexico there are at least two separate helicopter companies flying crews every day of the week. Last but not least I will mention the beaches on the Gulf Coast. There are miles of beach from which to choose to set up your spread while you bake in the sun.
Aside for the ships docking an hour from our front door, we like to sail to Grand Cayman, Roatan, and Belize City. Cozumel and Falmouth, Jamaica are also acceptable ports of call. I really like Stingray City offshore Grand Cayman. I like the snorkeling and scuba opportunities in Honduras and Belize since I love to see the beautiful coral and fish. In Cozumel the most exciting excursion I have taken is a Salsa making class (you make margaritas as well…and taste test many of them). Thus, everyone sailing out of Galveston has a wide variety of Western Caribbean ports and in limited cases even the Bahamas. Add to that a few Atlantic Ocean crossings and a variety of sailings exist for those sailing from Galveston.
Not having to fly in the night before saves a day from travel and at times saves enough to pay for another cruise. Departing the house right before the cruise and getting back home early in the morning after the cruise are definite plusses for us. These two things are cited by many cruisers from this region as reasons for sailing from Galveston, not just once but often. It all comes together for a nice cruise experience.
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