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UPDATED 21 September 2023 (Added Carnival Legend) Galveston is home to Royal Caribbean's newest Cruise Terminal, a state of the art zero energy facility, and home port for the 2023 President's Cruise on Allure of the Seas. Galveston is the fourth busiest cruise port in the USA and the 9th busiest in the world. Cruise ships calling Galveston their home port include: Allure of the Seas - 225,282 GT - 5,484 Guests - 7 night sailings (Repositions to Port Canaveral 27 Oct 2023) Harmony of the Seas - 225,282 GT - 5,484 Guests - 7 night sailings (Arrives 1 Nov 2023 from Miami) Voyager of the Seas - 137,276 GT - 3,602 Guests - 4-6 night sailings (Repositions to Barcelona 1 May 2024) Mariner of the Seas - 139,863 GT - 3,344 Guests - 4-5 night sailings (Arrives 6 May 2024 from Port Canaveral) Jewel of the Seas - 90,090 GT - 2,191 Guests - 8-11 night sailings (Arrives 8 Nov 2024) Carnival Vista - 133,500 GT - 3,934 Passengers (Repositions to Port Canaveral 10 Nov 2023) Carnival Dream - 130,000 GT - 3,646 Passengers Carnival Breeze - 130,000 GT - 3,690 Passengers Carnival Jubilee - 182,800 GT - 5,374 Passengers - LNG Powered (Now arrives 23 Dec 2023 from Southampton replacing Carnival Vista) Carnival Miracle - 88,500 GT - 2,124 Passengers (Arrives 16 Oct 2024 from San Francisco for 9-12 night cruises) Carnival Legend - 88,500 GT - 2,124 Passengers (Arrives 22 Oct 2025 from San Francisco for 4-14 night cruises) Ruby Princess - 114,561 GT - 3,080 Passengers (Returns Oct 2023 from Alaska to Apr 2024.) Norwegian Prima - 142,500 GT - 3,215 Passengers (Home ports in Galveston 15 Dec 2023) Disney Wonder - Nov/Dec/Jan holiday sailings each year MSC - has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Port of Galveston to build a fourth cruise terminal! New Cruise Terminal Information Officially named "Cruise Terminal 10", the building is owned and operated by a 50/50 partnership of Royal Caribbean and Ceres Terminals Inc. on land leased from the Port of Galveston. Ceres helped fund the project and will provide stevedoring and terminal operations. As the world's first zero-energy cruise terminal you can expect to find innovative design throughout this facility in things you see and also things you don't see. Below is a map of the new terminal area and parking lots operated by the Port of Galveston. In addition to surface parking lots, the Port offers covered and indoor parking. All parking lots have covered shuttle bus stops with buses circulating continuously to the cruise terminal, and there are plenty of covered walkways for a comfortable stroll from the walkable parking areas to the terminal. Electric Vehicle chargers will soon be available to the west of the South Lot. My favorite parking option: North Premium Covered Lot - it's only a few feet from the cruise terminal and it's covered. It's also the highest price option. Go to the Port's parking information page for more information and sign up for their loyalty program. You'll get an immediate $5 discount on your first reservation, the loyalty program equals a 10% discount on future parking, and they will send periodic discount codes that can all be combined for savings. Disabled veterans also get a discount. Tip: you will find less expensive options by using off-site parking operators which I have listed below in the Parking section of this post, which also has information on other things to consider regarding parking. Luggage can be dropped off at the terminal on Royal Caribbean Circle (see map above). Upon entering the terminal building, General check in is located up the escalators on the left (west) end of the terminal, while Suites and Pinnacles check in is located up the escalators on the right (east) end of the terminal. The door at the right (east) end of the terminal on Royal Caribbean Circle is also the entrance for Suites, Pinnacles, and Star Class guests. Star Class drop-off is at area 6 (purple columns on Royal Caribbean Circle). When disembarking at Cruise Terminal 10 there is facial recognition for quick passage through Customs and Border Protection. Then you claim your luggage and make your way out of the terminal to the pick up area on Royal Caribbean Way. As you can see on the above map, the embarking passenger ground transportation area (on Royal Caribbean Circle) is distinctly separated from the disembarking passenger ground transportation area on Royal Caribbean Way for better traffic flow. Planning & Tourist Info You can't beat this website for information on everything that is happening in Galveston: www.galveston.com Transportation Fly into HOU (Houston Hobby Airport) if you can. It's much closer to Galveston than IAH (Bush Intercontinental Airport) and you won't have the Houston traffic to deal with. Tip: my favorite airline option is JSX, a "semi-private" airline that uses private jet terminals at several airports across the country. You can essentially fly "private" and avoid crowded airport terminals, for about the price of a first class ticket. JSX flies to Houston Hobby Airport and disembarks in one of the private terminals. Here are some options for getting to Galveston from the airport: Galveston Saltwater Moms - my first choice for transportation to Galveston... a highly rated "personal driver" service. You book by sending them a personal message on Facebook. They are a licensed Transportation Provider with the Port of Galveston, which means they can legally operate at the cruise terminals. They have a $500,000 bond and commercial liability insurance. Give them a try as an alternative to the big guys. I've used them and had a great experience! Galveston Limo - provides very affordable shared rides from the two Houston airports with either their scheduled service or you can arrange a private car. Owned by a local family of good folks. Galveston Express Lyft and Uber - Lyft and Uber are the approved major rideshare companies operating at the Port of Galveston. The agreement with Uber was approved on 24 Mar 2023. Blacklane - a premium option for upper end vehicles like Black Sedan or Black SUV. You can reserve days or weeks in advance and cancel up to 1 hour prior to pickup time. Rates include gratuities, professional drivers, no "peak" surcharges or port surcharges. Drivers show up when scheduled. A bit more expensive but worth the price to reduce the stress you have with Uber/Lyft drivers canceling or having peak rates when departing the ship. I've used Blacklane in Galveston and Los Angeles with good results. If you use black sedans or SUV's with Uber/Lyft, I find Blacklane to be similarly priced, and sometimes lower priced during peak pickup times. Enterprise Rent A Car - Enterprise is the only rental car company on the island. You should be able to rent from Enterprise at the airport and drop it off on the Island. The Island location is open on Saturday (before Covid it was also open on Sunday). Check with Enterprise directly for updated hours and shuttle arrangements. Here are a couple of transportation options for your departure after your cruise: The pickup zone for Lyft and Uber is at the far northeast side of the terminal on Royal Caribbean Way. When you exit the terminal, turn left, and walk to the Uber/Lyft sign in Zone 1. If you prefer to take a taxi to the airport, turn right as you exit the terminal, cross the street toward the east side of the covered parking area and there will be several taxis ready and waiting. Here's a photo of the fixed fare rates as of 30 July 2023: Arriving By Car I-45 is undergoing several phases of construction that will continue into 2024 and beyond. TxDOT is widening I-45 all the way to Galveston Island so expect some delays and congestion. I-45 south ends on Galveston Island. When arriving on the island, if you turn off at the "Cruise Terminal" exit (Harborside Drive) you will hit a traffic back-up as you approach the cruise terminals. To avoid this traffic jam, as you drive down I-45 and arrive on the Island, continue straight on Broadway as the interstate ends and follow these directions: If you've reserved parking through the official Port of Galveston website, continue straight on Broadway as the interstate ends. Continue to 14th street and turn left. Follow 14th and it will take you straight into the entrance to the Cruise Terminal 10 area. This route will avoid the lengthy backup on Harborside Drive. As you enter the Cruise Terminal area, follow the signs to your pre-arranged parking lot or to the drop off or pick up areas. Parking If you search "Galveston cruise parking" you will see plenty of parking options. I highly recommend making a reservation on line with one of the parking companies, especially if you want an indoor space as these will sell out (especially now, with so many ships sailing from Galveston). Prepaying usually gets you a 5-10% discount and a guaranteed parking space. Things to consider in addition to price: Elevation - heavy rains can quickly flood the streets of Galveston, and not just during a hurricane. Leaving your car in an elevated spot will provide peace of mind against flooding if an unexpected storm comes in. Inside Building, or Outdoor Lot? - outdoor surface lots are cheaper, but your car is exposed to the south Texas sun and weather. A building provides better protection and security. Discounts & Loyalty - there are extra savings if you sign up for loyalty programs online and apply for any applicable discount. Reserve your parking after your account is set up and tagged with the applicable discount. You can combine loyalty and one discount but you can't have multiple discounts. The loyalty programs often mail discount codes to members. Security - parking lots are fenced and gated. Buildings are enclosed and locked. Some facilities have security cameras. The Port of Galveston claims that the Port Police patrol their lots 24/7 which you won't find at the private parking lots. Electric Vehicle Charging - more and more lots are offering EV chargers. If you drive an EV like I do, you will appreciate having your car fully charged when you disembark. This perk is currently free at all parking facilities where it is offered. The Port of Galveston will offer EV charging for an additional fee by scanning a QR code and paying online after parking at the charger. Remember that even a 110 volt plug will fully charge your car over the course of several days, so bring you charge cord as some lots offer 110V outlet access. Here is my comparison of some of the parking options. I have used Port Parking, EZ Cruise, and the Port of Galveston parking all without any issues. Hotels Galveston hotel prices are quite variable depending on day of week (weekends obviously much higher), whether there are major events happening, and the season (summer is the busy season here). Booking hotels during Mardi Gras (February), Lone Star Biker Rally (early November), Art Walk (every 6 weeks) and other major events will be much more expensive. Some hotels have a 2 night minimum on weekends. Ever since travel resumed following Covid, hotel prices on Galveston Island have gone way up. I love staying on the island before a cruise, but if the price is too high I stay along I-45 in Webster, League City, or Texas City where you'll find much lower hotel rates. Note that I-45 exits south of Webster can be very congested, especially during morning and afternoon rush hours. There are a couple of hotels near the port and the historic Strand District in Galveston, but no hotels are near the Royal Caribbean Cruise Terminal 10. It's a great idea to arrive a day or two early and enjoy the island ambiance. The Harbor House overlooks the port area and Cruise Terminals 25 and 28, and is very convenient to many nice restaurants, museums, and shopping. The Tremont House is also very walkable to the Strand, nice restaurants, museums, and shopping. This is my preferred pre-cruise hotel and is now a Marriott Tribute property. The Tremont House is located in a beautiful historic building. The Tremont's rooftop bar has wonderful views of the island and port area and has been under renovation with a planned re-opening in the fall of 2023. The lobby bar has live jazz on most Thursday nights. There are plenty of other hotels on the Island, many along the Seawall facing the Gulf of Mexico. Hotels providing transportation to the port or offer park & cruise options can be found here. Call the hotel that you are interested in to confirm that they provide cruise parking. Galveston Dining (And A Few Drinking Establishments) Please avoid the tourist traps and chain restaurants that will leave you disappointed. Eat at these locally owned restaurants that use locally sourced, fresh food, including fresh Gulf seafood right from the docks in Galveston. All restaurants are casual dress unless noted, and all are family friendly (even most of the bars). Many serve craft beer on tap from Galveston Island Brewing. My only connection to these places is that I have personally eaten at them multiple times and I love them all! Rudy and Paco - 2028 Post Office St (21st and Post Office) - Arguably the best restaurant on the island. Wonderful food with a South and Central American flair. Best service on the island. A little expensive but worth it. We like going for lunch because it's very affordable (lunch served weekdays only). No shorts allowed at dinner. Reservations suggested and are a must on weekends or when The 1890 Grand Theater has an event. Riondo's Ristorante - 2328 Strand (24th and Strand) - Our favorite Italian restaurant on the island, and they also serve great seafood and steak. Beautiful historic building built in 1895 in the Strand Historic District. "Farm to Fork" sourcing and they make their own pasta. Tell them you "want a table in the vault." Katie's Seafood House - 2000 Wharf Road (On the water, adjacent to the Port of Galveston) - This is the only restaurant in Galveston that catches their own seafood! Enjoy great food, good service, and a wonderful view of the Port of Galveston from their covered outdoor deck. They offer free parking in the lot in front of the restaurant at 20th & Harborside (call the restaurant at (409) 765-5688 and select to option to hear the parking code). Blum & Co. at the Tremont House - 2300 Ships Mechanic Row (Mechanic Street) - Beautiful historic hotel built in 1879 near the Strand Historic District. An urban bistro, wine bar, and market offering a carefully curated menu that is indigenous of the region. There is a beautiful bar at the opposite end of the lobby with several Galveston Brewing options on tap. Before or after dinner, take the elevator to the top floor, turn left, and walk to the end of the hall to the rooftop bar to cap off the experience. The rooftop bar is being renovated and will re-open in the fall of 2023. Brews Brothers Brew Pub - 2404 Strand - Huge craft beer selection, creative American bar food. Very casual. You wouldn't expect it for a bar, but the food here is excellent. Burgers (try the "Mission From God"), fresh made chips (try them with Buffalo Sauce & Bleu Cheese), local fish tacos, salads, etc. Order at the bar, grab a table, and enjoy a beer while waiting on your food to be delivered to your table. Texas Tail Distillery - 2416 Post Office - On-site distillery for whiskey and vodka. Try the honey whiskey and other infusions. Friendly staff, fun place to try crafted drinks with local liquor, or try them all with a flight of shots! New: several food trucks are often located adjacent to their new location! Blvd. Seafood - 28th and Seawall - One of the best seafood restaurants on the island. There isn't a lot of curb appeal outside but the inside is very nice. The food and service are both quite good and the seafood is all local. The red snapper is amazing and always comes fresh from Katie's Seafood Market. Shucks Tavern - 414 21st Street - Newer hot spot downtown for oysters, seafood, and drinks. Fresh oysters from the most famous oyster beds in America! Mama Teresa's Flying Pizza and Italian - 416 21st Street - Next door to Shucks Tavern, this is the place for pizza. These guys hand toss the pizzas so high they almost touch the very high ceilings in this historic building! They also have nice Italian dishes. Convenient to the Post Office Street Arts District for a nice after-dinner stroll. Grotto Italian - 5222 Seawall (In the San Luis Resort) - Classic Italian restaurant featuring delicious veal, chicken, seafood, pizza, and house made pastas. This one breaks my rule of avoiding the Landrys restaurant chain, but we are convinced it's a great option. The Cove Poolside Bar - 5222 Seawall (In the San Luis Resort) - Beautiful outdoor poolside bar with a swim-up bar too, all overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The pool is heated so expect swimmers even in cool weather. Great place to people watch and enjoy a drink with one of the most picturesque views of the Gulf of Mexico on the island. Koops BBQ Kitchen - 4501 Broadway - the only barbecue restaurant on the island that I would recommend. Very clean, very casual, very good meat and homemade sides. Only open for lunch from 11 am to 3 pm or until they run out of barbecue. Leland House - 2711 Market Street - a nice neighborhood bistro serving breakfast/brunch, lunch, and dinner. Grab a menu, relax at a table, and order at the bar when you're ready. Closed Monday/Tuesday. Maceo's Spice & Import Company - 2706 Market Street - Excellent muffaletta's, sandwiches. Simple menu to eat in or carry out in this little spice shop. Freckleberry Teahouse - 2724 Market Street - this has become a hot spot for a relaxing hot or iced tea or coffee and a light snack. Comfortable seating is plentiful inside or in their large outdoor area. Red Light Coffee Roasters - 2728 Market Street - popular spot serving locally roasted and sustainably sourced coffee and drinks along with light snacks. Like many places on this list, they are located in a beautiful historic building. Hey Mikey's Ice Cream - 2120 Post Office Street - Ice cream is made in the store. Unique treats like Ice Cream Nachos (share with a friend) and traditional favorites. You gotta' go here! Note: this place is owned by a nice island family. It is sometimes closed over the winter holidays. Mod Coffeehouse - 2126 Post Office Street - comfortable with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Live music many weekend evenings. Coffee, tea, espresso, latte, home baked goods. Waterman's Restaurant & Marina - 14302 Stewart Road - great sunset and water views overlooking Lake Como and West Bay. Steak and seafood. The restaurant was built of long leaf pine salvaged from the 100 year old cotton warehouses that were part of Galveston's glory days. Relatively expensive and a bit of a drive from the hotel areas but this is a unique restaurant with a great ambiance, great service, and great water views. Jimmy's On The Pier - 9001 Seawall - On the 2nd story above the fishing pier (enter the souvenir shop, exit to the left, and up the stairs). Very casual with great views of the seawall and Gulf. Owner has their own farm and livestock for a true "farm to table" concept; other items locally sourced. Fish tacos, burgers, seafood, local beer, full bar, etc. Bringing Back Liquor & Cigarettes If you sail from the Port of Galveston, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) may have agents waiting for you after you clear Immigration. NOTE: in my experience there have been no TABC agents present at the new Cruise Terminal 10, but this could change. The agents, if they are present, will ask you if you are bringing back any alcohol or cigarettes. If so, you will need to pay the state tax for importing them into the state, whether they are purchased in the ship's duty free store or in a foreign port of call. Although Texas state tax is due, these items are still exempt of any Federal duty. Galveston Webcams Galveston has some great webcams if you want to see what the cruise port looks like, or if your friends and family want to watch you sail away on Royal Caribbean via several live full-motion HD video cameras.