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Cruising from Galveston Texas ???


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I have been looking at the 2023 itineraries and would love any intel on cruising out of Galveston on Allure. The good, the bad, things to consider.  With Canadian airline carriers reduced schedules it’s hard to know what future flight schedules will look like but there are typically lots of direct flights between Calgary to Houston, leaving us a short drive to Galveston.  It looks like there are some nice hotels in Galveston so it may be better than Port Canaveral, where hotel availability was limited and we stayed in Orlando pre/post cruise. I am not sure about sailing on Allure without the amplification (after sailing on Oasis in a star loft suite) but I am keeping an open mind. Would be looking to book a star loft suite on Allure. Thoughts??? 

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I would make sure you read through all 11 pages of @Galveston Steve's All Things Galveston post as it may have some suggestions about staying in Houston vs. Galveston.  It seems to be a similar situation to the Orlando vs. Port Canaveral.  I've never sailed out of Galveston but I know certain busy times of the year some hotels will require a multiple-night stay so that's something to consider.  

 

 

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Galveston is typically a drive in port, and it is a long way from either Houston airport.  Bush Intercontinental (IAH) is about 75 miles from the port.  William P. Hobby (HOU) is about 35 miles from the port.

As far as what to do and where to stay, there's a lot of different options.  Galveston has become a fairly nice place with lots of things to keep you busy for a few days. (it used to be pretty seedy back in the 80s and 90s, but it has improved). That said, the beach isn't anything like you'll see in the Caribbean.

Another option is to stay in Kemah. It's a tourist area near Johnson Space Center.  The port is an easy drive down SH 146 about 30 miles.

Lastly, I'd like to point out that Galveston is a ways from all of the Caribbean ports.  Therefore, you will have a seas day after leaving and before returning to Galveston.

Enjoy!

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7 minutes ago, steverk said:

Galveston is typically a drive in port, and it is a long way from either Houston airport.  Bush Intercontinental (IAH) is about 75 miles from the port.  William P. Hobby (HOU) is about 35 miles from the port.

This has always been the biggest deterrent for me to sail out of Galveston.  That, and reports of fog delays (I don't remember what times of the year that happens the most) make it too risky for me especially during spring break when I have to be back at work on a Monday.

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7 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

This has always been the biggest deterrent for me to sail out of Galveston.  That, and reports of fog delays (I don't remember what times of the year that happens the most) make it too risky for me especially during spring break when I have to be back at work on a Monday.

Fog isn't that big of a factor in Galveston.  Between November and March, there will probably be about 5-10 days with fog, which will usually burn off by 9am or so. Odds of it affecting your trip are pretty small.

Another weather issue is torrential rain. Houston/Galveston get a 10 inch event every year or so and a 20+ inch event every decade or so. That kind of rain will make driving to the island...interesting!

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Fog is only really a problem in February-ish. Some years it's bad, like 2020, this year we had like 1 foggy day. 

If you can go into Hobby - do it. IAH is WAAAAAYYY north, and to the port will be like 1.25-1.5 hours with no traffic. With traffic, whoa-nelly - no thanks!) 35 minutes from Hobby airport is actually not that bad. Lots of hotels between the airport and the port, nicer in the Clear Lake area, so can definitely stay cheaper, but will need an Uber or taxi to get you there, which could negate the savings. We live near Johnson Space Center, and it is literally 35 minutes from door to terminal. When we cruise with family from out of town, we stay with them at the Harbor House hotel, where we can park our car and walk over to the terminal if we're feeling spritely. Last time we loaded up the bags in the car, dropped them off, came back and parked, and walked over, about a 10 minute walk. It wasn't bad at all (and to be honest, the exercise was probably needed before cruise calories set in). If it's just us, we have someone drop us off or take an uber. 

Lots to do in the Galveston area, or, spend a day at the Space Center, which is pretty cool (I am not biased at all... being a member of the ISS Flight Control team and all...) There is a fantastic Children's Museum in the basement of the Bishop's Palace. Last year, while waiting for boarding, we sent all the kids and a few adults down there to burn some time. It's cheap too, like $7 or something. There is also a cool Pirate museum within walking distance of the port. I had no idea Galveston had pirates back in the day. There is a great brewery on the island (Galveston Brewing - try the Tiki Wheat). Moody Gardens is way over priced, but the Palm Beach water park is okay in the summer, and the Aquarium is cool. Have never been to the Schlitterbahn, but I hear that is good too. Pleasure Pier is a nice place to spend an evening, and lots of great restaurants along the Seawall and the Strand. 

Sailing in winter months can be some pretty rough waters on the way out, but I would think that would be the case for lots of places. 

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I got stuck in fog the one cruise I took from Galveston December 26, 2018. We couldn’t get on the ship as the harbour was closed, finally saw the ship come in around 2pm, then it needed to off load everyone and let us on. Worst terminal I’ve ever seen, no air conditioning, no water and I was waiting once told to board for 3 hours. There was no priority lines or anything, I hope the new terminal fixes the terminal issues. We still did not leave until the next day around noon as it was too foggy. Texas has weird liquor laws so very little choice is a available until you are at sea. I would cruise from Galveston again and am looking at a March 2023 one. 

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13 minutes ago, Kelslovestocruise said:

I got stuck in fog the one cruise I took from Galveston December 26, 2018. We couldn’t get on the ship as the harbour was closed, finally saw the ship come in around 2pm, then it needed to off load everyone and let us on. Worst terminal I’ve ever seen, no air conditioning, no water and I was waiting once told to board for 3 hours. There was no priority lines or anything, I hope the new terminal fixes the terminal issues. We still did not leave until the next day around noon as it was too foggy. Texas has weird liquor laws so very little choice is a available until you are at sea. I would cruise from Galveston again and am looking at a March 2023 one. 

I cruised in March 2019 out of Galveston.  There IS air conditioning (it must have been broken the day you were there 😅). Sorry you had such a bad go of it.  When I was there in March there were priority lines for those in Star class and those with Crown & Anchor membership. 

By March 2023 though, the beautiful new terminal should be finished, so it should be lovely.

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2 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

This has always been the biggest deterrent for me to sail out of Galveston.  That, and reports of fog delays (I don't remember what times of the year that happens the most) make it too risky for me especially during spring break when I have to be back at work on a Monday.

I recall hearing about cruise related fog delays in the gulf. It totally slipped my mind until you mentioned it.  It sounds like fog may not be an issue in April but a possibility in December. 

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18 minutes ago, Jax said:

I recall hearing about cruise related fog delays in the gulf. It totally slipped my mind until you mentioned it.  It sounds like fog may not be an issue in April but a possibility in December. 

For me, having to work on a Monday, a fog delay would be the worst possible news. A chance that I wouldn’t want to take. But other than that, I just don’t like how far the port seems from the airport. 

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Like has been said they have AC. Went through in October 2019 and no issues with fog at all either. The terminal isn't brand new but they did have a priority line though I wasn't in it. Showed up at the port parking lot around 11:00 am and was out of the terminal by 12:30 which included the ride over and waiting in line for bags getting checked and then checking in as my travel companion had not been able to do so ahead of time. Waited the longest to go through the security though that was moving fairly well and with the new scheduled check in I am guessing that will be even faster. 

 

I do have to agree that it is much more of a drive to port but there are ways to get there after flying but for me driving down and parking is a better option. 

 

Getting off the ship afterwards is very fast if you choose to take your own luggage down. Customs took about 30 minutes including waiting in line once we were of the ship but other things delayed disembarking from the ship itself on that run. 

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Feb 2020, beautiful day at 1:40pm, by 4:40pm the fog rolled in.  I was worried we weren’t going to get out of port.  Next morning at sea it was still foggy.  They blasted the fog horn every 5 mins or so.  It cleared up after a few hours and then it was sunny for the rest of the cruise!

Fog is hit or miss in Feb and March.  We live North of IAH and it is exactly a 1 hour and 15 min drive for us.  
 

We will miss Liberty, but are super excited for the arrival of Allure!!!

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3 hours ago, emmef said:

I cruised in March 2019 out of Galveston.  There IS air conditioning (it must have been broken the day you were there 😅). Sorry you had such a bad go of it.  When I was there in March there were priority lines for those in Star class and those with Crown & Anchor membership. 

By March 2023 though, the beautiful new terminal should be finished, so it should be lovely.

I’m glad for the new terminal coming. I saw a lady pass out near me in line it was crazy! It was just all the things piled up that made it a crazy embarkation. 

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