Royal Caribbean adding facial recognition to new Galveston cruise terminal


Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal that it is building at the Port of Galveston will include facial recognition technology that is aimed at speeding up the process of getting guests in and out of the terminal.

At a meeting of the Port Directors for the Port of Galveston in December 2018, it was mentioned that Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal will feature facial recognition technology.

"If you see what many made remarks made about Galveston, it is the traffic coming in, and then it is waiting in line to go through terminals... With the new cruise terminal that Royal Caribbean is building, it will be facial recognition software there so when you come into that terminal, you are going to have software recognition. The computers will see your face and recognize who you are, and they are going to know you are a paid customer on the cruise line, and then they are going to shuttle you right on through. And I think Michael Bayley said it was an hour less."

Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development and operation of a new cruise terminal. The new state-of-the-art facility is anticipated to open in Fall 2021.

Royal Caribbean announces plans to develop new Galveston cruise terminal


Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston announced they have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the development and operation of a new cruise terminal.

The new terminal will cover approximately 200,000 square feet on ten acres of land in the southeast section of the Port known as Pier 10. Improvements to the pier bulkhead and apron will be made to safely accommodate the cruise line’s largest vessels. In addition, a staging and loading area, bus and taxi staging areas and substantial parking will be constructed. The new state-of-the-art facility is anticipated to open in Fall 2021.

“Over the last 15 years, Royal Caribbean has brought over 2.4 million guests to Galveston driving an economic impact of $65 million each year. The development of a new terminal is crucial to our continued growth and expansion of the brand in the region,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “We look forward to continuing our outstanding relationship with the Port of Galveston and are excited about our plans for a state-of-the-art facility with a bold new design and technological advancements that will considerably enhance our guest experience.”

The long-term lease negotiations could lead to a 60-year transaction: a 20-year initial term and four 10-year options.

Port of Galveston reopens for return of Liberty of the Seas


The Port of Galveston announced the Captain of the Port has opened the Port of Galveston (Galveston Ship Channel) and surrounding area to all inbound/outbound vessels with a draft of 33ft or less in daylight only.

The re-opening of the port means cruise ships, like Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas, are able to dock there once again following the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Liberty of the Seas is on her way back to Galveston, and is due to arrive on Friday morning.    Royal Caribbean is expecting Liberty of the Seas' next sailing to take place on Sunday, September 3rd. 

Royal Caribbean recommends those traveling to Liberty of the Seas review the latest information on road conditions at the Texas Department of Transportation’s website.

Both of Houston's airports, George Bush International Airport and Hobby Airport, resumed operations with limited domestic airline passenger service yesterday afternoon.  Authorities at both airports are expecting to resume full service by this weekend.

Royal Caribbean's Chief Meteorologist, James Van Fleet is onboard Liberty of the Seas and will continue to monitor the situation in the Galveston/Houston area.

Royal Caribbean has a phone number open for guests that have questions about their upcoming Liberty of the Seas sailing, or if you are coping with significant storm impacts that affect your ability to get away for your cruise. The phone number is 1-800-256-6649.

Uber and Lyft return to Houston and Galveston markets


There is good news for cruise passengers that are looking for more options to get to the Port of Galveston from nearby airports.  A new Texas law will allow ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft to offer their services to the Houston market.

Uber and Lyft and the primary competitors in this space, and Lyft has already indicated it returned to Houston on May 31.  Uber has re-opened operations in Galveston on May 29. 

Uber had left the Galveston market in 2016 following city ride share ordinances. Lyft pulled out of Houston market in 2014 after similar local laws created a problem for their operations.

Lyft made its return to Houston on May 31.

According to Galveston Cruise Tips, estimated fares for Uber and Lyft are $42-56 from Houston Hobby to the cruise port each way. The estimated cost is $73-96 for a ride from Bush Intercontinental to the Galveston port. It is important to remember the cost is per car, not per passenger.

Readers can sign up for Lyft and receive a free ride credit by using this special link.  Please note that we receive a small commission for new sign-ups from links on this website.

Royal Caribbean adds more Vision of the Seas sailings from Galveston through April 2018


Royal Caribbean has added even more Vision of the Seas sailings from Galveston, Texas, with guests now able to book sailings through April 2018.

Royal Caribbean announced initial Vision of the Seas sailings for November and December 2017, but has now expanded those offerings to extend through April 2018.

Vision of the Seas will offer 4- and 5-night itineraries to destinations in the Western Caribbean, such as Costa Maya and Cozumel.

Vision of the Seas is the second Royal Caribbean ship offering cruises from Galveston, joining Liberty of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean adds Vision of the Seas sailings from Galveston in 2017


Royal Caribbean added some new Vision of the Seas sailings in 2017, from Galveston, Texas.

The new sailings are available for booking now, and include 4- and 5-night cruises to destinations in Mexico.

Sailing dates begin on November 6, 2017 and extend through the end of December.

Galveston cruise terminal expansion delayed and over budget


Renovatins to the Galveston cruise terminal are running behind schedule, which means by the time Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas arrives in November, the terminal will still be under construction.

The Houston Chronicle reports the terminal expansion was originally planned to be completed back in May, but construction roadblocks and an archeological dig for a 19th century Texas Navy ship have increased costs and delayed work.

The port of Galveston is working to add 92 feet to the 1,000-foot-long berth and build a new passenger check-in, luggage screening and waiting area.

Royal Caribbean struck a five-year deal with Galveston last year to bring a larger ship to the port on the condition that the port expand the terminal.  Liberty of the Seas will replace Navigator of the Seas, and bring with her, an extra 500 more passengers. 

Port Director Michael Mierzwa said, "We're incurring some additional expenses, but it's not Royal Caribbean's fault, it's our fault."

In the interim, the port's board of trustrees approved a plan to add an air-conditioned tent, portable restrooms and additional seating - until the second building is complete.

Insider's Tips On Getting from Houston to the Galveston Port


One of the biggest issues cruising Royal Caribbean from Galveston is simply getting from Houston's airports to the cruise port. To help readers out, we've asked an expert -- our friend from -- to share some details on what travelers should know about getting to and from the port.

Let's put it up front: Unless you have a really good friend in Houston, there just isn't a cheap way for cruisers to get to Galveston from the airports. Every option is going to cost at least $150 round trip (for two passengers) and take at least an hour.

You can save some money, however, if you pick the appropriate mode of transportation for the number of people in your group. We usually suggest one of three ways: a cruise line shuttle, an independent shuttle, or a private car service.

Cruise lines shuttles offer the most convenience. You can buy a ticket when you book your cruise and don't have to get a ride from a third party. However, you will pay for that convenience.

Royal Caribbean charges $77 round trip per person from Hobby and $92 per person from Bush Intercontinental (IAH). If you're traveling solo or as a couple, you aren't likely to beat these prices. Larger groups, however, may wish to find a cheaper option.

A number of independent shuttles have popped up in recent years, usually offering a less expensive way to the port if traveling with a larger group. These shuttles almost always charge a higher cost for the first passenger, but a much smaller fee for each additional person.

For example, Cool Tours in Galveston offers a shuttle from Hobby Airport for $180 round trip for the first passenger, but only $30 for another rider. If you're traveling in a large group, the savings per person add up quickly.

Finally, there are a number of private car services that can provide a ride. A quick Google search will bring up dozens of options. Prices can range from $150 to several hundred dollars, depending on which you go with and what sort of car you'd like to pick you up.

One tip -- be sure to always get an "out the door" price on the car service before you book so there are no surprises. We suggest private car services for those wanting a little more privacy and comfort than riding in a shuttle van or charter bus.

As we said, no matter how you plan to get there, expect to pay a decent sum to get to your cruise. We have more details about all your options for getting from the Houston airports to the Galveston port (including taxis, car rentals, and ride-share services) on


Royal Caribbean announces New York and Galveston deployments for 2015-2016


Royal Caribbean announced today its plans for cruise ships sailing out of Galveston, Texas and the New York area.  

Royal Caribbean re-confirmed Liberty of the Seas will sail out of Cape Liberty in summer 2015 as well as confirming that Navigator of the Seas will remain in Galveston, Texas to offer seven-night cruises throughout summer 2015.

By winter 2015-2016, Anthem of the Seas will replace Liberty of the Seas in offering cruises out of Cape Liberty.  In turn, Liberty of the Seas will head to Galveston to offer weekly Caribbean cruises there.  Finally, Navigator of the Seas will sail six- and eight-night Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale.

Brilliance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas will return to Tampa in winter 2015-16.

Liberty of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas’ 2015-16 cruise seasons are now open for booking.

Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members have the exclusive privilege to book Anthem of the Seas’ winter 2015-16 season starting April 25, 2014, in advance of the general opening to the public on April 29. 

Oil spill in Galveston delays Navigator of the Seas


A 160,000 gallon oil spill near Galveston, Texas is delaying cruise ships coming and going to the cruise port, including Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas.

The collision between a barge and another vessel Saturday near the Texas City Dike spilled 160,000 gallons of heavy oil into Galveston Bay and has forced the U.S. Coast Guard to close the Houston Ship Channel.

Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas was scheduled to arrive early this morning and let off its passengers while allowing new ones to board but it remains stuck outside the harbor.  

Passenger Jonathan Spoon is aboard the ship and told the Galveston Daily News, "We are being told they are conducting a flyover to see if the ship can make its way into the port (of Galveston) without going through the oil.  There are lots of ships parked all around us. So far no problems on the boat."

He said Royal Caribbean reopened many of the ships restaurants and onboard activities to keep the passengers comfortable. 

Royal Caribbean has not commented on the situation yet, but is monitoring it.