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Galveston cruise port: A guide to cruising from Texas

The Port of Galveston is the fourth-most-popular cruise home port in the U.S., having hosted 1.49 million cruise passengers in 2023.

While that’s still a small number compared to the Florida ports (Miami, Port Canaveral near Orlando and Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades), the Port of Galveston continues to grow. The ships are getting bigger, cruise lines are expanding the itineraries they offer from Galveston and, in 2025, MSC Cruises will begin homeporting in Galveston with the introduction of year-round sailings on MSC Seascape. The total number of ship calls on the port’s 2024 calendar is 388.

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Most cruises from Galveston visit the Western Caribbean destinations of Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Belize; Jamaica; and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. However, you can find other options; for example, Carnival Cruise Line offers longer sailings (up to 14 nights) that include Eastern and Southern Caribbean ports.

Galveston itself is a beach destination worth spending time in either pre- or post-cruise, with a variety of hotel choices ranging from economy to luxury to historic. Families can find plenty to enjoy, and adults can enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife.

Galveston cruise port overview

Port of Galveston cruise terminal information


Terminals 25 and 28: 2502 Harborside Dr., Galveston, Texas 77550

Terminal 10: 1028 Harborside Dr., Galveston, Texas 77550

Terminal 16: 1401 Harborside Dr., Galveston, Texas 77550 (tentative address)

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Number of terminals: Four (as of 2025)

Cruise lines sailing from the Port of Galveston

Disney Magic sailing into Galveston. MATT STROSHANE/DISNEY CRUISE LINE

Terminal 10

Royal Caribbean bases three ships here, offering a mix of eight-night Bahamas cruises, which visit Perfect Day at CocoCay, and four- to eight-night cruises primarily in the Western Caribbean.

Terminal 16 (opening in November 2025)

MSC Cruises will base MSC Seascape year-round at a new terminal in Galveston. The ship will sail to the Western Caribbean, visiting Cozumel, Roatan and Mexico’s Costa Maya.

Terminals 25 and 28

Multiple cruise lines share terminals 25 and 28. Carnival rotates a fleet of four ships year-round in Galveston, including the line’s Texas flagship, Carnival Jubilee. The fleet offers four- to 14-night cruises throughout Mexico, the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

Princess Cruises sails seasonally from Galveston, offering four- to 11-night cruises in the Caribbean and Bahamas.

Norwegian Cruise Line rotates a variety of ships seasonally through the Port of Galveston, offering seven- to 14-night sailings throughout the Caribbean, including visits to the line’s private island, Harvest Caye, in Belize. Norwegian also sometimes offers one-way cruises from Galveston on point-to-point sailings to other destinations like Central and South America.

Disney Magic runs seasonally from Galveston, offering four- to six-night Western Caribbean itineraries.

You can find full calendars for the port on its website.

Closest airports to the Galveston cruise port

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is in north Houston, approximately 71 miles from the Port of Galveston. Airlines that fly to IAH include United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Spirit Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Alaska Airlines. Delta fans can save with the airline’s annual companion certificate via its American Express-branded credit cards.

IAH is a United hub, with airline-branded lounges in four of the five terminals, including a Polaris Lounge in Terminal E. Terminal D at IAH features an Amex Centurion Lounge with access for holders of The Platinum Card® from American Express.

William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) is a bit closer to the port (41 miles) but is served by fewer airlines. Look for flights on Southwest Airlines, Jet Blue, American and Delta. Southwest offers the opportunity to fly two-for-one with the Southwest Companion Pass.

Houston Hobby lacks luxury lounges, but does have a Gameway gaming lounge, with access available to Priority Pass members via a selection of credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.

How to get to the Port of Galveston

Port of Galveston cruise terminal. YI-CHIN LEE/HOUSTON CHRONICLE/GETTY IMAGES

Cruisers have multiple options for getting to the Port of Galveston, including:


The port of Galveston is on a coastal barrier island south of the city of Houston. The main highway into Galveston is Interstate Highway 45. It is possible to arrive from the east using the Port Bolivar car ferry, but the potential for ferry delays often outweighs the extra driving time it takes to go around the bay to reach the I-45 bridge.

Car rentals between IAH or HOU and Galveston

Currently, only Enterprise offers rental drop-offs in Galveston. With one-way fees and fuel, a midsize car or SUV could cost $200 for an overnight rental. This option gains value if your travel group has plans for exploring a bit pre- or post-cruise. You’ll still need transportation from the Enterprise facility to the port, a distance of roughly 3 1/2 miles.

Cruise line airport transfers

You can travel from either Houston airport to the Port of Galveston on embarkation day via transfers prepurchased from the cruise lines. These are usually offered to passengers who buy air through the cruise line, but even those who book independently can call to make the purchase.

Carnival has instructions online for booking transfers from Houston airports, including flight timing restrictions. The cost is currently $58.99 per person from IAH and $41.99 per person from HOU. Return transfers would be similarly priced.

Related: Should I book my flight through my cruise line?

Independent airport shuttles from Houston airports to the cruise port

Local companies operate shuttle services between both Houston airports and Galveston, either to the cruise port or to a Galveston hotel. Galveston Express has shared van rides starting at $40 per person each way.

Independent van/car services

Multiple companies offer private car service from the airports to either the pier or a Galveston hotel. SuperShuttle offers private car service to the port starting at $80 per person. Blacklane offers chauffeured car service, averaging around $200 from either airport to the port, for up to three people and two bags. A larger Mercedes van for up to five passengers will cost around $250.

Hotel shuttles

Roughly half of the hotels located in Galveston offer free shuttles to the cruise pier. Hotels outside of Galveston rarely provide shuttles to the port.

Taxis and ride-hailing services

Getting from a Galveston hotel to the port via ride-hailing service, such as Uber or Lyft, is possible, but not always your best choice. Galveston is a relatively small island and when two or more ships are departing on the same day, extended wait times for pickups at your hotel can cause delays and surge pricing can make the trip more expensive than you anticipated.

Taxis and ride-hailing services are available at both Houston airports. Taxis are metered, with fares averaging $165 from IAH. For ride-hailing services, follow signs and use your apps for directions to pickup points. We checked a prebooked Uber from IAH and were shown a starting fare of $98.

Related: Frequent Uber or Lyft user? These are the best credit cards for you

Public transportation

Galveston does not offer public transportation to the cruise port. The Galveston Island Trolley has bus and rail lines that are ideal for traveling between pre- or post-cruise hotels and on-island attractions, but it stops short of the port.

Port of Galveston parking


Galveston cruise passengers often drive to the port, so parking options abound. These include both official Port of Galveston parking and private lots. For guests not staying in a Galveston hotel, private parking lots are the cheapest option. If your plan includes a hotel stay and your hotel offers a parking package, it is almost guaranteed to be at a lower price than the lots closer to the port. Reservations made well in advance are recommended for all parking options.

On-site parking

Parking for terminals 25 and 28 is a bit spread out. Some lots have shuttle service, others are walking access only. The walk can be as far as two blocks. You can choose from covered and uncovered options, with prices ranging from $22 to $26.

Parking at the newer Royal Caribbean Terminal 10 includes shuttle services for all lots. All parking at Terminal 10 is uncovered. The price per day is $22 to $25.

Private parking facilities

Private parking options near the terminals include indoor and covered parking, all with shuttles. Some service only terminals 25 and 28, while others will also service Terminal 10. If the reservation form doesn’t list your cruise ship or sailing date, it means that lot doesn’t serve the terminal you need.

Prices are competitive and usually lower than official port parking. For example, Lighthouse Parking beats the terminal’s official parking lots, offering covered parking for around $20 per day, with shuttle service to all terminals.

Some, like Galveston Park N Cruise, offer discounts for prepaying. That lot only serves terminals 25 and 28 (Carnival and Princess) and does not provide a shuttle because it’s across the street from the terminal. Prepaid rates for indoor parking are as low as $18.50 per day for a seven-night cruise.


If you plan an overnight stay in Galveston, the cheapest parking option is a hotel with a parking package. Many Galveston hotels offer cruise parking to guests who stay either before or after a cruise. Some offer parking free of charge; most charge a fee for leaving your car behind. The best scenario is a hotel with both a parking option and a shuttle to the port.

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Hotels near the Galveston cruise port

Hyatt Regency Baytown. HYATT

Hotels are abundant in Galveston, all of them 10 miles or less from the port. Because this is both a small port town and a vacation destination, rates and room availability fluctuate widely. Whether you need a one-night stay as close as possible to the port or are looking for a longer stay to fully explore this charming beach town, here are some of the many choices to consider.

Hilton hotels near the Port of Galveston

For a quick overnight before your cruise, the DoubleTree is a good choice (32,000 to 168,000 Hilton Honors points per night). It has a pool and free Wi-Fi and is across the street from the beach. It also offers parking package options.

For a more resort-style stay, consider the Hilton Galveston Island Resort (32,000 to 338,000 Hilton Honors points per night). It’s within walking distance of the beach and offers parking and shuttle packages.

Related: Best Hilton credit cards

Marriott hotels near the Port of Galveston

For an affordable stay with beach access, check out the Courtyard Galveston Island (30,000 to 59,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night). You can dine at its on-site restaurant or venture out — either by foot or via the island’s trolley — to sample the island’s renowned seafood. Wi-Fi is free for Bonvoy members.

The Grand Galvez, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, is the city’s signature hotel. First opened in 1911 as the Hotel Galvez, it is the only historic beachfront hotel on the entire Texas coast. A stay here (from 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night) is a grand way to start a cruise vacation.

For a hotel even closer to the pier and the city’s famed downtown strand, the Tremont House is a luxury option from the Tribute Portfolio (from 55,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night). Its Blum & Co. bistro and wine bar is open all day and well into the evening for those arriving from late flights into Houston. The hotel has park-and-sail packages as well as transportation to the terminal.

Related: Best Marriott credit cards

Hyatt hotels near the Port of Galveston

The nearest Hyatt is the Hyatt Regency Baytown, a Category 3 hotel (from 9,000 World of Hyatt points per night). It’s an hour’s drive from the port, situated not far from Space Center Houston and the Kemah Boardwalk, if those are on your to-do list pre- or post-cruise.

Related: Why the World of Hyatt card is one of the best credit cards

Non-points hotels near the Port of Galveston

A stay at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center is a whopper of a family-friendly choice. Besides the aquarium, rainforest and discovery museum on-site, the property boasts a beachy water park and lazy river, and a paddlewheel boat offering dinner cruises. The hotel offers cruise parking and a cruise shuttle for a fee.

Leaving the kids behind? The San Luis Resort, Spa and Conference Center is family-friendly, but its lack of attractions for children (other than a pool) means fewer children will likely be on the property. That makes it ideal for a couples or singles escape. The resort has ocean-view rooms and suites, four restaurants and a luxury spa to kick off (or finish off) your cruise.

Restaurants near Galveston cruise port

The food scene in Galveston includes everything from baskets of fish and chips done Texas style (which means it’s probably wrapped in bacon and served with jalapenos) to elegant chop houses and seafood establishments. Choices line Seawall Boulevard and extend to the Strand Historic District and the Pier 21 tourist area.

Seafood is the predominant option, but it’s also possible to sample barbecue and Tex-Mex.

Related: The best credit cards for dining

Things to do in and around Galveston before or after your cruise

Rides on the pier in Galveston, Texas. HALBERGMAN/GETTY IMAGES

The beach is the No. 1 reason people visit Galveston. It stretches for 32 miles (more than 10 miles protected by a seawall and promenade) and is dotted with fishing piers, overwater souvenir shops and the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park. The best part is that almost anything you need in Galveston is across the street from the beach, including most of the hotels and restaurants.

The bar scene along the seawall has plenty to offer, from rooftop outdoor seating at Pelican and the Shark at the 61st Street Fishing Pier to the famous Poop Deck facing the beach. The Strand has its own concentration of bars, from classy wine bars to genuine dive bars.

Beyond the beach, look for a Texas original water park — Schlitterbahn and Moody Gardens. Kids and adults both can delight in the three Moody Gardens pyramids. One’s an aquarium featuring penguins, seals and a coral reef lab. Another is a rainforest, home to over 1,700 exotic plants and endangered animals, including free-roaming sloths and birds that fly between the trees as you walk the trails below the canopy. The third pyramid is a discovery museum with rotating exhibits. Expect animal encounters and hands-on “edutainment” at all three.

Shopping near the Port of Galveston

For last-minute cruise clothes, swing by the Tanger Outlets on I-45, approximately 20 miles north of Galveston in Texas City. As luck would have it, there’s a Buc-ees right next door. Besides the clean bathrooms, you’ll find Texas souvenirs, out-of-the-ordinary snacks, drinks and even decent barbecue packed into a supersize gas station and roadside palooza.

You won’t have trouble finding Galveston’s Walmart and Target if you’re looking to purchase last-minute snacks, sundries, bottled water, soda or wine to carry on board (where allowed).

Hot spots for beachwear, hats, sunglasses and souvenirs specific to Galveston are Dolphin World and the Mermaid Pier.

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