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Embarking on a cruise from Galveston, Texas? This comprehensive guide will help you plan your trip from the airport to selecting a hotel, transportation to the port, parking options, and things to do in the city before and after your cruise.

Arriving in Galveston


Galveston is served by two major airports: William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) and George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).

  • William P. Hobby Airport (HOU): Located about 40 miles from Galveston, this is the closest airport and typically the most convenient for cruisers. The drive from Hobby Airport to the cruise port takes approximately an hour.
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH): Located about 70 miles from Galveston, this airport is larger and offers more flight options. The drive from Bush Intercontinental to the port takes around 90 minutes.

Transportation Options from the Airport to Galveston

  • Shuttle Services: Many shuttle services operate between both airports and the Galveston cruise port. Companies like Galveston Limousine, SuperShuttle, and private shuttle services offer convenient and affordable options. Prices typically range from $30 to $50 per person.
  • Ride-Sharing Apps: Uber and Lyft are available at both airports. This option offers more flexibility and can be cost-effective, especially for groups. Expect to pay around $70-$100 from Hobby Airport and $100-$150 from Bush Intercontinental.
  • Car Rentals: Renting a car is a good option if you prefer flexibility. Both airports have multiple car rental companies. Remember that you’ll need to arrange parking in Galveston if you choose this option.
  • Private Transfers: For a more luxurious experience, consider booking a private transfer or limousine service. This option is pricier but offers comfort and convenience, especially for larger groups or those with a lot of luggage.

Selecting a Hotel in Galveston

As with every departure port, we highly recommend traveling to the city a day prior to your cruise. Galveston offers a variety of accommodations to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for luxury, convenience, or budget-friendly options, there are plenty of great hotel choices to help you ease into your vacation.

Luxury Hotels

  • The San Luis Resort: This beachfront property offers stunning views, luxury amenities, and top-notch service. It’s perfect for those looking to start their vacation in style.
  • Grand Galvez Resort: A historic hotel with modern amenities, Grand Galvez Resort offers a blend of classic elegance and contemporary comfort. It’s also close to many of the city’s attractions.

The San Luis Resort

Mid-Range Hotels

Budget-Friendly Hotels

Getting to the Port

Once you’ve settled in your hotel, getting to the cruise port is straightforward. Here are some transportation options:

  • Hotel Shuttles: Many hotels offer complimentary or low-cost shuttle services to the cruise port. Be sure to check with your hotel about availability and schedules.
  • Ride-Sharing Apps: Uber and Lyft are readily available in Galveston and provide a convenient way to get to the port.
  • Taxis: Taxis are also an option, though they can be more expensive than ride-sharing apps.
  • Public Transportation: The Island Transit operates buses in Galveston, but they may not be the most convenient option for getting to the cruise port with luggage.

Parking Options at the Galveston Cruise Port

If you’re driving to the port, you’ll need to arrange for parking. The Galveston cruise port offers several parking options to suit different needs and budgets.

  • Port of Galveston Parking: The official port parking offers both covered and uncovered options. Prices range from $85 to $115 for a seven-day cruise. The lots are secure, and shuttles run regularly to take you to and from the terminal.
  • EZ Cruise Parking: Located a short distance from the port, EZ Cruise Parking offers both covered and uncovered parking. Prices are competitive, and they provide free shuttle service to the terminal.
  • Lighthouse Parking: Another popular choice, Lighthouse Parking offers secure parking and complimentary shuttle service to the port. They also offer discounts for booking in advance.
  • Galveston Park N Cruise: This parking facility is within walking distance of the terminal, making it a convenient option. They offer indoor and outdoor parking and are known for their excellent customer service.

Things to Do in Galveston Before or After Your Cruise

Galveston is a vibrant city with plenty to see and do. Whether you have a few hours or a few days, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Historical Attractions

  • The Strand Historic District: This area is filled with Victorian-era buildings, shops, restaurants, and museums. It’s a great place to stroll, shop, and soak in the history.
  • The Bryan Museum: Home to one of the largest collections of Southwestern artifacts in the world, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of the region.
  • Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier: A fun destination for families, the Pleasure Pier offers rides, games, and dining right over the Gulf of Mexico.

Natural Attractions

  • Moody Gardens: This expansive complex features a rainforest pyramid, aquarium pyramid, 3D and 4D theaters, and more. It’s a must-visit for nature lovers and families.
  • Galveston Island State Park: Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, this state park offers hiking, bird watching, fishing, and beautiful beach views.
  • Seawolf Park: Located on Pelican Island, this park features a World War II submarine and destroyer, making it a great spot for history buffs and families.


Galveston boasts several beautiful beaches perfect for relaxing before or after your cruise. Some popular options include:

  • Stewart Beach: Known for its family-friendly atmosphere, Stewart Beach offers amenities like restrooms, showers, and chair rentals.
  • East Beach: A lively beach known for its festivals and events, East Beach is a great spot for those looking to enjoy some beachside fun.
  • Seawall Urban Park: Stretching over 10 miles, the Seawall offers plenty of space to walk, bike, and enjoy the ocean views.


Galveston has a diverse culinary scene with something for everyone. Here are a few must-try spots:

  • Gaido’s Seafood Restaurant: An institution since 1911, Gaido’s is known for its fresh seafood and waterfront views.
  • The Spot: A popular beachfront restaurant, The Spot offers burgers, seafood, and a fun, casual atmosphere.
  • Shrimp ‘N Stuff: A local favorite for over 40 years, this restaurant serves up delicious, no-frills seafood.

Tips for a Smooth Cruise Experience

  • Arrive Early: Aim to arrive in Galveston at least a day before your cruise. This gives you time to relax, explore the city, and avoid any last-minute travel issues.
  • Check Documentation: Ensure you have all necessary travel documents, including your passport, cruise tickets, and any required visas.
  • Pack Wisely: Remember to pack essentials in your carry-on, as it may take some time for your checked luggage to arrive in your cabin.
  • Stay Informed: Keep an eye on the weather and any updates from your cruise line.
  • Explore the Port: The Galveston cruise port itself has shops and dining options if you arrive early and want to grab a bite or do some last-minute shopping.

Embarking on a cruise from Galveston is a fantastic experience. With its convenient location, variety of accommodations, and wealth of activities, Galveston is the perfect starting point for your cruise adventure. Follow this guide to ensure a smooth, enjoyable trip from the airport to the port, and make the most of your time in this charming coastal city.

Bon voyage!

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