Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal Port Guide

Located in the heart of Galveston, Texas, the Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal (also called Galveston Cruise Port) on Galveston Island is the gateway to exciting Caribbean cruises and beyond.

Cruises from Galveston are offered year-round and the most frequented ports of call are the Bahamas, Costa Maya or Cozumel in Mexico, Western Caribbean and Central America.

This article will help you to learn more about the Galveston Cruise Port and Terminals plus a handy guide to Galveston to help you make the most of your cruise experience.

Entrance to Galveston Island Pleasure Pier, not far from Galveston Cruise Terminal.
Photo by David Olivares

Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal: How to Get There

To reach the Galveston Cruise Terminal, one can utilize several transportation options. If arriving by air, the closest major airport is William P. Hobby Airport in Houston (HOU), approximately 42 miles away.

From there, renting a car or utilizing shuttle services are convenient choices. Additionally, George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston is another option, situated about 70 miles from Galveston.

Parking at Galveston Cruise Port

For those driving to the port, the official Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal parking facility offers safe and secure parking options. The cost for parking varies but generally ranges from $15 to $20 per day. You should check the current rates before you arrive for your cruise.

You can also reserve and pre-pay for your parking space at the on-site parking lot and structure. This is probably an excellent idea, especially as more of the really big ships move into Galveston.

The Port of Galveston cruise facility is the only one located on port property.

Norwegian Prima at Great Stirrup Cay.
Norwegian Prima at Great Stirrup Cay. Photo: Sherry Laskin / Cruise Maven

Hotels in Galveston with Shuttle to Cruise Port

We always suggest that you arrive at least one day before your cruise. After all, this being Galveston, there’s so much to see and do.

Even though many of Galveston’s hotels offer free parking for cruise passengers, not all offer shuttle service.

To make this an easy decision, here are several hotels near the Galveston Cruise Terminal with shuttles to and from the port.

  1. Harbor House Hotel & Marina at Pier 21
    Location: 28 Pier 21, Galveston, TX 77550
    Check with hotel for shuttle reservations.
  2. The Tremont House
    Location: 2300 Ships Mechanic Row, Galveston, TX 77550
    Confirm shuttle reservations with hotel.
  3. San Luis Resort
    5222 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 7755
    Check with the hotel regarding shuttle options.
  4. Homewood Suites by Hilton
    110 Seawall Blvd. Galveston, TX 77550
    Always confirm with hotel for shuttle reservations.

Worth a visit, the historic Grand Galves is a huge part of Galveston’s past. Though this beachfront hotel does not offer shuttle service to the port, they do offer 1 1/2 hour ghost tours through this 1911 haunted hotel!

Family-Friendly Activities in Galveston

If you have time either before or after your cruise, add a couple of days to explore Galveston’s family-friendly attractions. Here are some of the top things to see and do.

1. Moody Gardens

Location: 1 Hope Blvd, Galveston, TX 77554

Moody Gardens is a captivating entertainment complex that seamlessly blends education with recreation. The Rainforest Pyramid immerses visitors in a lush and diverse environment, featuring exotic plants, free-roaming wildlife, and even an interactive canopy walk.

The Aquarium Pyramid showcases marine life from the Gulf of Mexico and beyond, with fascinating exhibits and touch tanks. For families, the Discovery Pyramid offers hands-on exhibits exploring science and technology.

Admission prices vary, with combination tickets available for access to multiple attractions.

2. Pleasure Pier

Location: 2501 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550

Stepping onto Pleasure Pier feels like a journey back in time to the golden era of amusement parks.

Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, this historic waterfront attraction boasts a variety of thrilling rides, including a roller coaster that extends over the water, classic carousel, and a towering Ferris wheel.

Families can enjoy classic arcade games, indulge in delicious carnival treats, and take in stunning coastal views. Entry to the pier is free, with individual ride tickets or unlimited ride passes available for purchase.

3. Schlitterbahn Waterpark

Location: 2026 Lockheed St, Galveston, TX 77554

Schlitterbahn Waterpark offers a splashing good time for families seeking aquatic adventures. This expansive waterpark features an array of water attractions, including thrilling water slides, lazy rivers for a leisurely float, and wave pools for added excitement.

With areas designed for various age groups, from toddlers to teens, Schlitterbahn ensures a day filled with family fun. Admission prices vary, with discounts often available for online purchases and group bookings.

4. Galveston Island State Park

Location: 14901 FM3005, Galveston, TX 77554

Nature enthusiasts will find solace at Galveston Island State Park, where the Texas Gulf Coast’s beauty takes center stage. Families can explore hiking trails that wind through coastal landscapes, providing opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observation.

The park’s fishing areas and kayak launches invite outdoor enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. While entry fees apply per vehicle, the experiences offered, including ranger-led programs, make it a worthwhile investment for a day of outdoor enjoyment.

Discover Galveston Island – A Coastal Gem

A Brief History:

Galveston, located on Galveston Island along the Texas Gulf Coast, has a rich history that dates back to its establishment in the early 19th century.

Founded by French pirate and privateer Jean Lafitte, the city quickly grew into a prominent port, earning the nickname “The Wall Street of the South.” Galveston became the principal port for the Republic of Texas and a bustling center for trade, attracting immigrants, businesses, and cultural influences.

One of the most defining moments in Galveston’s history was the devastating Hurricane of 1900, the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history. In response, the city constructed the Galveston Seawall and raised the island’s elevation, fortifying it against future storms.

Today, Galveston stands as a testament to resilience, blending its historic charm with modern attractions.


The Strand Historic District

A National Historic Landmark, The Strand is a downtown district featuring Victorian-era architecture, boutiques, galleries, and vibrant nightlife.

Visitors can explore historic buildings, dine at waterfront restaurants, and shop for unique souvenirs.

Galveston Seawall

Stretching for 10 miles along the Gulf of Mexico, the Galveston Seawall is an iconic structure built after the 1900 hurricane. It provides stunning ocean views, a bustling promenade, and a protective barrier against storm surges.

Bishop’s Palace (Gresham House)

Also known as Gresham House, this Victorian mansion is a marvel of architecture. Built in 1892, it features intricate detailing, stained glass windows, and is recognized as one of the country’s most significant Victorian residences.

Galveston Railroad Museum

Housed in the historic Union Depot, the Galveston Railroad Museum showcases the island’s railroading history. Visitors can explore vintage train cars, locomotives, and interactive exhibits.

The Grand 1894 Opera House

A historic performing arts venue, The Grand Opera House has been entertaining audiences since 1894. With its ornate design and impeccable acoustics, it hosts a variety of performances, from Broadway shows to concerts.


Stewart Beach

A family-friendly destination, Stewart Beach offers a wide expanse of sandy shores, lifeguard stations, and amenities like volleyball courts and a pavilion. It’s an ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, and building sandcastles.

East Beach

Known for its lively atmosphere and frequent events, East Beach is a popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike. With live music, festivals, and a vibrant nightlife scene, it’s a dynamic beach experience.

Seawolf Park Beach

Located near the Galveston Ship Channel, Seawolf Park Beach provides scenic views of passing ships and access to fishing piers. The park also features military exhibits, making it a unique blend of history and recreation.

Taking a few days before or after your cruise from the Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal reveals the city’s allure. Not only in its historical significance but also in its diverse attractions, lively beaches, and resilient spirit.

Whether strolling through historic districts, enjoying cultural landmarks, or relaxing by the seaside, visitors are sure to find a delightful mix of past and present in this charming coastal city. And the cruise port is so easy to navigate from parking to terminal to ship!


Do I need a U.S. passport to cruise to Mexico from Galveston?

If you are a U.S. citizen and your cruise begins and ends at the same U.S. port (in this case Galveston) then a U.S. government-issued I.D. and a state-issued birth certificate with a raised seal is acceptable on these “closed-loop” cruises.

What cruise lines depart from Galveston?

Carnival, Disney, MSC (soon), Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean. Currently, there are a total of 13 ships and then 14 when MSC Seascape moves to Galveston year-round.

How many cruise terminals are at Galveston Cruise Port

There are two cruise terminals at the port of Galveston.

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