Galveston, The Oleander City
Galveston is located on the eastern half of a barrier island about twenty five miles in length and two miles wide which runs parallel to the coast of Texas.
The Port of Galveston was founded in 1825 by the Congress of Mexico and stayed under Mexican control until the formation of the Texas Republic in 1836. In 1836 Michel Menard a native of Canada purchased 4,605 acres parcel of land on the island from the Austin Colony for $50,000 with the plan of constructing a city. The new development, planned on a grid design, soon prospered with the addition of warehouses, docks, stores, banks and residential houses.
But in 1900 a massive hurricane struck the island bringing a tidal surge that washed across the island, killing over 6000 people and destroying any buildings in the way. As a result of the hurricane the city constructed a concrete seawall with a protective beach to defend Galveston from any future storms.
Today Galveston has grown into a major city with an important commercial shipping port and a thriving tourist industry.
Galveston Cruise Ship Terminals
In the 1980s Sun Line’s Stella Solaris and Cunard’s Sagafjord homeported occasionally from Galveston offering Panama Canal and Caribbean cruises. It was not until 1990 when the first dedicated cruise ship building, the Texas cruise ship terminal, was inaugurated at the Mallory building next to Pier 25. It was renamed cruise terminal 1 in 2002.
In 1999 Carnival Cruises announced their plan to offer cruises from Galveston, and cruise terminal 1 was modernized in time for Carnival Celebration’s first sailing from the port in 2000.
Next in 2001 Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines signed a contract with the Port of Galveston to operate from the port. An unused warehouse was renovated to form cruise terminal 2, and a Royal Caribbean cruise ship was based at the new terminal from 2002.
Cruise Terminal 1
Cruise terminal 1 offers streamlined customs facilities, a large passenger embarkation and disembarkation floor and efficient baggage handling operations. Carnival and Princess Cruises operate cruise terminal 1. The terminal accesses a single cruise ship berth, about 2000 feet in length.
Cruise Terminal 2
Cruise terminal 2 offers fast security, efficient baggage facilities and a streamlined cruise passenger embarkation and disembarkation area. Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises utilize cruise terminal 2. The terminal accesses a single 2000 feet cruise ship berth.
Long-term secure parking is available for both terminals at two large parking lots. A free shuttle bus connects the parking areas and the terminals.
Cruises From Galveston
Galveston is an excellent base for a week long cruise visiting interesting ports in the Western Caribbean or the Bahamas. At the popular Western Caribbean ports you’ll see a wide fantastic variety of attractions - in Key West sample delicious Key Lime pie at the legendary Sloppy Joe’s, in Cozumel take an excursion to the mysterious Mayan ruins at Tulum, in Grand Cayman amble along the beautiful sands of fabulous 7 Mile Beach and in Belize enjoy ever-popular Cave Tubing.
Things To Do Near Galveston Cruise Port
Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum
The Ocean Star Drilling Rig and Museum boasts three floors of scale models and exhibits detailing the story of offshore oil and gas from geological exploration to oil production. See models of oil rigs, drilling equipment and underwater remotely-operated vehicles. The museum is open every day, and about an hour is needed to walk around the museum. The museum is moored at Galveston's Pier 19 at Harborside Drive.
Texas Seaport Museum
Visit the Texas Seaport Museum to tour the 1877 sailing ship Elissa, which worked as a merchant vessel for nearly 100 years. The ship made her first call to Galveston as long ago as 1883. The ship was rescued from near scrap at Piraeus port in Greece by the Galveston Historical Society in the late 1970s. The museum is positioned a short walk from the cruise port.
If you can only visit one of Galveston's architectural gems, many people would recommend superb Bishop's Palace. The house was designed by Nicholas Clayton, Galveston’s premier Victorian-era architect. Construction was finished in 1892. The house is flamboyantly furnished with many authentic items like rare wood paneling, colored stone fixtures and stained glass windows. Your trip to Bishops Palace will transform you back in time to Galveston’s golden age. The Bishop’s Palace is sited on Broadway Avenue at the southern edge of Galveston’s historic Strand/East End district.
Lively Stewart Beach Park boasts a wide stretch of off white sand on the Mexican Gulf side of Galveston island. During the summer season, the beach is swept free of debris on a regular basis, and patrolled by lifeguards. Go a short distance westwards from Stewart’s to walk along Galveston’s celebrated sea wall, which has helped enormously in protecting the island since its building following the 1900 storm. Stewart Beach Park can be found about a mile south east of the cruise terminals.
Anybody driving across the causeway to Galveston Island cannot miss the three massive pyramids of Moody Gardens rising up on the northern coast of the island. The Aquarium Pyramid, the biggest of the pyramids, is home to many species of creatures from all across the globe. The Rainforest Pyramid is alive with tropical animals reptiles, butterflies, birds and plants. The Discovery Pyramid focuses on science displays. Moody Gardens is located next to Galveston’s airport, about 2 miles away from the cruise port.
Getting To The Cruise Port
From the North and West
Follow Interstate 45 to Galveston Island. Take Exit 1C, the sign has a cruise ship outline. Continue along the Exit 1C feeder road then turn left onto Harborside Drive (Highway 275). Carry on for 4 1/2 miles to Kempner/22nd Street, make a left onto Kempner/22nd street to reach the cruise terminals.
From the East
Follow State Highway 87 West towards Galveston Island. Catch the Port Bolivar ferry. Leave the ferry on Highway 87/Ferry road. After a mile turn right onto Harborside Drive/Highway 275 Carry on for one mile then turn right onto Kempner/22nd street to reach the cruise terminals.
From George Bush International Airport (IAH) or Hobby Airport (HOU)
There is a complete lack of public transportation from the Houston airports to Galveston, so most vacationers departing on cruises from Galveston either catch a cruise line shuttle or rent a car.Cruise Port Map
(click on image for larger image)
Cruise Port Location(s)
@ googlemaps.com Galveston Cruise Port
Port of Galveston
Port Of Galveston
Current Marine Traffic
@ marinetraffic.com Galveston Marine Traffic