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CRUISE control



In a rush to outdo themselves, cruise lines sailing from Galveston offer amazing attractions. The whole family is welcome on these mega-resorts, but those looking for tranquility may find paradise on quieter, more luxurious ships. We have a few tips on choosing your cruise by showing you the options offered for thrill-seekers, spa loungers, and lots more.


Over a million people sail from Galveston yearly, and some reports show bookings up 500% in recent years. With strong demand from customers looking to sail around the Caribbean, there are plans to add a fourth port, costing the city $142 million. The dock site built in partnership with MSC Cruises will allow the company’s Seascape (sailing in November 2025) to join Norwegian, Princess, Disney, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean in boarding passengers from the former pirate haven island. Once complete, the construction will boost Galveston’s ranking to the eighth spot in a list of the largest cruise ports in the world.


The largest ship in its fleet, Carnival Cruise Line’s Jubilee celebrated its maiden voyage just last year, and the line has a sister ship under construction now, with a 2027 projected delivery date. Jubilee accommodates 6,500 revelers with access to the world’s first roller coaster at sea, the Bolt, designed to feel like riding a motorcycle where the driver controls the coaster speed. For more resort-style fun, the ship supports twisting water slides, a casino, a spa, and a comedy club, in addition to the many dining and lounges like Emeril’s Bistro 717, touting Emeril Lagasse’s celebrity chef credentials and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse, heralding the kitchen prowess of restaurateur Guy Fieri. And don’t forget about the Shaquille O’Neal-founded Big Chicken.

Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas is packed with tons of fun for the whole crew. Hang ten on the Flow Rider surf simulator or get totally tubular with The Perfect Storm waterslide. Foodies will enjoy Tuscan- inspired dishes at Jamie’s Italian by Jaime Oliver and fresh sushi and hibachi-style dining at Izumi Hibachi & Sushi. Round out your experience with rest and relaxation at the Vitality Spa.

And for future cruises, their massive Icon of the Seas marked its maiden voyage just this January from Miami, with the company’s CEO indicating that the boat may soon sail from Galveston. With a whopping 20 decks, the behemoth world’s largest cruise ship can accommodate 7,600 guests and the largest waterpark at sea, an open freefall slide, six waterslides, and seven pools to keep those guests entertained on the floating city. With plenty of date night-worthy lounges, including some built to look like tropical space pods in outer space, Royal Caribbean does its best to satisfy all ages.

The mouse is in the house! Far from the only themed cruise sailing from Galveston, Disney still ranks among the highest in customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power. Disney Magic boasts Broadway-caliber shows, delicious dining, and fireworks at sea. This magical cruise might be tough to beat for the youngest travelers, especially considering meet-and-greets with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Daisy, and Donald on board. A private island in the Bahamas called Castaway Cay might entice the adults, too.

Norwegian Cruise Line offers similar thrills in a minimal and stylish setting for just over 3,000 guests, while the Regal Princess vessel from Princess Cruises travels with around 3,500 and attracts patrons interested in onboard art galleries and auctions.


Shorter cruises often include more days at sea than at port, so make the most of your vacation by spending a day or two in Galveston before and after the journey. Once one of the fastest-growing boom towns in Texas, Downtown Galveston’s The Strand was informally nicknamed the “Wall Street of the Southwest” and still shines today. The Victorian architecture preserved there makes the perfect setting for yearly events like winter’s Dickens on the Strand, and at a short walking distance from Terminals 28 and 25 (near parking lots and drop-off points for four cruise lines), the area is an attractive pre-departure adventure for travelers with even a few hours to peruse and relax over a great meal. That’s to say nothing of the stunning residential Victorian area, the East End Historic District, well worth the rented bike cost to explore if time allows.


  • Book early to save the most cash on your trip. The first three months of the year often see the deepest discounts.

  • Summertime is the busiest for all cruise lines.

  • Plenty of food, drinks, and perks will be included in your ticket, but rules vary across lines, so check the fine print before you book.


Explore these incredible destinations in ships sailing from Galveston.

Oranjestad, ArubaGreat Stirrup Cay, Bahamas Willemstad, Curaçao Harvest Caye, Belize Roatán (Bay Islands), Honduras Montego Bay, JamaicaCozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico


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