Wayne and I had booked a placeholder cruise when we were on a Disney Cruise before, so we were always on the look-out for when we wanted to go next. It’s not easy for us to schedule something far in advance, so we were always looking for dates not too far into the future.
One day, my husband just decided it was time for us to go on that cruise! Disney had some cruises leaving Galveston, TX, so we decided to see what they had available. Unfortunately, they all left on Friday. To some people, that’s not a big deal, but to my husband it is. The work he does requires him to be there the whole week. If he isn’t there the whole week, he has to take the whole week off. (My husband teaches technical courses that are week-long courses). So, leaving on a Friday meant he would have to take two weeks off for a one-week cruise. Didn’t sound too appealing.
Well, we saw that there was a cruise leaving the day after Thanksgiving. Since he couldn’t work that week anyway, we decided to look into it. While it was going to the Bahamas, and we had already been to the Bahamas before, we didn’t get off the ship, so it would still be new to us. And it didn’t matter anyway, we were going to be on a cruise! A SEVEN DAY CRUISE!
We booked the cruise!
When choosing our port arrival time, we chose the earliest time available. I recommend you do the same. It allows you the most flexibility if you do.
I did lots of research on the Port of Galveston and hotels. We were going to go a day ahead, so we would feel a bit more refreshed getting on the ship. Not only that, it’s always nice to extend your vacation a bit, especially when you leave the children behind!
Since Galveston is only a 4-5 hour drive, we decided to drive. It would have taken just as long to fly (considering the drive to the airport, being there at least an hour ahead of time, the flight itself, getting our luggage after the flight, and then going to the hotel). Driving also allows you to set your own schedule.
I saw a number of hotels in Galveston that had cruise specials. It allowed you to stay at the hotel and leave your car parked there for no additional charge. They would then take you to the port and pick you up on your return. The problem with that is that you had to know exactly when you wanted to go and get picked up and schedule it ahead of time to be sure you had the time you wanted. Someone else could already have your time. The cost of the cruise packages were more, but not that much more when you compared it to parking at the port.
I also saw that the official port parking lot had a reduced fee if you purchased online ahead of time. There are also some other discounts available. You can check them here: Cruise Parking Discounts
I tried to find more information on the port, but couldn’t find much information to know what to expect. I like to know something about what I’m doing before I get there, but found little. I did find out that you take your luggage to a “big giant garage-looking thing” (not my words), and then you take your carry-on luggage with you to the other side to check in.
I also found out there wasn’t anything to do once you check into the port, except sit. While I don’t mind sitting and reading, I’d rather be doing it while on board the ship!
We finally decided to stay closer to Houston, in the NASA area. Due to travels, we have a number of hotel reward points, and we decided to use them instead of getting a cruise special. We also stayed at the same hotel a couple months earlier for a visit to some friends, and we liked the hotel. It was close enough for us.
We were going to be arriving on Thanksgiving Day (hoping the traffic would be better – Houston traffic is horrendous) and spending the night before driving to the port.
I also set up a delivery of a case of bottled water to our stateroom. While it is expensive to do that, it was less expensive to do that than to buy bottles of water everywhere on the ship or in port. Since the stateroom has a refrigerator, you can even have cold water readily available.
Yes, I could have saved money by carrying a case of water on with us, but I didn’t want to bother with that. It was worth the extra cost to have it delivered. You can have a number of items delivered to your stateroom if you want. You can get information on that on here: https://disneycruise.disney.go.com/in-room-gifts-and-shopping/
To be continued…