What to expect when you arrive at Galveston Cruise Terminal
I read recently a thread from a first time cruiser wondering about what time to arrive at Galveston to embark. Depending on the ship you are sailing, Conquest or Ecstasy and where you are parking (we always use Lighthouse Parking) try to be dropping off your bags at the curb for porters to take your bags by about 11AM.
The Conquest takes longer for all the passengers to embark, but we normally get on by noon on either ship. Mind you, we sail as VIP and this gets us through security in 2 minutes, VIP check in and board straight away.
If you arrive at the curb to drop your bags about 10:30 to 10:45 AM and proceed up the escalators to show CCL Staff your boarding pass and your Sign & Sail you will then be in line for Security and then a line to present your docs and receive your Carnival Card. You head to a waiting area and sit until they start calling for boarding. You go through a photo shot stop for a photo of you and your other members get a Carnival Photo standing in front of a mural of the ship FLASH the photo which you can buy later on board. Then up the boarding ramps and you present your card . . .attendant inserts it into the validation machine at which point you pose for a photo that is then imprinted on your card for all future off and on the ship events at the ports of call. Ta Da .. now you are on the ship.
You go up to the Lido Deck find a table outside or inside the buffet and have lunch. Your stateroom will be ready about 1:30PM and then you can go drop your carry on bags in the stateroom. Lock your valuables in the room safe and explore the ship. You check in luggage will starting arriving to your stateroom about 4:30PM to 6:00 ish PM. It could be earlier. Oh, if you want to enjoy the pool, hot tubs early, take your swim suits in your carry on so you can do so. . .weather permitting. If you want to see photos check my profile for photo links. CM will not allow links to sites in signatures.
In theory, that sounds mighty nice, but, for my first and only cruise from this port, this was just not the way it happened..Lines, lines, and, can you say lines? Staff in testy moods, and, trying to get someone to help get a handicapped entry, upstairs was not an easy feat.
Once upstairs, the passengers were not a happy bunch...It may be better most times, this time for us, it was, a tough embarkation...but a great cruise.
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
WE have left from this port 7 times. Very organized, but yes- lines and a wait. Bring Cash for parking and tipping the Van Drivers (we did 5 dollars for 4 people) and porters (1 dollar per bag).
Have your paperwork completed and only carry what you need. Purses, cameras and backpacks are great.
Make sure you have your ID and Passports Credit card or Cash ready for your room keys and registration.
Children must have special ID also, especially if you have a blended family with different last names.
We get there about 1030 and get on the ship usually by 12 for lunch and exploring.
We love the Conquest (5 times) and I cant wait to book my next trip.
Trip--there have been many changes since you sailed from there. The waiting area past security he mentioned is one of the new changes. Also the ramps that allow by-pass of elevators on debarkation. They are now making even newer improvements that will be finished before the Carnival Magic arrives. This port has done nothing but GROW so they keep updating as needed. There will always be a few 'bad' experiences due to weather, customs, or fog, but on the whole is the one of the BEST ports for both embarkation and debarkation. I've sailed from Galveston at least 30 times and it has ALWAYS been smooth for me. I know Ill get a bad one eventually, but so far so good.
I agree with TP's assessment other than I prefer EZ Cruise Parking. We usually walk over from there, but we always walk back at debarkation, much faster.
Also now that everyone now seems to go early if you wait until 3:00 - 3:30 pm, you can pretty much just walk on without any lines.
Ray McDonald / Snoozeman
CruiseMates Forum Moderator
I have to agree with you too Snoozeman. We live about 45 minutes from Galveston and have sailed on the Conquest 2 times and Ecstasy once. The first 2 times we got to the port around 12:00 noon and it was packed with long, slow moving lines.
The last cruise we went on we didn't get to the port until around 2:30 and walked right on the ship with no lines, no wait whatsoever.
I also agree with you about EZ Cruise parking. Close enough to walk (hubby did) after dropping me and the kids off wth our luggage curbside.
-------------------------------- Sailing on Carnival Magic, 8 Day Cruise, 12-18-11