Carnival Cruise Line has sent notices to guests booked on three different ships about possible traffic problems that could impact their travel to the cruise terminal on February 3-4.
Because of parades planned in Galveston over the weekend, traffic congestion is expected and guests should plan for ample time to reach the cruise terminal within their arrival appointment time.
Parades to Pose Traffic Difficulties for Port of Galveston
Galveston, Texas begins its annual Mardi Gras celebrations on Friday, February 2, 2024, and multiple parades scheduled over the weekend are likely to cause traffic backups and delays for cruise travelers heading to the Port of Galveston. Carnival Cruise Line has reached out to guests booked aboard Carnival Breeze, Carnival Jubilee, and Carnival Dream to alert them to the potential difficulties.
“Mardi Gras Parades are planned in Galveston the day of your embarkation, and these may cause traffic congestion in the city,” the notification explained.
While no delays are anticipated for the ships’ various departures on Saturday and Sunday, all guests must be on time to the cruise terminal and onboard by the final boarding time printed on their respective boarding passes.
Carnival Cruise Line will adjust their transfer times if necessary, and guests who purchased those transfer services may have their schedule impacted to offset any delays.
Otherwise, the cruise line is advising that travelers allot extra time to reach the cruise terminal, check traffic conditions early on embarkation day to adjust their route if necessary, or consider carpooling or ride share services to reach the cruise terminal.
On Saturday, February 3, both Carnival Breeze and Carnival Jubilee may be impacted. Carnival Breeze will be departing on a 5-night Western Caribbean sailing to Costa Maya and Cozumel, while Carnival Jubilee will be starting a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise to Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel.
On Sunday, February 4, Carnival Dream will begin a 6-night Western Caribbean itinerary to Costa Maya, Belize, and Cozumel.
No ships from other cruise lines are scheduled in Galveston on Saturday, but on Sunday, Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess and Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas are also setting sail from the Lone Star State. Guests booked on those sailings will want to also be alert to potential traffic congestion.
Multiple parades are scheduled on Saturday and Sunday for the city’s 113th Mardi Gras festivities, many of which have overlapping routes between 20th and 25th Streets in downtown Galveston. Both Mechanic Street and The Strand are the site of different parades – less than one-quarter of a mile from the cruise terminal.
Saturday’s parades kick off with the Jolly Jester Jaunt, a 5K fun run at noon. This will be followed by the Mystic Krewe of Aquarius Parade at 1 p.m. featuring 65 units, including double-decker floats, marching bands, dance teams, and more.
At 2 p.m., the 13th Annual Zaniest Golf Cart Parade will begin, followed at 4 p.m. by the Mix Radio, Art Car, & Jeep Parade at 4 p.m. with more than 40 participating vehicles.
Saturday’s parades will end with the 6 p.m. Krewe of Gambrinus Parade, considered one of the two “Galveston Super Parades” with 14 huge floats, more than a dozen marching bands, and plans to toss more than 600,000 beads and trinkets to the crowds.
Sunday has two parades on the schedule for Fiesta Gras!, a celebration of Hispanic heritage. The Univision Houston Parade starts off at 1 p.m., while the Los Locos Vaqueros & Jeeps Parade begins at 4 p.m.
On both days, areas adjacent to the parade routes will be fenced off for spectators, and parade staging and lining up will happen at Pier 21. This will lead to a great number of street closures and rerouted traffic in the downtown area, causing significant snarls for travelers trying to reach the cruise port.
Guests driving to the port should take alternate routes to reach Harborside Drive and the cruise port, rather than proceeding directly into the downtown Entertainment District, where the Mardi Gras festivities are centered.