Galveston is rapidly becoming one of the most popular cruise ports in the USA. The cruise terminal has grown exponentially since it was originally built. A third terminal is currently under construction to accommodate larger vessels and many more passengers. It is scheduled for completion in late 2022.
Although there are many benefits to cruising out of Galveston, getting to the cruise port can be difficult if you don’t want to drive. The nearest airports are in Houston, at least an hour away, so most cruisers need to find the best way to travel from Houston to Galveston.
The Galveston TX airport doesn’t host commercial flights, so the main choices are either the William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) or George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).
Transportation between Houston and Galveston can be pricey and it’s difficult to work out the best option. Aside from renting a car and driving yourself, you can take a cab or book an Uber or Lyft. There are also plenty of shuttle services that have popped up over the years to provide travelers with a range of affordable options to get from Houston to Galveston cruise terminal.
Below we’ve detailed what options are available, so you can choose what is the best way for you and your party to conveniently travel from Houston to Galveston port.
In This Article…
- Renting a Car
- Driving Your Own Car
- Other Options for Getting from Houston to Galveston Cruise Port
- Shuttle Options
- Luxury Options
- Conclusion on Houston to Galveston
Renting a Car
If you’re looking to rent a car to drive one-way from Houston to Galveston, your only choice is Enterprise Rent-a-Car. They are currently the only rental car agency with an office on Galveston Island.
Your best way to book a one-way trip with them is if you’re flying into either of the airports in Houston, but there are some other Enterprise offices in Houston. One-way trips won’t always be available via the website, so you might want to give them a call in order to rent your car.
Here is a list of a few Enterprise locations in Houston, TX along with their phone numbers.
- Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport: 281-230-8200
- Houston Hobby Airport: 833-511-77061
- Downtown Houston JW Marriott Hotel: 713-659-8992 (Enterprise agency)
- Houston Midtown: 713-651-7866
- Houston Heights: 713-868-1063
Other Rental Options
If renting a car is your chosen transportation from Houston to Galveston cruise port, your best option will probably be round-trip rentals. Although they will likely cost you more money (especially with parking prices), your rental car will be ready for you once you get off the ship, and you can drive it directly back to Houston and drop it off.
The good thing is that cruise parking on Galveston Island is relatively inexpensive. Most parking lots, hotels and garages offer excellent security and insurance to make sure your car is safe. You will also save by not having to pay a one-way supplement on your car rental.
Below are a few car rental companies in Houston you can get your round trip car rental from, along with the approximate cost to rent an economy car for a week. Keep in mind that if you add any additional drivers, car seats or upgrades, the cost you pay may be higher.
- Dollar Car Rental: $560
- Thrifty Car Rental: $517
- Hertz Car Rental: $562
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car: $480
- Avis Car Rental: $596
- Budget Car Rental: $567
- Sixt Car Rental: $455
Driving Your Own Car
If you live near Houston, the easiest thing for you might be to drive your own car from Houston to Galveston. As mentioned above, cruise parking is easy to find and will cost around $70-100 for the duration of your cruise. You won’t have to worry about extra travel costs beyond gas for your car.
Depending on where in Houston you’re coming from, the trip should only take you about an hour, depending on traffic.
Other Options for Getting from Houston to Galveston Cruise Port
If you prefer to let someone else drive, whether you’re flying in or you live in Houston, booking a rideshare trip is highly recommended. You can relax and enjoy the trip without having to navigate. Drivers are usually happy to assist with luggage for a tip. The two best options are Uber or Lyft.
The beauty of either service is you can book your trip directly from your phone as soon as you arrive in Houston. You can even book in advance if you prefer, all through the app. Houston is a very busy city, so there will be plenty of drivers available to give you a ride to and from Galveston cruise ports.
The cost varies depending on where your driver will be picking you up. If you’re flying into Hobby Airport, estimated fares may run about $40-$60 (one way), but from Bush Intercontinental, you may be looking at roughly $73-$96.
However, these prices are per trip, not per person, so if you have a few people traveling with you it makes economic sense. Everyone could pitch in about $25 each to cover the ridesharing cost, and everyone will save money and travel in comfort.
Traditional taxi cabs are also available all over Houston and Galveston. They are likely to cost more than taking Uber or Lyft (estimated rates are between $150 and $300, depending on where in Houston you are). But just like Uber and Lyft, a cab can accommodate up to four people, so the price you pay is for the whole car. The trip will be hassle-free and door-to-door
The cruise line you’ve chosen may offer a shuttle service from the airports at Houston to Galveston Port. Many people taking a cruise will usually choose that option. You can usually book the shuttle with your cruise package, or when you check-in online.
One huge benefit of using a cruise line transfer is you’ll never be in danger of missing your cruise, since the shuttle service is with the same company. The cruise company will take responsibility for getting you to the ship on time and will not depart without you if there is a problem on the journey.
The downside, though, is that these shuttles can be very pricey, especially if you have several people in your family or travel party. Here are the prices some cruise lines charge for their shuttle transfer bus:
Carnival Cruise Line:
- One-way from Bush Intercontinental: $51.99 per person
- One-way from Houston Hobby: $36.99 per person
- Disney Cruise Line:
- One-way from Bush Intercontinental: $45 per person
- Round-trip from Bush Intercontinental: $90 per person
- They do not offer a service from Hobby Airport.
- Round-trip from Bush Intercontinental: prices not available; apply direct to RCI
- Round-trip from Hobby Airport: prices not available; apply direct to RCI
Independent Shuttle Companies
As you can see, the need for affordable transportation between Houston and Galveston is high, which is largely why a lot of people opt to drive or rent a car.
However, to meet this need, several shuttle service businesses have begun popping up over the years to provide more affordable ways of getting from Houston to Galveston Port.
Galveston Express is one of many companies in Galveston that provides affordable one-way or round-trip shuttle service between Houston and Galveston Island. This shared shuttle transportation service runs 7 days a week connecting Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), Houston Hobby Airport (HOU) and Galveston Cruise Terminal. They also offer pick-up and drop-off service for passengers traveling to or from any hotel on Galveston Island.
Galveston Express charges a flat rate depending on which airport you’re using, starting at $30 per person from Hobby and $35 from IAH. They offer a $5 discount for Seniors (55+) and Children (10 & under). Those discounts are only available on round-trip tickets.
If you would like to be picked up or dropped off at a hotel near the airport they offer service from select hotels for an additional $30 to your reservation (not per person).
If you’re traveling with a larger group, Galveston Express gives you the option to book a private shuttle.
Galveston Express Prices:
- Round-trip from Hobby: $60
- Round-trip from Bush: $70
- Phone number: 409-762-4397
Island Breeze Shuttle
Based in Galveston, Island Breeze Shuttle makes things simple by offering different rates for 2, 3 or 4 passengers. The more passengers you have in your group, the less the charge will be per person.
All their shuttles are luxury private shuttles, providing customers with a comfortable and hassle-free ride from either Houston Hobby or Bush Intercontinental.
Island Breeze Prices:
- Bush Intercontinental: $105 one-way, $190 round-trip (two people)
- Bush Intercontinental: $150 one-way, $270 round-trip (three people)
- Bush Intercontinental: $180 one-way, $320 round-trip (four people)
- Houston Hobby: $85 one-way, $150 round-trip (two people)
- Houston Hobby: $120 one-way, $210 round-trip (three people)
- Houston Hobby: $140 one-way, $260 round-trip (four people)
If you have 5 or more people traveling, you need to give them a call to discuss your requirements and get a group rate.
SuperShuttle provides a cruise shuttle service for most ports around the USA. Depending on where you’re traveling to and from, along with the time of year and the time of day, you get a wide variety of vehicle and shuttle options.
They offer a Super Shuttle for up to 7 passengers or an ExecuCar (luxury sedan or SUV) for 3-5 passengers. SuperShuttle prices vary depending on location, time of year, and time of day.
The Galveston Flyer
The Galveston Flyer offers affordable and convenient shuttle services to and from Houston and Galveston, with straightforward, easy to understand pricing. No surprises or hidden fees, just punctual, friendly shuttle service.
The creator and owner, Phillip, started this company originally to pay for grad school while studying at Texas A&M. He fell in love with it as he was able to learn so much from his passengers, and it eventually became a very fulfilling career for him.
He named his service after the 1911-1936 Galveston-Houston Electric Rail Car Company’s Galveston Flyer. When you ride Phillip’s Galveston Flyer, not only will you be saving money, but you’ll get to learn a bit about Galveston’s history as well.
Galveston Flyer Prices:
- Houston Hobby: $30 one-way, $60 round-trip (per person)
- Bush Intercontinental: $35 one-way, $70 round-trip (per person)
Though the name says “limo”, Galveston Limo is not a luxury service as it suggests. They do, however, provide comfortable shuttle bus rides from Houston to Galveston for extremely competitive rates. If you’re traveling with a large group, give them a call for a competitive group rate.
Their bus will pick you up from either of the airports at Houston and take you to Galveston. You can choose to be dropped at a Galveston hotel or the cruise port.
Galveston Limo Prices:
- Hobby: $30 one-way, $50 round-trip (per person)
- Bush Intercontinental: $65 one-way, $120 round-trip (per person)
- There is a $5 discount for seniors(55+) and children under 10
There are also a few companies that offer luxury travel options in the form of a large, private van, bus or sleek limousine. For those who’d rather travel from Houston to Galveston in style, you can opt for one of these companies.
Luxury private vehicles are excellent choices for larger groups, as you don’t have to worry about per-person rates. The more people are in your group, the cheaper the cost per person will be.
Below are a few companies in Houston and Galveston that provide luxury car services for travelers. You need to contact them and obtain a personal quotation for your needs.
Conclusion on Houston to Galveston
Finding transportation from Houston to Galveston cruise port doesn’t have to be as stressful as you originally thought it is. There are plenty of options to fit your needs and your budget.
If you want to drive yourself and be in control of where you go, you can take your own car. Or, if you’re flying into one of the Houston airports, consider renting a car. For either option there are plenty of cruise parking options available at competitive prices (expect between $70-100 for a week). Your car will be safe and secure while you’re on your cruise and ready to drive when you disembark.
Ridesharing and taxi cabs are also available, though taxis will run you much higher costs than you may want to spend.
Some of the best and cheapest options, however, are private shuttle companies, all of which will also assist you with your luggage for no additional cost.
Whatever mode of travel you choose, we hope you enjoy your cruise from Galveston, and that you have a safe and fun cruise.
It is 51 miles by road from Houston to Galveston.
It takes about an hour to drive from Houston to Galveston via I-45.
The cheapest way to reach Galveston from Houston is by independent shuttle such as Galveston Express. However, if you are traveling as a group of 3 or more, a taxi or Uber may work out cheaper per person.