Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line LIVE! Guidebook
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Getting to Galveston

Getting to Galveston

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For things to do in Galveston, see our port of call description starting on page 243.

Once the Gulf Coast’s busiest port and second only to New York at that time, Galveston, Texas rests on a barrier island 50 miles south of Houston. Today, nearly all land and air routes to Galveston pass through Houston.

Air travel is the main choice for visitors from outside the region. Though private flights can use Galveston’s own Scholes International Airport, all commercial flights use either Houston’s William P. Hobby (HOU) or George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) airports. Though HOU is 30 miles and 40 minutes closer to Galveston than IAH, your choice of airline will determine which airport you’ll use. Only American and Delta serve both airports. Hobby (HOU), a 42-mile, 50-minute drive to Galveston on the south side of Houston, serves only domestic routes. The merged Southwest/AirTran carries over 90% of Hobby’s passengers. Bush Intercontinental (IAH), a 72-mile, 90 minute drive to Galveston on Houston’s north side, is dominated by the merged United/Continental, which carries 86% of all that airport’s passengers. IAH also handles all international flights. Use the tips on page 69 for booking the best airfare to Houston. Visit http://www.fly2houston.com for information about both airports.

If you choose to drive, out-of-state cities within an 8-hour drive include Mobile, New Orleans, Little Rock, and Oklahoma City, along with most of East, Central and South Texas. Most routes will take you through Houston. Check traffic conditions as you approach the city. KTRH 740AM has local traffic reports. When Houston-bound traffic is heavy, avoid the city center by using one of the beltways, I-610 or the Sam Houston Parkway (Loop/Beltway 8). I-610 is the inside loop, about 5 miles outside the city’s center. Sam Houston Parkway is about 12 miles out and is a toll road for most of its distance. The parkway’s northeast section requires an EZ-Tag toll device—cash is not collected. In that segment, vehicles without EZ-Tag use the frontage road that parallels the highway. I-45 is the primary route if you’re coming from the north. I-10 is the region’s main east-west route. Both pass through the heart of Houston. Travelers from points east can avoid Houston by exiting I-10 for SR 146 South. Then exit onto I-45 South. As you approach Galveston on I-45, you’ll cross the Galveston Causeway. Exit immediately for Exit 1C Harborside Blvd. Turn left onto Harborside. The cruise terminal is 4.75 miles ahead.

Rail travel is possible, but not perfect. Amtrak’s Sunset Limited stops in Houston on its thrice-weekly journeys between New Orleans and Los Angeles, and a connecting bus extends service to Galveston. The Texas Eagle runs from Chicago to Los Angeles via Dallas, with a connecting bus to Galveston via Longview Texas (a 5-hour plus bus ride). New Orleans is a transfer point between the Sunset Limited and such storied routes as the City of New Orleans from Chicago, and the Crescent, which originates in New York and makes its way to The Big Easy via Washington D.C., Charlotte, and Atlanta. For details, visit http://www.amtrak.com or phone 800-USA-RAIL.

A family's first glimpse of their Disney ship at the port of Galveston

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Top Photo Slice: (℗ 50505) Photo contributed by © Canada Amy


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