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7 Galveston Hotels with Indoor (or Heated) Pools

Posted January 20th, 2017 in hotels by Galveston Cruise Tips

If you’re headed to Galveston for a cruise, then there are no doubt images of warm Caribbean beaches in your mind. In fact, you might want to be starting that beach time a little early by going to Galveston the day before you sail.

And while the island is great to visit and has tons to do, no one will confuse it for a Caribbean beach paradise. The water isn’t clear and there are no white sand beaches. Meanwhile, if you are traveling on your cruise outside of the warm summer months, the water is a little cool for swimming.

It’s understandable that many people visiting Galveston look for a hotel with an indoor or heated pool. It’s the best of both worlds — you get swim in warm, clear water while also enjoying all the fun things to do on the island.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of options on the island. Nearly every hotel in Galveston has a pool, but they are typically outdoors and unheated.

That said, we searched every hotel to find your best options. The following hotels have indoor pools and/or outdoor heated pools. It’s a great way to get your swimming in, even if you visit during the winter.

Rates are for a recent search for a Saturday night stay. Click each hotel to read reviews from travelers like you on TripAdvisor.

Galveston Hotels with Indoor Pools

Comfort Inn & Suites Beachfront
Located just west of 61st Street on the Seawall, this hotel is located in the western part of Galveston. It’s not far from Schlitterbahn or Mood Garden, but is a few miles from most of the restaurants and the Pleasure Pier. But given it’s location right on the Seawall, it’s not hard to get around the island. There is also a Kroger and Wal-mart within walking distance.

$199 per night | Read more about Comfort Inn & Suites Galveston

Country Inn & Suites by Carlson
Don’t let the name fool you. This hotel is anything but “country.” It’s located right on the Seawall and is recently built. In fact, it’s a prime location within walking distance of Galveston’s Pleasure Pier and some of the Seawall’s most popular restaurants. Best of all, the indoor pool will keep you from having to brave the cold Gulf during the winter months.

$179 per night | Read more about Country Inn & Suites Galveston

Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa, & Convention Center
Moody Gardens has grown to be one of Galveston’s largest attractions and the spa and hotel are happy to cater to visitors staying in the area. Located on the northwest side of the city, there is plenty to do, including visiting the famed pyramids that house both a rainforest and an aquarium. You are farther from the beach, but with both and indoor and outdoor heated pools, you won’t miss your chance to get in the water.

$251 per night | Read more about Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa, & Convention Center

Galveston Hotels with Outdoor Heated Pools

Hotel Galvez
Arguably Galveston’s most famous hotel, this stately hotel was built more than 100 years ago. It sits in the heart of Galveston’s Seawall, close to the beach and many of the island’s attractions. The hotel features an on-site health spa, in addition to a hot tub and heated outdoor saline pool.

$269 per night | Read more about Hotel Galvez

San Luis Hotel
Located just east of the Galveston Convention Center, the San Luis Hotel is one of Galveston’s premier properties. The resort features a lush, tropically-landscaped pool area, complete with heated water. In fact, it almost looks more like a Vegas-style hotel than most of what you find on the island. Best of all, it sits right on the Seawall, giving beautiful vista of the Gulf of Mexico.

$359 per night | Read more about the San Luis Hotel

Holiday Inn Galveston on the Beach
This more affordable option sits right next to the San Luis Hotel on Galveston’s Seawall. It certainly doesn’t have the same “resort” feel of its neighbor, but does have a great location right on the Seawall, as well as an on-site restaurant and lounge/nightclub

$143 per night | Read more about Holiday Inn Galveston on the Beach

Hilton Galveston Island Resort
Right on the Seawall, great views of the Gulf and a heated pool? What more could you ask for? The Hilton offers the level of service you would expect from the brand-name hotel. In addition, you are in position right near several restaurants and next door to the Convention Center. If you need to pick up a few items, a grocery store is also a short walk away.

$329 per night | Read more about Hilton Galveston Island Resort

Carnival Valor Coming to Galveston; Replaces Liberty

Posted November 11th, 2016 in cruises, news by Galveston Cruise Tips

There’s little doubt you’ve heard of the mechanical issues affecting the Carnival Liberty. The ship had to cancel multiple cruises due to an issue that affected its top speed. After spending a considerable layover in the Port of Galveston, the issue appears to still be unresolved.

While everything on the ship is still operable, its top speed is still an issue. In response, Carnival is replacing the Liberty with the Carnival Valor in December.

Carnival Liberty is scheduled to enter dry dock for upgrades in early December. This dry dock was planned well in advance of the mechanical issues affecting it appeared. Once it exits dry dock, however, it will then sail to Port Canaveral (near Orlando). The Carnival Valor will then switch from Port Canaveral and sail from Galveston.

Since Galveston is relatively far from any Caribbean ports, the speed of the ship is extremely important. This switch will give Galveston a cruise ship that can make the speeds needed to sail to the Caribbean and return in a 4 or 5-day cruise.

The Valor and Liberty are sister ships, so passengers shouldn’t notice much of a change in the type of ship they will sail on.

The Valor will start sailing from Galveston on December 17th. Past that date, it will simply pickup the schedule that the Liberty originally had, with no changes. Until then, however, there are some changes in the scheduled trips.

Here are the details from Carnival:

Carnival Liberty’s modified cruises from Galveston for the balance of November are as follows:

14 CRUISE – The Nov. 14 five-day departure will include an overnight call in Cozumel (the call at Progreso has been cancelled). The ship’s arrival back into Galveston on Nov. 19 will be delayed until later in the day. Guests sailing on this voyage will receive a $50 per person credit to their shipboard accounts and a 25 percent discount on a future Carnival cruise. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund.

19 CRUISE: The Nov. 19 seven-day cruise will include stops in Cozumel and Costa Maya (the calls in Falmouth, Jamaica and Grand Cayman have been cancelled). The ship’s departure time will be 10:00pm for this cruise. Guests sailing on this voyage will receive a $50 per person credit to their shipboard accounts and a 25 percent discount on a future Carnival cruise. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund.

26 CRUISE – The Nov. 26 five-day departure will include an overnight call in Cozumel (the call at Progreso has been cancelled). The ship’s arrival back into Galveston on Dec. 1 will be delayed until later in the day. Guests sailing on this voyage will receive a $50 per person credit to their shipboard accounts and a 25 percent discount on a future Carnival cruise. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund.

Have questions? Have you sailed on the Valor before? Let us know in the comments.

Carnival Liberty Cancels Cruise; Adjusts Two More

Posted November 1st, 2016 in news by Galveston Cruise Tips

Update: Carnival has cancelled a second trip departing November 5 due to the same issue. If you are booked on this cruise, Carnival should be in touch with details on a refund.

Carnival Liberty was recently delayed in returning to Galveston, and now we are finding out why. An issue with the ship’s alternators/generators have caused it to have trouble maintaining top speed.

While the ship was delayed getting back to Galveston, investigation into the problem revealed that it was more difficult to fix than previously thought. As a result, the cruise line has cancelled the current cruise (which was already set to start later than originally scheduled) and has adjusted two future cruises to accommodate the new schedule.

Guests on the cancelled cruise will be reimbursed the cost of their cruise, plus credit for a future cruise as well. In addition, they will receive a stipend of $90 per person.

Here is Carnival’s full statement, courtesy of CruiseLawNews.com:

“The cruise ship Carnival Liberty, which is homeported in Galveston, Texas, is experiencing a technical issue which is affecting the ship’s maximum cruising speed. The issue is only affecting the ship’s speed and all other systems are operating normally. The ship arrived in Galveston yesterday and since then we have been working with outside technical experts which we brought on to help us confirm our repair plan.

Guests had boarded the vessel yesterday in anticipation of sailing, however, outside technical experts, together with the ship’s technical team, conducted a deeper inspection of one of the diesel generators overnight and uncovered an additional problem not previously known. It has now been determined that one of the alternators cannot be readily fixed. This means the ship will not be able to maintain the sufficient speed needed to operate the itinerary as planned and unfortunately we must cancel today’s cruise.

Guests scheduled to sail on this voyage will receive a full refund of their cruise, along with a 100 percent future cruise credit and $90 per person reimbursement representing a previously promised onboard credit and stipend for meals in Galveston yesterday.

While repairs are ongoing, the itinerary for the ship’s next two voyages will be modified, as well. The Nov. 5 five-day cruise will include a full day call in Cozumel, however, the call in Progreso will be cancelled. The Nov. 10 four-day cruise will include a call in Progreso instead of Cozumel. Guests sailing on these voyages will receive a $50 per person credit to their shipboard accounts and a 25 percent discount on a future Carnival cruise. Guests also have the option of cancelling and receiving a full refund. Voyages departing Nov. 14 and beyond are scheduled to operate their normal itinerary.

We sincerely apologize to our guests for this disruption in their vacation plans.”

Are you scheduled on one of these cruises? Let other people know what you plan to do in the comments below.

Rideshare Service Get Me Now Picking Up at Houston Airports

Posted August 16th, 2016 in news by Galveston Cruise Tips

When it comes to cruising from Galveston, the biggest headache is getting from the Houston airports to the cruise port on the island. Taxis are expensive, cruise shuttles usually operate on a set schedule, and there simply aren’t many convenient ways to get to Galveston short of driving your own car.

For a time, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft offered a great solution. Not only did they offer on-demand rides available at any time of day, but they were also much cheaper than other methods of transportation.

It was too good to last, however. Due to disagreements over regulations, both Uber and Lyft pulled out of the Galveston market and Lyft left the Houston market completely.

Now, there is a new service that can get you back and forth between the airport (or other points in Houston) and the cruise port. It’s a rideshare service called Get Me.

Get Me operates similar to other rideshare services that you might be familiar with. They have an app that you download to your phone. When you are ready for a ride, you simply pull up the app and request a ride. Within minutes a driver should arrive, ready to take you wherever you need to go. Once the ride is done, you’ll pay for your ride through the app. No money changes hands with your driver. It’s all handled through the app.

The rideshare company has been operating in the Houston and Galveston markets for months now. However, they were recently awarded permission to pick-up at both Houston airports, making Get Me a viable options for cruise passengers flying into the city.

Estimated rates are actually comparable with taxi rates. The company estimates that will cost between $90-145 for a ride from Houston Hobby to the cruise port, and $145-200 from Houston Intercontinental.

If that’s the case, why bother taking Get Me for your cruise instead of just catching a cab?

First, many people prefer to ride with rideshare companies like Get Me instead of cabs because the experience is better. Rideshare drivers drive their own late-model cars and have to maintain a high review rating from passengers to keep driving. That leads to more satisfied customers than with taxi cabs.

Second, the rideshare companies often offer discounts and coupons that make the rides considerably cheaper. With Get Me you can use the discount code “GCT” when you pay for your ride to receive 50% off your fare. That makes it as little as $45 one-way from Hobby to the cruise port. And keep in mind that rate is for up to four people, not per person.

Update: Get Me is now offering only 15% off rides, using code “GALV”.

If you are flying into Houston and want to try Get Me, you can download the app for iOS and Android before you arrive.

Have you used Get Me to get to the Galveston cruise port? What was your experience like? Let your fellow cruisers know in the comments below.

Royal Caribbean Adding Vision of the Seas to Galveston

Posted July 20th, 2016 in cruises, news by Galveston Cruise Tips

Great news for Royal Caribbean fans in Texas. With little fanfare, the cruise line has added a second cruise ship to its schedules for late 2017. We first discovered the new ship coming to the island while doing a random search for cruises on cruise line’s website.

To be more specific, Royal Caribbean is adding the Vision of the Seas to its Galveston cruises. As of now, only 10 trips are scheduled. The first trip departs November 6, 2017 and the last cruise departs December 18, 2017.

During that time, the ship will sail 4 and 5-day trips to Mexico, with most trips stopping in Cozumel, but one itinerary stopping in both Cozumel and Costa Maya.

Vision of the Seas in Galveston

The Vision of the Seas is a smaller and older ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, first sailing in 1998 and measuring 915′ long. For comparison, the Liberty of the Seas — the line’s other ship sailing from Galveston — is more than 1,000 feet long and can carry almost double the number of passengers.

So while no one is likely to be “wowed” by the Vision of the Seas compared to more modern ships, we think it’s a very important signal for the Galveston cruise market.

For years Royal Caribbean has left the shorter voyages to Carnival in Galveston. If you wanted a quick 4 or 5-day getaway, your only option was to take one of Carnival’s trips. Royal Caribbean focused only on week-long cruises.

Placing the Vision of the Seas shows that Royal Caribbean is at least testing out the market for shorter trips itself. We believe that if the demand is there, the company may decide to put a smaller ship here full-time to sail shorter cruises.

That would be just another sign that the Galveston cruise market continues to grow steadily.

For a video tour of the ship, check out the video below: