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Which Airport Should You Fly Into For Your Galveston Cruise?

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We’ve said it time and again. The only real complaint about cruising from Galveston is that getting to the cruise port can be a hassle if you are flying in for your cruise. Unlike cities like Miami or Tampa, the cruise port is a considerable distance from the closest airport.

Meanwhile, Houston is served by two major airports: Houston Hobby (HOU) and Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH). That makes it even more confusing for cruisers who aren’t familiar with the area or the airports to decide which they should fly into.

To help out those passengers trying to decide which airport is better for their trip, we have all the details about both as it relates to cruising from Galveston

Distance from the Port

Unfortunately, both Houston Hobby and Intercontinental are located far from the port. Houston Hobby is considerably closer, sitting on the southeast side of Houston, compared to Intercontinental’s location due north of the city.

Houston Hobby
41 miles from Port of Galveston
45 minute ride without traffic

Houston Intercontinental
70 miles from Port of Galveston
75 minute ride without traffic

Houston airports

One thing to keep in mind is that Houston is notorious for its traffic, even at odd hours. That’s why we suggest allowing up to double the “non-traffic” time if you plan to travel directly to your cruise.

Airline Service

There is no doubt that Houston Hobby’s location makes it much more convenient for passengers headed to Galveston. Unfortunately, Hobby is considerably smaller in terms of airlines servicing the airport when compared to Intercontinental.

Houston Hobby is primarily a Southwest destination. The airline dominates service from the airport. However, there are flights from Delta, JetBlue and American Airlines.

Houston Intercontinental is the city’s largest airport, and also offers the most flight service. Here you’ll find nearly every airline available, with the notable exception of Southwest. If you are flying from an international destination, you will have no choice but to fly into this airport. In addition, IAH is a United hub, which serves airports around the country and the world.

Transportation

Both airports will offer similar service for transportation, including taxis, cruise line shuttles, car rentals, and independent shuttles to the Port of Galveston.

The major difference is getting from Intercontinental to the cruise ships takes considerably more time and money than compared to Houston Hobby. For example, the official Carnival shuttle between IAH and the cruise port runs $94 per person roundtrip, compared to $74 from HOU. Other services, including taxis will see an even larger price jump between the two airports.

Final Recommendation

While we live in the area, if we had to fly in for a cruise, then we’d pick Houston Hobby 10 times out of 10. The shorter distance between Hobby and the cruise port makes HOU much more convenient to get to the cruise ship. Also, we like that Hobby is a much smaller airport in general, making it easy to get in and out.

That said, not everyone can fly into Hobby or they might find a cheaper flight into Intercontinental. For us, we would have to save more than $100 per person on a roundtrip flight to make the extra distance and cost of getting to the port worth our while.

For more details on getting from Houston airports to Galveston, click here.

4 Responses so far.

  1. We have done 102 cruises, and about 5 from Galveston. It is one of the most inconvenient places to get to from the airports, but Hobby is much closer and much less expensive to take a cab from the airport to the cruise terminal. The drive there is alright and you get to see the locale, but be careful about traffic. It can be really slow during rush hour, which is just about all the time. That corridor has traffic galore. Happy Cruising……

  2. Faye says:

    Thanks for the tip from a fist-time cruiser

  3. Bonnie says:

    I live in Houston and the traffic is horrible. I would suggest coming in the day before, get to Galveston by cab or shuttle or however you decide to get there, stay at the Hotel Galvez for the night and then you won’t have to worry about it. Plus, Galveston isn’t a bad place to spend the night or the day before you leave on the cruise. Fly Southwest if you can, fly into hobby or any other airline that flies into hobby because that is definitely closer to Galveston than Intercontinental

  4. roger lowe says:

    Hi Guys
    Interesting article and comments re cruising from Galveston. We are based in the UK and have done numerous Cruises from the States but never from Galveston. Be interested in hearing from anyone who has flown into Houston Hobby and if that is possible from the UK.
    Thanks in advance

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