Galveston, located on the Gulf Coast of Texas, has been embraced by several cruise lines over the past decade because it offers easy access for drive-to passengers from the Southern and lower Midwest states. And passengers — especially those who live within a day’s drive of the city — are discovering that the four- to seven-night Western Caribbean and Mexico itineraries from here can be great deals.
Snagging a great price on a cruise from this port is easy: You simply need to stay informed about the deals being offered and minimize your cost per passenger by choosing the right cabin type. Here’s what else you need to know in order to find cheap cruises from Galveston.
1. Choose a four- or five-day itinerary.
These shorter cruises typically visit Key West and Cozumel or another Mexican port on Riviera Maya and are a great value — you may see five-day cruises in January on Carnival Liberty for as little as $274 per person, for example. They’re also a terrific way for first-time cruisers or couples with kids to find out if cruising is the right kind of vacation for them without committing to a full week.
2. Time your cruise carefully.
Summer and early fall in the Caribbean usually mean bargain cruise fares, especially the last two weeks of August and the first week of September, as families prepare to send their kids back to school. The first few weeks of January, just after the Christmas/New Year’s peak period, also tend to be a great time for low-cost cruise fares from Galveston to the Caribbean or Mexico. It’s best to book at least six to eight months in advance for these cruises.
3. Forgo the window.
In a sunny locale like the Caribbean, you won’t be in your cabin all that much, so booking the cheapest accommodation, an interior cabin, is a great way to save money without feeling any pain. Today’s ships have so many activities and entertainment venues — most offering sea views — that you’ll hardly notice your cabin doesn’t have a window, especially since you’ll pretty much only be there to shower and sleep.
4. Check to see when ships were last refurbished.
Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International have been lavishing a lot of love on their older vessels, many of which cruise out of Galveston. And although ships built a decade ago will never have all of the dining venues and amusement park-type thrills of the newest mega ships, recent refits of Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom (launched in 2005 and 2007) and Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas (launched in 2007) have added cool new features. Look for Guy’s Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina (home to truly excellent fried fish tacos and a salsa bar) on Carnival, and the Tidal Wave water slide and R Bar on Liberty of the Seas.
5. Bunk up for a bargain.
For a family of four, or four friends who don’t mind sharing a cabin, to snag a deal, you’ll need to look for a cabin with fold-down bunks that can accommodate all of you. Make your peace with sharing, and you’ll lower everyone’s fare by as much as 20 percent.
6. Search for deals, rather than waiting for them to come to you.
Go to our shop for cruises section, plug in your preferred dates, and ShermansCruise.com can direct you to deals from a variety of cruise-booking websites, where discounts for select dates might be better than those offered by the cruise lines. This is especially true when your deal comes bundled with added-value items, such as drinks or specialty dining packages. It's an easy way to find cheap cruises from Galveston.