All cruises currently departing from Texas use the Port of Galveston, located on Galveston Island, just off the coast of Texas about 50 miles southeast of Houston. The port services two major cruise lines: Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean, which offer Caribbean and West Caribbean cruises leaving from this location. While neither cruise line offers trips exclusively for seniors, all ships are handicapped accessible and ready to serve patrons with special needs.
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Lines offers year-round Caribbean cruises from Galveston with ports of call along the Mexican coast, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman. Shorter cruises (four to five days) that stop along the Mexican coast leave from Galveston every other Saturday, Monday and Thursday. Longer cruises (six to seven days) that travel to Jamaica and Grand Cayman set sail every Sunday.
The Carnival Cruise Lines web site enables you to search for cruises with special senior discounts for anyone over 55 and to view diagrams of each ship, that identify accessible rooms, restrooms, wheelchair routes, and even the location of accessible seating in the restaurants and lounges. Special services are available for guests with hearing and vision impairments and dietary restrictions.
Carnival Cruise Lines 3655 NW 87th Avenue Miami, FL 33178 800-929-6400 carnival.com
Royal Caribbean Cruises
Royal Caribbean offers seasonal cruises from Galveston, November through April, departing each Sunday. The 6- to 9-day cruises travel to many different Caribbean ports of call, including locations in Mexico, Honduras, Belize, Jamaica and Grand Cayman.
Many on-board services are offered for travelers with mobility, visual and hearing impairments, including access to medical staff, sign language interpretation, storage for oxygen tanks, and special dietary accommodations. Senior discounts are available on select cruises only; see the Royal Caribbean web site for details.
Royal Caribbean International Corporate Guest Relations 1050 Caribbean Way Miami, FL 33132 800-256-6649 royalcaribbean.com
Getting to Galveston
Galveston Island is directly serviced by the Scholes International Airport, a small airport offering short flights from the larger Houston airports (George Bush Intercontinental and William P. Hobby). You may also choose to save a flight and drive the 50 miles from Houston, about an hour and a half, depending on traffic. For those who don’t drive, the Greyhound bus line offers accessible service to Galveston Monday through Saturday.
New Pasadena Terminal
A new terminal is being been constructed to accommodate cruise ships at Pasadena. As of 2010, the Houston Port Authority is negotiating with various cruise lines to begin operation in the near future out of the new Bayport Cruise Terminal.