When it comes to cruising, Galveston is a fantastic port to start your trip. With its smaller size and multiple ships sailing from both Carnival and Royal Caribbean (along with Disney, NCL, and Princess), you get lots of choice without the complexity of other ports. But there is a drawback that can be a headache for cruise passengers flying into the area.
Unlike cruise ports in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or even New Orleans, the nearest airport to Galveston isn’t even in the same city. If you plan to fly in for your cruise, then you’ll have to fly into one of the Houston-area airports. Houston’s airports are between 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half from the island, depending on which airport you choose and traffic.
(If you are curious about which airport to fly into for a Galveston cruise, you can read our article here.)
That means once your flight arrives, you still need to figure out transportation between the airport and Galveston island — and it can be expensive. Thankfully, a cottage industry has sprung up to provide cruise passengers reliable transportation between the two points. However, while there are a number of options including taxis, shuttles, Uber/Lyft, etc., they all charge different amounts.
To help you figure out the most affordable ways to get from Houston to Galveston, we’ve rounded up the cheapest options below. (You can view all your options on our Galveston cruise transportation page here.)
Five Cheapest Options From Houston Airports to Galveston
Galveston Limousine (starting at $50 per person, round trip)
The cheapest transportation option we’ve found, Galveston Limousine offers regularly scheduled shuttle service between both Houston airports and the Galveston cruise port. If you book online ahead of time, the rate is $50 per person round trip for service to/from Houston Hobby and $60 per person round trip for Houston Intercontinental service. There is also a discount for seniors and military.
- Phone: 409-744-5466
- Website: http://www.galvestonlimo.com
Galveston Express (starting at $65 per person, round trip)
Galveston Express was one of the original companies offering low rates for transport between the Houston airports and the Port of Galveston. Today, you can get a ride for $65 round trip from Houston Hobby and $75 per person round trip for Intercontinental service. There is an extra charge ($5) for rides during “prime” hours (Sunday morning). The company also offers a $5 discount for seniors and children.
- Phone: 409-762-GEXP
- Website: https://galvestonexpress.com
Cruise Line Shuttle (Starting at $74 per person, round trip)
If you are flying into a Houston-area airport, then you can leave the ride to the cruise line. The major lines offer a shuttle service between the airports and the cruise port. That makes it fairly easy to get to the ship on cruise day. Carnival, for instance, charges $74 round trip for a ride from Houston Hobby and $104 per person to ride from Bush-Intercontinental. You can arrange for a ride through your cruise line after you book your trip.
- Contact your cruise line to book
Island Breeze Shuttle (starting at $75 per person, round trip)
Island Breeze Shuttle offers a different pricing structure. Instead of charging per person, rates start for two people and go up from there. The shuttle charges $150 round trip for two people with service from Hobby ($75 per person) and $190 round trip for two from Bush-Intercontinental ($95 per person). Seniors and military (active or retired) can receive a discount as well.
- Phone: 409-770-0100
- Website: https://www.islandbreezeshuttle.com
Uber/Lyft (starting at $100 per car, round trip)
One note about shuttle services — they all charge on a per-person basis. Therefore, if you are traveling with more than a couple of people, rideshare companies (which charge per car instead of per person) often become a better deal.
Uber and Lyft operate at both airports and will give you a ride to the cruise port and back. The prices run about $100 round trip (per car, not per person) for service between Houston Hobby and Galveston. Expect to pay $150-180 for round trip to Houston Intercontinental. (Your specific price may differ depending on traffic.)
The good thing about rideshare services is that you don’t have to wait for a scheduled departure time. It’s ready whenever you are. As well, you don’t have to share your car with anyone else, unlike an independent shuttle.
One thing to note is the Lyft currently is allowed to access the Port of Galveston to drop-off and pick-up. Uber is not, but can still drop off passengers right near the port, allowing you to walk the short distance to the terminal.
For more on getting from Houston to the Galveston port — including ALL your options — read our port transportation page.
More on Cruising From Galveston
Getting to the Port of Galveston — Transportation options from airports and the Galveston area to the cruise port. Everything you need to know to get to the port and start your vacation.
Galveston Cruise Guide — Never sailed from the Port of Galveston? We have everything you need to know from terminal information to transportation, parking, and more.
Galveston Hotels with Cruise Shuttles — Need a hotel with a ride to the port? These hotels all offer shuttle service to cruise passengers who stay.
After a recent experience (Feb 2023) we do not recommend Galveston Limo. They were over 1.5 hr late to pick us up from the cruise port and leave Galveston, causing us to miss our return flights and incure several hundreds of dollars in rebooking, hotel, and other transportation fees. Customer service was short and acted irritated when we called for updates. They blamed the delay on traffic, which conveniently gets them a loophole in their contract, but there was none to be seen once we were picked up.
Flying in to George Bush Airport from Australia on 6th February, we have two days in Beach Front Palms before joing the cruise ship and would want a return shuttle on 15 th February would it be possible to book this. Thanks.
Maureen — We aren’t a shuttle service. We simply provide info on your options. You’ll need to contact one of the shuttle companies to reserve.