The Un-Cruise Fab Five (plus a little surprise)

In the travel world there are, generally speaking, two kinds of travel companies:  the ones striving to offer something for everyone and those like Un-Cruise Adventures who are quite content, thank you very much, to provide everything for someone. To put it so simply even I can’t misconstrue, there are generalists and there are specialists.

Honesty compels me to admit that there are a myriad of places in the world where Un-Cruise is simply not an option.  They do serve five incredible destinations, however,  and should you long to experience one of those, congratulations are in order.  You have just won the travel equivalent of the Powerball lottery!  OK, that might be slight hyperbole but it is definitely your lucky day.

Un-Cruise Adventures DestinationsYou see, regarding those destinations Un-Cruise Adventures does offer, they are all over them like “white on rice”.  (If you are not familiar with that expression you need to listen to last Sunday’s segment on PBS radio’s A Way With Words.)  If you are a regular reader, you are probably not shocked to learn that this is my favorite radio program.

So which five destinations are we talking about?  Some of you have already cheated and looked closely at the image above and know the answer.  If you are over fifty, that bit of skullduggery was likely of no help anyway since, like me, you probably can’t read print that small.  If you are looking for your reading glasses, they are on your head.

Here is a quick look at all five with a comment or two about each one.  (The same sneaky little buggers who cheated and looked at the map have undoubtedly already glanced at the bottom of this post to find the little surprise. Tsk tsk . . . very naughty.)

Alaska’s Inside Passage

Un-Cruise Adventures AlaskaOn the Un-Cruise website there is this nice quote from Henry David Thoreau, “We need the tonic of wilderness.  We can never have enough of nature.”  Un-Cruise offers more than a dozen different Alaska cruises ranging from 7 to 21 nights.  If you enjoy wildlife (presuming that term doesn’t conjure up images of table dancing at Senior Frog’s in Cancun), you will be pleased to discover that every one of these adventures teems with God’s creatures.  You will encounter such diverse creatures as humpback whales, orca, bears, wolves, deer, bald eagles and all manner of sea birds.

Washington and British Columbia

I would venture to guess that, unless you are from the Pacific Northwest, most of you are Coastal Washington and British Columbiarilike me and unfamiliar with the seductive sounding San Juan Islands, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Salish Sea, Princess Louisa Inlet and the vast archipelago of islands that grace the coasts of Washington and British Columbia.  Let’s be honest, you were born to have High Tea in Butchart Gardens and to take in nature’s wonders from a kayak or skiff.  I know I was!

Columbia and Snake Rivers

Columbia and Snake RiversBy any chance are you looking for something extremely cool (in both the literal and metaphorical sense) to do this fall or next spring?  Without giving away too much about my next post, Un-Cruise Adventures offers four very distinctive styles of adventure.  One of these is called Heritage Adventures.  I know this is a shameless tease but come back again and I will reveal everything.  (Hmm. That didn’t come out quite right!)  In any case, if you love history with period costumes, legacy reenactments and dead people walking . . OK, just kidding about the last bit . .  you are going to LUV this experience.

Mexico’s Sea of Cortés

Sea of Cortez with Un-Cruise AdventuresTo cite the Un-Cruise website again, “Just south of California lies an unrushed and uncrowded inland sea known as the Gulf of California, Vermillion Sea, Sea of Cortez or Sea of Cortés.  Apparently you can call the thing whatever strikes your fancy at the moment.  I sort of like the Sea of Moi but maybe that’s a trifle pretentious.   I love the fact that this destination offers an area the writer John Steinbeck referred to as “ferocious with life” but also the culture and beauty of the mission town of Loreto and the rich history of La Paz.

Hawaiian Islands

Last but hardly least is the ever popular Hawaiian Islands.  Captain Cook dubbed them the Sandwich Islands after his visit in 1778 because, according to his diary, he had an incredible pastrami on rye at “The Little Mermaid Dive Shop” on Oahu.  See, it’s fascinating little historical tidbits like this you will learn on an Un-Cruise (if you travel with me, anyway).

Hawaii on an Un-Cruise AdventureGoodness, time flies when the words are flowing from your keyboard like syrup from a Vermont maple tree.  I do seem to recall promising you a little surprise.  If you like the fab five destinations, exercise a little patience and in late 2015 — if the dirt doctor hasn’t paid you a house call by then — you can add Costa Rica, Panama and Belize to the list creating the Exciting Eight!

When you come back for your next visit (I prefer the assumptive approach), I will tell you about the four very different style of adventures offered by Un-Cruise Adventures.  You will discover which one floats your boat, so to speak. Until then, which of the Fab Five destinations appeals to you the most?

The Unconventional World of Un-Cruise Adventures

Have you ever been on a cruise?  Ah, mon ami, but have you ever been on an un-cruise?

About the only thing these two experiences have in common is H2O and a vessel that floats.  My goal today is to introduce you to a travel company that has taken the commonplace and familiar and transformed it into something almost unrecognizable.  In a good way, of course!

Un-Cruise Adventures I say introduce because their product offering is so fascinating and diverse that it is going to take me several posts to do it justice.  In fact, what do you say we create ourselves a brand new category called Un-Cruising.  (I haven’t created a new category on this blog in a couple of weeks and regular readers know that normally brings on an outbreak of unsightly hives.)  That way, when I have whetted your appetite with this initial tantalizing post, you can can easily sate your hunger for more insights with future posts all nicely grouped together.  You could, I suppose, just go to their excellent website, but that would deprive you of my inimitable wit and charm, now wouldn’t it?

So what is unique about Un-Cruise Adventures?  As already suggested, it will take several posts to filet that particular topic like a twenty pound Columbia River spring Chinook but I can give you a few broad hints here.

Intimacy Versus Anonymity

Speaking in generalities, the major cruises lines believe bigger is better.  I suppose that’s true if, in your mind, no cruise is complete without a rock climbing experience . . . on board the ship!  I personally love the big ships too but with 6000 passengers and a couple of thousand crew, I feel lucky if I can remember my own name much less expect to be greeted by name in the bar.  Take a look at the Un-Cruise Adventures fleet.  You can add up the total passenger count from all eight ships and it might not equal one deck on the Oasis of the Seas.

Un-Cruise Adventures Chat with the CaptainBy the end of the cruise all the staff won’t just know your name, you will know all their names and their children in birth order!  You will have spent so much time on the bridge, you will know how the Captain takes his coffee and where he got that tattoo of a Geisha girl on his right forearm.

The size of the ships provides intimacy of another sort that may have never occurred to you.  I am referring to intimacy with the destination.  Their shallow draft and smaller size permits access to Un-Cruise Adventures hot tubplaces the larger ships could never dream of going.   See how close the ship is to the glacier!  Stop staring at the foreground, Mister.  We are not talking about that kind of intimacy.   Try to stay focused, OK?

If your dream vacation doesn’t include standing in long lines but does include feeling like Norm walking into Cheers where everybody knows your name, this is the travel experience for you.  I know a little about the travel business and trust me, with so few passengers on board to pay the freight, it is a certainty that not only will you be treated like a VIP, you will be a VIP!

Goodness!  There is so much more I wanted to tell you.  One of the neatest things is how they have organized their product into four adventure styles: active, luxury, heritage and charter, each with a very distinct focus and personality.  If you promise to come back soon, I will explain not just that but why they serve only five destinations* (and which ones) plus a whole lot more.

Un-Cruise Yoga ClassesIn the meantime, the picture above shows just how unique this experience really is.  This is their non-traditional emergency drill.  The instructor is saying, “Should anyone fall overboard, you should give your most believable impression of a dolphin!”

By now you should be salivating to know more about the Un-Cruise Adventure experience.  Wipe the corner of your mouth and come back soon!  I’m just as keen to tell you!

* One of those five destinations is Mexico’s Sea of Cortes. Click here to watch a great video!

Viking River Flows Into The Ocean

Beep . . . Beep . . . Beep!   Please stand by for another “Hear It Here First” announcement.  This is NOT a test of the Travel By Terry breaking travel news alert system.

Some of you may know that Viking River Cruises has clearly established itself as the indisputable master of the world’s great rivers.  Today they have announced their plans to let some of that remarkable success flow directly into the Seven Seas.  OK, maybe not seven right away but at least a couple.   Travel Weekly has a great article this morning about Viking’s plans to launch their first ocean-going vessel, the Viking Star, in May of 2015.

Viking Star rendering exteriorThe initial voyages will ply the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas.  It will fit into the mid-size category with 928 passengers.  One thing that should set it apart from its competitors in this market is the fact that shore excursions and beer and wine with lunch and dinner will be included.

Viking Star interior rendering  Viking Star pool rendering

“Another unusual feature will be a ‘snow grotto’ in the spa in which ‘snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air,’ according to a Viking description,” reports Travel Weekly.   To learn more, I  encourage you to visited our branded Viking Cruises site and click on Viking Oceans tab at the top.

When your friends ask if you have heard that Viking has just entered the world of ocean cruising, I suggest you give them a dismissive look and a roll of the eyes and simply respond, “Please!  I follow Travel By Terry.  I heard about that eons ago!”

Travel Industry Proposes, Royal Caribbean Disposes

One of my favorite quotes comes from “The Imitation of Christ” by the German-born Thomas à Kempis (c.1380-1471): “For man proposes, but God disposes; neither is the way of man in his own hands.”  We in the travel agency community are a little like that.  We propose all sorts of brilliant ideas, at least in our own humble estimation, yet we face the reality that in most cases we have zero power to dispose.

Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the SeasI recently interviewed Vicki Freed,  the Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Services for Royal Caribbean International, right here on this incomparable little blog and one of my queries was, for her at least, this very familiar and possibly tiresome question:  “When will Royal Caribbean start sailing year round out of the port of Galveston?”

For a little context, travel agents throughout Texas and surrounding states have for a few years now  been clamoring, cajoling, carping (and various other exertions too embarrassing to mention in print) for Royal Caribbean to position a ship in Galveston year round.  We travel types are nothing if not annoyingly persistent.

I have big news!  Let me share a brief excerpt from a press release issued today.  “Royal Caribbean International, the cruise line known for first at-sea innovations, announced today that it is basing 3,114-guest Navigator of the Seas year-round from the Texas port city of Galveston.”   Unlike when mighty Casey struck out, there was great joy in Mudville today. More than one of our travel agents was observed doing the happy dance on their desks!

Navigator of the Seas cabin

Since by design, these “Hear It Here First” posts are intended to be short and sweet, you can click here to read all the details.One exciting aspect of the news is that not only will Navigator of the Seas begin sailing year round from Galveston beginning this November but also will be emerging from an extensive drydock revitalization in February of 2014.  

This is absolutely going to be a very popular ship and departure port so start making your plans now.   Click here if you would like a full schedule of departure dates and itineraries and reach out to me for prices and to secure space.

Remember, you heard it here first.  And, if you didn’t, then clearly you aren’t as devoted a follower of this blog as you should be!  Come on, let’s muster a little fanatical devotion here.

Vicki Freed: One Of Royal Caribbean’s Leading Ladies

There are achievers and then there are over-achievers.  (You may have noticed,  I intentionally omitted under-achievers since that strikes a little too close to home for some of us.)  Vicki Freed, the Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Services for Royal Caribbean International, certainly belongs to the over-achiever category.

Vicki Freed of Royal Caribbean

One of the few times you will catch Vicki just hanging around!

She has set an incredible record of accomplishment.  Should I attempt to catalog her rather daunting list of achievements here, it would only serve to make Vicki blush and, more importantly, take time away from hearing her valuable insights.  I suggest instead you read her full bio here.

What is even more remarkable though is how she has managed to reach the pinnacle of the cruise industry while retaining such warm affection and high esteem among so many of her colleagues and travel industry constituents.  I refrained from saying all because surely there must be someone out there for whom Vicki is not the flavor of the month but lacking an electron microscope and a research sabbatical, so far I have not been able to detect one.

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the SeasWhat you will discover for yourself when you listen to the recorded interview below is that Vicki combines a keen intellect with an ebullient charm.  This happy confluence of gifts has served her well in her career.  She embodies the brand she represents:  contemporary style and timeless grace.  Cream rises inexorably to the top and Vicki is the executive equivalent of crème de la crème.  Hey, I would be right there too if I hadn’t somehow become a little curdled along the way!

Before you listen to the interview, you might be amused (not that I was at the time) by this quick aside.  In preparing for the interview I alerted my co-workers not to come calling, put my phone on Do Not Disturb, turned off my cell phone and securely shut my door, all to insure that the recorded call would be as clear as possible.  Notwithstanding all my precautions, sixty seconds into the interview a window washer started spraying what sounded,  to my ears at least, like a 3″ fire hose on to my exterior windows rattling the window panes and shattering my nerves.  By some miracle, you will not be able to detect the clatter on the recording!

I seem to have been assigned a guardian angel who requires both morning and afternoon naps.  Granted looking after me has to be particularly exhausting but why can’t I have someone shepherding me around with a little more energy or perhaps, more importantly, a less perverse sense of humor!

OK, let’s get to the good stuff!  In our conversation, Vicki, among other things:

1)  Offers some excellent advice to first-time cruisers

2)  Gives us just a peek into the new Quantum class of ships on the near horizon

3)  Nimbly explains how “Every Ship Can Be The Best Ship”

Click here or on Vicki’s picture to see probing questions magically transformed into perceptive answers right before your very eyes . . .  or ears, I suppose, in this case.

Interview with Royal Caribbean's Vicky FreedDo you have a favorite travel industry executive that you would like to see subjected to the unquestionable prestige of appearing on Backroom Banter?  Vicki has set a very high bar but if you do have someone in mind, send me their name and I will see if can’t appeal to their charitable spirit as I did with Vicki.

WOW . . . Royal Caribbean Style

I seldom, almost never actually, resort to a direct sales pitch on this blog.  My  theory is tocartoon cars alesman so dazzle you with my razor wit and effervescent charm that you won’t be able to resist checking out our stellar travel offers (a theory not yet validated by actual evidence but I remain undeterred).  However, seeing as I pretty much make up the rules as I go along around here, I am going to grant myself the travel equivalent of a special papal dispensation with this post and be blatantly and unabashedly commercial.

My rationalization is simple (again, not that I really need much of one).  I recently started a new category on this blog called “Hear It Here First” where I promised to share breaking travel news thus ensuring your status at cocktail parties as the “Seer of Syracuse” or wherever the heck you call home.

One of our valued travel partners, Royal Caribbean International, promotes a giant, three-day blowout sale just twice a year they call their WOW SALE (hence the title of this post).  As special partners, they have given us a little heads up on this offer which does not launch until this coming Monday, February 25th and ends Wednesday, February 27th.

Royal Caribbean WOW Sale

Here are the basics of the offer:

1)  Book any sailing departing on or after May 1, 2013.  3-Day WOW Sale includes cruisetours and sailings on their entire fleet!

2)  Deposits are reduced by 50%

3)  Up to $200 of Onboard credit

Royal Caribbean WOW Sale

* For a fuller explanation of terms and conditions, click here.

Now that you are armed with this advance notice, you can reach out to one of our trusty cruise specialists who will in turn gather information regarding you, your preferences and your immediate travel aspirations.  Then come Monday, our agent will pounce like a ravished Bengal tiger and secure the best possible cabin and price before the other hapless rubes out there have finished their morning coffee!

Here is a list of some of our cruise experts.

Sandy DuVall  *  Lila Tapp  *  Velma Tollison

Damon Webb  *  Judy Richardson  *  Elaine Goad

Cheryl Lobo  *  Linda Matthews  *  Lana Elpiner 

When you click on the agent’s name, you will be provided a robust profile and contact information for that agent! Check out a few agents and when a particular agent’s cruise experience strikes your fancy,  just reach out to them by phone or email.  It really is that easy!

If you have been thinking about taking a cruise and have been waiting for the perfect value to come along (we don’t offer deals), act immediately.  Hey, I had a root canal this week. This little sales pitch has to be less painful than that!

River Cruising: A Languid Stroll Down Liquid Highways (3)

Well, I’ll be hogtied and hornswoggled!

If you are not from Texas (my condolences) and haven’t the foggiest notion what I am talking about, here is a helpful explanation from the Urban Dictionary, “Obviously refers to cowboys roping and throwing calfs or cows, securing the rope to the saddle horn (hornswoggled) and tying three of their legs together with the ‘pigging string’.”

Calf Roping

Of course, I am using the phrase metaphorically of my shock and awe. Having guest posted for IgoUgo once, they actually want me back for an encore.  Go figure.  I have always wondered what a second date would feel like and now I have a chance to find out.

This is the third in my series of posts about my own Viking river cruise.  Over at IgoUgo IViking Elbe River am calling the post The Genius of River Cruising. If you are a regular reader, you should know the drill.  I am going to lead you by the hand through cyberspace over to their site where you can read my third installment in this riveting series (my words).  All you have to do is click here.  Wait!  Wait!

Before you go, I trust you haven’t forgotten our one inviolable rule:  You go over to IgoUgo to browse, you always come back home to Travel Leaders / Main Street Travel to book!  OK, now you can click here.

River Cruising: A Languid Stroll Down Liquid Highways (2)

When last I left you  . . . or you left me . . . let’s not quibble over who broke it off, we were strolling hand in hand down that most renowned of liquid highways, the incomparable Rhine river.  I had made some tortured pun on the name of our ship and you had tittered in that coy way you have. Then, suddenly, you slipped away into the heavy mist that creeps along the river’s banks like a cat burglar in ballet slippers.   Let’s resume our journey and see if we can’t recapture a bit of yesterday’s magic.

Before we leave Amsterdam for good though, I just have to show you this picture as a dire warning that even a pastime as noble as gardening can go to seed, so to speak. You could build an entire reality show called “Horticulture Gone Wild” based on this yard alone.  Did you notice the garage roof?

Horticulture Gone WildOne of my favorite stops along the way was Cologne from which we get our word . . . cologne.  I figured that out without resorting to the guide book.  And speaking of guides, Viking River Cruises has this fantastic system whereby every passenger is given a headset to use on walking tours.  If you look closely at our guide, whom I called Hoss Cartwright (behind his rather imposing back, of course), you can see his microphone.

The reincarnation of Hoss Cartwright.

The reincarnation of Hoss Cartwright.

“Hoss” was an absolute mountain of a man.  Let’s just say he cut a wide swath and I quickly found that if you followed in his wake you could careen along behind him no matter how many Peppermint Schnaps you might have imbibed. I will say, “Hoss” had a masterful grasp of colorful local history and and a very entertaining way of presenting it.

The first picture below is a great illustration as to why comfortable walking shoes are an absolute must on this kind of experience.  The second picture is the perfect advertisement for:

1) living in the south of France instead of the north of Germany

2) letting your wife dress you in the morning

3) finally, for choosing a musical instrument that is smaller than you are! I wonder if this guy ever gave serious consideration to an harmonica.

Cobblestone streetsStreet Musician

 If you are foolhardy enough to book another river cruise company besides Viking River Cruises, the picture below depicts the cabin you will likely end up with.  Ancient casteJust so you know, having waterfowl hanging on your wall will cost you a surcharge..  OK, just a little harmless joke, other river cruise partners.  Actually, there are several quality river cruise companies out there but Viking is certainly an industry leader in many categories.  They are not the cheapest nor the most expensive but they provide incredible value for price.  They have won a number of very prestigious awards.  You might want to read my recent post on Travel Deals And Other Mythical Creatures for a little perspective on travel values verses supposed deals.

If I have rekindled your affection as well as sparked your passion for this wonderful way to see the world, are you willing to indulge me one final installment in this little trilogy?  If so, let’s make a date to meet back here in a few days where we will conclude our river odyssey.

River Cruising: A Languid Stroll Down Liquid Highways

There is a very good reason that so many great cities, not only in Europe but throughout the world, are found alongside some of the world’s most majestic rivers.  Before relatively recent times, challenging terrain posed many obstacles to travel over land.  In the rivers, however, the merchants found ready-made highways to transport their goods and thus these cities sprung up as inland ports-of-call.  River cruising is capitalizing upon this reality and rapidly becoming one of the hottest vacation options in travel.

View from the Viking HelvetiaA couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to experience a truly magnificent river cruise aboard the Viking Helvetia.  We sailed from Amsterdam to Basel mostly along the Rhine River.  Part of what made the experience so enjoyable was that I was sauntering along with eighty or so of my closest friends.  You are no doubt shocked I would have 80 casual acquaintances much less that many close friends.

Viking River Cruise Excursion

The wheels on the bus go round and round.

You might be surprised to learn how much natural affinity there is between us like-minded, quirky travel folks.  We tend to congregate in large clusters, kind of like the Amish but without the beards . . .  and the foggiest notion of what’s appropriate in public, of course.  Actually I count the folks in this picture among my dear friends. At least I did before I published this candid shot on the internet without their permission where it will linger in some dank corner of cyberspace for all eternity.  Flip’s not really driving.  It just sort of looks that way.

I discovered that there are a whole host of things I like about river cruising, first and foremost being the leisurely pace.  Someone like my fellow blogger Lesley Carter over at Bucket List Publications, a frequenter of these pages, God love her,  would probably have to parasail behind the ship upside down, blindfolded and tethered to concertina wire just to stay awake.  Check out her blog to see what I mean.

However, for those of us for whom an adrenaline rush is defined as sipping a mellow Malbec in a dimly lit room, it is ideal.   When you are trying to absorb several hundred years of European history through the bar’s gigantic picture window, even five knots an hour seems like wave running.  Captain, can’t you slow this thing down a bit!

Archimedes' screws in Amsterdam

Giant Archimedes’ screws

Our first stop was in Kinderdijk where we did a windmill excursion.  If you have ever wondered how they move water around in a country which is largely below sea level check out these gigantic Archimedes’ screws.  Those of you who are expecting one of my typical crude attempts at humor will have to wait a sentence or two.  I’m not touching this one.

Just to prove I actually was in The Netherlands, here is one of many windmills dotting the landscape.  And no, dear skeptics out there, I did not photoshop the third hole at my local miniature golf course.  Windmill in KinderdijkI can tell by your drooping eyelids that I am not going to be able to hold your attention all the way to Basel.  Therefore I have made an editorial decision, seeing as I am what passes for an editor around here, to return next post with more of my heart-throbbing river adventures.  I have decided to do this just for the  Helvetia of it.  (Now there’s the kind of pathetic pun you have come to expect from your humble blogger.)

Have you ever been on a river cruise?  After reading this scintillating post, would you like to?  Check it out here. At you own languid pace, of course!

How To Select A Fine Texas Port

For those credulous souls who found their way to this post assuming they were going to be the first in their snooty wine circle to discover a classic Texas port wine to rival Quinta

Fonte do Ouro and thereby pique the envy of their fellow enthusiasts, my apologies.  Keep in mind, this is a travel blog . . . or purports to be anyway . . . so when we toss the term “port” about we have something entirely different in mind.  We are thinking of a facility from whence one launches one’s dream cruise.

While Texas may not have yet solidified its position as the port wine capitol of the world, we are rapidly making a name for ourselves as one of the great cruise departure points.  Recently I wrote another of my little literary gems called “Galveston oh Galveston:  I See Your Cruise Ships Sailing” in which I shared a little chart that explains the current options from Galveston.  Since that post, there have been a couple of exciting announcements.

In a recent article in USA Today, it was revealed that “Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises on Thursday both announced plans to begin voyages out of Houston’s Bayport Cruise Terminal, which has been mostly vacant since being completed in 2008. Princess says the 3,080-passenger Caribbean Princess will offer seven-night sailings to the Western Caribbean out of the terminal starting in November 2013.”

“Norwegian says the 2,374-passenger Norwegian Jewel will begin seven-night sailings to the Western Caribbean out of the terminal starting in the fall of 2014.”

Since the cruise terminal has been empty for so long, this is important news for both the city of Houston and the cruise lines.   But I suspect it will also raise a lot of questions in the minds of the seafaring public about this new option.  Not to worry, dear soul.  As usual, your intrepid guide to all things travel related is here to dispense the fog, evaporate the mist, dispel the darkness, shed the light . . . you get the idea.

So the two choices that will soon be available to you in Texas are the Port of Galveston or the Bayport Cruise Terminal. Now I realize that a lot of factors will go into your cruise decision such as cruise line, the specific cruise ship, length of sailing, itinerary and ports of call.  But once you weight the pros and cons of each port, you may well want to add the port of departure to your list of considerations.

Bayport Cruise Terminal

Bayport Cruise Terminal

Bayport Cruise Terminal

One of the most obvious advantages of sailing from Bayport is the availability of numerous flights into both George Bush International Airport and Hobby Airport.  While there will be a cost in getting to the pier, unless the cruise lines should decide to provide transfers, it will be less time and money than getting to Galveston from Houston.   If your travel plans include either a pre or post overnight stay, Houston of course offers a wide array of hotels in various price ranges.

I have not personally been to the new terminal, apparently an experience I share with close to 100% of the population, but I understand it is very modern, roomy and well designed to service cruise customers.

Port of Galveston 

Port of Galveston with two Carnival ships

Port of Galveston

One of the chief benefits of sailing from Galveston is the number of local attractions such as the brand new Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier.  There are plenty of places to stay such as the historic Galvez Hotel & Spa or The Tremont House. The Strand offers lots of shopping options and contributes to Galveston being a fun place to spend an extra day or two.

Having choices is always a good thing.  Now you can pop over to the Port of Galveston and very soon you will be able to bop over to the Bayport Cruise Terminal.  The most important thing is to flop down a deposit on your next cruise.  OK, this is getting sappy even by my exceedingly low standards so I’m going to . . . yes, you guessed it . . stop.