Best Cruise Destinations from Galveston

A cruise vacation offers great value because it includes everything you need: food, accommodations, entertainment and a variety of activities. Many are family friendly, and you get to see multiple destinations, but you only unpack once and never need to drive!

We’re lucky to live so close to Galveston, which serves as a port for several large cruise ships. If you book a cruise, a Western Caribbean itinerary can include stops in Cozumel, Mexico; Belize; Isla Roatan, Honduras; Montego Bay, Jamaica; George Town and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Puerto Costa Maya; and the Yucatan. A Bahamas itinerary has stops at Key West, Florida; and Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas.

U.S. News recently ranked the best cruises sailing from Galveston based on an analysis of reviews and health ratings. Here are their top results.


1. Disney Wonder

Part of the Disney Cruise Line, this ship makes stops in Key West, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. The 2,713-passenger ship was updated in 2016, and as you would imagine, it offers family-oriented amenities and entertainment offerings, including the classic meet and greets with Disney characters. Disney cruises are designed with families in mind and often earn top marks because the quality of service is top-notch.

In addition to 10 family areas and five youth clubs, there are seven adults-only spaces and the adults-only Quiet Cove pool. At night, adults can enjoy After Hours, a special section with three nightclubs and lounges.


2. Liberty of the Seas

Part of Royal Caribbean, this ship sails year-round sailings to Central America and Mexico. It can house up to 4,960 guests.

Past guests rave about the food, and the ship features a surf simulator, a rock climbing wall, a mini-golf course and an ice skating rink. Children can swim and play in nine pools, attend youth clubs and meet characters from DreamWorks film such as Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon. Adults can enjoy 12 bars and lounges or try their luck at the casino.


3. Carnival Vista

This ship is newest and largest in Carnival’s fleet, welcoming up to 3,934 passengers. It has diverse dining options and impressive accommodations. In addition to kids clubs and a waterpark, new activities include the SkyRide suspended bike course, the first IMAX theater at sea and a Dr. Seuss-inspired library.

The Family Harbor cabins have access to an exclusive 24-hour lounge with free food, kid-friendly movies and games, and a free night of babysitting. Havana rooms cater with a private bar and pool.


4. Carnival Breeze

The 3,690-passenger ship has great restaurants and evening entertainment, including six bars, The Punchliner Comedy Club and Hasbro, The Game Show (with a giant version of Yahtzee!) and SuperStar Live Karaoke. The ship also has mini-golf, an outdoor water park and the Cloud 9 Spa.


5. Carnival Liberty

Carrying up to 2,974 guests, this ship offers a higher level of personalization than some megaship competitors. It’s equipped with all the “Fun Ship 2.0” amenities. Children ages 2 to 17 can play at age-appropriate youth clubs while parents relax at the Serenity Adult-Only Retreat.

Round out the top 10:

  • Carnival Freedom — Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Enchantment of the Seas — Royal Caribbean International
  • Carnival Valor — Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Vision of the Seas — Royal Caribbean International
  • Carnival Sunshine — Carnival Cruise Lines

Jocelyn Sexton is a marketing and corporate communications professional with more than 15 years of writing experience. She is a passionate storyteller and has worked in a variety of industries, including a stint in state government where she worked to promote Texas food with the Department of Agriculture. She earned an Executive MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has an undergraduate degree in Journalism-Public Relations from the University of North Texas.

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