Ok, let the nightmares and sleepless nights begin for this first timer and his family! It's paid for, our excursions are chosen (raft tour in Jamaica, sting rays in Grand Cayman, and jeep/caverns tour in Cozumel), and the family is set to sail for our first cruise ever (mom - 36, dad - 37, and two sons 12 and 10).
We'll be driving in from Oklahoma City on that Sunday - what time do the veterans suggest I arrive?
If your cruise departs at 4:00 pm, check-in will be from 12: noon to 3:00pm. If it's a 5:00 pm departure check-in is 1:00 to 4:00pm. Give yourself plenty of time for traffic issues and weather concerns. Most of all have a great 1st cruise!
First, my congrats on your cruise. If you've never been on the Conquest, you'll love it! We live in Midwest City, OK. We have been on the Conquest twice with our kids, ages 6 and 10. They also love it!
We, too, always drive to Galveston, but I have never considered leaving the day-of to drive. Our first time crossing Houston to get to Galveston took us seven hours. The second and third time only took a couple of hours, but in Houston, you never know about the traffic. I just want to wish you "good luck" and maybe drop the idea of going down Saturday night your way!
Have a great time!
July 2006 Conquest
March 2007 Ectasy
July 2007 Conquest
I too as a "veteran" of cruising from Galveston, suggest you don't drive the day of. Unless you can't possibly manage it, you should drive down and stay in a hotel. Some hotels in Galveston will let you keep your car in their parking lot and shuttle you to the ship which greatly offsets the cost of the hotel stay.
You are looking at about a 8 hour drive from OK city... to do that the morning of would be exhausting. You want to be there as early as you can (11 or 12) as the sooner you get on board the sooner your cruise starts. You will be warn out and stressed getting onto the ship. And if you are tired getting onto the ship, you will never be able to catch back up since you will be going, going, going on your cruise. If you come down on Saturday and spend the night south of Houston or in Galveston you can wake up refreshed, and take your stress free time to get to the ship.
Coming in the day before is very good advice. Plus there is a lot to see in the area. The Kemah Boardwalk, NASA, Galveston Strand District all great places if you get in early enough. As already suggested a hotel in the area would be wise and there are many that will provide free parking and shuttle to the pier. From the high end, The San Luis Hotel and Resort is the finest hotel in Galveston. Nearly new, right on the Gulf and exceptional in every way although very pricey. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Howard Johnsons, the closest hotel to the pier. I know that doesn't sound very appealing but I've actually had pretty good reports on it being clean, affordable and having the same perks like free parking for the week and shuttle. My own parents stayed there and said it was a great place for a bed and a parking space and ended up being about the same cost as just paying for a week of parking at the pier without a hotel.