Pre-cruise stay at the Hampton Inn in Galveston, TX

The “suite” at the Hampton Inn in Galveston.

If you are cruising out of Galveston, the smart thing to do is get there the night before. You don’t have any stress of making the long drive from the Houston airports the day of the cruise, and Galveston is a great addition to your vacation in any event. Unfortunately, lots of other folks are making that same choice. That means that hotel rooms in Galveston cost a lot and frequently require two night stays. The Hampton Inn in Galveston avoids this problem by offering (relatively speaking) reasonable rates, easy ability to cash in your Hilton HHonors points for a free stay, and by only requiring a one night stay. We stayed there for our cruise on the Liberty of the Seas in June 2017 and on the Navigator of the Seas in August 2015.

One of the great strengths of this hotel is the location. You are right across the street from a Walmart, and that is great for those last-minute things you may have forgotten for your trip. There are several OK restaurants within a reasonable walk of the hotel, although all of the really good places to eat will require that you have your own car, call a taxi, or use Uber. For example, we drove to Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch and Olympia Grill at Pier 21 for dinner– both places being near the cruise pier. The best part, however, is that you are only a block from the beach. Many of the rooms have a Gulf view. When you have kids trying to burn off energy before the cruise, it is great to be able to send them to the beach. Speaking of, that is exactly what we did.

One of my favorite cruisers explores the beach by the Hampton Inn in Galveston.

The hotel itself is, well, it’s a Hampton Inn. The rooms are large and clean. Parking is free while staying. The staff is friendly and efficient, the breakfast is nice, and the services are limited. It is this thing about services being limited, however, which became a challenge. Both times we have stayed, we have driven our own car and made arrangements to park near the pier. Both times, we have been travelling with someone else. In 2015, our other party left a car at the hotel and used the hotel shuttle to get to the pier. In 2017, that was no longer an option. They didn’t have a car, but the hotel no longer offered shuttle service to the pier. That meant they had to wait for an Uber… and wait… and wait… We had a car and parked at Galveston Park N Cruise, which was much more efficient.

So would I stay at the hotel again? Absolutely, if I was driving my own vehicle. I would probably even do it if I didn’t have my own car. In that case, however, I would be really, really sure to have a pre-arranged plan for getting to the pier in the morning. Taxis and Uber work great in the evening, but on embarkation morning are hard to catch. The lack of a shuttle is a real drawback, but it is manageable if you plan in advance.

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