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Mvwingnut

Flight timing into Houston to get to Galveston

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We are cruising out of Galveston in November and were thinking about flying in the same day we cruise.  What would be the latest we could fly in and still make it to the pier to get on the ship?  This is the first time I have had to fly to get to my cruise so I need help...

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There are loads of threads on flying in same day as departure and the general consensus is DO NOT RISK IT. There are too many things that can go wrong and the ship WILL NOT WAIT for you. Fly in the day or night before and have a leisurely start to your vacation. 🛳🚢👌

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BAD IDEA for a billion reasons not the least of which is Fog during that time of years can shut down the bridge to the island.  

 

fly in the day before and get a cheap hotel in Texas City and a shuttle to the pier the next morning.  

 

the two airports are easily 60-90 minutes away with zero  delays.  there are ALWAYS delays .  just getting out of Houston/Katy is a nightmare.  

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49 minutes ago, spookwife said:

BAD IDEA for a billion reasons not the least of which is Fog during that time of years can shut down the bridge to the island.  

 

fly in the day before and get a cheap hotel in Texas City and a shuttle to the pier the next morning.  

 

the two airports are easily 60-90 minutes away with zero  delays.  there are ALWAYS delays .  just getting out of Houston/Katy is a nightmare.  

You will in NO way shape or form go through the Katy area getting from either one of the airports to the port of Galveston.

 

 I lived in Houston for almost 20 years and never saw the bridge to Galveston closed (except for hurricanes) for fog.  The port does get closed for fog now and then, but not the bridge. 

 

There are not ALWAYS delays.  HOU is south of downtown and only 35-40 miles (give or take) from the port. IAH is about 75 and, unless trying make drive a rush hr, will prob take about 90 min give or take (depending on route taken).

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What airport are you planning on flying into?  IAH is about 75 miles form the port (with having downtown Houston in between the airport and port) and HOU is south of downtown and about 35-40 miles from the port with a straight shot down I45 to the port.   If you did a redeye and landed at IAH early 6-7am time frame you could make it to the port without problems. HOU you can prob get away with arriving 9-10am without much worry. 

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Many pax fly day of cruise successfully, but like other previous responses, our preference is to fly at least 1 day before. We enjoy a relaxed travel experience and being well rested for boarding.

 

However, if flying day of cruise, I would look for an overnight flight arriving early morning, to maximise time for any delays, missed connections, etc.

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Posted (edited)

You have to be in the check-in line 90 minutes before cruise departure, but really you want to get there around noon for a free (ok, "already paid for") lunch. But as many others have said, you open yourself up for failure if you fly in the same day. Even if you get to the ship on time, what if one of your luggage bags is lost? If you fly down a day before, the airline can probably locate the bag and get it to your hotel before you leave, but not so if you've already left on the ship.

 

If you do fly in the same day, cross-pack (a good idea anyway) -- put some items for each person into two or more bags, and have some extra items in carry-on just in case.

 

If I-45 is closed for any reason (such as a wreck), you can be delayed for a hour or more -- there aren't many alternate ways to get to Galveston from the airport other than I-45. Same for the return flight -- don't book to early -- after 2pm should be fine most of the time. Once we had bad fog and passengers did not start departing the ship until 2:30pm. The passengers were mouthing the word "fog" -- at least I think that's what they were mouthing!

Edited by Jimnbigd

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7 hours ago, TruckerDave said:

You will in NO way shape or form go through the Katy area getting from either one of the airports to the port of Galveston.

 

 I lived in Houston for almost 20 years and never saw the bridge to Galveston closed (except for hurricanes) for fog.  The port does get closed for fog now and then, but not the bridge. 

 

There are not ALWAYS delays.  HOU is south of downtown and only 35-40 miles (give or take) from the port. IAH is about 75 and, unless trying make drive a rush hr, will prob take about 90 min give or take (depending on route taken).

 On our last cruise of there,  the fog was so thick the bridge was a literal parking lot.  It may not have been closed, but it might as well have been.  It certainly wasnt safe to move more than 20mph.   And the construction has not gotten any better.  

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23 hours ago, spookwife said:

 On our last cruise of there,  the fog was so thick the bridge was a literal parking lot.  It may not have been closed, but it might as well have been.  It certainly wasnt safe to move more than 20mph.   And the construction has not gotten any better.  

Yet thousands of people go to and from Galveston EVERYDAY without issue.   Can there be slowdowns...yes. But your over the top hyperbole doesn't help anything.  Just because you got caught in a slow down one time, doesn't mean it happens all the time like you implied in your post.

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I would recommend flying in the day before. You can either get a room at an airport hotel and go back to the airport the following morning to pick up the cruise shuttle to the ship or you can get a private shuttle down to the island, spend the night there and use local transport to get to the ship the next day. As mentioned above, Houston traffic, like any large urban area, can be unpredictable. Going in a day earlier relieves that last minute stress and gets your vacation off to a smooth start.

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I flew into Houston twice from NYC airports, arriving by 9am each time.  I booked cruise line transportation to the pier as well.  My flights were non stop, direct, and I used just carry on luggage.

 

One time went very smoothly, the other time we had to wait over 2 hours at the airport for the cruise line's shuttle!  We arrived at the cruise terminal around 2:30 -3PM. probably the latest I ever boarded a ship scheduled to leave at 4PM.

 

BTW, I've flown the morning of the cruise almost 40 times from NY, always made the ship.  Carry on luggage, so no wait at the carousel, non stop flight leaving first thing in the morning.

 

I've since moved to SW FL, so now I can drive into 3 ports, TAM, FLL, and MIA, in about the same flight time from NYC.  I still leave the morning of the cruise.

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On 4/20/2019 at 8:22 AM, evandbob said:

I flew into Houston twice from NYC airports, arriving by 9am each time.  I booked cruise line transportation to the pier as well.  My flights were non stop, direct, and I used just carry on luggage...One time went very smoothly, the other time we had to wait over 2 hours at the airport for the cruise line's shuttle!  We arrived at the cruise terminal around 2:30 -3PM. probably the latest I ever boarded a ship scheduled to leave at 4PM.

 

If you booked the shuttle through the cruise ship, the ship might have waited for you, or else the ship would have to fly you at their expense to the first port (probably cheaper for the ship to wait since presumably you were not the only ones arriving late). Not so if you book your own transport.

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A lot of cruisers drive in , fly in the same day successfully to every cruise port around the world . 

We are talking about generally the usual exceptions, causing late arrivals to terminals past time to board. 

We have all had near misses, but OP has yet to convey facts around the day of cruising !

 

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Ya pays your money and ya takes your chances!   I wouldn’t do it, but that’s me. 

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On 4/4/2019 at 8:46 PM, Mvwingnut said:

We are cruising out of Galveston in November and were thinking about flying in the same day we cruise.  What would be the latest we could fly in and still make it to the pier to get on the ship?  This is the first time I have had to fly to get to my cruise so I need help...

Many are going to tell you not to fly in the day of and they have great points, but sometimes, you just can't.  It depends on where you are flying in from.  Will there be weather problems?  I would fly in as early as possible.  I have done this numerous times.  I live in Denver so in Nov, I would not risk it but as before, you do what you have to do.  There is plenty of transportation from IAH, which I fly into.  But Hobby (HOU) is closer to Galveston, so that they might be a determinant for you. 

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On 4/5/2019 at 8:02 AM, spookwife said:

BAD IDEA for a billion reasons not the least of which is Fog during that time of years can shut down the bridge to the island.  

 

fly in the day before and get a cheap hotel in Texas City and a shuttle to the pier the next morning.  

 

the two airports are easily 60-90 minutes away with zero  delays.  there are ALWAYS delays .  just getting out of Houston/Katy is a nightmare.  

“BAD IDEA for a billion reasons not the least of which is Fog during that time of years can shut down the bridge to the island.  “

 

The causeway to my knowledge has never been closed due to fog . 

 

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Fog is more prevalent on the mainland than the island. Fog in November is rare if non existent.

The Causeway has never been shut down except AFTER Hurricane Ike when I45 was impassable, but the Causeway was fine.

Weather and traffic occurs everywhere.  We took a 7am flight to Orlando, landing delayed 2 hours, finally to ship at 3 pm!!

Katy is no where near either airport.

6 million people in Houston Metropolitan area so there will be traffic.

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On 5/16/2019 at 8:11 AM, Galveston Cruiser said:

Fog is more prevalent on the mainland than the island. Fog in November is rare if non existent.

thank you for the excellent info on fog in November.

My take on Fog based on both cruises I've taken and reading is Mid January to end of February is most prevalent.  Am I accurate?

 

Also with the new MOA with the "Pilots Association" it has become less of a concern.  Is this true?

 

As always thank for providing info from a local.  happy cruising

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6 hours ago, cruisegus said:

thank you for the excellent info on fog in November.

My take on Fog based on both cruises I've taken and reading is Mid January to end of February is most prevalent.  Am I accurate?

 

Also with the new MOA with the "Pilots Association" it has become less of a concern.  Is this true?

 

As always thank for providing info from a local.  happy cruising

January to March are the prevalent months,  Average number of annual fog days is 14.  Some years more, some less and some years - none.

 

There is also an agreement with the Pilots to bring in cruise ships unless weather is such the Coast Guard closes the port.

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Agree with Galveston Cruiser ! 
 

There has been a major change politically for the improvement in better ship movement and less fog delays in Galveston.

 

The Galveston-Texas City Pilots Association’s ship pilot members charge a tariff on each foreign-flagged oil tanker, cruise passenger ship or other vessel they pilot into or out of ports in the county.

 

Over the years , the Board of Pilot Commissioners for Galveston County has found itself thrust into the spotlight as fights have erupted over  rising rates and fog delays greatly affecting waterfront commerce. And fights over representation on the Pilots Board Association..

 

The most recent dispute has some roots in a rate increase proposed in 2017 by the pilots association, which does not face competition, and has the authority to decide when it’s safe to guide ships in and out of ports.

 

The monopoly system is allowed on the belief that pilots vying for business might take unnecessary risks and cause unsafe waterways.

 

On the other hand , it has been asserted the pilots have held the cruse lines hostage, as a bargaining chip for the tariff rate increases , by delaying movements of cruise ships in the fog,  and creating the resulting bad images of Galveston in the cruising industry  .

 

The Port of Galveston, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association, Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean Cruises filed a lawsuit over the pilot board’s vote in August 2016 to increase rates 30 percent over three years.

The pilots board dropped the lawsuit, after the pilot board amended the rate change that  increase rates by 16 percent.

 

And therefore A resolution for priority and timely movement of cruise ships in the fog was reached . 

Since the agreed on pay rate increase , the cruise ships in Galveston have moved in the fog . 

 

 

Now

the longstanding debate over the representation and membership of the public pilot board charged with overseeing ship pilots has moved to the Texas Legislature.

 

Presently Texas Gov. Greg Abbott selects and appoints people to the Pilots Board who have applied to volunteer for a commission after an extensive vetting process, officials said.

 

Texas Sen. Larry Taylor late Monday filed Senate Bill 1434, which proposes adding the directors of both the ports of Texas City and Galveston to the Board of Pilot Commissioners for GalvestonCounty as ex-officio commissioners.

 

The proposed legislation applies only to the GalvestonCounty pilot board, and, if approved, would take effect on Sept. 1, according to the bill.

 

As of today the legislation as proposed has not been approved in Texas Senate Committee and most likely be left pending without passage . 

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