The first Disney cruise ship sailed from Galveston, Texas in September of 2012. The last one sails barely over two years later, in January 2014. So, if you have any interest in taking a Disney cruise from Galveston, you better book one in the next few months, or if you arrive at this article after January 2014, you’ll have to look for one departing from Florida, which is where all Disney cruises will be departing from shortly. If you happen to fall into the after-January-2014 category but still want to take a Disney cruise from Galveston, sorry to be the bearers of bad news – the advertisers of the impossible, if you will. However, you can read below about the Galveston Disney cruises that once were (and presently are as we write), and you will also discover what has replaced them. You can of course still take a Disney cruise, just not from Galveston.
It is not difficult to see why Disney was originally attracted to offering cruises from Galveston, and it is also not difficult to see why they were popular among many. The two are in many ways related. Disney saw Galveston not just as a convenient port from which to sail to the Western Caribbean and the Bahamas (the two destinations available to Disney cruisers departing from Galveston), but also as an attractive tourist destination in itself. The Strand Historical District, a part of downtown Galveston, has one of the largest selections of 19th-Century buildings in the U.S., and the city’s beaches and nightlife draw people from around the world each year. We know Disney valued the city for these reasons because they advertise it using precisely these facts in their promotional materials about cruises from Galveston. The port in Galveston is also easier to reach than a port in Florida (where Disney’s and several other cruise line’s main ports of departure are located) for many potential customers, enticing them to take a Disney cruise because of its relative convenience.
The fact that Galveston is a nice historical city that is easy to reach for many, one that has beautiful beaches and a thriving nightlife, did of course draw many people to it. With few exceptions, if you want to take a cruise to the Caribbean or the Bahamas, you have to travel to Florida, and this is a long journey for a good portion of people living in the U.S. Getting to Galveston could be much easier, especially since it is only about 50 miles south of Houston, which has an enormous airport. Passengers also valued the fact that Galveston is, indeed, a nice city to visit. It has a thriving tourism sector, and plenty of people visit the city for reasons unrelated to taking Disney cruises. If the port of departure is located in a nice place, passengers feel like they are getting more out of their entire vacation – they get to take a cruise and visit a nice city. (They have to spend money to get to port anyway.) All the Disney passengers coming down to Galveston also pleased the employees of the port and many of the businesses around town. A cruise line can pump a lot of money into the local economy out of which it operates.
So, offering Disney cruises from Galveston is great for everyone – except Disney, evidently, because they obviously wouldn’t cease Galveston operations if they didn’t perceive a better alternative. It turns out that that alternative is Florida – Miami and Port Canaveral, more precisely – which is where all of Disney’s ships will be sailing from shortly. (Their operational headquarters is also located in Florida.) Some will be disappointed by this, but the Disney cruises from Galveston were good for many while they lasted, and it’s not like Florida is a bad place to visit before a cruise anyway.