Which Airport Should You Fly Into For Your Galveston Cruise? | Galveston Cruise Tips

We’ve mentioned it countless times before. The only real downside to cruising from Galveston is the potential hassle of getting to the cruise port if you’re flying in. Unlike cities such as Miami or Tampa, the cruise port is quite far from the nearest airport.

Meanwhile, Houston is served by two major airports: Houston Hobby (HOU) and Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH). This can be confusing for cruisers who are unfamiliar with the area or the airports, as they have to decide which airport to fly into.

To assist passengers in making this decision, we have all the relevant information about both airports and how they relate to cruising from Galveston.

Distance from the Port

Regrettably, both Houston Hobby and Intercontinental are located at a considerable distance from the port. Houston Hobby is significantly closer, situated on the southeast side of Houston, while Intercontinental is located due north of the city.

  • Houston Hobby:

    • 41 miles from the Port of Galveston
    • Approximately a 45-minute ride without traffic
  • Houston Intercontinental:

    • 70 miles from the Port of Galveston
    • Approximately a 75-minute ride without traffic

Houston airports

Keep in mind that Houston is notorious for its traffic, even during off-peak hours. That’s why we recommend allowing twice the “non-traffic” time if you plan to travel directly to your cruise.

Airline Service

There is no doubt that Houston Hobby’s location makes it much more convenient for passengers heading to Galveston. Unfortunately, Hobby has a smaller number of airlines servicing the airport compared to Intercontinental.

  • Houston Hobby is primarily a Southwest destination. The airline dominates service from the airport. However, there are also flights from Delta, JetBlue, and American Airlines.

  • Houston Intercontinental is the largest airport in the city and offers the most flight service. Here, you’ll find nearly every airline available, with the notable exception of Southwest. If you are flying from an international destination, you will have no choice but to fly into this airport. Additionally, IAH is a United hub, serving airports throughout the country and the world.


Both airports offer similar transportation services, including taxis, cruise line shuttles, car rentals, and independent shuttles to the Port of Galveston.

The major difference is that getting from Intercontinental to the cruise ships takes considerably more time and money compared to Houston Hobby. For example, the official Carnival shuttle between IAH and the cruise port costs $94 per person roundtrip, while the shuttle from HOU costs $74. Other services, such as taxis, will see an even larger price difference between the two airports.

Final Recommendation

As locals in the area, if we had to fly in for a cruise, we would choose Houston Hobby every time. The shorter distance between Hobby and the cruise port makes HOU much more convenient for reaching the cruise ship. We also appreciate that Hobby is a smaller airport in general, making it easier to navigate.

However, not everyone has the option to fly into Hobby, or they might find a cheaper flight into Intercontinental. For us, we would need to save more than $100 per person on a roundtrip flight to justify the additional distance and cost of getting to the port.

For more details on transportation between Houston airports and Galveston, click [here](insert link here).

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