DCL transfers to/from Galveston

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by Seamama, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. Seamama

    Seamama Mouseketeer

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    My family of 5 (2 adults, 2 teens, 1 infant) will be flying into IAH/Bush the night before a sailing out of Galveston and will stay at the IAH Marriott.

    My TA says it's $90/person (round-trip) for transfers w/ DCL. She says the pickup is from the airport baggage claim area (around 9:30am or 10am) and that it's a direct drive to the port. She also says when we get there, we need to make sure our bags come off the bus and they'll then be given to the porters and delivered to the ship. Total for our family is $360 (baby is free and doesn't need a carseat for the shuttle).

    My own research has found we can take a company called Galveston Express. It's $60/person for airport pickup and another $30 (flat fee) to get picked up directly from our hotel. (I'd choose this option even though it's easy to get back to the airport b/c we'd rather not haul luggage more than necessary w/ a baby in tow.) I'm not sure of the pickup time. Customer service said there's (at most) 1 other hotel stop and/or the 1 airport stop, then it's straight on to the port. They also said bags are given directly to porters once we arrive there. Total for our family - including hotel pickup fee - is $270 (again, baby is free and doesn't need a carseat).

    ** MY QUESTION THEN, is what does DCL do that makes it worth $90 more for my family? Besides the savings, the private company has a slight advantage to me b/c I can do direct hotel pickup and it sounds like I don't have to think about my luggage at all once it's on the bus (not even to verify if comes off the bus when we arrive at the port). The only advantage to DCL that I can think of is that if the bus is running late, presumably they call the ship, which would then wait for us (within reason). **

    I'd love to hear from anyone who has personally and recently done DCL or private company transfers. Bonus points if you have experience specifically w/ Galveston Express.

    ALSO, if you've stayed at IAH Marriott, it seems they don't deliver bags from your room to the bus (like happens at the Hyatt MCO)- can anyone confirm? And I'd love to know any tips you have for getting a good rate there as well. Thank you!!
     
  2. DisneyPiPhi

    DisneyPiPhi DIS Veteran

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    We have cruised from Galveston, but flew into HOU so were ineligible for the DCL transfer. We used Uber to get to our pre-cruise hotel on Galveston, and that was fine.

    We tried Galveston Express for the trip back and it was GREAT! I highly, highly recommend them. I can't speak about the baggage going straight to the porters - we arrived at the port via our hotel shuttle and walked our own luggage to the drop-off. But, their vans are new and very clean, and the drivers friendly and knowledgeable.

    Unless someone else has a very good reason to use the DCL transfer, I'd save the $90 and go with Galveston Express!
     
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  4. lucky1

    lucky1 Face Character

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    That is correct, they don't have the same arrangement like they have in MCO. We have done this before. You will need to take yourself and your bags down to the ground floor and take the tram to the terminal where DCL busses are located and go up one floor, then they will put your bags on the DCL bus. When you arrive at Galveston you, need to take your bags to the porter.

    So I would agree that there is nothing special you get when using DCL transportation but a video.
     
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  5. apathetic

    apathetic Mouseketeer

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    The extra $90 only gets you Disney peace of mind. The bus will be there and it will get you to the ship. Disney guarantees you will get there on the bus. Taking 3rd party shuttle you are at the mercy of them not overbooking, breaking down, etc. Galveston Express is very popular with cruisers and you should be ok with them. I've read great things about them. However, non-Disney shuttles can overbook or just run behind schedule. How often does that happen? Probably not often. Many cruise ships go out of Galveston so shuttles know how it works. If it were me, I'd probably go with one $90 cheaper and have some extra bar money.
     
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  6. Seamama

    Seamama Mouseketeer

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    Thanks, everyone. This is great feedback; really appreciate it!
     
  7. gotomu212

    gotomu212 DIS Veteran

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    Ummmm that $90 also gets you a Disney Cruise themed video for the ride, maybe clips from America’s Funniest Video......

    All joking aside in Galveston we used a different company but heard great things from our travel group about Galveston Express.
     
  8. MichelleCanada

    MichelleCanada Mouseketeer

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    We took a cruise out of Galveston January 2017. Even with 3 of us we found it better to rent a car and park it at the port. You can pay for parking ahead of time and it’s cheaper than Port Canaveral.

    As it turned out, it was great that we had a car because we were delayed by 6 hours getting off the ship; missed our flight home and ended up spending the weekend in Houston.
     
  9. Seamama

    Seamama Mouseketeer

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    Oh my, 6 hrs? Is that usual?

    And thanks for the recommendation to rent a car. How’s the Houston driving? Hubby and I get pretty stressed out driving in new places so I’m thinking we’d rather do a shuttle but I’m open to considering it...

     
  10. apathetic

    apathetic Mouseketeer

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    We were on the cruise that was delayed several hours and ended up missing a port (Key West). While 6 hours isn't usual, fog delays in Galveston happen and you should absolutely plan for them. Normally the fog burns off and you get an hour or two delay. Driving in Houston is like most large cities, very congested in places but not overwhelming. If you aren't used to big city traffic it is probably best to stick to shuttles. Driving down from Hobby is easier than IAH. Driving in Galveston is pretty easy and there are plenty of parking lots catering to cruisers.
     
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  11. cyclenut

    cyclenut DIS Veteran

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    We were on a similar cruise (if not the same one) where not only was disembarkation delayed but we were also very late boarding the ship. We live in DFW are so we drove down and it was very nice having a car. We like to park at EZ Cruise. They offer discounts. Driving in Houston isn't too bad. We use Google Maps for everything we want to do. If you choose to rent a car, you can also make time to explore Galveston a bit. They have a fun pier and we enjoyed the miniature golf course with great views of the ocean. We were notified by Disney of the embarkation delay so we stayed away from the port. Those taking shuttles were either stuck at the hotel or in the port area.
    Fog delays are not going to happen every cruise though, but they do occur.
     
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  12. DisneyPiPhi

    DisneyPiPhi DIS Veteran

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    Fog in Galveston is definitely a thing, and it's not uncommon for debarkation to be delayed. Our embarkation and debarkation in December 2017 were both smooth and on-time, but I know in December 2016/January 2017, there were several delays due to fog. This is the reason we scheduled a 4:00pm flight out of HOU!
     
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  13. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    We’ve used Galveston express. They were great. We’ve also rented a car, stayed at the Hilton and gotten free parking. We’ve never had a problem with fog the first week of December.
     
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  14. mocodis

    mocodis Mouseketeer

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    Later this year, we are cruising out of Galveston. Looking for transportation from Hobby to Galveston, either uber or Galveston express. They are about the same cost. ??
     
  15. aggiedog

    aggiedog DIS Veteran

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    It's not difficult driving, it just often very slow. There is one main highway from Galveston straight to IAH, but it is frequently a parking lot for long stretches, no matter the day or time. If it's rush hour, it's that much worse.
     
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  16. Snowwhyt

    Snowwhyt I've felt the Magic each time I visit!

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    I was wondering your dates. We leave Jan 9 but have a $65 pp. quote.
     
  17. Seamama

    Seamama Mouseketeer

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    Sorry for the late reply. We're going to be on the Dec 27 cruise. I didn't book at the time I posted my original inquiry but am planning to do it soon. I'll post back here if the price has gone up for us- hopefully not!
     
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  18. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    We've used Galveston express and rented a car. The car rental was the cheapest. The hotels will let you park for free and give you a free shuttle bus. I will never use DCL transfers. I had a horrible experience the last time I tried it. We had no problems with Galveston express. I have recommended them to coworkers who have used with no issues.

    oops I didn't realize it was an old thread and I already answered the question.
     
  19. Shanti

    Shanti Momketeer

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    I'm a native Texan and advise you to avoid driving through Houston if you're easily stressed at driving in unfamiliar places. Once you're out of Houston, the drive to Galveston is easy, but through Houston won't be fun, particularly if there's traffic.
     
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  20. MsOnceUponATime

    MsOnceUponATime Mouseketeer

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    I agree with what Shanti says above. While I'm not a native Texan, I have been a resident of the Houston area for over 20 years now. It takes me 1 hour and 15 minutes to drive 21 miles to work each day and just about the same to drive home. For frame of reference, we live in Katy and I drive to the Galleria area (more specifically - I work in Williams Tower). Houston traffic is honestly the worst I've driven in and I can compare that to driving in Philly, LA and Denver traffic which are all bad, but in my opinion, not as bad as Houston traffic.

    That said, from IAH (or Hobby) to Galveston it is a straight shot down 45 and as long as you don't mind stalled traffic in all lanes during several spots on your journey, once you get on 45, it's really easy.

    If I weren't from here I'd use a car service or shuttle service. We find it more relaxing to do the same in Florida when going to Port Canaveral.

    When we go to the port in Galveston we drive down and park our car in Lighthouse Parking. Easy to rent a spot online and there's even an early bird discount if you do so.

    Happy cruising!
     
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  21. MichelleCanada

    MichelleCanada Mouseketeer

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    We had a flight out at 5 pm and still missed it because of fog. We were on the January 6, 2017 cruise. We didn’t get off the ship until 3pm to go through customs.
     
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