If you opt to take a cruise on your vacation, extend your trip by spending a day of two in your port city. Our Carnival Cruise left from Galveston, Texas, which could not have been an easier port city. Just three hours from our home in Austin, Texas, we woke up early to head into port one day ahead of time.
What to Eat:
- Oysters (fresh, fried, or char-grilled)
- Po’ boys: Get 'em stuffed with fried oysters or shrimp!
- Soft Shell Crab
Where to Eat:
Hotel Galvez Sunday Brunch – You are going to think we are crazy for recommending an all-you-can-eat Sunday brunch prior to boarding and all-you-can-eat cruise ship, but this brunch is well worth it. The spread is MASSIVE. Anything from custom made omelets, to hand-carved prime rib, to the biggest seafood bar we’ve ever seen at a brunch. Be sure to get your fill of bottomless mimosas and plates and plates of quality delicious crab legs. Be sure to make a reservation, this hot spot is huge, but gets very busy. If we didn’t convince you it was also named one of the best brunches in all of Texas by Southern Living Magazine.
Grotto at The San Luis Hotel – We wanted a romantic date night prior to leaving for our cruise and we couldn’t have asked for more from Grotto. Grotto is a classic Italian trattoria that’s overlooking both the ocean and pool. We would’ve never guessed that you could get amazing homemade Italian food in the Gulf Coast of Texas, but we were shocked! It was some of the best Italian we’ve had in Texas, and we highly recommend the homemade stuffed shells with crab which were both rich and super delicate at the same time with the fresh crab. Also, don’t leave without trying their tomato caprese and a homemade pie.
Little Daddy’s Gumbo Bar – When you’re in the gulf you must try char-grilled oysters, po-boys, and gumbo which all can be found at Little Daddy’s. Char-grilled oysters are super indulgent as they’re made with a ton of garlic butter and romano cheese, buy oh my are they worth the calories. Po-boys and gumbo are a New Orleans classic, but we’re going to say it Galveston can compete. Be sure to save room for at least a bite of dessert and order the bread pudding. Gavin is a bread pudding connoisseur, and he was a HUGE fan.
Where to stay:
The San Luis Hotel – This is THE place to stay before heading out on a cruise. The majority of the hotel was like-minded cruisers like us which caused the pool to be full of happy people, drinking cocktails, listening to the DJ, and excited to start their vacation. We also dined at the Grotto, the hotel’s Italian restaurant. We loved the burrata, fresh pasta, and warm hospitality.
What to do:
Pleasure Pier – Head to the pier for a carnival date. We enjoyed the view from the top of the ferris wheel, went on the rollercoaster multiple times, and hit up the bumper cars with the other eight-year-olds. The pier had live music, cold beer, and a nice breeze from the ocean. Tip: ask your hotel for discounted entrance passes.
Rent a Bike - If you are looking to burn off all that gumbo you have been stuffing your faces with, consider renting a bicycle and pedal up and down the coast. There are large sidewalks along the beach. This is a great way to get to and from Pleasure Pier or a seafood restaurant.
Relax – Cozy up with a loved one at a nice poolside bar or chill by the ocean. Although the ocean supplies a ton of delicious seafood it’s not the most beautiful beach in the world, so we hung out by The San Luis Hotel's luxury pool that included a swim-up bar, a water slide, a DJ spinning old and new jams, and views of the ocean.