Galveston Neighborhoods

Harborside Neighborhood

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Harborside Neighborhood - The wharf

Harborside Neighborhood Amenities

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Harborside Neighborhood - The Home Of The Cruise Ships

The transformation of the Harborside area into a modern cruise terminal began in the late 20th century. The Port of Galveston recognized the potential for tourism and cruise travel and made significant investments in developing state-of-the-art cruise terminals. The first cruise ship to use the Port of Galveston was the MS Royale, which embarked on its maiden voyage from Galveston to Mexico in 1997. This marked the beginning of Galveston’s journey into the cruise industry. In subsequent years, the port continued to expand and upgrade its facilities to accommodate larger and more luxurious cruise liners.

A Brief History

The history of the Harborside area in Galveston dates back to the early 19th century when the city was established as an important port for trade. The area quickly became a vital center for commerce, connecting Texas to global markets. As Galveston’s economy grew, so did the importance of its harbor.

In the late 19th century, Galveston was known as the “Wall Street of the South” due to its thriving financial district and thriving shipping industry. The Galveston Wharves, including the piers along Harborside Drive, were instrumental in facilitating the movement of goods, from cotton to cattle, in and out of the city. The bustling piers and waterfront became symbols of Galveston’s prosperity and vitality during this period.

Cruise Ships in the Harborside Neighborhood

Several cruise ships and cruise lines have made Galveston’s Harborside area their home port or a regular stopover. Some of the notable cruise lines and ships that have used the Port of Galveston include:

  1. Carnival Cruise Line: Carnival is one of the leading cruise lines operating from Galveston. Ships like the Carnival Vista, Carnival Dream, and Carnival Freedom have graced the harbor, offering passengers a wide range of itineraries.

  2. Royal Caribbean International: Royal Caribbean has also been a significant player in Galveston’s cruise industry. Ships like the Liberty of the Seas and the Adventure of the Seas have called the Port of Galveston home.

  3. Disney Cruise Line: Disney Cruise Line has offered magical voyages from Galveston, with the Disney Wonder enchanting passengers with themed cruises to the Caribbean.

  4. Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Cruise Line has been another regular visitor to Galveston, with ships like the Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Joy providing a variety of cruise experiences.

Harborside Neighborhood Galveston Island

Harborside Neighborhood and the Piers

The city’s harbor area is home to a network of piers, each serving a unique purpose and contributing to the vibrant atmosphere of this coastal community. Exploring the Galveston harbor, we see various piers, the ships and cruise liners that grace its waters, the parking facilities available for cruise-goers, the diverse businesses that call these piers home, and even the access to Pelican Island from the Harborside Neighborhood.

A Historic Gateway: The Pelican Island Causeway

Our journey through Galveston’s harbor begins with the historic Pelican Island Causeway, also known as the Herbert E. Schmidt Causeway. This iconic bascule (Scherzer rolling bascule lift) bridge spans the Pelican Island Channel, connecting Seawolf Park Boulevard on Pelican Island to Pelican Island Boulevard on Galveston Island. Built in 1960, the Pelican Island Causeway stands as a testament to the city’s maritime heritage and is eligible for inclusion in the national register of historic places. It serves as a vital link between the two islands, facilitating transportation and commerce.

Piers by the Harbor

Galveston’s harbor features an array of piers, each with its own unique role in the maritime landscape of the city. Let’s explore some of the notable piers and their functions:

  1. Pier 14 – Malin International Ship Repair and Drydock Inc.

    • Pier 14 is a hub of maritime activity, operated by Malin International Ship Repair and Drydock Inc. This facility specializes in the maintenance and repair of vessels and drilling rigs.
    • Specifications: Pier 14 offers an impressive 1,509 feet of berthing space, 35,000 square feet of backup space, and a water depth ranging from 24 to 25 feet.
  2. Pier 39 – Suderman Contracting Stevedores

    • Pier 39 is managed by Suderman Contracting Stevedores and primarily serves as a storage and transshipment point for bulk cement.
    • Additionally, rail services are available at this pier, enhancing its role in cargo logistics.
  3. Pier 34 – Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics

    • Pier 34, under the management of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, offers a versatile range of services.
    • Specifications: It boasts 44,530 square feet of warehouse space and a substantial water depth of 38 feet.
    • This pier accommodates both truck and rail services, making it a crucial point of convergence for goods transport.
Cruise Terminals: Gateways to Adventure

For those seeking adventure on the high seas, Galveston serves as a gateway to exciting cruise experiences. The Port of Galveston proudly maintains two cruise ship terminals, each featuring 2,000-foot berths and a water depth of 30 feet. These state-of-the-art terminals are designed for efficient passenger and luggage handling, ensuring a seamless embarkation and disembarkation process for cruise enthusiasts. The combined area of these terminals spans an impressive 220,000 square feet, catering to the needs of travelers.

Port of Galveston cruise parking provides a convenient and secure solution for cruise passengers. It is the only parking facility situated on Port property, offering a hassle-free experience for travelers. Passengers have the option to reserve parking spots in advance using the real-time, prepaid parking reservations system. This service simplifies the logistics of parking for cruise departures and arrivals, ensuring peace of mind for travelers.

Transportation Options

To further enhance the convenience of cruise travel, Port-operated parking facilities offer rapid shuttle services to and from the terminals. These services are complemented by a robust security infrastructure, ensuring the safety of passenger vehicles throughout their stay.

For travelers arriving from afar, the Houston airports provide air lift to more than 150 cities and international markets. The accessibility of air travel to and from Galveston makes it a prime choice for cruise embarkation and disembarkation.

Tourism in Galveston: Beyond the Harbor

While the harbor and cruise terminals are undoubtedly major attractions in Galveston, the city offers much more to explore. Galveston is a popular vacation destination, known for its unique blend of history, natural beauty, and warm southern hospitality.

  • The Strand District: Start your visit with a hearty Texas-style breakfast in the historic Strand District, the beating heart of the city. This area is a bustling hub of antique shops, restaurants, and bars, offering a taste of Galveston’s vibrant culture.

  • Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier: Families will delight in the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, home to an array of family-friendly rides, games, and attractions. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking for some seaside fun.

  • Historic Architecture: Take a scenic stroll through Galveston’s historic neighborhoods, where well-preserved Victorian mansions and centuries-old landmark buildings provide a glimpse into the city’s illustrious history.

  • Museums: Galveston boasts an array of museums covering a wide range of topics, from the city’s history with oil and railroads to the pirates and corsairs that once roamed the Gulf Coast. These museums are a treasure trove of knowledge for history buffs.

Cruising from Galveston: A World of Possibilities

Galveston is not only a departure point for cruises but also a gateway to exciting destinations in the western Caribbean. Travelers can embark on thrilling voyages, including visits to:

  • Puerto Costa Maya: Explore ancient Mayan ruins and immerse yourself in the rich history of this captivating destination.

  • Cozumel: Dive into Cozumel’s dramatic tropical reefs and snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of this Caribbean paradise.

  • Roatán: Experience the adrenaline rush of ziplining across lush rainforests on this stunning Honduran island.

With a variety of cruise options, including those onboard Harmony of the Seas®, Mariner of the Seas®, and Voyager of the Seas®, travelers have the flexibility to choose the perfect itinerary for their vacation.

Municipal Services, Public Works, and Construction

While Galveston’s harbor and tourism sector are vital to its economy, the city also relies on robust municipal services to ensure the well-being of its residents and visitors. The Municipal Services department, the largest department in the City of Galveston, encompasses several divisions to provide essential services:

  1. Municipal Utilities (Director of Public Works and Municipal Utilities – Trino Pedraza): This division manages various services, including water distribution, sewer collection, pretreatment, wastewater treatment, water supply, streets, traffic, and drainage.

  2. Construction Services and Engineering (Director of Infrastructure and City Engineer – Rob Winiecke): Responsible for construction services and engineering, this division plays a crucial role in maintaining and enhancing the city’s infrastructure.

  3. Sanitation (Director of Solid Waste/Sanitation – Dustin Bender): This division handles trash services and recycling, contributing to the city’s cleanliness and sustainability efforts.

Custom Barges & Marine Equipment: A Galveston Pride

Galveston takes pride in its contributions to the marine transportation industry, including the construction of high-quality barges and marine equipment. Thomas Tank Barge, Inc., founded by the principal of Kennedy Construction Company, has been at the forefront of this industry for over 24 years.

Thomas Tank Barge, Inc. operates a full-service facility and collaborates with trusted suppliers to deliver USCG and ABS certified tank, specialty, deck, and crane barges. Their exemplary safety record and commitment to quality have made them a trusted name in the industry. Notable among their recent projects is the Kennedy Modular Barge, an innovative design that allows barges to operate independently or as one unit through the proprietary Barge Coupling System.

BoneVoyage Pet Resort: Convenience for Pet Owners

Convenience is paramount for those embarking on a cruise from Galveston, and this extends to pet owners. BoneVoyage Pet Resort, conveniently located en route to Galveston’s cruise ship terminal parking areas, offers a range of services for pets, eliminating the need for pet owners to make multiple trips before and after their cruise.

Services provided by BoneVoyage Pet Resort include boarding, training, grooming, daycare, and more, all in one convenient location. Whether you live in Galveston or the surrounding area, this trusted facility ensures the health and well-being of your pets during your absence. Their commitment to excellence is reflected in their continuous addition of new services and products to cater to pet owners’ needs.

Galveston Shrimp Company TM: A Legacy of Quality

Founded in 1978 by Rosario Cassarino, an immigrant from the Italian island of Sicily, Galveston Shrimp Company TM has been a family-owned and operated business for decades. Originally centered around Pier 19, where Rosario and his wife, Giovanna, sold fresh catches to both locals and tourists, the company has evolved into a major player in the wholesale seafood industry.

Service is at the forefront of Galveston Shrimp Company’s operations, with a focus on providing the highest quality shrimp to the market. Their processing plant is SQF and HACCP certified, equipped with state-of-the-art food-safety measures, including a recirculating air system. With their own fleet working the Gulf of Mexico coastline, customers are assured of receiving the freshest and most consistent product daily.

Pier 77 Marine Services: Your Maritime Solution

Pier 77 Marine Services is a versatile marine facility that offers a wide range of services to cater to various maritime needs. From boat inspections and pressure washing for sailboat races to complete painting services, fiberglass repairs, vapor blasting, gel-coat repairs, finish carpentry, welding services, and electric and air conditioning repairs, Pier 77 is a one-stop solution for marine enthusiasts.

The facility’s indoor capabilities, spanning 20,000 square feet, provide a weather-protected environment for large projects, ensuring quality workmanship regardless of weather conditions. Pier 77’s expertise extends to diesel engine service and repowering, marine head and MSD repairs, as well as decommissioning and commissioning services for vessels destined for domestic and international destinations.

The harbor of Galveston, with its diverse piers, bustling cruise terminals, and a wide array of businesses, serves as a testament to the city’s maritime legacy and its commitment to serving the needs of both residents and visitors. Whether you’re embarking on a cruise, exploring the historic streets, or seeking marine services, Galveston’s harbor area offers a world of possibilities and convenience. As you set sail from this vibrant coastal city, you’ll carry with you the memories of its rich history, warm hospitality, and the boundless adventures that await beyond its shores.

Harborside Neighborhood, Condos, and Short Term Rentals

Harborside Neighborhood is located within the Downtown District where you can find short-term rentals available nearby. There are also Condos available in the Downtown area which offer condos for sale and long-term and short-term rentals. Many of these places offer stunning views and all are in close proximity to everything to do in Galveston. 

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