Boarding The Ship:
When we arrived at the cruise terminal we found a porter to take our luggage. We then followed signage that said "Entrance/Check-In". Several terminal staff members were outside to give directions and answer questions. There was a separate line for VIP guests. When we got to enter the cruise terminal we had to immediately show our boarding passes. After our boarding pass was quickly examined we got in line to get our passports scanned & boarding passes checked again. This process did not take too long.
Following this check, we were directed to the security checkpoint. There were several security lines open to minimize congestion.
After the security checkpoint we were told to continue walking until we reached an escalator that would take us up the 2nd floor. At the top of the escalator (on the 2nd floor) several terminal staff members were there to tell us where to go. This area was filled with crowd control ropes for lines as well as numerous check in desks. We went to our designated line (general check-in) and were told which check-in representative to go to. During this part of the check in process we had to turn in our health questionnaire as well as receive our Sail & Sign cards. Please note, recently Carnival has implemented a new procedure out of Galveston that has changed how Sail & Sign card distribution works. This process may be different if you are cruising out of Galveston on a Carnival ship that has the new procedure that was scheduled to begin late July. For my cruise, our boarding passes were stamped with a zone number that would be used for boarding.
When it was time for boarding and our zone was called, we were directed to get in line. We got our shipboard cards (Sail & Sign card) scanned and then proceeded down a hallway that would take us to the gangway. There were a few windows located along this hallway so we were able to see the ship as we got closer to the gangway. Once on the gangway we walked up and were finally on the ship!
After we debarked our cruise ship, we headed back down the gangway and into the cruise terminal. After exiting the gangway we were almost immediately directed down a ramp that took us into one large room on the bottom floor of the cruise terminal. There were two long lines for Customs & Immigration that would be subdivided into counters once we got closer. One line was for Passports Only & the other line was for those with birth certificates. Once we got closer, cruisers were divided into about 13 or 14 different lines. Several lines were open and each moved at a varying speed. After getting through this checkpoint, TABC was collecting taxes on alcoholic beverages being brought into Texas. Since this did not apply to us, we proceeded to the cruise terminal's exit.