Our family was down in Galveston for a weekend get away and while we were killing time waiting until we could check in at our house we thought we would take the girls to see the Elissa (I remembered being pretty impressed with it as a kid). We told them it was a surprise visit to a really cool site. As soon. As we saw the ship we could tell that it was basically being reconstructed. There were workers all over her so we figured that tours were closed, but the sign saying it was open lured us in. We double checked with the staff in the gift shop since we didn't see anyone other than workers on the boat. They told us it was in fact open and didn't say a word about how limited the access would be on board. We started in the museum part of the tour and it too looked pretty sad in general. Most of the pieces weren't fully working or weren't very informative. We sat and watched the film on the Elissa's history and while it was interesting, the movie was really dated. The kids exhibits upstairs were mostly tired looking and or not in working condition. As we boarded the ship, the workers barely moved out of our way and certainly weren't friendly. Both the crew and captain's cabins were off limits due to work being done. The cargo area beneath the deck was open and have some interesting information on display but without getting to tour the crew areas we felt slighted. As we crossed the deck to the stern, the main sanding the deck didn't even move so we could get by.
I get that the restoration project is important and from what we could tell, the ship will look pretty cool once it's finished, I think it would have been appropriate for them to tell us how limited the tour would be, or at least offer tickets at a discount. To top it off, parking was $8 for our barely over and hour stay. I'd skip this attraction until the refurb is officially done.