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Need thoughts on Mexican Riviera Cruise

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We sail primarily on Princess and have done the Eastern and Western Caribbean several times. Looking at a Mexican Riviera cruise out of Los Angeles in January to mix it up a little and try something new. Ports of call would be Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan. Anyone done this cruise that can give some feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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We sail primarily on Princess and have done the Eastern and Western Caribbean several times. Looking at a Mexican Riviera cruise out of Los Angeles in January to mix it up a little and try something new. Ports of call would be Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan. Anyone done this cruise that can give some feedback would be greatly appreciated.

We have done the Mexican Riviera in the January and February time frame several times. The three ports mentioned are generally interesting with plenty of things to do. The ports are safe in and around the tourist areas. Try it out.

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We have done this cruise twice and really enjoyed it. The ports are fun and whale watching in Cabo was great. Lots of good food and no safety issues. Have fun!

 

 

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We sail primarily on Princess and have done the Eastern and Western Caribbean several times. Looking at a Mexican Riviera cruise out of Los Angeles in January to mix it up a little and try something new. Ports of call would be Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan. Anyone done this cruise that can give some feedback would be greatly appreciated.

 

This itinerary is ok and as a matter of fact, am booked on it for next spring. What surprises people that have sailed to Mexico on the Caribbean side is that the water is definitely not that turquoise color ... it is a deep blue and certainly not so spectacular.

January can be a little on the cooler side, especially in Cabo. The other two ports are usually warmer, though. You will have some fabulous opportunities for whale watching at that time of year if that is of interest to you. I would choose Cabo for that excursion and take a light jacket with you. The town, which used to be quaint, is now very grown up and there will be high end shops and hotels all over town. You can always venture out to San Jose Del Cabo if you want to experience that quaintness ... although, I haven't been in quite some time so not sure if that has also succumb to that same fate. Both areas here have killer beaches. There is a particular nasty undertow in some areas, though so stick to the swimming areas if you go.

I am not a fan of Mazatlan and have been a couple dozen times. I think it is dirty and crime ridden and they do have some of the pushiest vendors on earth. 'No Gracias' will be your favorite phrase, there. We now just stay on the ship when this is one of our stops. This time, we might venture out and tour the beer factory there ... think it is Pacifico.

Puerto Vallarta is my favorite port out of these three ports of call. There have been some state travel warnings but we've not had much of a problem there. It probably has the same safety rating as St Thomas. I particularly like the areas in the jungle up by Las Caletas, Quimixto and Yelapa....I think they are all only accessible by boat. Also, I think the town has some wonderful historic architecture. A tour to the tequila factory was also a lot of fun ... but don't forget your bug spray / wipes if you go. And, the tour guide is pretty high pressure for you to buy something there, especially if you pick up a private tour. They are pretty aggressive ... just hold your ground if you don't want to purchase anything.

 

Now, my honest opinion is that I would take a ten day sailing instead, one that maybe skipped Mazatlan and stopped in Loreto, La Paz, Manzanillo or Ixtapa / Zihuatanejo, instead. These ports are all better than the ones on your itinerary ... just my opinion! Skip Acapulco, though ... again, my opinion but maybe shared by the cruiselines because I just don't see that port included much anymore.

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Our first 2 cruises were Mexican Riviera and we loved them. But even so, we haven't taken another one since (20 years); we would rather fly to PV and spend a week. For one thing, the temperatures on your first and last sea days are more likely cooler than you are used to for the Caribbean. And we enjoy going out to dinner in Mexico (and breakfast and lunch LOL--we just enjoy being in Mexico). When we cruise the Caribbean, we usually snorkel in every port; the snorkeling in the Mexican Riviera cruise ports is not nearly as good. I guess it depends on what you are looking for from the cruise--if it is just to cruise somewhere different, I would recommend it. But if you love Mexico and want a full week of warm weather, I would recommend flying to Mexico and staying a week.

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Hi. We have done this cruise close to once a year or more for 30 years. We love the ports, the people, the history, the culture, the food and the libations. We've done ship tours, on-our-own tours and land based vacations in these ports.

 

For me, it is the right mix of port and sea days. In port, you have many options depending on your interests. I would recommend checking on Trip Advisor as well as here.

 

Happy to answer any specific questions.

 

Cheers.

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San Pedro is our "home port" and so we've regularly taken the 7 and 8 day Mexican Riviera cruises as an excuse (as if one was needed) to recharge our batteries. We actually like the 8 day cruise since it includes Manzanillo, which gives us a chance to visit the beautiful colonial capital of Colima, alongside Cabo, PV and Mazatlan.

 

Everything is subjective of course, but Cabo San Lucas is our least favourite. It's overtly touristy - think Cozumel - designed to extract dollars from gullible Americans and about as "autentico" as Taco Bell. A couple of years ago we took a cruise that did an overnight in Cabo - gave us a chance to take a local bus in San Jose del Cabo, which was a great experience. Whle PV is great fun it is becoming more and more Cabofied.A lot of the old historic downtown is being ripped down and replaced by apt. complexes and high-end retail. We just grab a cab or bus to the Malecon and pass the day around there, walk over the Rio Cuale to the un-spoilt bits of the Zona Romantica for great food, drinks and some not-too touristy arts and crafts. However, have to disagree with #4. Mazatlan is by far the jewel of the whole cruise. Easily walkable and explorable by foot, with a fantastic historical and colonial downtown. Apparently it is so crime ridden that US and Canadian snowbirds flock there in their thousands every winter. It's arguably the most stress free of ports of calls.

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I like that cruise, but love the 10 day Mexico cruise. La Paz and Loreto were charming, and now my favorite Mexico ports. Beautiful water in the Sea of Cortez, and an extra 3 days on a ship are always nice.

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I've done one Mexican Riviera cruise out of 40 cruises total. That should probably tell you something. That said, I may not be the typical cruiser. I don't get on the ship to gamble and I drink very little alcohol...so I'm not looking for the biggest party port. I'm much more into history, culture, sightseeing, scenery and not into tourist traps and what people can get out of me. Obviously, port safety is important. The only way I'd do this area again would be as part of a Panama Canal crossing that either started or ended in California.

 

I can think of a lot of other cruises I'd rather do. On the other hand, you'll have plenty of people who will tell you that it was great.

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And I'm one of those who'd tell you this is a great cruise. I'd choose the Mexican Riviera over a Caribbean cruise any time. But then we are not into snorkeling (the water on the MR is not suitable) nor are we really beach people. Last January, we did the 10-day itinerary and loved it. As several have said, the first and last days are coolish, but since we're also not pool people, that didn't bother us.

 

We did whale watching in Cabo, and it was fantastic at that time of year. In PV, we took a taxi, with friends, to a restaurant I had read about on CC called Pipi's. It was excellent for Mexican food and margaritas! Then we walked over the swinging bridge to the crafts and souvenir vendors, finishing up with a long walk down the malecon. Beautiful!

 

We are doing the 7-day itinerary on the Royal Princess at the end of April and really looking forward to it as well.

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OP, if you have the time, as others have suggested, give serious consideration to the Princess 10-day Sea of Cortez cruise from Los Angeles--Cabo San Lucas-La Paz-Loreto-Puerto Vallara. We did it last fall and enjoyed it very much. The highlights, as, again, others have mentioned were Loreto and La Paz. I will not say that these towns are a complete reflection of Mexico, they do, in fact, cater to American tourists. You will see condominiums and time-shares built to sell to Gringos. However, you will not see a Costco or a Sam's Club--hurry, that can't last forever. The locals are charming and polite. I found that they actually treated the tourists as guests.

 

That being said, we are taking the 7-day Mexican Riviera cruise in December. Go figure.:confused:

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We live in Long Beach Ca. so have done multiple Mexican riviera cruises out of here. We have another booked on the Royal next April and a coastal in Feb. to Santa Barbara then Ensenada. These ports are very enjoyable, Cabo is tendered others are ported. Now Mazatlan has a "blue line" painted so one can easily walk into town safely. Puerto Vallarta has a Walmart right at the port you can walk to if you need anything. We usually just walk along the coast and hit the resorts....but there are many great things to do as well. Not too many hotels to choose from in San Pedro where you'll sail out of....Crown Plaza has a stay n park deal we've used. Stay away from Spring Break times (you'll know because fares double)....our first cruise was this one there were 800 kids on board, but then two twins were ours. They were ten and had a ball.

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We didn't care for the itinerary. We like the Caribbean and all the water activities that go with it and mistakenly expected the same on the western side of Mexico.

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I have done these Mexican cruises several times and am not a fan of them. There is a long explanation why I did them that is unique to my situation.

 

If I had to choose between Caribbean and Mexican Riviera, I would choose Caribbean every single time. I have no desire to go to the West coast of Mexico again.

 

I think they are popular solely because people who live in CA can get on a ship with out flying. Several cruise lines have reduced the amount of ships in the are the past few years. Most people who want more cruise lines and more routes there are West Coasters or Californians who want to travel minimally to catch a ship.

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I love the Mexican-Riviera cruise. I have done more of these than any other cruise, mostly due to the convenience. I have previously posted about how wonderful it is to cruise without having the fly!

 

The first day and last day of the cruise from LA (whether Long Beach or San Pedro) will be cool, temperature-wise. Not really pool weather in my never humble opinion. The rest of the time, you should be in great Mexican weather, perfect for beaches and boats.

 

PUERTO VALLARTA

I enjoy Puerto Vallarta. We always take a cab into downtown PV and walk along the Malecon (the street that fronts on the bay). Lots of restaurants, stores (from tourist junk to high end). A couple of good ice cream vendors. On the sea side of the street, lots of sculptures to admire. Some sand sculptures on the beach. Too many beach vendors, but I have to admit that we have bought some of the junk – all my nephews have Superman parasailers!

 

Sometimes, the folkloric fliers will be performing on the beach, which I always enjoy. (Many years ago, there was a troupe of folkloric dancers in Mazatlán. This closed down. I don't know if there is a relationship between that troupe and the ones that currently perform in PV and Cabo.)

 

We usually visit the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. We rarely go to Mass there, but we do stop inside. This is just a couple of blocks up from El Malecon, near the Plaza de las Armas.

 

If you make it that far, you will come to Las Muertos Beach, which has more restaurants, and beach activities -- banana rides, parasailing, jet skis, …

 

Hint: Oxxo Stores are the equivalent of 7-11. Coke, chips, .... Lots of these.

 

Hint: There are several different different zip-line tours are offered. El Eden is one of them, rainforest/zip-line – but the restaurant at El Eden is not great.

 

Hint: Playa las Gemelas: Best beach, white sand, clear water. Bring your own water, snacks and toilet paper, because these are not available at the beach.

 

Note: There is a lot of vanilla being offered. Orlando vanilla is produced locally

 

MAZATLAN

The ship docks in the middle of a large commercial port area. You need to take a free shuttle bus from the ship to the Visitor’s Center, which is filled with small stores. Once you get through that (and the stalls outside it), there are taxis and tour busses lined up waiting for you.

 

The primary “taxi” in Mazatlan is a golf-cart (“pulmonia”).

 

There are organized tourist helpers, who are snowbirds from America (maybe Canada as well), who speak English, are knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. This is a free service.

 

I recommend that you take a cab to downtown and then after visiting downtown, take another cab to Golden Zone. (The cab from downtown to the Zona Dorada can stop to let you watch the cliff divers.)

 

Downtown, Old Mazatlan: Colonial-style plazas, bistros, cafes and art galleries. Cathedral Basilica & Plaza Revolución. Mercado Pino Suarez: Huge market, filled with stalls, everything from clothing to food (butchers, pastry shops, veggies, ...). Since 1900! There are stairs to a second floor with small restaurants. This is about 2 blocks NE from the Cathedral – the park in front of the Cathedral is to the south of the Cathedral, so go behind the Cathedral and to the right.

 

Golden Zone (Zona Dorado): Diamonds International, Senor Frogs, and souvenir shops, bars and eateries abound on white sand beaches. Cost for golf cart to Golden Zone, maybe $8.00 per car. Get dropped off at Seashell City Museum or Shrimp Factory or Las Flores Beach Resort.

 

CABO SAN LUCAS:

Tender port. Only a few hours here, so don’t get adventurous!! There is a huge line of passengers waiting for the tender back to the ship. This is such an unpleasant experience that some people just skip Cabo altogether, and stay on the ship. Note: Elite status gets you priority for the tender GETTING OFF the ship, not for GETTING ON the ship. Elites still have to stand in the long queue to board the tenders to return to the ship.

 

The tenders bring you to the Marina, which is filled with restaurants, bars, shops. Some people don’t even leave the marina area. If you wander a little bit from the Marina, you will find more restaurants and bars – Giggling Marlin, Cabo Wabo and similar places. Very much a “party city” for California’s youth.

 

Water taxis/glass bottom boats are available right where you get off the tenders. The taxi will take you to see the arch, and then will drop you off on Medano Beach.

 

From that beach you can easily rent a jet ski. This is a noisy, active beach, not quiet at all! Lots of vendors, lots of parasail boat operators, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, sailing and jet skiing.

 

Be sure to be back to the marina in time for the last tender to the ship. Otherwise, wave goodby to the ship as she sails back to Los Angeles without you!

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I have done the Mexican riviera twice and really enjoyed it. January is a good time to go for the weather. Puerto Vallarta is my favorite port. It is beautiful and green and has some much old world charm. I don’t recommend going out on your own in ports for safety reasons. I’m sure there are some who would disagree but it’s just my opinion...and that of the US State Department at times. I’ve never felt unsafe there though. It’s just safer in tour groups. We went to a place called Chico’s Paradise up in the mountainous area in PV and it was so beautiful! Mazatlan is ok. It’s not my favorite place. It’s very commercial and I feel like I’m being directed to jewelry stores the whole time. Cabo is a diver’s paradise. I don’t dive but I have family that does and they say so.

 

We were on the Ruby last November and really enjoyed ourselves. Have a wonderful time!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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We sail primarily on Princess and have done the Eastern and Western Caribbean several times. Looking at a Mexican Riviera cruise out of Los Angeles in January to mix it up a little and try something new. Ports of call would be Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan. Anyone done this cruise that can give some feedback would be greatly appreciated.

 

Have done this cruise 5 times. I really like it. PV and Mazatlan are my favorites. Sometimes I do an excursion sometimes not. I love the market near the ship in PV. I really don't care for Cabo and often just stay on the ship. You have to tender to Cabo. While the ride in is usually fine it is pretty rough coming back to the ship. Plus I find Cabo way to like Los Angeles. I think you would like this one.

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I actually prefer Mexico to the Caribbean. If you like snorkeling though, this is probably not the itinerary for you. Princess offers some really good tours, and there are a lot of good private tour operators. I've been many times and never had a problem. All three ports have good swimming beaches. What kind of activities do you enjoy?

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I agree with the Raiders fanatic (Go 9ers). The sad part is the Mazatlan was once a great place as was Acapulco(not on your cruise). But in general the Americans and Canadians rule these Mexican ports.

 

 

Would you like to buy a timeshare?

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Since we live on the west coast, this itinerary is more affordable for us.

 

We have enjoyed snorkeling in Cabo, but that was in October and May. Didn't try in January. We enjoyed walking around Mazatlán, following the blue line. There were many wonderful expat volunteers positioned around the route to give maps and guidance. In PV, we walked over to the mall and walked around.

 

The highlights of the trip were sunsets (including seeing green flash twice!) and the most spectacular whale watching (right from the ship!) I have experienced. If you go, bring good binoculars.

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Our vote also goes for the cruise that includes Loreto as it is so authentic and interesting. We have been there on two cruises and plan another next year. But since we have never sailed on the Royal, we are also booked for an April cruise too.

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For a wonderful and extremely affordable experience in Mazatlan/Stone Island, I have 3 words, "Maria's Happy Horses"

Pick-up from the port, water taxi to the island, a horse ride on the beach and through a coconut plantation and then a cold drink at a restaurant on the beach. All for $35 per person. You can purchase fresh seafood while there on your own. Sofia is your guide, and she is amazing!

I can't recommend them enough!

http://mariashappyhorses.weebly.com/

For Cabo, do yourself a favor and stay on the ship. I never said "no-thank you" so many times in my life. You are hounded from the moment you step off of the ship.

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If you are a beach person, the Caribbean wins hands down over the Mexican Riviera. We enjoyed our Mexico cruise but continue to give preference to the Caribbean. The one thing the Mexican cruise had over the Caribbean ones is the sea life visible from on ship. We saw several whales following along beside the ship on different days, plus large pods of dolphins on a regular basis.

 

Don

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