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SF vs LA for Mexican Riviera


GenghisQuan
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Hi there,

 

I live in the SF Bay Area and am looking at cruises to the Mexican Riviera. Noticing that I can either leave out of SF on one of the Princess ships for a 10-day, or fly down to LA and do a similar itinerary there. It looks like travel costs ends up running similar, the cruises are about 100-200 cheaper per person from LA, but it requires an additional 100 per person plus luggage costs to fly down there as well.

 

Anyone do either and have thoughts about which is better? Do the multiple sea days in a row from SF stack up into boredom? Are there additional things to see along the California coast?

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Is the LA itinerary 10 nights as well? (You said "similar" itinerary).  If they're BOTH 10 nights, then you likely get longer port times or more ports--and less sea days out of LA...If it's 10 nights out of SF and 7 out of LA, those three extra sea days are actually well worth 100-200 per person...We actually enjoy sea days--especially toward the end of the cruise...they can be relaxing...but you are only as bored as you make yourself...

 

As to things to see on the coast, if you mean from the ship while at sea, you are not likely to see much but open water, they usually sail pretty far our from the coast line...though, if you are doing it during whale migration season and you get lucky, you might spot a whale (We have on one cruise!)...

 

As to luggage costs, if you fly Southwest, there are no luggage fees...

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LA itineraries are generally 6-7 nights vs the 9-10 from SF. The amount of hours at each port is actually similar, but the SF one has one more port.

 

So the gist I'm getting is that of course there are ways to keep myself entertained on the ship if I so choose, but it's definitely going to be dependent on whether I find the ship's activities fun as well as whether I brought stuff to do.

 

Plus we are working young adults just entering our 30s, thus shorter is actually sometimes more valuable due to using up less of our PTO...

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On 6/18/2019 at 3:03 PM, scottca075 said:

No such thing as a boring sea day.

Got off the Nieuw Amsterdam about a month ago, beg to differ. Half the public spaces sat unused for most of the cruise, or were used for shopping presentations and PowerPoint presentations. Other half were bars.

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1 hour ago, GenghisQuan said:

Got off the Nieuw Amsterdam about a month ago, beg to differ. Half the public spaces sat unused for most of the cruise, or were used for shopping presentations and PowerPoint presentations. Other half were bars.

 

Have sailed a couple of times on Nieuw Amsterdam, and are booked on it for next year. Your description of the lay out of the ship doesn't match reality. 

 

I am assuming you expect the ship to entertain you for all of your waking hours. Many people don't feel that way, including us. Perhaps that is why we enjoy sea days.

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15 hours ago, CruiserBruce said:

 

Have sailed a couple of times on Nieuw Amsterdam, and are booked on it for next year. Your description of the lay out of the ship doesn't match reality. 

 

I am assuming you expect the ship to entertain you for all of your waking hours. Many people don't feel that way, including us. Perhaps that is why we enjoy sea days.

Curious as to which reality you think is not the one that was my sailing from a month ago.

And why wouldn't I expect the ship to at least have things to do that are not bars or PowerPoint presentations? Okay, sure, I used the gym on occasion too, and that's what, 3-4 hours across the entire week?

I mean, nothing about sea days prevents them from being inherently not enjoyable. But obviously that depends on the ship's programming, and it's hardly the cruise line's credit if I am bringing my own enjoyment.

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We are SF Bay Area based and We had to make the same decision for our Mexican Riviera cruise next February. 

We decided to fly down to LA on SouthWest and depart from San Pedro rather than SF. We did the calculations and it was cheaper for us to do that. We also felt the extra 2-3 days from SF to LA was not worth it, time wise.  We can only play so many games of trivia on the ship.

So it all depends on what you expect to do on the ship for the 2 extra days and whether you want your cruise to be about the Mexican Riviera and not the time it takes to get there, plus the cost.

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It all depends on if you want the convenience of leaving from closer to home without the need to deal with flying or if you don't mind that and want more time actually in Mexico.

Princess does have a 10 day cruise from San Pedro that goes into the Sea of Cortez in addition to the other typical Mexican Riviera ports.

We cannot make this decision for you as we don't know your preferences.

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Interesting topic...

I live in the Bay Area and was totally excited to find out that Carnival will be sailing from San Francisco starting in 2020.  I have booked 2 cruises from there ( 16 days -- 9 of them sea days, and 10 days -- 4  of them sea days).  My wife is not big on flying due to the hassle (see below).  And driving to LA is 5.5 hours each way but she would prefer driving to flying.

We have cruised out of Long Beach twice... the cruises would leave and arrive back on Sundays, so we would drive down on Saturday, stay at this little hotel we like that has a nice pool, and hang out.  We can leave the car parked there for free during our cruise, and they would shuttle you to the ship.  The hotel cost was 25% less than parking at the cruise terminal.  

Flying is not exactly entertainment, but does keep a person very busy... you have to drive or BART to the airport (60 minutes and $), check your luggage (20 minutes and $), wait thru security (20 minutes), wait at the terminal to board (40 minutes), board (20 minutes), fly to LAX (100 minutes and $), go pick up your luggage (20 minutes), find and shuttle to the San Pedro cruise terminal (50 minutes and $36).  Approximate travel time is 5.5 hours.

One of the things we enjoy about cruising is watching the water go by - it's very relaxing.  We also enjoy people watching -- there is always some ding-dong doing something entertaining.  We enjoy watching and listening to the musicians on the ship... and giving dancing a go (though we are not too good at it -- I'm sure folks are enjoying observing the two ding-dongs on the dance floor 😂 ).

You can go for a dip in the pool or hot tubs.  Cruises also have cooking demonstrations, dance classes, trivia contests and a range of enrichment programs, including our Encounters with Discovery at SEA™ speaker series from experts who offer insights into the places you’ll visit.

 

Good luck with your decision.

 

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We live just east of San Francisco and have sailed in/out of there and LA a few times.  Everybody will tell you the northbound sailing along the CA coast from San Diego to Seattle is the roughest sailing water just about anywhere.  We found that out toward the end of 15 days PC cruise.  

We have friends who have done 50 cruises and they book out of SF a couple of times a year if the price is right.  I wasn't aware Carnival is sailing from SF full time so that's good news.  

For us it's a toss of the dice on rather to drive or fly to LA area.  We can drive to LAX in 5 1/2 hours and depending on flights out of Sacramento we can almost drive in about the same and SFO or OAK take longer than driving.     

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What I'm currently seeing is that flights in and out of LAX run somewhere between 100-190 per person, which sometimes results in a price differential that makes the flight cheaper, although there are still baggage fees and fuel surcharges to account for. The total trip time is somewhat similar due to needing to get to the airport early and also waiting to get out of the airport.

 

On the other hand, driving down to LA incurs both a cost for parking/gas and also wear and tear on the car.

Does leaving out of LA actually give you that much extra time in a port? From what I recall it's about an hour or two at most?

 

Choppy waters along the Pacific from SD to Seattle is definitely something for us to think about. To what extent is that not the case from Cabo to LA?

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Mostly gets rough after LA.  We haven't had much issue to San Diego or Long Beach.  Good thing is it's northbound so you have already been on the ship a few days.  Luckily we had been on the ship 15 days before the closet doors and drawers started sliding in/out.  So we just rolled over and went to sleep.    

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HAL does 7 and 10 day Mexican Riviera cruises out of San Diego. If you are going to fly, the cost to fly into LAX and SAN from the Bay area is about the same, but the airport in SAN is only 3 miles from the pier, and there is a lot more to do there before/after your cruise if you want to extend your trip. LA is not your only option other than SF.

 

Southwest also has FREE 2 checked bags per person, so that can save you a lot compared to other airlines.

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1 hour ago, ATSEAMYLIFE said:

Mostly gets rough after LA.  We haven't had much issue to San Diego or Long Beach.  Good thing is it's northbound so you have already been on the ship a few days.  Luckily we had been on the ship 15 days before the closet doors and drawers started sliding in/out.  So we just rolled over and went to sleep.    

So if I'm understanding correctly:


Going southbound from Bay all the way to Cabo is fine.

 

Going from Cabo to LA is fine.

 

Going from LA further north is chop?

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On 6/19/2019 at 4:58 PM, GenghisQuan said:

Got off the Nieuw Amsterdam about a month ago, beg to differ. Half the public spaces sat unused for most of the cruise, or were used for shopping presentations and PowerPoint presentations. Other half were bars.

 

I don't the cruise line to do anything to amuse me on a sea day.

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On ‎6‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 11:52 AM, GenghisQuan said:

Anyone do either and have thoughts about which is better? Do the multiple sea days in a row from SF stack up into boredom? Are there additional things to see along the California coast?

 

Was having a hard time getting past your implied need to be entertained.  Then I found an interesting read from the New York Post, "Millennials need to put away the juice boxes and grow up". 

https://nypost.com/2016/03/21/millennials-need-to-put-away-the-juice-boxes-and-grow-up/

 

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6 hours ago, VentureMan_2000 said:

 

Was having a hard time getting past your implied need to be entertained etc Then I found an interesting read from the New York Post, "Millennials need to put away the juice boxes and grow up". 

 

I'm sure that sounded a lot more worldly and sophisticated in your head, rather than "I like throwing away money for no reason".

Don't know about you, but my money on a cruise goes towards an enjoyable vacation. The cruise lines are hardly doing me a favor by granting me the privilege of cruising; they're providing a service that I pay money for, and if a specific itinerary doesn't offer as much value as another one, why would I pick the former over the latter?

 

Now if I were to lower myself into the mud pit of generational mudslinging, I could point out how the Boomers turned American dynamism into stagnation, inequality, and bipartisan fiasco...but that's neither here nor there. Instead I'll simply point out that the NY Post article seems to treat the Boomers' formative experience of railing against their parents' lack of understanding about drugs and premarital sex and rock and roll, as well as their later divorce rates, as somehow less worthy of contempt compared to what's ultimately merely some perceived immaturity caused in large part by the vividness fallacy.

 

18 hours ago, scottca075 said:

 

I don't the cruise line to do anything to amuse me on a sea day.

Then what do you expect from the cruise line? A mere three square meals and a cot?

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On 6/24/2019 at 7:20 PM, Splinter said:

HAL does 7 and 10 day Mexican Riviera cruises out of San Diego. If you are going to fly, the cost to fly into LAX and SAN from the Bay area is about the same, but the airport in SAN is only 3 miles from the pier, and there is a lot more to do there before/after your cruise if you want to extend your trip. LA is not your only option other than SF.

 

Southwest also has FREE 2 checked bags per person, so that can save you a lot compared to other airlines.

I was kind of considering LA/Long Beach/SD to be the same area, as they're not too far from each other.

 

Hmm, might need to look into Southwest, then.

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On 6/26/2019 at 3:28 PM, GenghisQuan said:

Then what do you expect from the cruise line? A mere three square meals and a cot?

 

If you don't know, I am not sure it is worth my time to try and explain.

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On 6/26/2019 at 3:30 PM, GenghisQuan said:

I was kind of considering LA/Long Beach/SD to be the same area, as they're not too far from each other.

 

Hmm, might need to look into Southwest, then.

Long Beach is 7 miles from San Pedro, but 100 miles from San Diego. You wouldn't fly into LA to take a cruise out of San Diego!

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18 minutes ago, Splinter said:

Long Beach is 7 miles from San Pedro, but 100 miles from San Diego. You wouldn't fly into LA to take a cruise out of San Diego!

No, but the flights themselves aren't too different from each other.

 

17 hours ago, scottca075 said:

 

If you don't know, I am not sure it is worth my time to try and explain.

Ooh, posturing, how fun! Seriously though, your favorite lines include high-end luxury lines like Windstar, Oceania, and Seabourn. Clearly you do expect expect the cruise line to do much more than provide you with transportation, food, and board.

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