Wednesday, July 10, 2024
HomeTravel10 Best Mexico Cruises in 2024 and 2025

10 Best Mexico Cruises in 2024 and 2025

Mexico is an exciting and varied destination with white-sand beaches, dense jungles, modern cities, and ancient ruins. The large country offers coasts on the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Sea of Cortez bordering Baja, along with many fascinating places to visit. A stay at one of Mexico’s luxurious resorts is one way to experience the country, but for those who want to see more than one destination, a cruise might be the way to go.

With a cruise, you can visit a variety of ports and enjoy the onboard amenities on your way to somewhere new each day. Most ships offer pools, spas, fitness centers, several dining options, and entertainment and enrichment activities — and, when you’re in port, organized excursions offer a range of options, from lazy beach days to exciting adventures. Mexican cruises allow you to experience all these offerings and a laundry list of destinations with no worries about changing hotels, packing up, or getting yourself from place to place.

Pam Jacobs, a cruise specialist with TravelStore in Palos Verdes, California, points out that there’s also a wide range of cruise lines available. “Depending on who is going on the cruise — whether it’s a family, couple, friends, multigenerational group — I’ll recommend a specific cruise line. Options vary from adults-only cruises to cruise ships with water parks and kids clubs.”

Meet the Expert

  • Pam Jacobs is a California-based travel advisor at TravelStore, specializing in all types of cruises and rail vacations.
  • Rob Clabbers is a T+L A-List travel advisor specializing in cruises and the founder of Q Cruise + Travel.
  • Mary Curry is a T+L A-List travel advisor and small ship specialist with Adventure Life Journeys.

The Experts

Here’s a selection of Mexico cruises showing the variety of styles, amenities, and locations available to enjoy on land and on the sea.

National Geographic Expeditions

Nano Calvo/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

With small groups of 100 or fewer guests, the Mexican cruises offered by National Geographic Expeditions are perfect for travelers who want to become immersed in the destinations they choose. The ships’ small size allows them to access narrow inlets and areas close to shore, and their expansive decks offer opportunities for photographing and observing wildlife. “Non-cruisers and those who prefer nature rather than nightlife and entertainment enjoy small ship expeditions,” says Rob Clabbers.

Onboard, a team of experts ranging from naturalists to historians provide background on the wildlife, local culture, and environment. The ships offer comfortable cabins and serve fresh cuisine with ingredients inspired by and sourced from the destinations. Guests can choose daily activities of light to moderate physical impact, with options for walking, hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking depending on the destination. For young guests, the National Geographic Global Explorers program includes hands-on activities onboard the ship and in the field that focus on everything from observation skills to photography and maps.

The Itinerary: The Baja California: Among the Great Whales cruise boards at San Carlos on Baja’s Pacific Coast for two days in Bahía Magdalena, one of the main breeding and calving sites for gray whales, where cruisers can kayak, paddleboard, or take a Zodiac to explore. Heading south, the ship passes the southern tip of Baja before arriving at Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park with an opportunity to snorkel among the coral reefs and marine life. As the ship heads north in the Gulf of California, guests can explore birds and tropical fish among uninhabited islands before disembarking in Loreto on day eight.

UnCruise Adventures

Courtesy of UnCruise

Mary Curry tells Travel + Leisure, “For an active experience, consider a small ship cruise off the coast of Baja. Several small ship lines offer yachts under 100 passengers that include a menu of excursions — kayaking, hiking, horseback riding, paddleboarding, whale watching, and more.” Curry mentioned UnCruise Adventures as an example. “For travelers who want to truly immerse themselves in the outdoor world, a small ship Baja cruise is the only way to go!”

Both of UnCruise’s current Mexican offerings take place on the Safari Voyager, which holds 66 guests. The ship was built for ease of navigating and for the humidity and heat of the tropics, with an air-conditioned lounge featuring big windows for 270-degree views. Onboard, there’s an EZ Dock kayak launch platform, a bow-mounted underwater camera, inflatable skiffs, hiking poles, snorkel gear, kayaks, and paddleboards. Guests also have access to fitness equipment, yoga mats, and a library.

The Itinerary: The round-trip Baja California’s Whales & Sealife cruise offers seven nights aboard the Safari Voyager. From the embarkation point in La Paz, guests cruise to Isla San Francisco, where they can snorkel, hike, kayak, or paddleboard to experience the rugged island. At Bahía Agua Verde, looking for birds, seals, dolphins, and whales is on the agenda along with a mule ride and visit with a local ranchero. The remaining days include more secluded islands and plenty of wildlife viewing — depending on the season, guests can see gray, fin, blue, orca, and sperm whales, along with hundreds of dolphins and many species of birds.

Royal Caribbean International

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

“For family cruises to Mexico, I often recommend Royal Caribbean,” Pam Jacobs of TravelStore tells T + L. “There’s so much to do on the ships, like water slides, entertainment, and many dining options, so there’s something for all ages to enjoy.” This makes Royal Caribbean great for multigenerational groups, she says, noting that their ships tend to include both adults-only areas and youth entertainment.

Navigator of the Seas, a ship that sails exclusively from Los Angeles to Mexico’s west coast, features pools, a splash pad, a surf simulator, and water slides like the Blaster aqua coaster and Riptide headfirst mat racer. Entertainment includes an ice skating show, original productions, outdoor movie nights, pool parties, live music, and an arcade. Adults have their places to relax too, like the Solarium, a pool, whirlpool, and lounge area for guests over the age of 18.

The Itinerary: Departing from Los Angeles, the Seven Night Cabo, Vallarta & Mazatlán cruise spends a day at sea before arriving in Cabo San Lucas, where guests can spend time on the beach, take a boat ride along the shore, explore the art gallery district, or sample the local cuisine. In Mazatlán, there’s the beachfront malecón, traditional old town, and shopping at the Arts & Crafts Center. Puerto Vallarta features beaches, boutiques, street food, and the Xihuacan Museum and Archeological Site. After a final day at sea, the ship returns to Los Angeles.

Princess Cruises

Courtesy of Princess Cruises

“Princess Cruises is obviously a longtime regular in the Mexican Riviera. We all remember the ‘Welcome to Acapulco’ announcements whenever the Love Boat docked for another adventure!” Rob Clabbers says. “They still visit there regularly, but with much more modern ships, more amenities, and more options at the destinations.”

The Discovery Princess, the third vessel designed from the ground up with Princess Medallion Class conveniences, is one of those modern ships. The Medallion, a quarter-sized wearable device, provides for touch-free boarding, keyless stateroom entry, Wi-Fi, ordering food and beverages to your location, onboard directions, and ease of finding and messaging friends on the ship.

The Itinerary: The Mexico cruises on Princess depart from either San Francisco or Los Angeles. The Seven-Day Mexican Riviera journey embarks in Los Angeles and spends the next day at sea before arriving at Cabo San Lucas, where guests can choose from 22 excursions with activity levels from easy to strenuous. Options range widely, from shopping and sailing to horseback riding, ziplining, and snorkeling. The next port is Mazatlán with similar excursions for a full day, then the ship sails on to Puerto Vallarta and spends two final days at sea before disembarking back in LA.

Holland America Line

Courtesy of Holland America

The Koningsdam, Holland America Line’s first Pinnacle Class cruise ship, specializes in the North American West Coast. The 2,650-passenger ship boasts a huge roster of amenities, including a music lounge and trivia center affiliated with Billboard and an at-sea outpost of the performance venue chain, B.B. King’s Blues Club. For days at sea, there are pickleball courts (complete with tournaments and complimentary lessons), a fitness center, a casino, and activities for kids ages 3-17. Dining options include a poolside grill, a pizza restaurant, the casual Lido Market, a French brasserie, an Italian restaurant, and the Pinnacle Grill steakhouse.

The Itinerary: The Seven-Day Baja Peninsula cruise boards in San Diego and spends a day at sea before arriving in Cabo San Lucas, where guests can take a catamaran cruise, ride a horse along the beach, snorkel, or explore the shopping and arts district. The next port is La Paz, with a palm-lined malecón to stroll along and whale-watching and fishing expeditions to choose from. In Loreto, one of Mexico’s oldest cities, guests can explore the town, visit a mission or museum, snorkel, or hike in a nearby canyon. After two last days at sea, the ship returns to San Diego.

Celebrity Cruises

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

“The Caribbean side of Mexico is often included in Western Caribbean itineraries departing from Florida or Galveston,” says Rob Clabbers. “The island of Cozumel is one of the most frequently visited ports of call, so there are often a lot of ships — and cruise travelers in port. Costa Maya (near Mahahual) is on the mainland and provides convenient access to beautiful beaches and Mayan ruins.”

Sailings on Celebrity ships like the Constellation offer just what Clabbers describes. The 2,184-passenger vessel splits its time between the Caribbean and the Mediterranean and offers a range of amenities, including a casino, a fitness center, an art gallery, a rooftop terrace, and a basketball court. Kids will enjoy the “Camp at Sea” program, while grown-ups can take to the adults-only solarium, featuring a pool and hot tub. Guests can also upgrade to The Retreat for an exclusive lounge, private restaurant, and spacious suite, or to Concierge Class for special amenities and services.

The Itinerary: The seven-night Grand Cayman & Mexico Cruise boards in Tampa and arrives in Costa Maya after a day at sea. There, guests can spend time on a Caribbean beach, snorkel, shop, or explore Mayan ruins. The next port is George Town on Grand Cayman, where designer boutiques, a catamaran cruise, and a snorkeling adventure are on offer. Then there’s a full day in Cozumel for exploring the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere, relaxing on the beach, shopping in San Miguel, or venturing out to the city of Tulum. The ship then returns to Tampa after a day at sea.


Courtesy of Silversea

“The Mexican Riviera is often included on Panama Canal sailings,” Rob Clabbers tells T+L. “Operated by both mainstream and more luxury lines like Silversea and Regent Seven Seas, these longer trans-canal sailings between Florida and Southern California offer the advantage of the canal experience combined with a few days in the Caribbean and Mexico.”

The Silver Shadow is one of the Silversea vessels that sails this enticing route. Its continent-crossing voyages provide a variety of experiences, including the thrill of passing through the Panama Canal; port days in Mexico, Colombia, and Costa Rica; and the spacious suites and exceptional service of this Shadow Class luxury ship. Four restaurants, the plush Panorama Lounge, the Observation Library, a pool, a casino, cocktail lounges, a fitness center, boutiques, and a salon provide many ways to spend time during days at sea. Suites range from the 287-square-foot Vista Suite to the two-bedroom Owner’s Suite at more than 1,200 square feet, including verandas.

The Itinerary: The 18-day Cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles begins with two days at sea before the first stop in Cartagena, Colombia. Guests can explore the Old Town and enjoy the lively, historic city before another day at sea and arrival at the Panama Canal. After the memorable experience of passing through the locks for the 51-mile journey to the Pacific Ocean, passengers spend a day in Panama City. From there, it’s on to Puntarenas, Costa Rica, where guests can choose between excursions like a half-day trek in a cloud forest or a jungle cruise. Four days at sea take the ship to Cabo San Lucas for a day, and the journey concludes with a day in San Diego and disembarkation in Los Angeles.

Virgin Voyages

Courtesy of Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages offers a special perk for many of its Mexico-bound Caribbean cruises: an embarkation point in the cruise line’s own Terminal V. The three-story terminal on the northwestern corner of PortMiami is an exciting place to begin a cruise, with skyline views of downtown Miami, Biscayne Bay, and Edgewater. All of Virgin’s ships have some itineraries including Caribbean Mexico, but the Scarlet Lady is particularly popular in the region, since Terminal V is its year-round home port. Pam Jacobs, who has experienced Virgin Voyages cruises, notes that the line’s adults-only policy is especially appealing “for groups of friends, couples, and just about anyone” — if they’re 18 or older.

Onboard, guests can choose from more than 20 eateries, multiple cocktail lounges, a pool, a spa, a casino, a fitness center, and a slate of entertainment that includes live music, circus performances, karaoke, and dance parties. Cabins range from economical Insider and Sea View staterooms to RockStar and Mega RockStar quarters with marble bathrooms, terrace hammocks, in-room bars, and more. Guests who book suites have exclusive access to the Richard’s Rooftop outdoor space and a VIP entrance at the terminal.

The Itinerary: The Western Caribbean Charm Cruise begins in Miami aboard Scarlet Lady and arrives at Roatán, Honduras, after a day at sea. Guests can explore the island on an ATV tour, take a zipline adventure, ride a horse along the beach, or relax on the sandy shore. In Costa Maya the next day, options include a snorkel and glass-bottom boat tour, a kayak excursion, off-roading, or a guided visit to Mayan ruins. After a day at sea, the ship arrives in Bimini in the western Bahamas for snorkeling, diving, swimming with stingrays, or relaxing in a Bimini Beach Club cabana before returning to Miami.

Oceania Cruises

Nick Tortajada/Oceania Cruises

I cruised to Mexico on Oceania’s Vista earlier this year, leaving Los Angeles for a short introductory voyage to Mazatlán — and the experience had me instantly wanting to try it again. The opulent ship has a host of beautiful spaces, including a fabulous pool deck, hot tubs, cabanas, and plenty of plush lounges.

The staterooms are comfortably furnished with minibars, spacious closets, large windows, and convenient lighting. In the 2,400-square-foot Owner’s Suite, where I was lucky enough to attend a cocktail party, it’s easy to forget you’re not in a penthouse apartment — except when you step outside to see you’re surrounded by the ocean. The suite’s full-sized bar, huge walk-in closet, enormous bathtub, and lavish bathroom would make most guests want to stay in their room. But more than a dozen restaurants and cocktail lounges beckon, and, for quiet time, there’s the library. My favorite part of the cruise was an evening in the lounge named Martinis, listening to piano music and sipping (what else?) a perfect martini.

The Itinerary: The 17-Day Los Angeles to Miami Cruise aboard the Vista offers four ports in Mexico, plus five other stops and a journey through the Panama Canal. The trip starts with a day at sea after leaving Los Angeles, then explores the Mexican west coast with stops in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanilla, and Acapulco. At those ports, guests can swim, snorkel, shop, and explore the towns and beaches. Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Corinto, Nicaragua; and Puntarenas, Costa Rica, are the next ports, with a day in each for exploring or relaxing on the beach. The thrilling passage through the Panama Canal takes the ship to Cartagena, Colombia, and then, after a day at sea, to George Town, Cayman Islands, before returning to Miami.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruises

Pam Jacobs of TravelStore prefers the Caribbean Coast for Mexico cruises, and she pointed out that people traveling from the American East Coast have many options for boarding such voyages, including in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa, Florida; Galveston, Texas; and New Orleans. “This saves transportation dollars since they can choose the most economical departure point,” she explains. Norwegian Cruise Line offers Mexican cruises from nearly all of these locations.

Cruise aboard the Norwegian Getaway to experience the megaship life on your next trip south. A 3,903-passenger craft that was remodeled in 2020, the Getaway features five water slides, two pools, four hot tubs, a spa, a casino, and a salon. For young cruisers, there’s Entourage (for teens), Guppies Open Play (for toddlers), and a Kids Aqua Park. The variety of cuisines served onboard includes Brazilian, Japanese, Italian, French, and Chinese, and there’s also a seafood restaurant, a raw bar, and several casual options. Staterooms range from economical Inside and Studio rooms to expansive Haven suites.

The Itinerary: The Seven-Day Caribbean Cruise departs from New Orleans and, after a day at sea, arrives in Costa Maya. Guests can visit a water park, explore the Kohunlich Mayan Ruins, swim with dolphins, or ride a dune buggy along the shore to the fishing village of Mahahual. The next day on Harvest Caye in Belize, options include parasailing, ziplining, fishing, or exploring on a glass-bottom boat trip. In Roatán, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras, guests can tour a wildlife preserve, learn about the Garifuna culture, relax in an overwater bungalow, or sample chocolate and local rum. The last port before a day at sea and a return to New Orleans is Cozumel, where guests can swim in a cenote, go snorkeling, enjoy some beach time, or hop on a trolley to see downtown Cozumel.

Source link



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments