Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
Mexican Riviera

Mexican Riviera Cruise Line Tips

Mexican Riviera cruise lines are fairly few in number despite the popularity of cruises on the west coast of Mexico.

Cruise travel planners should know that their options for choosing a cruise line are limited for several major reasons:

  • The Mexican Riviera has fewer cruise ports than the Caribbean, Europe, New England and other popular cruise destinations.
  • As a result of fewer cruise ports, there is more competition among cruise lines to offer a similar experience.
  • The most popular cruises usually go to just three ports.

In some ways, a Mexican Riviera cruise is not unlike an Alaska cruise (except for the temperatures). Most Alaska cruises usually last for six days and seven nights. So do Mexican Riviera cruises. Alaska cruises have about 10 ports of call as do Mexican Riviera cruises. Alaska cruises have about 10 possible ports of call as do Mexican Riviera cruises, but quite a few are small ones.

Although several ports are dominant, many cruise ships visit four or five destinations in Alaska. But the great majority of Mexican Riviera cruises go only to three ports: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta. Again, the competition is intense.

While as many as 14-15 cruise lines visit Alaska, fewer than 10 visit the Mexican Riviera. They include Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian, Oceania, Princess and Regent Seven Seas.

The length of the cruise has some impact on which cruise lines are available for Mexican Riviera tourists. The cruises usually break down into three lengths:

  • Three to five nights
  • Six to nine nights
  • Ten to 12 nights

All of the above cruise lines are available for the six- to nine-night cruises. Only Princess and Holland America are available for cruises that last 10 nights or longer. For shorter three- to five-night cruises, Carnival is by far the dominant cruise line.

Note that six days here means six full days. Cruise lines will often call these cruises eight days and seven nights. But they are including the first and last days in the embarkation ports. These first and last “days” are usually quite brief. The first day of the cruise when the ship leaves port often begins in late afternoon. The last “day” of the cruise usually ends early in the morning when the ship returns to the embarkation port around 7 a.m.

Cruise Line Budgets

The limited number of cruise lines means that travel planners who are picky about their cruise lines have few options for the shorter and longer cruises.

Anyone who wants a higher-end shipboard experience—and a more expensive one—can choose the likes of Celebrity or Disney for a six- to nine-night cruise.

A random series of searches on various dates of Mexican Riviera cruises showed that interior cabins had prices between $500 and $600 per person for many of the cruise lines.

When cabin prices are similar, travel planners should look at free offers that are becoming more common. They may include free wi-fi or onboard credit.

Some cruise lines offer more trips than others. For example, a search on a major travel booking site covering 12 months of cruise options showed the following results from each cruise line:

  • Carnival - 52 cruises
  • Celebrity - 0 cruises
  • Disney - 3 cruises
  • Holland America - 16 cruises
  • Norwegian - 12 cruises
  • Oceania - 1 cruise
  • Princess - 29 cruises
  • Regent Seven Seas - 2 cruises
      With such limited options among cruise lines, Mexican Riviera cruisers with larger budgets may want to spend more money on their cabin or their shore excursions. All of the above cruise lines have luxurious cabin and fine dining options in addition to their regular buffet-style restaurants. Unlike the Caribbean, the Mexican Riviera is mostly a coastal cruise experience. Cabins with balconies will have high appeal for the views. Unfortunately, the Mexican Riviera doesn’t have as many remarkable shore excursions that cruisers will find in the Caribbean and Europe. So a nicer cabin is not a bad choice for anyone with the money to spend.