Hubby and I just got back a week ago from the Elation's Western Carribbean sailing from Galveston....loved it!
We already want to start planning our next cruise, hopefully for Dec. 2005. We live in southern California and although we've done a 4-day cruise out of Long Beach some years ago, going to Catalina Island and Ensenada, we've never taken a week-long cruise to the Mexican Riviera from here. We know that Carnival has a 7-day departing Long Beach that calls at Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and (I think) Mazatlan. They also have an 8-day departing San Diego that goes further south, taking in Zihuataneo (I've wanted to see that since first watching "Shawshank Redemption"!)...
Both of these cruises are more $$$ for cruise-only, than most of the cruises departing out of the various ports in Florida -- but we'd have airfare to get to Florida, so they may be something of a "wash" dollar-wise.
Here's our question, though: We LOVE the clear, turquoise blue, WARM waters of the Carribbean....and in Ensenada the water is pretty much the same as it is right here in southern California, which is to say, none of the above (clear, turquoise or warm). But is it better further south in Puerto Vallarta or Zihuataneo?
We want to book as soon as we've made up our mind, so that our "guaranteed" cabin will have plenty of opportunity to upgrade! *L*
Also, we want to go on one of the newer, larger ships, one of those where like 80% of the cabins our ocean view, and 80% of the ocean view cabins have balconies!
Any information or advice would be much appreciated!
Personal opinion is no. We have done the Mexican Riviera down to Cabo including Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. We really liked the trip but it is not the caribbean. The water is about 25-40 feet clearity depending on the season in the Mexican Riviera where as Cozumel is about 100 feet clarity. the water is colder in the Meixcan Riviera too but not too cold to snorkel.. If you go for the cruise and do not compare to the caribbean than you'll have a great time but if you try to compare, it just doesn't. Moreover the places are more like old Mexican villages with lots of history and some mountains whereas the islands are more tropical and caribbean. Both are so different - there is more culture and history though on the Meixican Rivera.. Hope this helps a little. Debbie
We have done the 7 day Mexican Riviera 4Xs and will be going on the 8 day Carnival Spirit out of San Diego to MR, further down, in November. We are doing this one because we have never left from SD and we have never done this itinerary.
We have also done the Caribbean 3Xs, soon to be 4 next week. I agree with Debbie above, you can't compare them. We prefer the Caribbean for the same reasons, bluer and warmer waters. We do the MR because we live only minutes away from the ports thus no airfare. We go because of the ship. I don't find the California cruises to be that much more than other ports if you look around for deals. We did the Hawaiian Islands on NCL but that was before they went "overboard" in their pricing! (pun intended)
Teresa and Larry
#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean
We have cruised the Mexican Riviera twice (RCL & Carnival) and the Sea of Cortez once (HAL); are scheduled to do Sea of Cortez again in December and MR next year in October. Although the waters of Puerto Vallarta and Zihuatenejo will be warmer and have higher visibility than in Ensenada, they don't compare to Cancun or the Caribbean. We also cruise frequently to Mexico because we live in San Diego. Cruise prices seem to be a little higher on the West Coast, as compared to Florida embarkations, but not having to pay for air-fare more than makes up the difference. Take a look at Holland America's 7 day cruise from San Diego for next fall/winter. Balcony cabins are going for less than $800, including all port charges and taxes. This cruise is on the Oosterdam, one of HAL's newer ships. What ever you decide, enjoy. Rick.
Sun Princess - 03/2000
Renaissance 3 - 05/2000
Ocean Princess - 01/2001
Sea Princess - 09/2001
Carnival Spirit - 10/2002
Amazing Grace - 03/2003
Vision of the Seas - 12/2003
Statendam - 12/2003
Radiance of the Seas - 05/2004
I've been scuba diving in the caribbean and the Pacific along the Meican Riviera and once you get south of Cabo San Lucas, there is virtually no difference in the water clarity. Also, the water temperature is ideal south of Cabo. Personally, I love both areas, the caribbean and the Mexican Riviera. There is a tradeoff on the highlights of each. On the Mexican Riviera, from January thru March, you'll see whales, possibly hundreds of whales and dolphins also. You may see some whales and dolphins in the caribbean, but they'll be few and far between. On the other hand, the caribbean waters may be a little warmer and have more island atmosphere. It's a tough decision, so I'd just go both places on alternate cruises.
We love to cruise, so I have little doubt that we'd enjoy ourselves no matter what, but I am a little worried that we WOULD be comparing the Mexican Riviera with the Carribbean.
We've sailed Carnival and Norwegian -- and of those two prefer Carnival. The two Norwegian cruises were very...."staid" is the only word I can think of to describe them. Very subdued, not very active. I would say "older crowd" but we are older ourselves; its just that we like a lot of activity. Have never said Holland America, but the $800 price tag for a balcony room sounds pretty good if it includes all port charges.
Can you tell me a bit about the atmosphere on Holland America?
I know that eventually we will do the Mexican Riviera; I just don't know if it will be the NEXT cruise or not.
I personally enjoyed the Mexican Riviera better than the Carribean. I feel like once you've seen one island they "All" look alike...In Mexico there is much shopping and just as many excursions like the Carribean. Unless you plan on going snorkeling,etc. then do the Mexican Riviera...You won't be disappointed.
Don't get me wrong I have been to most of the Carribean islands but I personally enjoy Mexico....Cozumel I loved!!
We loved Cozumel, too....but that isn't the Mexican Riviera (Mexican Riviera is the Pacific side). And the thing is, snorkeling is the thing we love MOST to do. Shopping in Mexico? Been there, done that too many times already! ** (as I said earlier, we live in southern California. For the last year or so we've made a trip down to Baja California, Mexico, about every 4-6 weeks. I'm shopped out!)....
Terri, a big point that no one else seems to have covered is that once you get away from the border twons -- aka Tijuana and Ensenada -- you gain more the true Mexico feel. This was especially apparent when we went to Zijuatenejo and Manzanillo and La Paz.
Just wanted to make that point.
__________________ Harry Martin
Moderator - Mexico and G/L message boards