my wife and i have been to the caribbean 10 times, the last 2 on grand and golden. we absolutely love the caribbean, and count ourselves as devoted princess cruisers, but we want to try something different for our next vacation/anniversay celebration. i would enjoy hearing from cruisers who have been on the sun princess, and its 10 day "mexican riviera" itinerary, which includes cabo san lucas, acapulco, and ixtapa.
if this is a good "big anniversary" cruise, please let me know, and if you have any tips on beaches where to snorkel, i would love to hear them. i also wondered if anyone found the oceon rougher, and the ride bumpier, than the normally calm caribbean.
thanks for your help.
We have been on the Mexican Riveria twice, once during a Panama Canal trip and one 7 day, both on Carnival Elation. We are now booked for the Oct. 27, 2002 on the Sun. Not to many response to people booked yet. It is a great intinerary and I think you would enjoy it.
We just booked this cruise except for the week before (17th). Started out thinking of the Panama Canal but the ports are not that great on that trip. We've done the 7 day cruise twice on the Rhapsody and Song of America but I look forward to Acapulco and Ixtapa.
Since we will be on the Left Coast, we are extending our vacation with 4 nites in Las Vegas. Maybe win enough to pay for the cruise....
MV Sun Princess is a great ship. She has a layout that really works well, with all the essentials and quite a few frills.
As far as ports of call on the 10-day Mexican Riviera itnerary, none are "let's stay aboard" ports and there are many new attractions opening up at several of them.
>> Cabo San Lucas definitely is a "beach and waer sports" port of call. I recommend a boat tour to the arch, possibly combined with either a beach visit -- and there are some splendid beaches there -- or some snorkeling.
>> In Mazatlan, just about every tour goes to the folkloric show. The difference between the tours that stay in town is what else you do. On the city tour, the cathedral is quite impressive. The lunch and beach at a hotel are nice, but vendors are a pain (we ended up swimming in the hotel's pool rather than in the ocean to get away from the street vendors, who roam the public beach freely but can't enter the hotel area). The shopping also is pretty good.
>> In Puerto Vallarta, I highly recommend the tour called "Beach and Tequilla Factory" -- which actually visits two tequilla factories and then goes to a private beach club. The tequilla factories actually use two different methods (traditional and modern), but both produce tequillas of the best quality (100% blue agave). The second factory also sells liqueurs made elsewhere with their tequilla that are outstanding.
>> In Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, I have no specific recommendations. There's good shopping there, or you can go to a resort for the day. The resorts have nice beaches, but rip currents someitmes preclude swimming.
>> In Acapulco, the tour that includes the cliff divers and the Acapulco Princess Hotel definitely is worthwhile. You will find good shopping there also.
I should mention that the Mexican government realized that too many overly aggressive street vendors were killing tourism a few years ago and decided to do something about the problem. They set up flea markets where any street vendor could receive a booth, free of charge. This turned out to be a superior arrangement for all concerned. The vendors have decent space to display more merchandise than they could carry and the tourists are not getting hounded by many vendors at once. If you do go into the flea markets, you will find that only two or three vendors will be near you at any given time and they have learned to give folks time to look over the wares. The situation is much improved.
Finally, I should mention the usual caution about not drinking or eating anything anywhere off the ship unless you know that it's okay. The resorts and the tourist facilities are okay, as are places where tours from the ship go. Don't even get a can of soda -- it might be chilled in ice made from local (unsafe) water, in which case the outside of the can is contaminated. "Monrezuma's Revenge" would not add to the pleasure of your vacation.
Maybe I shouldn't toss my 2 cents in here since I haven't actually done the "Mexican Rivera" cruise, but, after spending time in Cozumel and the Caribbean, I simply can not stand the Pacific coastal environment anymore. We spent 2 week in Puerto Vallarta in April one year, so maybe that was an issue, because the water was incredibly murky the 2 times I tried to snorkel. I couldn't see a thing. Since my particular interest is snorkeling, the trip was very disappointing, and I swore I would never spend my money on a Pacific trip again. The Caribbean or South Pacific please . . . If you enjoy the Mexican culture and the beauty of its Pacific Coast, then by all means take the cruise. But be aware that snorkeling should be put way down on your list of things to do. Shelley
We've done most of these ports twice, once on a 10 day round trip out of San Pedro and once as part of a Panama Canal cruise that went from San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale.
The Sun Princess is a very nice ship as are all of them in that class. Plus, the Mexican Riviera cruises are quite reasonable for the west coast but not as cheap as the Caribbean. The cruise would be great even if it was just a cruise only voyage.
What we didn't like most was the little kids begging on the streets with their chicklets of gum. You'll probably miss them if you go on a ship's shore excursion but if you wander around by yourself, you'll see them.
In Acapulco a young man in a sort of uniform approached us and showed us his ID card. He claimed that he was something like an intern to be a tour guide and said he had to do so many hours of volunteer work with tourists as part of the program. He escorted us all around, most likely steering us to relatives shops. When we got back to the ship he hinted quite strongly for a tip and showed he was not happy with the amount we gave him. I don't know if this was a scam or a real program, but I felt he wasn't ready to move up in the program by the way he acted at the end.
The first time one is in any port, one is almost "obliged" to do the touristy things like the cliff divers. BTW, after they perform, they come up to the viewing area for tips too.