Last updated: 06:00 PM ET, Tue October 04 2016

The Cruise Return of the Mexican Riviera

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Holland America Line | Jason Leppert | October 04, 2016

The Cruise Return of the Mexican Riviera

Photo courtesy of Mazatlan Tourism Board

As a native resident of San Diego, California and lifelong cruise traveler, I have a close connection to Mexico and the classic Mexican Riviera itinerary. The route has suffered over the years but is looking to finally experience a resurgence.

Scares of violence in the likes of ports such as Mazatlan have steered many cruise lines to avoid the destination or the region as a whole, which has taken a toll not just on the foreign country but homeports like San Diego that used to see many more calls as a cruise hub beyond seasonally repositioning ships up and down the coast to Alaska.

The Los Angeles ports of Long Beach and San Pedro have done a little bit better with year-round deployments remaining from Carnival Cruise Line and frequent stops from Princess Cruises, for example.

Holland America Line has at least maintained a strong presence out of San Diego to Mexico and Hawaii and is even upping its numbers for Mexican Riviera itineraries, about a 65 percent increase in capacity beginning this month. In fact, the line’s season will begin on October 18 when the Westerdam will depart on an 11-day voyage from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Starting on that sailing, the Vista-class ship will also be the first in the fleet to feature the new America’s Test Kitchen culinary partnership and facility onboard.

READ MORE: Mexico's First Cruise Ship Home Port Eyes 2017 Opening

Otherwise through February 2017, the Westerdam will embark on 13 seven-day voyages roundtrip from San Diego, stopping at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta with three relaxing days at sea interspersed. Onboard will also be a traditional mariachi band and Mexican cuisine. 

Leaving its unfortunate years behind, Mazatlan is actually in its third consecutive year of growth and will see 93 ships visit in 2016, up from 35 the previous year. Just last month at the 23rd annual World Cruise Convention 2016, Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises executives recognized Governor Mario Lopez Valdez for his successful efforts to revitalize the port.

“We came here to thank the cruise lines for their confidence and their support to bring the cruise routes back to Mazatlan and Topolobampo. Because of their commitment, there will be more cruise ship arrivals in the region,” said Governor Valdez. “The return of cruise tourism has been fulfilled in Mazatlan, leaving a strong cruise industry for the coming years.”

READ MORE: Mazatlan Welcomes Cruise Ships Back

Even Puerto Vallarta was just rated the top Mexican Riviera & South America Destination at Cruise Critic’s Cruisers' Choice Destination Awards, where Mazatlan also made the list as number four. The awards were based on consumer ratings.

Of the other cruise lines listed above, Carnival Cruise Line continues to deploy three of its ships to the aforementioned Mexican ports as well as Ensenada, Disney Cruise Line will next be returning to the region with its Disney Wonder next fall and Princess Cruises has four ships in the area this year.


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