The 7 Best Cruises to Mexico in 2023: Cabo San Lucas, Puerta Vallarta, Ensenada Sailings and More
Whether you’re looking for world-class scuba diving, white-sand beaches, or Mayan ruins, a Mexico cruise will get you there in comfort and style.
Set sail from the west coast to experience the beaches and nightlife of Cabo San Lucas, stroll the boardwalk in Mazatlan or dig your toes in the sand in Puerto Vallarta. For scuba diving and Mayan ruins, opt for a cruise on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Dive into the deep blue waters of Cozumel, stroll along a beach free of high-rise hotels in Costa Maya or walk in the footsteps of the ancient Mayans in Tulum.
Several major cruise lines serve these routes with decked out vessels offering something for everyone. Sprawling pools, buzzing dance clubs, and fresh margaritas are just the beginning.
This is the domain of large cruise lines, but there are a few smaller ships — like American Queen Voyages’ Ocean Navigator — that sail to Mexico.
Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line sail year-round from the West Coast to Mexico. Three Carnival ships – Carnival Miracle, Carnival Panorama and Carnival Residence – sail from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Mexico. Norwegian Cruise Line sails to Mexico from California, Florida and New Orleans.
Princess Cruises, Holland America, Disney Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises sail to Mexico seasonally. While Mexico is warm year-round, you’ll find the most comfortable temperatures — and some of the best prices — between November and February. Mexico’s rainy season lasts from May to November, but expect showers instead of washouts. Hurricane season is between June and November, and while hurricanes don’t always make landfall, the rains they bring can dampen even the best-planned beach day.
Whatever you’re looking for, and whenever you want to set sail, there’s a Mexico cruise that’s sure to feel tailor-made for you.
Best short cruise to Mexico
In just three nights, Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas sails from Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico and back. The itinerary includes a full day at sea—enough time to do a few laps on the ship’s ice rink, spend a few hours at the spa, try out the longest waterslide at sea, and catch a show. Of course, you could also just spend your entire day at sea lounging on the pool deck, eating Johnny Rockets and sipping colorful cocktails. If you have a little more time, opt for a four-night itinerary. Royal Caribbean offers two four-night itineraries on Navigator of the Seas. Add a stopover on the idyllic island of Catalina. The other is spending extra time in Ensenada.
Best week long cruise to Mexico
Perhaps there’s no better way to relax than sailing Norwegian Bliss along the Mexican Riviera. Sail from Los Angeles with stopovers in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Ensenada, Mexico. Spend port days visiting tequila factories, wineries and endless sandy beaches. Or opt for an adventurous 4×4 ride, snorkeling, kayaking or an idyllic horseback ride. On board the ship you have the choice between 19 restaurants, 20 bars and many activities. Norwegian Bliss debuted in 2018 and her entertainment options include a two-level racetrack, Broadway shows, laser tag, miniature golf and a casino. The ship has a private 18+ beach club and a spa with both a salt room and snow room.
Best family cruise to Mexico
There is so much to do aboard the Carnival Radiance that your family may not want to leave the ship on port days. The Carnival Radiance features a water park, high ropes course, miniature golf, athletic fields, and a kids’ club for ages two to 17 years old. There’s also a teens’ spa, video arcade, and enough space to play soccer, basketball, and volleyball on board. With more than a dozen restaurants, there is something for even the most discerning junior palate. There’s even a green egg and ham breakfast to go with a Seuss at Sea experience inspired by the famous author’s books.
Cuadro 44 Restaurant by Windstar Star Legend
Michel Verdure/Windstar Cruises
Best Small Ship Cruise to Mexico
You could go to Mexico on a mega ship. Or, opt for a quieter, more tranquil, yacht-like experience on Windstar Cruises’ Star Legend. This all-suite yacht features cabins that are nearly 300 square feet. The ship is fresh from a major renovation with a new spa, pool and fitness center. Each bathroom on board has been redesigned and stocked with L’Occitane toiletries. The Star Legend is scheduled to set sail from Miami in the spring. Windstar’s “Jungles and Gems of the Central American Coast” itinerary operates a round-trip from Miami with stops in Key West en route to Cozumel and Costa Maya. But Mexico is just the beginning. Windstar’s Star Legend also docks in Belize City, Belize, and Roatan, Honduras, offering passengers many options to enjoy an unforgettable dive, immerse themselves in ancient ruins, or simply soak up the sun.
Best Cruise to the Yucatan Peninsula
Megaships aren’t the only ships sailing to Mexico. American Queen Voyages’ Ocean Navigator is less than a tenth the size of the giant ships that sail the region. The ship seats just over 200 passengers and feels more like a river cruise ship than an ocean-going vessel. The choice of restaurants and bars is limited, but that might not matter if you’re sipping margaritas and snacking on molletes on the beach. Ocean Navigator’s Mexico itineraries visit seven ports in 10 days, giving passengers the chance to dive into the deep blue waters of Cozumel, explore the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and sip margaritas in Cancun. This isn’t the kind of ship that’s partying all night, but that should make it easier to wake up to beautiful sunrises. The price of this all-inclusive cruise includes food, beverages, room service, WiFi, prepaid gratuities, port fees and taxes.
The Seven Seas Grandeur from Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas
Best Luxury Cruise to Mexico
There’s no more luxurious way to reach Cabo San Lucas than aboard Regent’s new Seven Seas Grandeur. The cruise line’s “Magic on the Mexican Riviera” itinerary is slated to set sail from Los Angeles in late 2024, calling at ports such as Cabo San Lucas, La Paz and Puerto Vallarta. The 10-night itinerary includes three days of luxury cruising on the Pacific Ocean. Spend your sea days in your spacious suite, playing bocce or shuffleboard or relaxing at the pool bar. The ship’s suites range in size from 307 to 4,443 square feet. Each has its own balcony, and there’s probably no better place on board to enjoy your morning coffee with a view. Regent Seven Seas cruise fares include intercontinental business class travel, unlimited shore excursions, unlimited beverages, specialty dining and gratuities.
Best cruise on the Mexican Riviera
If you want to touch grass at sea and taste the best of the Mexican Riviera, the Celebrity Solstice is for you. Home to half an acre of real green grass, this ship sails from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. This is a ship with a cool vibe, a sophisticated feel and lots of fun things to do onboard. Try a cocktail class or a wine mixing class. Or watch a glass blowing show on the lawn. The ship also houses more than 200 solar panels and generates some of its own electricity.