Need advice on our Mexico cruise...?
Okay, so we're looking at two cruise options...
The first is an 11-day cruise out of San Francisco. We live in the Bay Area, so the convenience factor (no flight, no extra hotel, etc.) is a big deal. Ports of call are Topolobampo, La Paz, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. The itinerary includes five total days at sea, and seems to be only offered by Norwegian.
The second option is out of Los Angeles. Obviously, this would require at least a hotel room before departing, and either a long drive, or a short flight. That adds expense, as well as inconvenience. However, there are more cruise lines to choose from, with this departure point. Ports of call are Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta.
So, here are my questions:
1) Should I worry about seasickness with all of those days at sea?
2) Are the extra stops on the longer cruise worthwhile?
3) Has anyone sailed on Norwegian? I've heard a lot of good things about Carnival, but as of right now, their price for the shorter trip is $500 more than the same trip on Norwegian. I also like Norwegian's "Freestyle Cruising" concept, that allows us to time meals & events on our schedule, instead of theirs. Input?
4) What shore excursions do you recommend in these various ports of call?
5) Is the end of October a good time to be on the Mexican Riviera, or are we in trouble relative to hurricane season?
6) What else am I missing?
Okay, one other question I've just thought of...
If we depart out of Los Angeles or San Diego, do y'all have any recommendations for hotels before and/or after the cruise?
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
I have not cruised our of SF but have cruised out of both LA and San Diego. My experiences were that the seas are pretty calm and depend mostly on what the weather is when you cruise. Our first cruise out of LA, on Norwegian, we had great weather and sailing although a tropical storm came across Mexico and resulting in the ship changing course. But we never felt any swells or had rocking. By contrast, when we sailed from San Diego to Hawaii we had smooth sailing many days but a couple days there were weather systems that created a bit of rocking about half way between SD and Hawaii.
Cruise ships know how to stay away from bad weather and the Pacific is not a place where there are generally hurricanes in the fall of the year. You are not likely to get sea sick: (1) All of the new ships now being built have automatic stabilizer that all but eliminate any rocking from side to side. And these newer passenger ships are so long, most 900 feet to almost 1,000 feet, that the front to back motion is also all but eliminated. (2) Cruise ships generally move from port to port overnight, generally about 6:00 PM. You go to dinner between 6 and 8 PM, maybe go to the evening show and maybe the disco and then go to bed. And when you awake the next morning you are in a new port. So you sleep a good portion of the time when the ship is moving. Then to further reduce ship motion, select a cabin on a lower deck and in the middle of the ship; there is less motion there. (3) Cruise ships make every effort to stay away from bad weather, even changing the order of port stops if weather is bad at one. (4) There are some options to combat sea sickness if she is really sensitive to motion. One is a prescription from your Dr for either pills or a patch that is applies behind the ear. Also, take along some ginger candy or cookies as these will help with the motion sickness. (http://www.morningsicknesshelp.com/ginge%E2%80%A6 ) Another option is a wrist bracelet that you can purchase at boating stores
(http://www.biobands.com/motionsickness/w%E2%80%A6 If you do start to get sea sick, the ship will have a doctor who can dispense sea sickness pills.
Our cruise to Mexico went to Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo. In my view that's sufficient. Those places in my opinion were OK but the only one I would care to go back to is Cabo. The real difference between your cruises you have selected is whether you want to relax longer. You don't have to get off the ship in all those ports and there may not be anything there that you want to do. So look also at the tours offered to help make your decision. We did mostly "city tour" and with a stop at a tequila factory for tasting in Puerto Vallarta.
I have sailed NCL about 8 times; did the Mexican riviera on them. I don't care for Freestyle but many people do. BUT, you do not have to go NCL to get the same dine when you want feature. Most cruise lines now have that but call it by different names. Princess calls it "Personal Choice"; Royal Caribbean calls it " My Time Dining". Holland America call it "As You Wish" ; Carnival calls it "Your Time Dining". They all let you go to dinner in the main dining room any time you want between about 6:00PM and 9:00 PM.
My recommendation would be to drive to LA and take a Royal Caribbean cruise on the Mariner of the Seas. its a great ship, one I have been on, and they have great prices right now. You need to book early because the cruise lines give the best prices for early bookings. RC has some great specials too. Take a look at this RC web link: http://www.royalcaribbean.com/findacruise/cruiseDe...
Note that many of the dates you can get a balcony cabin or even a suite for $1K or less and THAT is a bargain.Source(s): experience of many cruises including to Mexico
- MomSezNoLv 71 decade ago
Tinkertoy gave you a great answer. From what I've read, Norwegian is of lesser quality in terms of food and service than the other lines, but they certainly have their fans. It would be a big advantage to cruise out of your home port.
I'd suggest you go to CruiseCritic.com and do some "lurking". Try the "Reviews" button at the top of the page and read the "Member Reviews" for ships you're interested in. If you click on "Boards" you can read comments about the different cruise lines, as well as the ports of call and other topics.