Why Cruise To Mexico?

America’s sunny southern neighbor seems to have all the fun, with powder-soft beaches, savory fish tacos, and endless tequila sundowns. In Mexico, it feels like every day is a festival that ends in starry skies with a mariachi band romantically crooning in the distance.

Cruise ships carry travelers to two different coasts, the Pacific side and the Caribbean. Itineraries through the Panama Canal unite the two. As you explore the country, you’ll notice that every port reveals a place that blends history, adventure, food, and beaches.

And oh those beaches: Mexico’s strands are things of legend. To really explore them, you’ll need to get wet, since the natural charms beneath the warm waters should not be missed. Don a snorkel mask or scuba gear to visit the iridescent fish and rainbow colors of Mexico’s coral reefs. Adrenaline junkies can swim with whale sharks while mellower travelers commune with dolphins.

It would be a mistake to only hug Mexico’s palapa-strewn coast, however. Venture inland on an excursion to cobblestoned colonial Spanish cities with bustling craft markets and stylish boutiques, or spend a day among the ruins dedicated to Mayan gods.

Mexico offers a rich palate of colors in which to paint memories. Regardless if you choose a trek to jungle-shrouded temples, a seaside massage, or a simple kickback with a fresh lime margarita, Mexico will make a national sport out of spicing up your vacation. 

When To Go To Mexico

Mexico’s cruise season runs year-round. Winters are balmy; summer temperatures can reach past the 90s. The high season is also the driest season: That’s December through April, when the beaches are most crowded and prices peak. June and July are the hottest months of the year.

Those who don’t object to a mid-afternoon rain shower or sticky nights will find steep discounts and fewer crowds during the rainy season, May through October. September is the rainiest month on the Caribbean side and the heart of hurricane season. While hurricanes are rare, cruisers inclined to seasickness might prefer to visit in other months.

Multigenerational families are plentiful on cruises during school holidays, including Christmas and spring break, and prices can skyrocket because of the demand. In addition, some single and senior travelers might feel overwhelmed by the crowds during these weeks.

For nature lovers, the annual gray whale migration up and down Baja California is a treat. The world’s largest mammals travel south from Alaska in the winter to Mexico's Pacific coast, where they'll accompany your ship on a journey along the peninsula. The season lasts from January through March, when they birth and nurse their calves.

Mexico Cruise Routes

The Pacific:

Mexico’s Riviera rivals the Mediterranean for its blend of striking beaches, chic shopping, and spirited partying. The western coast also offers world-class views of large sea animals, sport fish, and sea lions along the stark and beautiful Baja peninsula.

Good for: Travelers craving variety will enjoy the mix of desert and beach.

Downside: While the protected bays of Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco shelter swimmers from open ocean rollers, some Pacific-facing beaches get more swell in summer months than little children or nervous swimmers would find comfortable.

The Caribbean:

The calm, blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico create placid beaches and underwater worlds rich with color. Cruises to Mexico’s Western Caribbean ports often make stops in several countries, such as the Cayman Islands, Belize, or Jamaica, a boon for travelers who enjoy diversity. The Gulf Coast was the center of Mexico’s ancient civilizations, which left behind temples, pyramids, and palaces that you can still see today.

Good for: Snorkelers and scuba divers can’t get enough of the candy-colored fish in Mexico’s Caribbean waters.

Downside: You may have to travel away from the port to view the best sights. But cruisers who don’t take advantage of on-shore excursions will miss out on highlights such as Mayan pyramids that bring out your inner Indiana Jones.

Panama Canal:

The Panama Canal is an engineering wonder, providing passage between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It can only be experienced by ship; most canal itineraries make a stop in at least one Mexican port.

Good for: The canal offers a long, slow at-sea day with a rare glimpse of the world’s most exciting shortcut.

Downside: Small children might not understand what all the waiting and fuss is about when passing through the canal. 

Mexico Cruise Itineraries

Mexico Cruises

Ports

  • San Diego, California
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
View more ports

Ports

San Diego, California - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - View more ports

View All 97 Mexico Cruises

Best Mexico Cruise Excursions

Best Mexico Cruise Ports

Photo of Acapulco, Mexico

Acapulco, Mexico

3.5
(509 Reviews)
Photo of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

4.2
(4393 Reviews)
Photo of Ensenada, Mexico

Ensenada, Mexico

3.7
(4353 Reviews)
Photo of Progreso (Merida), Mexico

Progreso (Merida), Mexico

3.6
(4095 Reviews)

View All 23 Mexico Ports

Best cruise lines to Mexico

Disney Cruise Line

Sails 5 Ships

Average rating of:

4.4

Windstar Cruises

Sails 6 Ships

Average rating of:

4.4

Marella Cruises

Sails 6 Ships

Average rating of:

4.3

Royal Caribbean

Sails 26 Ships

Average rating of:

4.1

Celebrity Cruises

Sails 16 Ships

Average rating of:

4.1

Oceania Cruises

Sails 7 Ships

Average rating of:

4.1

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Sails 6 Ships

Average rating of:

4.1

Princess Cruises

Sails 19 Ships

Average rating of:

4.0

Holland America Line

Sails 15 Ships

Average rating of:

4.0

Silversea Cruises

Sails 12 Ships

Average rating of:

4.0

Carnival Cruise Lines

Sails 25 Ships

Average rating of:

3.9

Norwegian Cruise Line

Sails 18 Ships

Average rating of:

3.7

View All 12 Cruise Lines

Expert advice about Mexico

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8 Best Things to Do in: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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10196 Reviews

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First California cruise by buddyone6576292

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Navigator of the Seas

Second cruise after the pandemic. Royal Caribbean took great care to make the cruise safe

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Don't bother by rxlivnwel

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Carnival Miracle

This was the worst cruise that I have been on. Few activities, little time in Cabo, really bad food, limited entertainment. It was very inexpensive, but I could have flown to Cabo and stayed at a nice resort for the same price. I also did not receive any service or stated offers from , and will not use them again.

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Bliss is Awesome by cgillen2

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Norwegian Bliss

This was our first Mexican Riveria cruise, had a Blast! The crew was great, the ship was very clean, the food was good, and the drinks followed well. Would do it agian.

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So Glad To Be Back On A Princess Ship! by TheVerandaLife

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Majestic Princess

We ended up having breakfast and lunch with several of the entertainment crew almost everyday. Being a fellow musician, we all had great conversations and made lasting friendships. Tony (Trombonist) comped us for dinner at the Specialty Restaurant of our choice, so we chose Bistro La Mer. We were also chatting with Luke, one of the dancers, and my wife started talking about how cute Stanley the bear was. As we got on the elevator, Luke popped in and handed Suzi a bag with Stanley in it!!! It made her day / cruise. This is just another reason we will remain loyal to Princess!

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Great 3 day cruise by mrhinz

Sail date: / Traveled as: Couple
Ship: Carnival Miracle

Great staff and entertainment. It would have been better if the smoking areas were more isolated.

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