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Best cruises to Mexico

Festive culture, Mayan ruins and beaches for days — what else could you need?

Updated

Ancient Ruins Of Tulum On Caribbean Sea In Mexico

With 5,000 miles of coastline to explore, archaeological sites to uncover and colonial cities full of culture, Mexico is bursting with cruising potential. Even better, cruises access both the east and west coasts, making your next Mexican getaway a breeze.

Best Mexico cruises

Whether you’re a culture vulture, sun worshipper, adventure addict or nature lover, these are the top cruise companies to help you explore Mexico.

Best for a quick budget getaway: Carnival

Three and four-night Mexican getaways are Carnival’s forte. It sails from major ports all around the Gulf of Mexico making it an easy getaway for anyone living in the Southeast US. The best part is you get more than you think for your pennies. An adults-only sun deck, kids programming, sauna and steam room access, theater performances, live music, comedy and a nightly three-course dinner are all standard.
  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Paypal, Carnival EasyPay, Gift Card, Discover Card, Debit, Western Union, Cheque
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for young families: Disney

Take the kids on a magical journey where the fun is just as much about onboard activities as discovering new sites in port. Imaginative kids clubs, fanciful dining and Broadway-caliber musicals are a treat for young and old alike.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card, JCB
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for foodies: Oceania

Oceania prides itself on casual elegance that’s hard to find onboard a luxury liner. Onboard dining options curated by legendary Master Chef Jacques Pepin feature free dining venues, open-seating, lavish afternoon teas, wine-pairing dinners and a series of foodie excursions while in port.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Cheque
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for luxury travelers: Regent

With Regent’s all-balcony suite accommodation, unlimited shore excursions, sophisticated dining venues, rousing cabaret shows and low staff-to-passenger ratio you’ll find your time on board just as enticing as time in port.
  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, American Express, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for first-timers: Norwegian

Whether it’s your first time in Mexico or first time on a cruise, Norwegian eases you into your holiday. A laid-back onboard experience, tried and tested destinations, a variety of onboard entertainment and a vast choice of restaurants and bars ensure there’s something for everyone.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for the Mexican Riviera: Holland America

Ever heard of Copper Canyon? We don’t blame you! Holland America Line is one of a handful of lines that sail to the Sea of Cortez. Look no further for more destinations off the beaten path along with classic favorites.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for couples: Princess

The line that brought us The Love Boat continues its focus on romance decades later. Enjoy on-board features like movies under the stars, an adults-only retreat, couples’ massage and dining for two options. The spacious suites with balcony and bathtub are ideal for when you just want to be alone.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners, Discover Card, JCB
Price ($-$$$):

How we picked the best cruises.

When choosing cruises for this list, we looked at the quality of routes available from each cruise line, prioritizing well-paced itineraries with port stops at key destinations around Mexico.

We also considered dining onboard, weighing the number, variety and overall quality of restaurants against passenger reviews. Finally, we weighed cabin amenities against each price point, looking for cruise lines that are known to deliver the highest value.

Additionally, we sought out customer reviews on travel websites and personal travel blogs, considering first-person experiences and each company’s overall reputation.

When is the best time to cruise to Mexico?

Cruises to Mexico are generally split into two categories: the Mexican Riviera and Western Caribbean cruises that include ports along the Mayan Riviera.

While both are considered year-round destinations, some factors to consider when to travel include:

  • Peak tourist season. Travel to Mexico is busiest during Christmas and Easter school holidays along with the summer months. Beach destinations during this time are very crowded so embrace the ambiance or research the more secluded beach spots further from port.
  • Key festivals and events. If you’re looking for travel to check off your bucket list, keep an eye out for cruises during the Day of the Dead festivities, sea turtle hatching season, whale shark season and the annual whale migration on the Pacific coast.
  • Rainy season. On the Pacific side, rain starts as early as May and lasts until October. Over on the Caribbean side, the hurricane season runs from June to November with storms likely August through October. This doesn’t stop most people from booking It may simply be a matter of changing ports.
  • Beat the crowds. Late April and May are one of the best times to visit, especially on the Caribbean coast, when crowds are fewer and the rains have yet to start.
  • Looking to save some money? Early fall is when you’ll find the biggest drop in cruise prices but it’s also the height of the Mayan Riviera’s hurricane season. Consider taking out cruise travel insurance to give you a bit of peace of mind before you head out.

What are the must-do cruise excursions in Mexico?

We’ve highlighted some of our favorite cruise destinations in Mexico along with some lesser-known gems to give you a taste of what to expect.

  • Cabo San Lucas. Water sports are the name of the game here and if you can think it, it’s on offer. Snorkeling, diving, kayaking, surfing, sunset sails and wildlife encounters are all on the agenda.
  • Cozumel. This island on the Caribbean coast is close enough to the mainland for you to choose between living out your island fantasies or taking a day trip to Mayan ruins like the picturesque seaside city of Tulum.
  • Ensenada. A surprisingly culinary destination, cruisers can learn about tequila making, enjoy cheese tastings, dine on locally caught lobster or head inland to a burgeoning wine district to sample a few glasses.
  • Costa Maya. A sleepy fishing village of around 1,000 residents, this is your chance to lay under a palm tree at one of the beach clubs, go snorkeling or diving and visit the natural wonders at the Lagoon of Seven Colors in Bacalar.
  • Topolobampo. Your access point to the Copper Canyon, Mexico’s answer to the Grand Canyon and chance to spend the day aboard the luxury Chihuahua Pacifico train.
  • Puerto Vallarta. Visit one of Mexico’s pueblos mágicos for a more peaceful experience or take it up a notch with ziplining over lush jungle canopy or take an ATV for a spin in the mountain valley.

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Bottom line

Mexico is a magnet for travelers looking for a unique blend of beach time, exploring ancient civilizations and jungle and water-based adventures. Take the plunge and see find cruise deals to get you there sooner rather than later.

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