Tag-Archive for » Cabo San Lucas «

Friday File: Caribbean Calling In Winter

In case the resident weather systems haven’t prompted you to look south — or anywhere — for a break from mid-winter, this is a good time to drool over some of the luscious, hot, picturesque, sandy, enticing places you can visit when you take a Caribbean cruise. And if that doesn’t tempt you to book one…well, maybe you’re just content to stay home and shovel!

Before departureIs there a more photographic rock formation than at Cabo San Lucas?

St. MaartenIt seems everybody has a boat in the popular port of St. Maarten

TulumGazing at the Gulf of Mexico from the Maya ruins of Tulum, Mexico

Cayman IslandsA watering hole called Paradise in the Grand Cayman Islands

Mahogany BayPrivacy is available at beautiful Mahogany Bay in Roatan, Honduras

CozumelThis pretty part of Cozumel is worth taking a drive to the north shore

In the news…

• Norwegian Edge: 2-year, $400-million refurbishing program for 9 ships
• Holland America’s new brand campaign called ‘Savour The Journey’
• Sea trials complete for Holland America’s new 2,650-passenger Koningsdam

Today at portsandbows.comRefurbishing the Carnival Inspiration


Holland America Maasdam
7 nights
April 19, 2016
Fort Lauderdale (return): Half Moon Cay, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $78
www.hollandamerica.com

Mexico’s First Cruise Home Port?

Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas…Puerto Peñasco?

Now, we’ve been to many cruise ports in Mexico but yesterday was the first we’d heard of this one. Our resident expert on all things Mexican, Barbra Bishop of MEXpeditions, tipped us off about a new cruise port that’s under construction. In fact, it’s 50 per cent complete and not a cruise ship is in sight.

Yet.

The new port-to-be is located at the northern end of the Sea of Cortez, less than an hour’s drive from the Arizona border. By the time it’s finished in the first month of January 2017, Sea of Cortezit will have cost $100 million, which is a lot of pesos for the Mexican government to invest in the hope that cruise lines will find it attractive.

They probably will.

For one thing, passengers can get weary of cruising the Mexican Riviera with its three main stops unless you want to go beyond the conventional 7-day window. For another, it’s pretty much virgin territory for cruise lines…at least the big ones. It would probably mean spending a “sea day” on the Sea of Cortez because it’s a long haul to Puerto Peñasco to the nearest major cruise port in Cabo…or even La Paz.

However…

The idea in building the port is not so much to extend Mexican Riviera cruises as it is to embark on new cruises. That means Puerto Peñasco would be a homeport, precisely what the Mexicans have in mind — and that would be a first in the country. 

The market will come from Phoenix and Tucson, both about three and a half hours away, which would make cruising much more accessible to the people of Arizona. You should note Puerto Penasco-2that the population of the two cities is more than two million people and another five million or so live in the state. This sleepy resort town is already well-known to many of them and has been dubbed “Arizona’s beach.”

Boarding a ship in Puerto Peñasco would be a huge advantage over flying (or driving) to the West Coast, and if you’re wondering what size of ships might be based there (or visit), Puerto Peñasco is preparing — in what is being called its “most important project” ever — for 3,000-passenger ships. 

That’s still the majority of world’s fleet. Will Puerto Peñasco land one, or more?

In 19 months, or sooner, we’ll know.

In the news…

• Chinese cruise passengers had 30 seconds to react to capsizing
• Crystal Serenity first to have ship's casino open in Malta
• New ship orders expected from Virgin Cruises, Crystal Cruises

Today at portsandbows.com: Freighter cruising

Holland America Veendam
7 nights
November 19, 2015
San Diego (return): Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $78
www.hollandamerica.com

Photo Essay From Cruises To Mexico…

TulumIs there a prettier setting for Maya ruins than in Tulum, close to Cozumel?

AcapulcoAn easy attraction in Acapulco, a short walk from where the ships are moored.

IguanaLots of iguanas all over Mexico, and all look more menacing than they really are.

Huatulco-Playa La EntregaIntruding on a family picnic near Huatulco, on as pretty a beach as we've seen.

Cabo San LucasThe familiar rocks near Cabo San Lucas, a magnet for cruise visitors.

cozumelIn Cozumel, more than the tourists go for a walk on the beach.

Cozumel marketMexican markets are wherever cruise ships land and all of them have deals.

Costa Maya

Costa Maya, just one of the stops on the Yucatan Peninsula with ruins can climb!

Today at portsandbows.com: Windstar — year-round in the South Pacific

Carnival Breeze
8 nights
January 3, 2015
Miami (return): NassauSt. ThomasAntiguaSan Juan
Inside: $279
Cost per day: $34
www.carnival.com 

From The Eye Of A Hurricane…Help

Our resident expert on all things Mexico is Barbra Bishop of Mexpeditions, a travel agency that specializes in everywhere (and everything) south of the border. The other day she was telling us a story about Cabo San Lucas and last month’s Hurricane Odile (below).

The short version is that during the worst of the hurricane, visitors to a Los Cabos hotel were being comforted by workers who themselves had lost (almost) everything, yet Hurricane Odilewouldn’t desert their customers. Impressed beyond words, the tourists banded together — after returning to their homes — and began raising funds to help their Mexican “friends.”

Natural disasters do that. People always want to help.

On Saturday, the Star Princess stopped at Cabo San Lucas. The first cruise ship to respond was loaded with bottled water, paper products, milk and other supplies to help the area’s locals who lost so much.

Yesterday came the Carnival Miracle, whose name was not changed to suit the situation. More bottled water, canned food, diapers, personal items for the Mexican people.

In the aftermath of the Category 3 hurricane that killed 15 people, causing $224 million in damage and leaving an estimated 30,000 tourists stranded in the Baja Peninsula’s southern tip, one of the airlines that flew to the rescue was Alaska. People had to be airlifted. Planes that flew in were empty of passengers, and full of supplies.

Maybe the cruise lines felt obliged to help because the Mexican people in such dire straits are the same ones who make cruise passenger visits so enjoyable. Maybe they do it because it’s good PR. Maybe airlines do it for the same reason.

What matters, however, is that they help.

And now comes the sobering news that cruise ships and airplanes are not the area’s only visitors this week. Hurricane Simon, originally expected to be no more than a tropical Cabo San Lucasstorm, is bearing down on the Baja. It’s expected to make landfall tomorrow, probably somewhere north of Cabo San Lucas.

Will the cruise lines and airlines step up again? Or will it be the tourists who turn the tables and help those who help them?

Today at portsandbows.com: Cruise news you can use

Golden Princess
3 nights
October 27, 2014
Los Angeles (return): Ensenada
Inside: $149
Cost per day: $49
www.princess.com

The Ongoing Evolution of Mexico and Cruising

If you've been reading this blog for almost any part of the last four and a half years, then chances are you will know how we feel about Mexico.

We love it.

That goes for places all over the country…Huatulco in the south, Mexicali in the north, Merida and Cozumel in the east, Irapuato and Leon in the middle, Mexico City in the Beach in Mexicoheart and any number of places in the west — Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Loreto. You get the idea?

Ironically, the one Mexican resort haven we were cool about was Acapulco, arguably its most famous. In another era, we'd probably have liked it more.

All of this is a round-about way of saying count us among the cruise passengers who celebrate what appears to be a gradual return to the Mexican Riviera, as it's called. In 2008, there began an exodus of cruise ships from the "other" Riviera, leaving behind storm clouds and empty beaches. Puerto Vallarta dropped from 180 ship stops to 82 last year….Cabo San Lucas from 400 to 112…Mazatlan dropped to zero port calls.

It may be a coincidence, but that shocking downturn was aligned with the recessionary times felt not just in Mexico but around the world, and parlayed with a series of criminal acts in the ports.

Times are changing. Tomorrow, we'll tell you how.

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: The people of the Viking Kvasir

Carnival Freedom
8 nights
July 5, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): St. MaartenSt. KittsSan JuanGrand Turk
Inside: $459
Cost per day: $57
www.carnival.com

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