Finding truly cheap cruise deals to Mexico from San Diego requires a bit of planning or a bit of luck in finding cheap last minute cruises. San Diego is a major international port for cruise ships but it isn't nearly as large or as popular of a departure port as the ports in Miami, New York, or Long Beach but it is an excellent location to set sail for either your first cruise or your tenth cruise because San Diego is such an attractive place to visit and the cruise ship terminal is so close to the local down town scene.
No matter if you come to San Diego to visit or if you are a local to the city San Diego offers a ton of activities before and after your cruise and the public transportation to the cruise ship terminal is very easy. For travelers many of the downtown hotels are nearly within walking distance to the ship terminal or a short pus or cab ride away. Basically cruising out of San Diego's cruise ship port location is very easy and desirable and the ships that use the port are plentiful enough to offer plenty of variety in your cruises and destinations.
If you are like most first time cruise vacationers the best way to dip your toe in the water of the cruising lifestyle is to take a relatively short cruise but also to take a cheap cruise because you don't want to blow a ton of money and time on an experience that some people don't find fun. Chances are very good that you will love your time on board but you never know so it's good to start out slowly.
San Diego in particular has a lot of cheap cruise deals to choose from many of the top discount cruise lines around. Holland America sails out of the port of San Diego routinely as does Carnival cruise lines and although Holland America has arguable some of the more exotic cruises they also offer on average longer cruises which cost a bit more although not particularly much more on a per-night basis.
The best cheap cruise deals to Mexico from San Diego's cruise ship terminal are the short cruise trips down the coast of Baja California. Carnival cruise lines specializes in these short duration 3, 4 and 5 day cruises to Mexico as well as a few longer 6 and 7 day cruises further down the Mexican coast line. These longer Mexican Riviera cruises almost always cost a bit more and unless it's the off season they may be a bit expensive for first time cruisers because a seven day cruise commitment is a bit long if you find you don't enjoy your time. Unfortunately there aren't any routine 1 night cruise deals from San Diego but on occasion they might be scheduled.
Ideally you will want to try Carnival's 4 day - 5 day night Baja California Mexico cruise which sails down to Cabo San Lucas and back to San Diego. The shorter 4 day three night cruises sail between San Diego, Catalina Island, CA, and Ensenada Mexico and can be some of the best short duration Mexico cruises money can buy. These short cruises often leave on a Thursday and return Monday morning meaning you don't really need a lot of time away from work to take along weekend vacation to Mexico. As an alternative you may also want to look at the almost identical cheap cruises to Mexico from Los Angeles. These may better work with your schedule and are not usually any different in price.
If you are a little more experienced with cruising and you know you love the experience then the longer six day and seven day cruises down the Mexican Riviera are also very affordable especially in the off season when prices for booking a cruise get very inexpensive.
For San Diego cruise packages of cheap deals it is very important to cruise in the off season because the cost of booking a Mexican cruise from San Diego can be less than half the price certain times of the year in comparison to other times of the years. As a rule of thumb booking a Mexico cruise from San Diego in the summer months and around holidays tends to be much more expensive than booking cruises during the late Fall and through the early Spring months. By booking a cruise during this period you can almost always find cheap deals which undercut peak cruising season by 50% to 75%.
For instance simply booking a cheap cruise at the end of January compared to the end of July can be a savings of $500 per person, and considering the weather down in the Southern destinations is almost always vacation weather it's worth it to go at this time of the year.
The San Diego cruise ship terminal also has a lot of other cruise lines that use its facilities. Carnival and Holland America are some of the most frequent cruise lines using the port but Norwegian cruise lines also has some affordable cruises which are longer in duration which go down to Hawaii. If you know how to shop then you can usually find some excellent cheap cruise packages for this package as well.
Overall finding the best and cheapest cruise deals from San Diego is much like finding the best deals from any other port. Make sure you subscribe to the newsletters from the major cruise ships operating out of the San Diego port. Also following their Twitter feed and Facebook profile may help score discounts that aren't widely advertised.
Probably the best and easiest way however is to use the online cruise ship booking agencies and web portals like cruisedirect.com
Other mainstream aggregators like Priceline and Expedia offer similar services but are sometimes lacking bit of the functionality you need when booking cruises especially. If however you do find a particularly cheap cruise deal to Mexico from San Diego on Priceline, Expedia, or similar travel websites make sure to use eBates when making your purchase of the cruise package as eBates will give you cash back on your cruise purchase directly deposited into your PayPal account. Cruise Direct however will likely be your best bet for comparison shopping.