Experience the Splendor of Mexico's West Coast on a Cruise to the Mexican RivieraCredit: Southerngirl09
Come Along With Us as We Begin Our Journey - Our Cruise to the Mexican Riviera
One “Bucket List” mission, one road trip across country, and one cruise to the Mexican Riviera! The top listing on my husband’s travel “Bucket List” was to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge, in San Francisco, California. And the top listing on my travel “Bucket List” was to visit Hawaii.Credit: Southerngirl09
My husband collects Golden Gate Bridge collectibles, just like I collect Santa collectibles. Since ‘G’ comes before ‘H,’ we decided that the Golden Gate Bridge would be our first goal. While one of the local hourly cruises would have fulfilled the ‘cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge’ wish, we wanted more. We figured some type of cruising vacation, which embarked from San Francisco, would be our best option for sailing under that renowned orange bridge.
With our mission clearly defined, we began a search for cruises departing out of San Francisco. When our search uncovered a ‘steal of a deal’ cruise to the Mexican Riviera, we knew we’d found our trip.
This cruise to the Mexican Riviera was a ten-day voyage on-board the Golden Princess. We’d never cruised with Princess before, but we’d read excellent reviews of their ships. Plus, Princess is owned and operated by the same corporation that owns Carnival. As a repeat, satisfied Carnival cruiser, we felt good about trying one of their Princess sister ships. So, without further ado, we booked our cruise to the Mexican Riviera. San Francisco – here we come!
Despite hubby’s eagerness to sail under the bridge, he wasn’t as eager to fly from our home in Virginia, to California. Our daughter rearranged her schedule, so she could accompany us on this adventure. So, with all the enthusiasm and determination of some college kids, we decided to take a ‘road trip’ – albeit, a long road trip!
Carrying luggage for three, for an extended road trip, plus, luggage for our cruise to the Mexican Riviera – how would we get everything to fit in our car? (A 2007 Solara convertible.) After staring wide eyed at all the bags, waiting to be loaded, hubby proclaimed that all that ‘stuff’ wasn’t going to fit into the car. My daughter and I declared that all that ‘stuff’ WAS going to fit into the car! (After all, we needed those extra shoes for our cruise to the Mexican Riviera!) She and I worked with military precision and managed to get everything inside the car that we’d planned to take. (My plotting had paid off. In anticipation of this predicament, I had measured the interior of the trunk, half of the backseat, all the luggage we were taking, and had planned how it all needed to be placed.)
Time to Hit the Road for Our Cruise to the Mexican Riviera
Credit: Southerngirl09Since we had an embarkation deadline to make in San Francisco, for our cruise to the Mexican Riviera, we hadn’t planned many stops. However, we did build in time to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial, built in memory of those who died during the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. We felt that this was something that we should do out of respect for those who were killed. It was raining heavily the day we were there, so it was difficult to see everything. On another cross-country trip, the Oklahoma City National Memorial will be on our list to visit again.
Touring the Beautiful City by the Bay Before Our Cruise to the Mexican Riviera
In our schedule, we allowed a full day in San Fran before boarding the ship for our cruise to the Mexican Riviera. On two previous trips to San Fran, we had done most of the tourists' sites, so we decided to take it easy, and enjoy a relaxing day in the city. We drove around the Presidio of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge several times (I told ya – hubby’s crazy about that architectural wonder!), and finally savored a delicious seafood dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Our 10 Day Cruise to the Mexican Riviera and the Baja Peninsula on the Golden Princess
Credit: Southerngirl09What an exciting adventure, sailing out the Port of San Francisco and under the Golden Gate Bridge; it hardly looked as if our large ship could squeeze under the magnificent bridge. But with inches to spare, we sailed under, and began our vacation cruise to the Mexican Riviera. Our itinerary included three days at sea, four port stops, and two more sea days, before returning to the City by the Bay.
Cruise to the Mexican Riviera - First Port of Call - Acapulco
Credit: Southerngirl09One of my best memories of the TV series, The Love Boat, was their stop in Acapulco and the daring cliff divers. From the moment we decided to take our cruise to the Mexican Riviera, seeing these cliff divers perform their amazing dives was on our ‘must see’ list.
To that end, we booked a ship sponsored tour entitled, “Acapulco City/Cliff Divers,” that allowed us to see the awe-inspiring show performed by those daring cliff divers. When you see this stupendous show, you’ll agree – it is an art form.
Cruise to the Mexican Riviera - Second Port of Call - Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa
Unlike the longer history found in Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa is a much newer resort area, that was designed by the government of Mexico to be a tourist destination. While here, on the “Ixtapa Resort Tour,” we explored several of the finished resorts, and marveled at the natural beauty of this seaside area.
Cruise to the Mexican Riviera - Third Port of Call - Puerto Vallarta
As we arrived in Puerto Vallarta, I could still hear, in my head, the voice of The Love Boat’s cruise director, Julie, saying, ‘Welcome to Puerto Vallarta.’ We could hardy wait to explore this seaside resort. Our tour on this stop, on our cruise to the Mexican Riviera, was called the “Hacienda/Tequila/Tiles Tour.”
Our first stop of the day was an authentic tile factory. The craftsmanship and beauty of these tiles were wonderful. And were it not for our already loaded down car, I would have taken some home with me.
‘Malecon,’ the boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta, is home to some incredible sculpture pieces. Here, like in Acapulco, we watched another amazing cultural performance. This was the artful Flying Pole Dance, which was only surpassed, in beauty, by the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. See any photos of Puerto Vallarta, and chances are good this Church will be featured in the picture.
We were then taken to a hacienda for an authentic Mexican lunch, and then toured a tequila factory, where we learned how the blue agava plant is used to make tequila.
Cruise to the Mexican Riviera - Fourth Port of Call - Cabo San Lucas
Credit: Southerngirl09As we boarded our tour bus, for our “Coastal Highlights Tour,” we knew we had a full afternoon ahead of us. Our first stop was the Village of San Jose del Cabo, where time had been allotted for us to visit the mission church, the town plaza, or to just to shop. One of the truly unforgettable experiences, on our cruise to the Mexican Riviera, was visiting the Cactimundo Los Cabos Botanical Garden. They have thousands of different cacti, from all around the world, on display in their garden, some of which are on the endangered list.
Our next stop, a visit to a resort restaurant, overlooking the Bay of Cabo San Lucas. was a great place to just sit, enjoy the ambience, and drink a Corona, all the while enjoying this picturesque view. Here, we could view the famous Los Arcos rock formations, and our ship at anchor, all in addition to the beautiful coastline.
The last stop of the day was a glass blowing factory. These artists make the most beautiful pieces of blown glass, and you can even purchase pieces before your leave. Always, when driving from one destination to another, we enjoyed more of the beautiful and unique scenery, which is Mexico.
We were not awake when the Golden Princess sailed under the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge, on our return from our cruise to the Mexican Riviera. This trip had been a wonderful experience for us all, and we were sorry to see our journey end. We had learned many new things, visited new sites, and had a good time. Now, it was time to disembark this great ship, reload the car, and head for home, after a few days in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. We have great memories of our cruise to the Mexican Riviera.