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By PAUL MOTTER
When asked which ship is best to the Mexician Riviera, I immediately thought of Dawn Princess, and Holland America Oosterdam or Ryndam. For months I have been telling you about the tremendous bargains on these premium ships - 7-nights as low as $399 per person.
Unfortunately, she said "Well, I want to take my kids so it have to be in late June or July."
Too bad. Most of these ships relocate to Alaska right around May 1st, and once they do the Mexican Riviera bargains disappear. Summer is when the demand goes up for Mexico cruises, because many West Coasters like to cruise with their families. At the same time, the number of ships in the region goes down.
End result? If you want to cruise to West Coast Mexico after May 1st, expect to pay almost twice as much for a Mexico cruise this summer.
Last Mexico Bargains: Ending Soon:
Even as late as April 27 you can get a 7-night cruise on Dawn Princess to Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas for as low as $414 per person. This is cheaper than the average Caribbean cruise. Inside cabin is $414 pp, oceanview is $514.
Golden Princess has the same itinerary (this is a mega-ship as opposed to the older but classy mid-size Dawn Princess), departing on Saturdays instead of Sundays. The last sail date is April 26; $514 inside, $534 ocean view. April 19th is even cheaper, $464 inside, $494 ocean view.
Holland America's Oosterdam (one of the top-rated Vista-class ships of HAL) is offering its last seasonal cruise on April 19, as low as $546 oceanview. Holland's smaller ship, the Ryndam, has its last cruise on April 25 starting at $503 inside, $591 ocean view.
Carnival Spirit has its last Mexico cruise this year on April 13; $499 inside, $629 oceanview, and only $659 balcony. This is the best deal left of the year! 8-night cruises on Spirit finish off March 29 and go for $709 inside, $869 ocean view. This itinerary gets you all the way to Acapulco which is costs a little more but is well worth it.
Norwegian Star is also offering 8-night cruises that include Acapulco. the last sailing is April 16th and prices are still very reasonable; $689 inside, $749 oceanview and $949 balcony - Also arguably the best deal left of the year.
But what if you want to cruise to Mexico this summer? All of the above ships are repositioning to Alaska in May. What is left?
Carnival Pride, a sister ship to the modern, right-sized Spirit-class ships we think are the best in the Carnival fleet. Pride is sailing on 7-night cruises to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas now, but the while the prices are reasonable now (while other ships are still in the area), after May 1st they start to rise. On June 1st a balcony is $979 pp, and by June 15 it is $1249 pp. The price of a balcony stays in that neighborhood all summer until late August.
Even the base-rate inside cabin is $900+ in June and July, not falling until late August. Carnival Pride is our top pick ship for cruising to Mexico this summer, and one of our highest rated Carnival ships in CruiseMates Cruise Reviews.
Other ships sailing the summer vacation months in Mexico include Royal Caribbean's Vision of the Seas. This is one of the oldest Royal Caribbean ships still in service and prices vary greatly week to week. Right now it is still reasonable for some sail dates. April 6th, for example, has $599 inside, and $699 oceanview. But come June 15 you will pay $849 for inside, $969 oceanview and $1919 balcony. These cabins are smaller than Carnival Cabins and the ship is older than the Pride. End of June the balcony cabins will cost you close $2000 per person per night.
Bottom line - if you want to go on a Mexico Riviera Cruise, go in the winter, not the summer. You will save a lot of money. And if you book early you just might find some of the discounts we saw earlier this year, like 7-night Princess cruises starting at $399 per person.