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CineGraphic

What did and didn't you like about your 10 day Mexican Cruise out of San Francisco?

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We enjoyed a 7 day Mexican sailing out of San Pedro a few years ago, and are now considering a 10 day on the Ruby out of San Fran.

Yes, there are 10 day sailings from San Pedro that go to different ports, but it's the Star Princess, which is leaving the fleet shortly, and the reviews have not been great.

Any and all insight is appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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We had an enjoyable day in Puerto Vallarta. We took an excursion to Las Caletas.  It was a catamaran ride over to the private beach and then a nice day at the beach. They provided drinks on the boat and an open bar was included at the beach. There was also lunch. The excursion was 6.5 hours in total.

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This is one of my favorite cruises.  We hired a car to pick us up at the airport.  Depending on your hotel, it wasn't much more than an Uber.  Spend a couple days in SF. It rained the whole time in SF but it was still wonderful.  Go to the Buena Vista for Irish coffee.  We didn't leave port until 2 am due to the harbor closing because of the weather.  Once we got to sea though we had perfect weather and calm seas the entire time.  I've spent a lot of time in all the cities it goes to except Manzanillo.  We did the luxury sailboat ride in Cabo, saw lots of whales and dolphins.  In PV, we just hopped on the bus to the malecon and went to some of our favorite haunts.  Cuates y Cuetes, Los Muertos Brewery and just wandered the romantic zone.  Mazatlan, we walked into downtown and had a lovely lunch.  After walking the Malecon for a bit we grabbed a pulmonia and went to the Costa De Oro hotel.  Paid $27 each to use their facilities but then got $27 in free food and drink.  We ended up just staying on the ship in Manzanillo and enjoyed a quiet pool day.  It's a wonderful cruise.  

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After 39 cruises I can say I cannot recall a bad cruise. 

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Two extra days at sea, one additional port, Manzanillo. Have been to Manzanillo once, a small town, don't remember much else. The Las Caletas  excursion in Puerta Vallarta is supposed to be very good. You can only go there on a ship excursion. No private excursions to this location when ships are in port. 

The big plus is San Francisco pre or post cruise and the sailing under the Golden Gate. Prepare yourself for choppy seas. If you spend some time in San Francisco look up San Francisco City Guides, free walking tours. We took a few and they were really nice. They pass an envelope around at the end and request a donation. https://sfcityguides.org/

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The only negative is that the seas can be a bit rough the last day or two coming back to SF.  Going against the current and all.

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1 hour ago, jmelnick said:

The only negative is that the seas can be a bit rough the last day or two coming back to SF.  Going against the current and all.

 

We had the same issue coming back to LA on our 7 day cruise. Our visit to the bridge that day was quite the roller coaster ride!

Edited by CineGraphic

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Having done both versions I cannot say one has much over the other except for point of embarkation and whether or not you prefer longer cruises.  We have done the 7 day a couple of times arriving in LA either by car or by air depending on how much time we wanted to commit and other activities we wanted to pursue.  We live in N Cal not far from SF.  Last time from LA we drove and upon disembarking on Sat AM went straight to Pasadena for a Cal-UCLA game.  I’m an alum of both so cannot lose either way.  Thats why driving worked then.  This past Feb we did the 10 day out of SF because we were part of a group of 16 and we all lived within 50 miles of the port.
Manzanillo is the only extra port and is ok, but nothing to be excited about.   Sailing out under the Golden Gate Bridge is a neat experience if you have never done it.  If you are planning some extra time either pre or post cruise I would recommend SF over LA but have to admit I am biased in that regards and am sure others may advise you differently.  You do run along the California current for extra time on the 10 day but at least in February that was very mild.  Your experience might vary.

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I would always take 10 days over 7 days. Of course I'd take 12, 14, 17, 20, etc. over 7 days. 7 days is just so dang short!

 

If you go to Loreto don't pay for the walking tour. As far as we could tell that tour just went everywhere we went on our own. Part of the time we moved away from that group because we didn't want to hear the guide. When we visited it was still almost a new cruise stop. I think they had stopped there the year before. Everybody was very friendly and, while I've never been a fan of Mariachi bands, I have to say the one in the village square was really very good. I was surprised and impressed. When we were there the beach right by town was clean there wasn't a big crowd.

 

Loreto:

image.thumb.png.ab621460f62e2ac06f3a26886e46dc73.png

 

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We have taken this cruise twice in the last three years and have really enjoyed it. It is really great to have a 10 day cruise to make the travel more worth it for us (7 hour drive plus 3 hour flight). Leaving from San Francisco is a big bonus – lots of things to see before and being able to walk to the port. The first three sea days are a great chance to relax and really get into vacation mode.

 

At Puerto Vallarta we usually just take a bus or cab and go to the Malecon and walk around, one time we took a ship tour to Yelapa that was really good. Manzanillo is sort of the undiscovered port – so many people seem to stay on the ship because they think there is not much to do. The first time we got off the ship and just wandered out of the port area on back streets seeing the main church and then shopping in the local stores away from the waterfront - probably the port with the best prices. The second time this past February, we got off the ship and turned left and walked around to Playa San Pedrito. This was very local with very little (or no) English. We sat under a palapa and had some food (bring pesos) and went snorkeling right off the beach by the breakwater. Mazatlan is always enjoyable. Usually we walk through town using the blue line and then later take the local water taxi to Stone Island for a very low cost and fun day of sight-seeing and beach going. Last time we took a pulmonia to the Golden Zone and sat on a beach at a hotel and went swimming. That was fine but next time we’ll go back to town and Stone Island. Cabo is not our favourite port so we have usually gone on a snorkelling or, this past time, scuba excursion.

 

The two days back to SFO are long enough to not have to think about the end of our holidays right away and have more fun on the ship. This year, we did the disembarkation tour that dropped us at the airport. Got to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge on a beautiful, sunny day.

Edited by Cariboocruisers

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8 hours ago, Thrak said:

We had an enjoyable day in Puerto Vallarta. We took an excursion to Las Caletas.  It was a catamaran ride over to the private beach and then a nice day at the beach. They provided drinks on the boat and an open bar was included at the beach. There was also lunch. The excursion was 6.5 hours in total.

I second the excursion to Las Caletas. The food was amazing and yes, open bar at beach. They had hammocks in the water a little guided walking tour to the top where we saw some little monkeys etc. There was a really funny dancing show at the boat ride back. Those guys work hard!! I gave them the rest of my money as tip money.. they deserved it. 

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We much prefer the longer 10 day Mexico cruise, and usually go out of San Pedro.  Just be aware that normally the waters along the CA coast are usually rocky until San Diego, so take your seasickness remedy of choice before you get on the ship. 

 

We loved Loreto:  picturesque, small, lovely promenade, pretty streets.  A lovely walk along the malecon and into the town.

 

0-a-a-a-a-loreto-bcs-malecon.jpg

 

 

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I’ve taken a few 7 day cruises out of San Pedro to Mexico, as well as a 10 day out of SP.  However, I enjoyed my two 10 day voyages to Mexico out of San Francisco the most.  Since I live 90 minutes away vs several hours, that’s a huge plus.  My first 10 day sailing out of SF was in 2009 on the Golden Princess.  Back then we went to Acapulco and Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa.  I loved Zihua with its cobbled stone streets.  It’s a small fishing village.  When Mexico started having violence from drug cartels, etc. they eliminated those ports.  In 2017 we sailed for 10 days on the Grand out of SF and they had Manzanillo, as well as the other three ports I’ve been to several times.  That sailing on the Grand to and from Mexico was  the smoothest I’ve ever experienced on a voyage to and from Mexico!  Usually, coming back up we feel the rockier current.  Not that time!  Smooth as ice.  Couldn’t believe it.  I’ve always enjoyed going to Mexico via cruise ship.  10 days is even better.  

Edited by Linsifer

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There's a 10ndqy out of San Pedro on g he Grand so not only the Star .  We've been trying to do it but Covid has cancelled us many times. Hopefully we'll actually get to go this time!

ID PREFER GOING FROM San Pedro instead of from San Francisco unless you have not been to San Francisco and want to spend a few days there before the cruise

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We did 10 day out of LA . La Paz is a dump. Stay on ship. Loreto was nice. Did a 10 day out of SF. Was nice 

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My favorite part about sailing from San Francisco is going under the Golden Gate Bridge. I love being out on deck both leaving and entering the bay. 

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1 hour ago, Tophat4321 said:

We did 10 day out of LA . La Paz is a dump. Stay on ship. Loreto was nice. Did a 10 day out of SF. Was nice 

 

We did La Paz "on our own" and don't recommend it that way. Perhaps a planned excursion would be better. We had a long wait for a bus into town and then a long bus ride into town. Coming back was another long wait for the bus followed by a long bus ride back to the ship. Maybe a planned excursion would make it a better port but we didn't really enjoy it much. Walked along the malecon, had a drink, and that's about it. There were a bunch of vendors right outside the ship so it would be worth getting off to check them out but we really didn't like the long waits for the bus or the long bus rides to and from town.

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This is our most frequent cruise. I actually don't like 7 day cruises, I feel they are too short.  Don't get me wrong, if that's what I get, I'll take it! My preference however is for a longer 10-15 day cruises from our of my home port of San Francisco. We love sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge. We've done the Star to Hawaii out of San Francisco back in 2014 and really enjoyed it. Even though we are local to the Bay Area, we always do a pre cruise stay in SF to enjoy the great restaurants there. 

We've done the Mexican Riviera so many times on land trips and cruise ships that I feel like we've done most of the excursions too! We no longer do any excursions off the ship in these ports, but that's because we've found "our place" for those short hours in each place on the Mexican Riviera.

In PV I did love the tours to Las Caletas and Yelapa for water and sun. These days we take the bus downtown, eat somewhere on the Malecon (breakfast across the street from the cathedral and while we don't have a favorite place for lunch, our last places have been to Cheeky Monkey and the place next door/across the street from there), then we shop at the Huichol shop (that also has Catrina's in the window) at the beginning of El Malecon. We hit it up last in case we buy something we want to be careful with. If we do make a large purchase we do a taxi back, otherwise we take the bus again.

 

In Mazatlan we sometimes get a Pulmonia, open air taxi to drive us through town, pick up an 8 pack of beverages at a corner market OXXO, maybe get some pastries downtown, watch the divers from the cliff, drive through the Golden Zone, and grab a bite to eat somewhere. The Cathedral is beautiful if you've never been. 

 

In Cabo, we have a few places we like to go to. Uber is fairly cheap there. We sometimes go to Mango deck, there is a restaurant next door that has great steak for breakfast, and cheaper than Mango deck. The kids enjoy the beach time as well.

I used to love the stop in Ixtapa and was very sad to no longer have it. Very romantic looking town, with cobble streets, its quaint, great food. I miss it. 

 

Manzanillo is not my favorite stop. There is a beautiful fish (blue marlin?) sculpture in town and when we went I think it was December 24 or 25 and nothing was open. I'm sure I can find something there to enjoy, just haven't been enough times to know what that is.

 

While I do love sailing out of SF, when it comes to a California Coastal (not what you were asking about) I prefer to leave from LA so that Monterey and SF are port stops. I never want to get off the ship in LA and I prefer Monterey over Santa Barbara when only in town for a day. I know I can do both with a short drive, but it's nice to not have to pay for parking and have a cruise ship to take you home. 🙂

 

When traveling to port and considering LA or SF I would focus on Ship and cost to fly to each port. Cheaper airfare /cruise fare may help me with my decision making. 

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We went last October on the Grand.  The early morning arrival into SF was gorgeous!  Same as the view leaving under the Golden Gate Bridge.  Loved the weather once we got to Mexico, the 3 days down to Mexico went from cold to progressively warmer.  Each port was nice.  Nice relaxing time.  Also, the amount of locals on the ship was nice, we usually cruise out of other ports.

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On 9/21/2020 at 10:36 AM, CineGraphic said:

We enjoyed a 7 day Mexican sailing out of San Pedro a few years ago, and are now considering a 10 day on the Ruby out of San Fran.

Yes, there are 10 day sailings from San Pedro that go to different ports, but it's the Star Princess, which is leaving the fleet shortly, and the reviews have not been great.

Any and all insight is appreciated. Thanks in advance!

 

I like the ports of call a lot better with the 10 night sailing out of Los Angeles (La Paz, Loreto).  However, I do really love sailing out of San Francisco.  

1) For us, it's just a short Uber ride to the port (that doesn't apply to many)

2) Pier 27 (or 35, which is rarely used for cruiseships anymore unless there is more than one or even two ships in port) is fabulous.  It is right in the middle of the Embarcadero with many hotels, restaurants and attractions within walking distance from the port.  Not so, in LA.  Even our public transportation system (BART ...Bay Area Rapid Transit) will take you to a mile within the port from both SFO and / or OAK (Oakland) ... from there, there is MUNI, which will take you right across the street from the cruiseship port.  

3) Sailing out under the Golden Gate Bridge in SF instead of sailing by cranes in the industrial area of LA is something I will never tire of.  

 

BTW, I don't think the Star Princess is a bad ship while I have yet to sail on the Ruby.  However, I have sailed on the Crown, Emerald and Caribbean, though.  I do like that the Star has an indoor pool area.  Sailing out of SF can be quite a bit cooler than sailing out of LA.  Plus, the seas can be rockier sailing out of SF, especially when sailing north back to the port.

 

I used to love Manzanillo on the SF itinerary, but last time there, it was just a lot of military with machine guns.  Still a beautiful port but, they cautioned about all the crime and not leaving the safety of the port area.  I would say that is a moving target, because I've seen that in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo before ... last time there, it has moved far south.  And, it can be so very hot in Manzanillo.  We've had amazing explorations there in the past, though.  

 

Me?  I would always pick SF because of the convenience.  But, all in all, I would honestly pick whichever one has easier transportation to get to the port.  You really can't go wrong with either one of them.  One has a much better embarkation port (SF) but, one has slightly better ports of call (LA), IMO.  Oh, did I mention, if you choose SF and have some extra time in SF, we have WINE nearby ... lots of great WINES!  We are very proud of them here!!  

Just remember that the hotels in SF are very very pricey!!  But, it's a trade off ... if it's on your bucket list, it's worth the extra cost.  The public transportation system in SF is phenomenal so, you could save some money there. 

In LA, you can fly into LAX (yuk!) or Long Beach (yes!) and in SF, you can fly into SFO (ok) or Oakland (yay!) or even San Jose (quite a bit further but, still the bay area).   

 

We've done both itineraries several times ... ask away if you have any specific questions.  

 

 

Edited by Cruise Raider

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Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

We've decided on the Ruby, out of SF for two reasons. We love Mazatlan/Stone Island, and our California Coastal that we planned on taking this year with an overnight in SF was cancelled.

 

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2 hours ago, CineGraphic said:

Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

We've decided on the Ruby, out of SF for two reasons. We love Mazatlan/Stone Island, and our California Coastal that we planned on taking this year with an overnight in SF was cancelled.

 

 

While we are not fans of Mazatlan, I still think you've made a good choice.  The port of SF is so much better than the port in San Pedro.  

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7 hours ago, CineGraphic said:

Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

We've decided on the Ruby, out of SF for two reasons. We love Mazatlan/Stone Island, and our California Coastal that we planned on taking this year with an overnight in SF was cancelled.

 

Suggestion....Most of these ports have UBER which is an easy ride or taxi both which are fast. 
 

Enjoy your cruise & enjoy going under the Golden Gate Bridge. 
 

Different from some I’ve never been to a Mexican port or town that I didn’t like. Always enjoy getting off the ship for some food & drink. 
 

In Mazatlan there is a good food tour where you get to sample a lot of food & drinks from different venders. I’ve done it twice & would love to do it again. 

 

Tom😀

Edited by trbarton

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We took the trip a few years ago in May on the Grand and ten years ago on the Diamond in October.

Loved/Liked:

1. The Grand and Diamond are the right size, right number of passengers, great amenities, still some of my favorite ships.

2. The Mexican port call and excursions where great

3. Days at sea, love them and had plenty of them to relax.

4. Crew of the Grand was amazing!

5. Spending a few days in San Fran and wine country. 

6. Covered pools, really thing Princess has missed the boat by not continuing to add a covered pool on each ship, such a great area to hang when the weather is cool or just bad.

 

Would like to change (or disliked):

1. Cool weather the first and last days of the cruises, made it difficult to lay by the pool

2. Outdoor/shared saunas on the Grand.  Prefer the ones in the locker rooms like the Star/Golden/Crown/etc. . .  (don't love the set up on the new Royal Class as all)

3. Diamond crew, many it was there last contract, so service was so/so, still good but you know what I mean

4. Dining set up on the Diamond, I know it was built at at time that Princess was going to go the way of NCL for dining, but then didn't so the dining room are small and weird IMO.

 

Overall, very relaxing trips each time.  I highly recommend it for a relaxing trip.

 

 

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Several years ago we did the 10 day Mexico cruise out of San Francisco 3 out of 4 years.  We live about an hour east of San Francisco so it is very easy for us to get to and from the port.  We did it mainly for the cruising experience and not specifically for the ports.  We've been to the Mexican ports more times than we can count although we do enjoy each of the visits and usually just wander around the towns and enjoy the local food/beer.  Definitely will do it again but not until all the new cruising restrictions are removed.

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