I took a Carnival Cruise to the Mexican Riviera with the family, check out my story and see why you should think about one too!
It was a chilly December morning when we parked our car at the Carnival Cruise line departure port in Long Beach.
The whole family was excited to cruise Carnival for the first time and the priority check-in is something I highly recommend!
Check-in was a breeze and we were on the ship in no time and heading to our room. First impressions were great, it was super clean and if you can get one with a balcony then I’d say go for it! It’s so much fun to be able to see the arrival at each port from the comfort of your own balcony chair.
We were on a week-long trip to the Mexican Riviera and the itinerary included Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta. Once we started heading south and reaching the warmer waters of the Pacific, the weather started to become much hotter. The first stop was Cabo San Lucas and because Cabo has no main dock, it requires the ship to anchor off-shore and then you jump on a smaller boat that shuttles guests to the mainland.
As we sailed into Cabo we were greeted with amazing views of the shoreline and El Arco, the natural archway in the cliffs. The sun was shining and the whole feel of the ship was really relaxing. We didn’t have any shore excursions planned for Cabo and with two days on shore, we had plenty of time for exploring.
One thing you’ll notice about Cabo are the boats. There’s so many amazing vessels I can guarantee you’ll be thinking about how cool it’d be to own your own, retire early and go fishing all day long! I may have thought about this on more than one occasion while wandering around the marina.
Along with a plethero of shops selling everything from belts to pottery, there’s no chance you’ll go home without any souvenirs. There’s also no shortage of places to eat, Edith’s for traditional homestyle Mexican eats and The Office along the street. The Office is more of a party place but the fun thing is, the tables are actually on the beach, so you can sit and eat with your toes in the sand! Alexanders is also another place the rest of the family had a good experience at although I didn’t get the chance to try it.
Cabo San Lucas Pros and Cons-
The views, and all accesible close up by taking one of the many water taxis.
The tender- It’s like a mini boat ride all in itself from ship to shore.
Street vendors, there’s lots of them but a firm “No Thank You” is all that’s needed to stop them.
Our next stop was Puerto Vallarta. You’ll dock in the harbor so no tender to deal with. Puerto Vallarta port is clean, well organized and Carnival make debarkation fast and simple. You’ll grab a numbered sticker earlier on deck and when your number is called, you just make your way down to the gangway!
We reserved an on-shore excursion for PV. Our day was spent driving from the ship in an open top Jeep along with our guides and three other cars, through the winding countryside of the Jalisco mountains. This excursion was so much fun and I highly recommend it. The cars were easy to drive and the kids loved having no roof, the guides were fantastic and made sure we were always together. We stopped at a tequila factory and had the best tacos! The excursion ends at a local hotel resort close to the ship where you can sit by the pool or go for a swim. Also included in the price is a beer, salsa, chips and guacamole for everyone.
The Carnival Miracle was launched in 2003, but for being almost 14 years old I thought it looked in pretty good condition. It’s not one of the giant ships that have grown to 5000 plus guest capacity over the years, so it feels smaller and more personal.
The staff were all gracious and welcoming, our dinner crew took care of us every night and nothing seemed to be too much trouble. The same went for our cabin crew, it was kept immaculate every day and the kids loved seeing what kind of towel animal was going to be left on our bed each night!
The food on board was great. I’ve cruised before and I can appreciate how difficult it must be to feed so many people at the same time without letting the food quality suffer. The dinner menu’s were exciting each night and there were some great choices for lunch. The pizza from Pizza Pirate was some of the best I’ve tasted and it’s cooked right in front of you with hand made dough! Chopsticks was another place I hit up often for Chinese style eats. I also had the pleasure of dining at the specialty steakhouse. It’s an additional cost but well worth it for the quality of food and service you experience, It’s a must do!!
While the kids are having oodles of fun in the amazing kids club Camp Ocean, you can spend some alone time at Serenity, the adults only retreat section at the back of the boat. You can swing on a hammock with a glass of wine (I may have done this) or just relax in the jacuzzi tub and listen to the waves pass by.
Between the multiple swimming pools and this cool water slide, you won’t be hard pushed to find a spot to cool down when the sun comes out. The pools are super kid friendly which I liked too.
Try and experience the special Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with Dr Seuss. It’s so much fun with plenty of picture opportunities with the characters, and you can actually eat green eggs and ham!!
With most things in life I experience I always ask myself if I would do them again as a gauge of how much I enjoyed it.
Would I sail with Carnival again? I would have to say definitely yes. They went above and beyond my expectations. from the service, the friendly staff, the choices of food, the entertainment from Jamie the awesome cruise director, and Camp Ocean for the kids. Happy kids mean happy parents, right?
This post was sponsored by carnival Cruise Lines, all thoughts and opinions are solely my own!