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Cruises to Mazatlan

Mazatlan (Photo:Travel Bug/Shutterstock)
Mazatlan (Photo:Travel Bug/Shutterstock)

About Mazatlan

Long a favorite of cruisers (the port was one of the original Princess stops made famous by "The Love Boat"), Mazatlan hopes to reclaim its position as the Mexican Riviera's "pearl of the Pacific." And with its renovated historic center, a vibrant artist community, plenty of beaches and an aggressive focus on improving cruise passenger service and safety, the city seems poised for success.

While Mazatlan has had times when crime has kept cruise ships away, the city has rebounded since. Attractions have been added and city officials have made it easier for tourists to find their way around -- follow the blue line.

With a sprawling beach promenade (at 13 kilometers, Mazatlan's malecon is one of the largest in the world), the city has a bit of a split personality. At one end is the very touristy Golden Zone (Zona Dorado), where Senor Frogs, and souvenir shops, bars and eateries abound on white sand beaches. At the other (and closer to the cruise port), Old Mazatlan delights with colonial-style plazas, bistros, cafes and art galleries.

Located in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, Mazatlan means "land of deer" in the ancient Nahuatl language. It has a rich ethnic diversity because of its prime spot along the Pacific Coast shipping route, attracting pirates, Spanish explorers, Filipino merchants and German immigrants who put the place on the map in the 1800s as they developed the city as a port for shipping cargo. Mazatlan continues to be one of Mexico's major cargo ports; exports include some 40 million pounds of shrimp per year.

Mazatlan's tourism industry was born in the 1960s, when celebrities such as John Wayne arrived in search of trophy fish. The beaches were also a central draw, first for cruisers and spring breakers and later a more diverse vacation crowd. Now, you'll find a growing number of American and Canadian expats, particularly artists who are drawn to the city's cheaper real estate, cost of living and cafe camaraderie.

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7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: San Diego

7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Francisco
Visiting:
Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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10 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, La Paz ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, La Paz ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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18 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Key West, Cartagena ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, La Paz ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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24 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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25 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Honolulu, Maui ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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11 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
Vancouver
Visiting:
Victoria, San Diego ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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25 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Kauai, Honolulu ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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24 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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8 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Carnival Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Disney Cruise Line
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10 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
Los Angeles
Visiting:
Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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7 Night
Cruise to Mazatlan

Leaving:
San Diego
Visiting:
Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan ...
see more
Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Why go to Mazatlan?

Pros:

A focus on history, art and beachy fun have strengthened Mazatlan's stronghold with cruise lines

Cons:

Parts of the city aren't so nice; be careful if venturing out on your own

Bottom Line:

This Mexican destination is a mix of city grit and beachside luxury

Mazatlan Cruise Port Facilities?

Mazatlan's cruise port shares space with commercial industrial activity -- and because it's a bustling cargo port, a free tram takes you among the shipping containers to the cruise terminal. There, you'll find a festive atmosphere with timeshare vendors trying to give you free rides (if you will look at their properties), craft vendors and shops, including a pharmacy where you can buy Viagra and other medications without a prescription. Tables are set up under shade trees if you have a hankering for a cold beer (Pacifico is brewed across the street from the cruise terminal).

There's also a second, quieter crafts market across from the chaos of the cruise ship terminal. There are no ATMs in the terminal, however.

Good to Know?

As a city, Mazatlan is quite spread out. Make sure to allow enough time to make it back to the cruise terminal if you're heading to the Golden Zone or the malecon.

Getting Around?

By Foot: It's a 1-mile (15- to 20-minute) walk to Old Mazatlan. The city has added the "blue line" to direct walkers to the historic center; traffic cops help pedestrians cross. The city's "blue shirt" volunteers -- North American expats who are interested in promoting Mazatlan -- can also help you with directions at the pier and along the road.

By Taxi: You'll need a cab to get to the Golden Zone (about 4 miles from the pier) or the gorgeous malecon. Cabs are readily available outside the cruise terminal as are open-air, golf-cart-type vehicles called pulmonias. The fare to either Old Mazatlan or the Golden Zone is about $10 per cab.

By Car: Major car rental locations are in town; National Car Rental is right at the pier.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

ATMs are widely accessible if you want to get Mexican pesos, but U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere. If you are making an expensive purchase in a shop, you are best off paying with a credit card. Having dollar bills to pay for cab fares and trinkets is helpful.

Language?

Locals speak Spanish, but English is also widely spoken, particularly in shops and tourist venues.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2018 Top-Rated Mexican Riviera Destinations
  • 2017 Top-Rated Mexican Riviera Destinations
  • 2016 Top-Rated Mexican Riviera, Central & South America Destinations
  • 2015 Top-Rated Mexican Riviera & South America Destinations

Mazatlan Cruise Reviews

Norwegian Joy
calaforte
Sail Date: Mar 2020
Mazatlan was seen from the ship. We needed a cabin balcony day. Still enjoyed our view though.... Read More
Carnival Panorama
Maxine1
Sail Date: Feb 2020
We loved Mazatlan, and explored it on our own. It's easy to walk to town and explore the Malecon and the beach.... Read More
Carnival Panorama
sbwmail
Sail Date: Jan 2020
It was a Stone Island beach/lunch/boat ride combo through Mazatlan Tours and I would recommend it.... Read More
Carnival Panorama
dietcoke22
Sail Date: Jan 2020
We started our day at the Green Bar in the port before hitting the shops. We finished our time in Mazatlan by getting another margarita and a port side massage.... Read More
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