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Cruises to Mazatlan

4 Awards
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.

  • More about Mazatlan

  • Why go to Mazatlan?

  • Mazatlan Cruise Port Facilities?

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Cruise Critic Favorite
Navigator of the Seas
Navigator of the Seas

7 Night
7 Nt Cabo, Vallarta & Mazatlan HolidayDetails

2,252 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Jewel
Norwegian Jewel

7 Night
Mexican Riviera - San DiegoDetails

2,301 Reviews
Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Apr 2, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Jewel
Norwegian Jewel

7 Night
Mexican Riviera - San DiegoDetails

2,301 Reviews
Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Encore
Norwegian Encore (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

15 Night
Repo - Panama CanalDetails

293 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Apr 16, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Cabo, Vallarta & Mazatlan CruiseDetails

2,252 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Jan 13, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Mexican Riviera - Los AngelesDetails

345 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Mexican Riviera - Los AngelesDetails

1,271 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Mexican RivieraDetails

801 Reviews
Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Mexico CruiseDetails

69 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Panama Canal - MiamiDetails

1,271 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

7 Night
Cabo, Vallarta & Mazatlan CruiseDetails

2,252 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Mexico CruiseDetails

1,714 Reviews
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 6, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Mexico CruiseDetails

1,714 Reviews
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

8 Night
Mexican Riviera CruiseDetails

1,872 Reviews
Leaving:Los Angeles
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Nov 17, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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15 Night
Repo - Panama CanalDetails

1,271 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Mazatlan

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.


Mazatlan Cruise Reviews
I did the City Tour of Mazatlan in this port. They ushered us onto a coach bus right away and took us around the city. We went to see the cliff diver show, the cathedral, the shrimp ladies, coast lines, and a harbor Read More
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Chewbecky
Niece and nephew hired a cab and he showed them all of Mazatlan, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Read More
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Skeek46
Beautiful old port city, best place took a private tour with Mazatlan Van Tours Jorge Figueroa he did a great tour and we covered so much.Read More
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aocmand
We hiked up El Faro with the ship sponsored tour - the highest functioning lighthouse in the world. Sign up for lighthouse excursion but enjoy the nature and incredible views. We had an exceptional guide Cristobal whRead More
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rsato

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