You've decided you want a vacation, but there's a problem -- you don't have a passport. Maybe you've never had the time, money or desire to travel abroad previously, or perhaps your old passport has expired. Whatever the reason, you still have choices. One option is to take a closed-loop cruise -- a round-trip sailing that leaves from and returns to the same U.S. port. For that, you need only a birth certificate and a driver's license (or other acceptable, government-issued photo ID). You can't cruise just anywhere on a closed-loop sailing, but the choices are more interesting than you might expect. Below, we've compiled a list of seven places to visit without a passport, from scenic Alaska to the beachy Caribbean.
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The shores of Mexico offer year-round surfing opportunities for all levels. Soft beach breaks can be found close to cruise ports on both coasts, making Mexico a great choice for first-timers, while surfing Cabo San Lucas calls to riders around the world, both new and experienced. You'll never forget the first time you get up on a board in the water or the thrill of riding a steep swell. Whether you're just learning to surf or you're an advanced surfer looking to take on some of the Pacific's most famous swells, surfing in Mexico is possible on a cruise shore excursion.
Looking for Mexican Riviera cruise tips? That's understandable. Mexico's Gold Coast is famed for white, sandy beaches and offers loads - including extreme adventure water sports. Get your Mexican Riviera planning sorted here, and discover the best time to go to the Mexico Riviera.
Shore excursions in the Mexican Riviera and Baja Mexico are likely to surprise you with their variety. Apart from world-famous aquatic pursuits, like snorkeling, diving and fishing, this stretch of Mexican shoreline offers natural wonders, indigenous ruins, exquisite food and wine, and activities for all ages. Short two- to four-day Mexico cruises from Los Angeles or San Diego typically visit California's Catalina Island and Ensenada, a port on the northern part of Baja California. The seven-day itineraries hit destinations that make up what's called the Mexican Riviera: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. A few of the lines' longer itineraries travel deep into the Sea of Cortez for excursions to Loreto and La Paz or farther south to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo and Acapulco. Here are some of our favorite excursions offered in the ports you find on a Mexican Riviera cruise.
You can get a workout on pretty much any cruise, but to maximize your adrenaline-pumping options, it's best to find the right combination of cruise ship and destination. Active cruise travelers will usually turn up at least a handful of shore experiences to whet their appetites for adventure, but if you're cruising with a sedentary lot, that city bike tour or rainforest hike might get canceled due to lack of interest. Likewise, certain ports simply don't lend themselves to athletic adventures, while others have so many active choices, it's hard to make up your mind. Below, we have listed our picks for the 11 best adventure cruise destinations for those who are active travelers, as well as our suggestions for the cruise lines that make the best matches. Just don't forget to pack your running shoes and snorkel gear.
It's one of the most common cruising questions: When is the best time to cruise Alaska, Australia, the Caribbean, Canada/New England, Hawaii, Europe or the South Pacific? The answer depends on many variables. For example, fall foliage enthusiasts will find September and October the best time to cruise Canada/New England, whereas families prefer to sail in summer when temperatures are warmer for swimming. The best time to cruise to Alaska will vary depending on your preferences for viewing wildlife, fishing, bargain-shopping, sunshine, warm weather and catching the northern lights. For most cruise regions, there are periods of peak demand (high season), moderate demand (shoulder season) and low demand (low season), which is usually the cheapest time to cruise. High season is typically a mix of when the weather is best and popular travel periods (such as summer and school holidays). However, the best time to cruise weather-wise is usually not the cheapest time to cruise. The cheapest time to cruise is when most travelers don't want to go because of chillier temperatures or inopportune timing (too close to holidays, the start of school, etc.). But the lure of cheap fares and uncrowded ports might make you change your mind about what you consider the best time to cruise. As you plan your next cruise, you'll want to take into consideration the best and cheapest times to cruise and see what jibes with your vacation schedule. Here's a when-to-cruise guide for popular destinations.
Budgets can get tight at times, but that doesn't mean you have to ditch your vacation plans all together. If taking a cruise this year involves penny pinching, why not consider a cruise on a line known more for value than for the latest splashy features? Unlike the airline industry with its low-cost carriers (think Spirit Airlines, Ryanair or even Southwest), not many cruise lines would be considered budget (though some older ships on well-established, contemporary cruise lines, like Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, could fall into this category). So, to help in your search for cruise deals, we've come up with three categories for penny pinchers -- budget cruise lines, budget itineraries and budget seasons. You don't necessarily need to sail with a dedicated budget cruise line to find rock-bottom rates, but you need to know which itineraries and cruising seasons traditionally have the lowest prices. With savvy strategies, you can even find extremely affordable sailings on more upscale cruise lines, as well as the mainstream ships. So stop moping and start shopping -- there are plenty of affordable cruise vacations if you know where to look.
An exciting Princess Love Boat cruise aboard the current Pacific Princess celebrated the cruise line's 50th anniversary by making another run of the lines' inaugural itinerary to the Mexican Riviera. The ship set a course for adventure with the help of the six main "The Love Boat" TV show stars,
You don't have to look far in Mexico to see traces of ancient civilizations, the bloody struggle of independence from Spain, invasions, dictatorships and revolution. The result of that turbulent past is a many-layered culture and a proud people who live in a vast country -- one that's larger than Germany, France, Italy and England combined. Mexico's coast along the Sea of Cortez and Pacific Ocean -- commonly called the Mexican Riviera by the cruise lines that sail its waters -- showcases much of that history. There are archeological ruins, centuries-old stone churches and charming colonial-era towns that are picture-perfect with stately main squares, whitewashed buildings with red-tiled roofs, bustling markets and a vibrant cultural life. We've selected the top places, from north to south, along the Mexican Riviera that provide glimpses into the rich history of Mexico.