Returning to the Mexican Riviera aboard Carnival Miracle

The Carnival Miracle approaches Freeport in the Bahamas. Built in Finland for $375 million, the ship is 960 feet long, has 12 decks and can carry more than 2,100 passengers. Carnival Miracle has 16 bars and lounges, three restaurants, a 14,500-square-foot spa and four swimming pools.  Photo by Andy Newman/CCL.

Join us as we sail to the Mexican Riviera aboard Carnival Miracle! Built in 2004, Carnival Miracle has 16 bars and lounges, three restaurants, a 14,500-square-foot spa and four swimming pools. Photo by Andy Newman/CCL.

For years, one of my absolute favorite runs was the Mexican Riviera. Living on the West Coast, they were convenient, affordable, and yet still provided a warm-weather, weeklong getaway that was reasonably exotic. It was the itinerary, along with voyages to Alaska and the odd Pacific Coastal voyage, that I cut my proverbial cruising teeth on.

But cruises to the Mexican Riviera died out a few years ago after a very brief (and very overblown in the media) spate of gang violence in the region. Passengers left, and cruise lines pulled out. Add a few hurricanes into the mix, and Baja Mexico has not been doing well for the past few years.

One cruise line, however, is firmly committed to restarting year-round cruising to the Mexican Rivera from the Los Angeles area. Carnival Cruise Line is deploying their 963-foot long, 2,124 guest Carnival Miracle from Long Beach, California, where she’ll sail a handful of different itineraries to the Mexican Riviera throughout the year.

Best of all, we’re hopping onboard her May 30, 2015 sailing to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta to check out the fun onboard the Carnival Miracle, and to see how things are shaping up down on Mexico’s Pacific Coast.

Our full itinerary:

Our Classic Mexican Riviera itinerary aboard Carnival Miracle. Our Live Voyage Report begins Saturday, May 30, 2015.

Our Classic Mexican Riviera itinerary aboard Carnival Miracle. Our Live Voyage Report begins Saturday, May 30, 2015.

I’m excited about this journey on two fronts. Firstly, this is the first time since 2010 – back when I was making ponies talk as an Offline film Editor – that I’ve been to the Mexican Riviera.

I’m super-excited to go back to Mazatlan and take a ride on an open-air pulmonia (think souped-up golf cart) through the city to the Zona Dorada (Golden Zone) for a cerveza on the beach, followed by a trip back through the Centro Historico, or Historic District. Ever since I first started coming here in 2006, I’ve loved these open-air vehicles that drive like mad through the city center – and that everyone else seems to be terrified of. They get their name from the word “pneumonia” – which local cabbies warned passengers they would get when these vehicles were first introduced in the 1960s.

In Mazatlan, cruisers can take the always-fun, open-air taxis known as "Pulmonia" to the Zona Dorada (Golden Zone) or the Centro Historico (Old Town). Photo © Aaron Saunders

In Mazatlan, cruisers can take the always-fun, open-air taxis known as “Pulmonia” to the Zona Dorada (Golden Zone) or the Centro Historico (Old Town). Photo © Aaron Saunders

One of the many beaches surrounding Mazatlan's Zona Dorada. Photo © Aaron Saunders

One of the many beaches surrounding Mazatlan’s Zona Dorada. Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders

Carnival Miracle will also call on the picturesque resort town of Cabo San Lucas. In the Mexican Riviera, think of this as your beach day: ships anchor out in the bay and tender passengers ashore, where plenty of duty-free shopping exists on the short 15-minute walk around the harbour to the public beach. You can also take a water taxi over to Lovers Beach, with its famous Los Arcos (The Arches) rock formation.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Photo © 2010 Aaron Saunders

Sunset along Puerto Vallarta's Malecon.  Photo © Aaron Saunders

Sunset along Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon. Photo © 2006 Aaron Saunders

Puerto Vallarta remains a favorite stop of mine. Nestled at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountains, Puerto Vallarta has always managed to strike that fragile balance between commercialism and authentic cultural experiences. Its malecon, or oceanfront promenade, is one of the most beautiful I’ve found anywhere in the world, and the entire historic town center is highly walkable. Sure, there’s a Wal-Mart across from the cruise pier, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find a world of things to like here.

Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Looking along the length of Carnival Miracle, docked at Vancouver’s Canada Place in April 2014. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The other highlight for me is the Carnival Miracle herself. I’ve never been on one of Carnival’s Spirit Class ships yet, but numerous Carnival guests I have met have told me pointedly that they think these are some of the best Fun Ships the line has ever created. If they look vaguely familiar, there’s good reason for that: the Spirit Class formed the basis for Holland America Line’s Vista Class, which in turn became the base for other ships, like P&O’s Arcadia and Cunard’s Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.

Carnival Miracle now sports the Alchemy Bar, seen here in its incarnation aboard Carnival Freedom, after a multi-week drydock in March. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Carnival Miracle now sports the Alchemy Bar, seen here in its incarnation aboard Carnival Freedom, after a multi-week drydock in March. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

What’s more, Carnival Miracle just emerged from drydock in March that added a number of Carnival’s FunShip 2.0 Enhancements. The refit gives the ship the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub that boasts Carnival’s very own brand of ale, ThirstyFrog; the Cherry-on-Top candy store; Carnival’s new Seuss-at-Sea themed program for kids based on the books of Dr. Seuss; Hasbro, The Game Show; and my very favorite Carnival feature: the Alchemy Bar, where mixologists whip up cocktails that rival those of the best land-based hotels. Bonus points for the backlit-menus, too!

Carnival's iconic funnel. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Carnival’s iconic funnel. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Everyone likes to pile onto Carnival when times are tough because of their high profile, but since my first sailing with the line on Carnival Breeze last year, I’ve really grown to appreciate their fun, affordable style of cruising. My journey aboard Carnival Freedom this past February to the Western Caribbean only reinforced that impression.

Now, I can’t wait to see what Carnival is bringing to the Mexican Riviera – and what interesting changes and enhancements have been made to the sleek and popular Carnival Miracle!

Amazing.  No other way to describe it. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Our Live Voyage Report from onboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Miracle in the Mexican Riviera will begin May 30 from Los Angeles! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

Comments are closed.

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:


Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!