Centro Historico, Zona Dorada, and Cerveza in Mazatlan

Centro Historico has been substantially restored since i first visited in 2006, and today boasts a kind of Cuban styling. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Mazatlan’s Centro Historico has been substantially restored since I first visited in 2006, and today boasts a kind of colonial Spanish styling. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Miracle arrived in the port of Mazatlan, Mexico just after 7a.m. this morning, tying up next to the commercial pier on a day just dripping with humidity.

Mazatlan has been one of my favorite ports of call since I started coming here in 2006. I was dismayed to see the city of 430,000 removed from Mexican Riviera itineraries back in 2011 after a brief but well-publicised spate of violence. Apparently, CNN never bothered to do the math on how many people are murdered every year in the Miami-Dade area; half a dozen dead tourists in Mazatlan was enough to drive the nail through the coffin for the better part of the decade.

Guests disembark Carnival Miracle on a hot and humid day in Mazatlan, Mexico on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Guests disembark Carnival Miracle on a hot and humid day in Mazatlan, Mexico on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

But Mazatlan and the Mexican Riviera are back once more, and a lot of credit has to be given to Carnival: they’re basing Carnival Miracle here year-round this year. It’s a far cry from 2011, when the much-larger Carnival Splendor was sailing out of Long Beach on year-round Mexican Riviera trips, but in many ways, the smaller Carnival Miracle is better suited to this run.

Carnival also becomes one of the few lines to give Mexico their vote of confidence, and I truly hope their actions inspires other lines to return here. When I first started sailing the Mexican Riviera in 2006, nearly a dozen cruise lines operated here on – at the very least – a seasonal basis that extended from October to May. Today, less than five cruise lines have committed to the Mexican Riviera, and fewer still actually operate a “full” half-year season here.

Hola, Mazatlan! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Hola, Mazatlan! Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

Why is the Mexican Riviera so important? There’s many answers. First and foremost, the Mexican Riviera is the ideal warm-weather getaway for people who live on the West Coast of the United States and Canada – myself included. For me, getting to Miami takes longer than flying to Paris or Tokyo, and involves far more connections.

It’s also the perfect antidote to a Caribbean that’s becoming woefully oversaturated. My last call on Philipsburg, St. Maarten saw six cruise ships in port on the same day – each one carrying between two and five thousand guests apiece. And they all want to hit the same beach, shops, and bars that you do.

To me, Centro HIstorico is the most fascinating part of Mazatlan. Definitely worth a visit. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

To me, Mazatlan’s Centro Historico has always been the most fascinating part of the city. Definitely worth a visit. Photo © 2015 Aaron Saunders

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Our Live Voyage Report aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Miracle continues tomorrow as we spend the day in beautiful Puerto Vallarta! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

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