Cruising beyond COVID in the Mexican Riviera off of California & the Baja Peninsula
After a two year COVID break, we again spread our wings to worlds beyond via our favorite mode of travel: Cruising!
Vastly different than our cruise in January 2022 out of Tampa, Florida to the Caribbean and east side of Mexico – our cruise in April 2022 out of Los Angeles, California to the western side of Mexico – was but not yet quite up to pre-COVID style. But getting better.
With the same cruise line, both out of USA ports, it provided fair comparison. Again, everyone – staff/crew and passengers – were required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 and provide a negative test within 48 hours of boarding. However, mask mandates were different. They were still required by the staff/crew but not by passengers. We were still met with mask mandates on our flights in and out of LAX, a requirement which was lifted within days of our return. All in all, we felt that our travel was safe.
Our Itinerary on the Mexican Riviera
The “Mexican Riviera” refers collectively to twenty cities and lagoons lying on the western coast of Mexico.
Coined by the tourist industry to promote the area for cruises because of association with the Italian and French Riviera. Much like its European counterpart, the area provides many ocean front resorts, popular with tourists.
Port of Los Angeles
Port of Los Angeles
A Grand Adventure: Getting to the cruise ship
We were excited as we leisurely headed from the airport to the cruise port. We felt confident as we had all our documents and negative COVID test results in hand. We should have seen the red flags when the Lyft driver dropped us off at an EMPTY DOCK! After he unloaded our bags and drove away – we discovered we were at the WRONG PORT! This was the Port of LONG BEACH – not LOS ANGELES. PANIC TIME!
Delivered by Angels – in the City of Angels!
After many false pick ups attempted by other also-lost Lyft drivers with cars full of passengers also heading for the Port of LA. . . and no room for us. . . A car magically appeared with a kind family of fellow Bliss cruisers who also thought they were at the right port. They generously offered us a ride in the journey to the correct port. We gratefully piled into their already jam-packed car of two adults and three teenagers. We got quickly acquainted as the 7 of us cramped together with all our luggage piled on our laps. Despite GPS issues, we all made it – on time – to the right port and right ship. Whew!
We saw them from afar only once on the ship – and are sure that God graciously sent angels to deliver us!
Port of Long Beach. . . Opps!
On the bright side. . . we got to see the Queen Mary, a luxury cruise ship that was permanently docked at the Port of Long Beach providing top class entertainment, night life and lodging for seekers of the glamor of this grand life. Currently closed, it is in the process of restoration. . . maybe another time and on another trip to LA. . . ?
Port of Los Angeles… at last
Containers in the Port of Los Angeles were an unsightly view from our balcony. They gave us a real appreciation for future viewings of TV shows and movies that film scenes amidst these stacks of containers on shipping docks!
Travel Tip: Always double check the exact address and location of your precise point of departure – cruise dock, train station or airport – before your set out! We discovered Los Angeles has at least TWO ports (Los Angeles and Long Beach) – and we know that many cities have more than one airport. Getting to the wrong place can be costly in time and money.
Our Ship: Home Away from Home!
A cruise ship is a floating all-inclusive resort, full of stuff to do for any and all tastes – you name it: it probably is available.
Our entertainment of choice is to relax and avoid crowds! Our favorite activities include hanging out on our private balcony. We read and enjoy the view of the ports, sunsets and moon-rises – and being formally served as we dine on white linen table clothes for three meals per day!
I love exercising in the outdoor salt water pool, especially when we are at sea and the waves of the ocean are felt in the pool! We spent a lot of time relaxing in the Thermal Spa with its sauna, steam room, salt room and jacuzzi baths – sorry: no photos allowed for privacy reasons.
NCL – Norwegian Cruise Line – “Bliss”
Over the years, we’ve booked many “miles” and acquired many NCL “points” so we end up booking with them most of the time. So far, we have been pleased.
Adults only 8′ deep salt water pool was one of my favorite places to work out each morning! I typically had it all to myself at 8:00 am! The aerobics class joined me on the deck nearby at 9:00 and provided with some great workout music!
Dining on the Ship!
The Waterfront dining on some of the larger ships like the Bliss provides just that – dining on the waterfront. It is much more enjoyable than being indoors in the dining room. Except for lunch…when indoor, formal dining sure beats the chaotic crowded buffet – and the waterfront dining is closed!
Dining at its best!
View from Our Balcony
Mexican Riviera: Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – Baja Peninsula
The port of Cabo San Lucas is a short walking distance from the heart of the city. We arrived in port via ferry boat from the ship. Our excursion took us on a picturesque drive through the Baja California desert terrain with stark cactus on the sandy desert and rocky cliffs to bright flora on trees and in gardens – plus a stop at a glass blowing factory.
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas
Mexican Riviera: Mazatlan
In Mazatlan, on the mainland of Mexico, we enjoyed a guided walking tour of the historic center and beachfront.
Photos and highlights on my blog on Mazatlan – coming soon
Mazatlan Town Square
Mazatlan Cliff diving
Mexican Riviera: Puerto Vallarta
Being the first time we had visited Puerto Vallarta, we wanted to get a feel for the culture and history of the city. And with the help of a great tour guide – we did!
As a lover of sculpture – it was everywhere! The beachfront walk was especially fascinating!
Photos and highlights on my blog on Vallarta – coming soon
Vallarta Town Square & Church
Vallarta Beach Sculpture
Our second foray back into cruising was safe and wonderful. We enjoyed the new sights and scenes of the Mexican Riviera. We discovered that western Mexico is much like eastern Mexico. We were reminded that a cruise to a warm, sunny place is a great way to escape the long Minnesota winters and have one scheduled again for December 2022. I am counting the days! (And if I want to check it out, my NCL account will provide the countdown for me!)
Check back for my special blogs on our three ports: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta – as well as our pre-cruise time in Los Angeles visiting the Ronald Reagan Library & Museum and the two Getty Museums.