You’re Going to Love Holland America’s Mexican Riviera

You’re going to love sailing to the Mexican Rivera with Holland America Line. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

After a week aboard Holland America Line’s Westerdam in the Mexican Riviera, I can say the entire experience has been a very positive one. It’s great to see more lines coming back to the wonderful ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta after a multi-year absence.
It’s also great to see how the Holland America product that I’ve known and loved for well over a decade has continued to evolve as the line tries to better court families and younger couples while still providing an excellent cruise experience for its most loyal Mariners.
From start to finish, this journey has been enjoyable, rewarding, and often surprising. It’s my fifth voyage to the Mexican Riviera, but I feel that the region is better now than ever before.
Our full Voyage Report aboard Westerdam:

Westerdam – Mexican Riviera

DAY PORT ARRIVE DEPART
Saturday, December 3, 2016 San Diego, California Embark Westerdam 1600
Sunday, December 4 At Sea
Monday, December 5 Cabo San Lucas, Mexico 1100 1900
Tuesday, December 6 Mazatlan, Mexico 0800 1800
Wednesday, December 7 Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 0800 1700
Thursday, December 8 At Sea
Friday, December 9 At Sea
Saturday, December 10 San Diego, California 0700 Disembark

So what can you expect out of Holland America in the Mexican Riviera? Here are five things that I loved most about this cruise:

Fabulous Onboard Musical Entertainment

Dancing the night away in the Ocean Bar, Deck 3. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

B.B. King’s Blues Club blew me away. I can count on a single hand how many voyages I’ve been on with entertainment this good – and the B.B. King All-Stars are here to stay, featured on every Vista Class and Signature Class ship in the Holland America Line fleet. Bonus mentions should go to the band in the Ocean Bar, the Adagio Duo in the Explorer’s Lounge, and Pianist Stryker in the Piano Bar. Holland America’s musical entertainment is now one of the line’s most underrated qualities.

More Cultural Immersion

Our onboard Mexican Ambassadors. Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

I remember sailing to the Mexican Riviera back in 2007 on another line, looking incredulously at the roast beef, gravy and mashed potatoes that was to consist of lunch as we dropped anchor in Cabo San Lucas. Holland America is changing all that, with authentic Mexican specialties worked into menus in the Vista Dining Room and the Lido Marketplace buffet. There’s also a Mexican-themed on-deck buffet on one night of the voyage, and Mexican appetizers and drinks on offer during sail-away from San Diego.
Westerdam also features a group of local Mexican Ambassadors on each voyage, who delight guests with folkloric dances, lectures on the history of Mexico and the Mexican Riviera, and who even offer dance classes, Spanish language lessons, and demonstrations on how to make traditional Mexican crafts.
This is a huge win for Holland America, and I hope the line continues the program. It really sets them apart from any other line, and mimics the level of immersion the line typically provides to guests on its Alaska cruises and cruisetours.

Varied Shore Excursions

Photo © 2016 Aaron Saunders

I’ll be honest: the shore excursion menu really hasn’t changed in the decade I’ve been sailing to the Mexican Riviera. But it is a varied one, with easy beach-break-and-shopping excursions listed alongside more cultural and historic offerings, like the fabulous tour I experienced to Todos Santos from Cabo San Lucas. Not every cruise line offers the same excursions here, and Holland America’s is tops for variety.

A Technologically-Savvy Holland America

Want to make dinner reservations onboard? Use your laptop or your iPhone and connect to Holland America’s new Navigator portal. Or, phone the restaurant – like in the old days. Photo © 2016 Aaron Sau

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