Mexico Cruise Mistakes to Avoid

17 Mexico Cruise Mistakes that Will Ruin Your Vacation

Are you going on a Mexico cruise? As someone who’s been on more than 25 cruises, including two to Mexico, I’m sharing some cruise tips that I have learned along the way. So, keep reading to find out what not to do when you’re on a Mexico cruise.

Mexico Cruise Mistakes to Avoid

1. Not Bringing Your Passport 

Many people mistakenly believe that they can go to Mexico without a passport. While it’s true that US citizens can enter the United States with a birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end at the same U.S. port), it’s still better to be safe than sorry. 

You should bring your passport in case you have to fly back to the US early due to an emergency. It’s also important to always keep your passport with you and not leave it in the cruise ship cabin. In case you are left behind, you will need your passport to fly to the next port and catch up with the cruise ship.

2. Port Agent

Always ask for the port agent’s contact information before you get off the cruise ship. Every port has a port agent appointed by your cruise line, and they’re the ones to approach in case you need help or find yourself stranded. 

The shore excursion staff usually hands out a map that includes the port agent’s contact information, so make sure to keep it with you in case you need to contact them for any reason.

3. Don’t Drink the Ice

Don’t drink tap water and ice in Mexico—you can get sick! Many people who visit Mexico know to stay away from tap water, but they often forget about the ice in their drinks, which can make you sick. 

To prevent this from happening, make sure you order drinks without ice in Mexico. You will be glad you took this simple precaution during your trip!

Mexico Cruise Mistakes to Avoid

4. Know the All-Aboard Time

Make sure you know the cruise ship’s all-aboard time before getting off the ship. Usually, you will find a sign displaying the all-aboard time at the cruise port. It’s a good idea to take a picture of this notice as a reminder.

5. Pay Attention to the Time Zones

Mexico has four different time zones, and you might find yourself stopping at two of them during a Mexican cruise. Take, for example, Puerto Vallarta, which is in the mountain time zone, and Cabo San Lucas, which is located in the Pacific time zone. 

This can get confusing, but there is a simple solution. Before getting off the ship, make sure you know what time it is on board and adjust your watch or cellphone accordingly. This way, you don’t miss the ship! 

6. Check the Taxi Fare

It’s always a good idea to confirm the taxi fare before getting in. Always ask your driver how much the ride to your destination will cost, and feel free to negotiate a better deal. 

Even if you see a sign with taxi rates posted at the cruise port, it’s worth confirming the taxi fare with your driver to avoid being overcharged. Use the rates on the sign as a reference point, so you know what to expect. It’s also a good idea to take a picture of the sign. This way, you’ll have a reference point in case you need it later.

7. Bring Small Bills

When you go to Mexico, you should bring small bills. Many places in Mexico will take US dollars, so you don’t have to exchange them for Mexican pesos. 

Do know that if you pay in US dollars, sometimes you will be given back pesos as change. If it’s a large bill, you will get a lot of Mexico pesos back in change, so it’s best to have small bills so you can pay exact and not have to get change back. 

8. Not Negotiating

When shopping in Mexico, it’s perfectly acceptable to negotiate with vendors. Don’t hesitate to ask for a modest discount, and avoid buying from the first vendor you see. Since vendors sell similar souvenirs, it’s best to shop around to find the best price.

Mexico Cruise Mistakes to Avoid

9. Don’t Wear Your Cruise Lanyard on Shore 

When you’re out exploring the port in Mexico, it’s best to avoid wearing your cruise lanyard. It will make you stand out as a tourist and attract unwanted attention from thieves. Also, when you’re shopping, it’s better to negotiate prices without revealing that you’re on a cruise ship.

They will know you have a time limit to return to the ship which can go against you when negotiating prices. 

10. Not Going to the Shore Excursion Talk

If it’s your first time on a Mexico cruise, you should try to attend the shore excursion talk or at least watch the replay on the cruise ship TV. During the talk, the shore excursion staff will provide useful information about the upcoming port of call, including where to go and what to do. They’ll also hand out maps and other useful materials to help you navigate the area.  

Keep in mind that these shore excursion talks are usually sponsored by local stores in Mexico, so be wary of the shops they recommend. However, it’s still useful to attend these talks to learn about the sights and beaches. 

Plus, during these shore excursion talks there will be raffles and giveaways- who knows, you might walk out with a bottle of wine or a free baseball cap!

11. Free Charms and Other Freebies

Watch out for freebies offered by jewelers like Diamonds International. They might give you flyers and coupons for free charms and charm bracelets to lure you into their store. However, don’t feel pressured to buy something because you’ve received a free charm. Remember that it’s a marketing tactic, and you can say no politely. Don’t feel bad, you’re not the first customer to do so!

12. Not Booking Shore Excursions Ahead of Time

Booking cruise shore excursions is a must especially if you are interested in the popular shore excursions since those end to sell out quickly. It’s best to book your shore excursions online early on and not wait until you’re onboard to avoid any disappointment. 

Also, to save some money, I suggest comparinig the prices of the cruise shore excursion to independent tour operators such as Viator.

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13. Not Checking the Travel Advisory

When traveling to Mexico on a cruise, it’s important to know that not all ports are safe. Many cruisers make the mistake of assuming that every port is safe, but that isn’t always the case. 

You should always check the latest travel advisory from the US Department of State for the places you plan to visit. Most parts of Mexico have some travel advisory due to crime, so it’s best to stay vigilant and prepared while you’re there. 

For more information on protecting yourself from theft during your cruise, check out my anti-theft tips.

14. Don’t Leave Your Valuables Unattended at the Beach

It’s important to keep a watchful eye on your personal belongings when you’re at the beach. Avoid leaving your valuable items unattended, such as your electronic devices, on your chair or towel. Thieves can easily snatch your phone, kindle, or iPad if you are not careful. 

If you plan to take a dip in the water, it is best to bring your phone with you and store it in a waterproof phone case or a larger waterproof bag that can also hold your wallet. When you head into the water, keep your belongings in a beach bag with a zipper to keep your items secure. I like this beach bag because it is waterproof and has a zipper closure.

15. Don’t Drink too Much

It’s easy to overindulge on alcohol in Mexico. For example, some shore excursions offer party boats with unlimited drinks, and while shopping, you may come across tequila samples that are hard to resist. 

Drinking alcohol while being exposed to the sun can be a risky combination. Just be careful, because you don’t want to get too drunk that you miss the ship!

16. Underestimating the Sun

Mexico sun can be pretty intense, and it’s easy to underestimate it. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen before stepping off the ship, even if you’re not planning to hit the beach. And if you can, throw on a hat to keep the sun off your face. Trust me, you don’t want to spend your Mexico cruise nursing a sunburn – better to be safe than sorry! 

17. Don’t Bring Valuables 

When you go on a Mexico cruise, it’s best to leave your valuables at home. Don’t bring designer bags and expensive jewelry to your Mexico cruise. They can make you an easy target for thieves, and you’ll have to keep an eye on them at all times, which can be stressful. Since you’ll likely be spending most of your time at the beach, it’s best to leave them at home. Or at the very least, leave them in your cabin safe or locked up in your luggage.

Check out our Mexico cruise packing list with free printable

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Sign up once and you will get access to ALL exclusive content on this website. After unlocking the printable, just save the printable image and then print it. Use it as a checklist to pack for your Mexico cruise, so you don’t forget anything! I hope you like it!

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