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Mexican Riviera cruise aims to be authentic

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hollandfrontIt just might be the easiest warm-weather cruise that British Columbians can take: a weeklong journey to the Mexican Riviera, and the ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta.

This winter, Holland America Line has its classy, 1,916-guest Westerdam sailing weekly out of San Diego to the Mexican Riviera between now and February. It’s the longest season the line has offered up in years, operated aboard one of the best-suited ships for the run.

I’ve long been a fan of the Mexican Riviera and Holland America Line, and I thought both were better than ever on my recent cruise aboard Westerdam. There have been lots of changes, to be sure, but they’re changes for the better.

If you’ve been away from Holland America’s classy blue-hulled ships for a while, I have good news: the onboard entertainment is better now than it ever has been. Each evening, no less than four different musical offerings aboard Westerdam, from big band dance music to the intimate piano bar, packed to standing-room-only each night.

By far the best musical venue, though, was the new B.B. King’s Blues Club. It offers the best blues, soul and funk music I’ve heard at sea, and it packed the lounge (and the dance floor) each and every evening.

Holland America has also made some improvements to its onboard programming with its new partnership with America’s Test Kitchen that offers informative, engaging culinary events at sea; new stage production shows that make use of the latest digital technology; and new cocktails developed by mixologist Dale DeGroff.

On its Mexican Riviera sailings, Holland America has a team of “Mexican Ambassadors” – locals who sail aboard the ship to offer up authentic folkloric music and performances and who delight guests with dance classes, traditional Mexican arts and crafts lessons, and even Spanish language classes geared around ordering food and drinks ashore.

The Mexican Riviera, too, has improved. There is more to do now than ever before in Cabo, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, and locals are more committed than ever to providing visitors with a warm, genuine, and safe experience. The only worry I had all week was how to keep my bottle of Pacifico (a local beer brewed in Mazatlán) cold.

Westerdam sails weekly from San Diego to the Mexican Riviera until February, and returns this fall with sister-ship Oosterdam.

Source: theprovince.com