Cancun gets its fair share of accolades, and why shouldn't it? It's one of the most desired beach destinations for North Americans, thanks in part to balmy year-round temperatures and powder-sand beaches as far as the eye can see. We've all seen plenty of vacation package offerings to this Caribbean coast paradise, but what about cruises? Are there cruises to Cancun?
As it turns out, Cancun's port is not equipped to accept huge passenger vessels, so no, there aren't any major cruise lines that include Cancun on their beach itineraries. However, there are a few nearby beach gems in the Yucatan that can accommodate cruise passengers. So don't give up if you long to see Mexico's pristine Caribbean shores — there are cruises out there that offer a similar experience in destinations near Cancun.
A small island just off of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel offers the same kind of scenery you'd see in Cancun — blue-green water, palm trees and sugary sand, though it's not nearly as developed as Cancun.
It's a major hot spot for divers and snorkelers due to its easy access to the Mesoamerican Reef. Cruises dock on the northwestern side of the island, near the town center. Beach lovers should head right away to Playa Palancar on the southern side of the island, where the clear waters are inviting as ever.
Still got Cancun on the brain? Carnival Cruises offers shore excursions there, made possible by a ferry that heads north and drops passengers off for a day of exploring. It's the next-best thing for those in search of cruises to Cancun.
Costa Maya Port/Mahahual
Located four hours south of Cancun, not far from the border with Belize, lies the Costa Maya port in the village of Mahahual. Though tourists have caught wind of the beauty of this place, it still retains a laid-back fishing village feel. High-rises have not yet overtaken the shoreline, a natural stretch ideal for unwinding or taking a dip. Need a little more action? Head to the busy port, home to bustling shops, restaurants and bars.
Costa Maya port is a frequent stop on cruises that head to Cozumel, Harvest Caye in Belize and Roatan in Honduras.
This funky little beach town on just North of Merida has only recently started to garner wider attention from curious North Americans, and there's no better way to see it than by cruise. Vessels dock at the town's iconic four-mile-long pier, and once on land, cruisers can grab a seat at one of several thatched-roof beachfront restaurants serving Yucatan specialties. A common excursion is a day trip to nearby Mayan sites, such as the amazingly preserved Chichen Itza and Uxmal ruins.