The most reliable of the Puerto Vallarta tourist cruises are offered by Princess Cruises. They operate four boats, which each follow separate routes. Itineraries do vary from time to time; call 322/224-4777 or visit www.crucerosprincesa.com.mx for current details and reservations. The package for all daytime cruises includes light breakfast, fish or chicken lunch, open beer-and-soft-drink bar, on-board live music show and dancing for about $50 per person.
The roomiest boat is the Princess Yelapa, a triple-decked steel tub with space for hundreds. The route follows the south coastline, passing for a view of Los Arcos sea rocks and continuing to idyllic Majahuitas for an hour of snorkeling. Later, at Yelapa, passengers disembark for about two hours to sun on the beach or hike to the waterfall (by horseback, if desired).
Princess Cruises also runs the Sarape, a smaller motor cruiser accommodating around 60 people, for snorkeling at Los Arcos, continuing to Las Ánimas and Quimixto for a hike (or horseback ride) and swimming at a waterfall.
Other variations are offered by the mid-size cruiser Vagabundo (snorkeling at Los Arcos and sunning and snorkeling at Las Ánimas) and the larger Princess Vallarta, a scaled-down version of the Princess Yelapa, for snorkeling and wildlife-viewing at the Islas Caletas and sunning on creamy Playa Blanca on the Bay of Banderas’s north shore.
For romantics, the Princess Vallarta also offers a 6–9 p.m. sunset cruise, with snacks, open bar, and live music for dancing, also for about $50 per person.
If you tend toward seasickness, fortify yourself with Dramamine before these cruises. Also note that destination disembarkation at Las Ánimas, Quimixto, and Yelapa is by motor launch and can be difficult for travelers with disabilities.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition