If you want a Mexico cruise with better onshore experiences these are for you.

San Diego is especially lucky to have Carnival Spirit as a resident cruiser. A smaller but newer Carnival ship, Spirit is the other right-sized ship sailing from San Diego. At 88,500-tons and 2124 passengers the eight-night cruise from San Diego offers one super advantage - Acapulco. Yes, it requires an extra day to get that far south. Spirit also features different ports from the du jour mega-ships; Zihuatanejo and Manzanillo. There are four seas days, two out and two back. The ship is smaller but the cabins are top-notch; roomy, lots of storage, pleasing wood accents. With prices starting at $449 pp and balconies at $649 pp this eight-day cruise to Acapulco is not only an unusual itinerary on one of the best West Coast ships, it is a steal.

Holland America Veendam, also sailing from San Diego, will finish out this winter to be replaced by the newer and larger Zaandam next year. Veendam may be the best value cruise in San Diego at just 55,000-tons for 1258 passengers. You get the most personalized service possible and a quiet, elegant ship. The food selection may be a bit limited and they roll up the sidewalks pretty early, but you can book the seven-night cruises to the Mexican Riviera starting at just $391 pp (from San Diego) and suites at $779.

But it is the eight-night cruises on Veendam to Toplobampo, Loreto and Cabo San Lucas where you are now lucky to find a berth at all. This Sea of Cortes itinerary is the most unusual and popular cruise to Mexico from any departure point. Abounding with wildlife like dolphin and whales, and unspoiled Mexican ports with desert scenery and quiet zocalos, these cruises only have a few cabins left. Next year this itinerary will be taken over by the newer Zaandam, book it early.

We have already mentioned Radiance of the Seas sailing from San Diego. The more exotic nine and 11-day cruises offer unusual itineraries and excellent prices for the state of the art Royal Caribbean favorite.