Written by Nathan Wertheimer
Last year, I went on a seven days cruise on Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas. Everyone loves to shop for himself or herself or for someone special back home. There is a Shore Shopping Guide seminar one should take advantage of. It is advised to get there early and attend this seminar aboard your ship. Shopper Guide Erin Olive presented this seminar and was passionate about jewelry. She claimed she was knowledgeable about gemology and would teach passengers what to look for. Plus, passengers can pick-up a limited number of free coupon books given out to those who attend this seminar. Depending on your ports of call will dictate the best buys on your cruise.
When you’re at any port of call, ask the store merchant some questions such as:
- Is this product made here? Some products are imported from China and else where.
- Does this item have a warranty?
- I notice some damage on this particular item. Is there a discount on this damaged product? Sometimes they will you a discount.
- Is there a discount for purchasing more than one item from your store?
- Do you prefer cash to credit card. Not all stores take credit cards.
- Is this item only sold at this store only? Many other stores may carry the same items too.
- What type of credit cards does your store accept? VISA, Master Card, etc.
- What is the US Duty Free to bring an item into the United States? There are some restricted items that US Citizens can’t buy or bring into the country.
On the island of St. Maarten, there were many jewelry and souvenir shops. Diamond International is a must see store. This store is located right off the ship in Phillipsburg. Don’t forget to present your coupon for your free gold charm bracelet with the sunglass charm at Diamond International. Some good buys in St Maarten were t-shirts for $5 each.
When visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico, it has a big city feel. There are a variety of shops to choose from. Plus, one will see many street souvenir dealers. Buyers should beware of all street dealers. It is recommended to buy from a reputable retail store.
There are a few retail stores in Labadee, Haiti. The only thing at the private compound is the straw market which is located towards the back of the property. There are a lot of handmade crafts items from Haiti. They have original paintings, wooden sculptures, musical instruments, clothing, and much more. There prices range from about $3 and go up. Most of these straw vendors only take cash. Sorry, no credit cards will be accepted.
If you did not see anything you were looking for in the islands, there is always the aboard ship shops. The cruise line offer huge discounts. Look for the large retail sales. Sometimes there are great buys on old inventory that needs to be sold.
Have a great shopping experience and shop till you drop.
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Source of information: First hand experience