Article graphics courtesy by Royal Caribbean International
Written by Nathan Wertheimer
On the day for port shopping, meet your Port Shopping Guide at their desk at a certain time. Don’t be late because they will leave you behind. The guide can take a group of a few to around one hundred people. While waiting for others to show up for the escort to the shops, Nick Scheerer, a Port Shopping Guide, gave out a nice silver Diamond International bag. There are limited quantities of bags given out to the Port Shopping group.
Before leaving the cruise ship, beware of the US State Department Security Assessment of that country and port you are visiting. Currently, it was at Level 2 for Nassau, Bahamas. This means watch out for possible crime. It is recommended to stay in the busy tourist areas only. Do not venture out to unknown parts of the city without a tour guide. Always beware of your surrounds no matter what city your in.
Scheerer then gave a pep talk before heading out to these select stores. Then the guide conducted a head count. We had seventeen people in our group made up of men and women. The Port Shopping Guide lead the way off of the ship and onto the prier area and through the cruise terminal compound. It was an easy walk. Also, don’t get stopped by locals trying to sell you products and services on the street. They are there to make money and are sometimes pushy too. If you’re not interested then please tell them no thanks and keep going on your way.
The Nassau streets are busy with a lot of pedestrian and vehicle traffic. Our guide was able to take his life in his hands and stop the vehicle traffic so the shopping group could cross the street.
Our first stop was the Diamonds International. This store was open and shoppers were browsing around. Don’t forget to enter the drawing inside the store for a piece of jewelry. The drawing was later held in the evening on-board the cruise ship. If your planning on buying anything in this store, show them the black VIP Shopper Card for a great discount on jewelry.
Many people in the group went off on their own after the first stop. I waited around for a while and decided to go off on my own too. I have limited on time and had to be back at the cruise ship within a few hours.
From Diamonds International I walked down the sidewalk looking at the various storefronts on Bay Street. Many of these places were jewelry stores along with souvenirs places too.
The main place where everyone heads to is the Nassau Straw Market. The building is not made out of a straw. It seemed more like a flea market from back home. Many vendors were selling some handmade items. However, some items were made in China too. If you’re looking for cheap souvenirs they were hard to find. Watch out for vendors quoting one price and then telling you another price. It is a bait and switch on routine.
At the straw market, I purchased a handmade straw Christmas ornament for $8 USD. Then the vendors said she would discount it too $6. When I gave the vendor a $20, I only got back $12. I knew what she was doing and was not surprised by it either. It is recommend to breakup your cash in 1s, 5s, and $10s. Always give exact change to the vendor for another item. This way you will not be in the same situation I was in.
Most Bahamians people are welcoming and will educate you on their products and services they are selling. However, I encountered at the straw market was one vendor being rude to a group of visitors. I knew these vendors would be pushy. This group of visitors walked away from a vendor with an attitude. Then the vendor shouted back at these visitors. It was unknown why this would happen. If you encounter this type of situation, just walk away without saying anything.
Overall, I had a great time. I just wish I had more time on the island. Do you research on any shops before going to the island, some items maybe cheaper in the Caribbean islands.
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