Definitely don' t buy the "gold" by the inch chains on the ship! Sales will occur on the last full day of the cruise..you can check out the shops then. I honestly think your best bet for a gold chain would be on the ship, after looking at your ports. Better deals in St. Maarten, but that's Eastern itinerary.
My DB purchased a bracelet from Carnival's gold-by-the-inch and it has been a disaster. We bought it last march on the Destiny, it began to tarnish 1 wk after we returned, he lost the receipt, we tried to return it this year on the Triumph, they could only give us another, that one tarnished before the cruise ended, we exchanged for a third one and are currently home and dealing with the cycle all over again
If it had only happend to one of them, then I'd easily think that we got a 'bad one' or something. But three? From different ships on different sailings?
Definitley do not lose that reciept like we did! We were told going into the purchase that the material is some percentage cobalt and other percentage gold, which makes the product stronger. They don't 'lie' about the fact that it is NOT 100% gold or anything,but they definitely do not say it might tarnish anytime soon......much less a week!! Regardless of what it's made of, one would expect it to last longer than a week all three times! I've had cheap costume jewerly that I've been able to wear longer than that without it turning!
There's really no excuse for such a poor product. If this had been in a local Walmart for $2.99, then I might expect it to tarnish, but his bracelet ended up costing almost $50 after the 'good' clasp was added on and using the $4/inch style gold!
billi - it's hard to say how much the price may go down. It's usually the very expensive items with precious stones that are discounted, or the really cheap stuff, but every ship is different, as their jewellry shops are operated by outside contractors. The only gold thing I've ever bought on a ship were some earrings for about $85.00 because I'd left my good pair at home, and wanted them for formal dinners. There are a number of jewellry stores in Grand Cayman that are reputable, but I don't think the price will be great. You might want to take a look at the preferred jewellry shops onshore that Carnival recommends. This information is usually in your daily Carnival Capers newsletter that's left in your cabin. There are also ship's talks about shopping in each port.
Personally, I wouldn't get gold jewellry in Mexico. Not that there's anything wrong with it, I've just never seen good prices, as silver is the best-priced jewellry in Mexico. Best prices for gold are St. Maarten/St. Thomas. Just my opinion, and I've bought a lot of jewellry. (None of it worthy of the Smithsonian, though...).