I saw a post about bringing vanilla and different spices home, are they better on the islands? What should I look for?
Also my husband plans to buy a few cuban cigars, I read somewhere that some people sell fake cubans, what should i look for in that to avoid being taken?
Mary, I can't help on the spices but with the Cuban cigars I have some experience. I have not encountered any fake Cuban cigars in the islands. Make sure they have a band on them which has "Habana" in the label. The band should be "stuck" to the cigar instead of loosely around it. And make sure they don't have some reference to Habana seeds. These will be (usually) grown in the Dominican Republic by Cuban seed. These are excellent cigars but not Cuban.
A Cuban cigar is not going to be as cheap as you might expect. A decent mild flavored one will be around $12-$15 each.
Also, you are not allowed to bring them back into the U.S. so only buy what can be consumed on board.
Grenada is a rarely visited island that is called the "spice" island. On those occasions when we're there, we always bring back some... particularly the whole nutmeg... which is the best anywhere and which keeps well for ages. I think you can find these Granada spices on other more frequently visited locales... St. Lucia is one that comes to mind and Barbados too.
as Ernie stated Grenada is known as the"spice island" The nutmeg, cloves, ginger and saffron are amazing. If you are a US citizen you cannot bring cuban cigars into the country, you can smoke them on the islands and on the ship.
My sister and her husband have always brought back vanilla extract from Mexico. I do like to bake and have found this is superior to what we have here. We did an Eastern Caribbean on our last cruise and I brought back something called "Coconut Essence" by a company called Bajan Classic. I add a teaspoon to my yellow cake mixes and everyone loves my Strawberry Shortcake. (Even people who don't like coconut.) As for the vanilla bean, my DH LOVES "Creme Brulee" and you need to scrape out the seeds of whole vanilla bean to make this. Now everyone has me thinking about whole nutmeg!
Hope this explains the spice thing. Kat or Krazy Baker