My wife and I are going to above ports on Grand Princess 2-25-3/4. Can anyone tell us where the best jewelry shops are (and which ones to stay away from) especially with respect to diamond tennis bracelets of good quality and what to expect in terms of pricing, negotiations, etc. MANY thanks. Tom and Candy
Well quality is always something to be aware of so this again is just my experience and do some shopping at home first so you know price and what you have in mind. I will be stopping at Diamond's International in St. Maarten. They had 3 stores on Front St when I stopped there last. At least 8 yrs. ago when vacationing on St. Maarten, this store was recommended and I purchased a 3 carat diamond S shape tennis bracelet. I have a very small wrist and they cut it to size and made 2 sets of earrings from the extra for my granddaughters. (Small earrings but cute for the little ones and they did it while I waited.) Then this bracelet cost less than $400. Three years ago, when we cruised there, a rep from DI was on the pier and recognized that I was wearing their product! He asked me to stop in to trade up. Well I wasn't interested in trading at that time but did stop in and purchased a White & yellow gold diamond solitare necklace which is still beautiful and I have not seen any like it in the USA. I will be stopping there in March to finally trade in my bracelet. They have stores on many Caribbean islands and have maintained their credibility with both land resorts and cruise lines. The ship will also recommend stores to shop at in port, so you may wish to ask around. Also, in St. Thomas, for gold, I shop at a store that has been in Havensight for years. (However, it is not on the recommended list but I have gotten great deals on earrings and bracelets.) The name is Beverly's. Just tell them I said hello and will be there the week of 3/18 on the Grand.
Hi Tom and Candy,
I have to totally agree with what Nanatravel said about knowing what you are buying, so do some shopping at home before you leave. Sometimes I've come home and found jewelery to be at a better price right in my own backyard, so it does pay to know how much things cost before you cruise. Happy shopping and hope you find some good bargains :-)
Nanatravel - Sounds good and we like the advice from both yourself and Donna. Have some pricing, etc. both here in Clearwater, FL and also in Miami at the Seybold Bldg (great jewelry wholesaler bldg with about 50 stores). Any comment or suggestions on negotiations at either Diamonds Int'l or Beverly's, and how much "discount" we can expect to try and get to? Any difference between St Thomas or St Maarten in this regard?
I really can't quote you percentages. I just haggle until I feel comfortable with the price. Example, at Beverly's (my last stop before getting back on the ship) I found a pair of 14KT. gold diamond cut half-hoop style earring. I identified them as being a matching pair to a bracelet I had just bought in Charlotte Amalie. This style earring runs about $197 - $299 (no tax I live in NH) here in New England on sale.
I was able to buy two pairs including another similar pair for my daughter for $100 total. Two years before, I bought a similar pair for $87 in the same shop. While I shopped down town, I was looking for 2 little girls 14kt. gold bracelets for Christams gifts. I had a terrible time trying to find/make a deal on something economical while being good quality and thickness. There was no way I was going to pay around a $100 each for children's jewelry when they loose things so easily. If you have an eye scope or magnifying glass bring it with you or ask to borrow the scope from the jeweler, so you will look like you know what you are doing and look for imperfections. Let a store clerk go to the manager as many times as you are willing to wait, he will come to you and always ask "Is this your very best price?", then you decide if you really want it. As far as St. Thomas vs. St. Martin goes, since the hurricane in 1995, St. Martin seems to still have the reputation for being a little bit more reasonable. But, if I really loved something in St. Thomas, I would not pass it up to wait till St. Martin. You never know if you will find it. Make sure to get an appraisal for any gem & jewels you may buy. Have fun. I know I have received a few circulars for Valentine Jewelry sales so I plan to put those in my luggage to have for cost comparison of goods, carat weight of diamonds, gold etc. Another good fun thing to do, if on board ship, the shops will often have a "gem" sale and you can take the stone to a jewelry store in St. Martin and have it set almost while you wait. Princess runs its own shops, so they may not do this as other lines do. I don't remember, as I usually don't participate. I need an Amethyst Pendant this time, so I may buy a stone and have it set on shore.
I am sailing on the Grand in March and I want to buy JEWELRY!! I am going to Cardow Jewelers when we get to St. Thomas -- no need to wait for St. Martin. Conde Nast Traveler (December's magazine) recommended Cardow Jewelers. They said it had the best selection of fine jewelry on St. Thomas. It was the only jewelry store they mentioned. That's good enough for me.
Good Luck and have a safe journey.
I love shopping in St. Thomas, I never shopped in St. Maarten.
As soon as you get off the ship in port there are many shops and they all have specials. Just ask your Ships tourning guide. They have many specials for you to look at including free tiny earings for the children. (Not first quality for you, I give them to my nieces 5-10 years old. They love have diamonds.) Their bigger stores are in town. Every store has different items, sizes, and shapes. I got great bargains at Glitters (ask for Jimmy) and Omini ask for Larry. I was just there Jan. 27,2001. Tell them Carol and Dee said HI.
As to shopping in cruise ship recommended stores, do you ever wonder if the cruiseline is getting a commission from the stores for sending in their passengers as customers? I wonder if we pay for these commissions in the price of the articles we buy.
Yes, I do think the stores pay a commission to the ships for the recommendation. However, I don't think that doesn't necesarily mean the stores aren't going to give you good value and service -- I think many do. It is because of this practice though, that I was impressed by Conde Nast's recommendation of Cardow Jewelers -- you can't buy their recommendations!