Is it true the ships don't recommend what is cheapest for the passenger but recommend the shops who give them kick backs to promote their place of business. If this is true the cruise director should be honest with the passengers and tell them the ship gets paid for the recommendation.
Yup.. it's true, the shop keepers pay to be on the recommended list. That's not to say they're not good shops to deal with, but I pay no heed to whether I am in a "recommended shop" or not.
No matter where you shop, it's buyer beware, because even if the ship's say they have a performance guarantee from the shops on their "recommended list" I've seen cases where that guarantee went nowhere.
I do recall a couple of instances where the payment of a promotional fee for inclusion in the list was printed on the shopping guides provided.
Never have I seen so much "pushing" of certain shops while on the Galaxy..and people following the "advice" Normally we don't do the Caribbean island and I was absolutely disgusted by the crass behavior of these "touts" on the ship... Then again,it seems most people go to the island to shop for jewelry, cameras, watches, and china..Many years ago we were spending a week in St Thomas and I brought my price list of what I was then collecting..and was able to with prior knowlege of prices...get a good price on an item that had been in the store for years. In the Grand Caymens ran across other collectible from the same company in the UK and only because I knew their exact value was I able to snap up a bargain (items were till sealed from the back room)..lol The pressure in these shops is incredible..Parrot Pop and I tell the story of my going into one well known show to look around.. and seeing my actual birthstone, Alexanderite.. when I asked the price for three tiny, tiny stone you would have had to be there to pick me up off the floor.lol and this chain was "RAVED" as the best prices...yah.. right.. Know your prices before you go..
jayhawk: just to pay rest to your question about costa maya. its not in anway owned by carnival. its owned in partnership with royal caribbean cruise line and diamonds international and 2 other business partners. whom i think are mexicians or floridians i am not sure. the cruise center in Grand Turk is owned and operated by Carnival. and thus the majority of there ships visit there with a few exceptions of smaller cruise lines. I hope this is a suitble answer to your question. Russell
Yes, I too found out that the prices at the recommended stores aren't aren't always cheaper. I wanted a gold necklace and one of the recommended stores I went to wanted over $300 for a necklace!!! I also found a gold stingray pendant that was priced at around $340!!!!
I went to a jewllery store at home and bought a 24" necklace for less than $200.
Diamonds International is a big seller, but you have yo watch quality. I paid $350 (bargain basemtn price, or so they said) for a bracelet and it really is worth what I paid for it and not much more. I love the design, but I also know the quality of the stones in it are not very good, I can see the inclusions in most of the stones. The value may not be what they say, but if I like it, that is all that counts!!!
2007 Victory & Triumph
2008 Conquest & Liberty
2009 Valor, Freedom, and Splendor
2010 Glory and Liberty