A wise "port authority" on a recent cruise said something that I wish people would keep in mind... SHOP LOCALLY.. What he meant and what I appreciated was that the $$ we spend at the chain jewelry and electronic shops in every port.. the $$ does not stay there.. it is b etter to buy from a locally owned shop keeper.. We All know who the big chains are..I was able to buy a pearl bracelet for much less at Lord and Taylors on sale than what the store in St Lucia was charging...much less...and camera equipment can be bought over the internet if you know what you want and shop carefully.
I never saw the point to buyiung something while I'm traveling that I could just as easily buy at home...unless there was a HUGE price difference. But, I much prefer to support the local economy in the ports and get unique souvenirs in the process. My favorite is a feather duster. The woman running this little shop in Mexico was using it to dust the shelves and I convinced her to sell it to me. She thought I was muis loco (sp?) but it's one of my favorite souvenirs.
I also have a small piece of koa wood from Hawaii. It isn't carved, shaped or polished, but I thought that the natural wood grain was beautiful. It was a discarded piece from a wood carver.
Good thing hubby doesn't embarrass easily, since I go around buying the wierdest things.
A Mexican "rain stick" came home with us 20 years ago...a bow and arrow from the Amazon... Somebody once said that my house looks like "early charter company"...if it's jewelry it's funky, beads, etc...One of our favorite things was 4 years ago at every port we bought several t-shirts.. and had them made into a memory quilt for our 50th anniversary... Seriously, everywhere you look in our home are "things" we have bought on vacation from a hand carved cane in Antigua, two typical Portuguese dishes bought in Lisbon, a statue bought at the airport in Manzanillo hidden away... my friend says it has somebodies soul in it..
Every time I go ashore I start asking myself if I am going to buy "something for the next yard sale". Then I wake up to reality---as that's where a lot of the "junk" we have purchased throughout the years has ended up. Better buys are to had back home and I can always go back to the store and "raise a little cane" if the watch stops running or the ring starts to turn a funny color. But you know that just my thoughts. A real gambler doesn't mind dropping a few thousand at the ship's casino as it si "entertainment". Perhaps you look at "shopping" as just entertainment????
Talked with the person that bought the jewelry at H. Stern a few months back and she is 100% happy and pleased with her purchase. Learned that her husband sat on a bench outside the store and to this day does not know how much she paid.
Doesn't matter a dainty single string or triple strings, pearl bracelet is a perfect for those who appreciate classic beauty. A bracelet matches a dress or three-quarter sleeve cardigan perfectly, and it can complete a strand of necklace or a pair of pearl earrings.
its finding that something special, something different that makes shopping the island fun, and i do agree to shop with the local vendors for most items, i think that if it is a large ticket item like a diamond bracelette for example then it might be a good idea to go with the stores that the cruise line recommends, the cruise line will back the quailty of the purchase if you register your purchase with the cruise line, like everything else its INFORMATION that is the key, have a general idea of what prices are for similar items back home, if the price can't be beat on the island then go for it.
I'm not sure if this is the correct place to pose this question. We are preparing for our first cruise: myself, my two sisters, and our DH's. It's my job to do the research for everyone re: the excursions/destinations....(which island for the best shopping, beaches, snorkling, adventures) so... out of the following islands which do you think has the best shopping? San Juan, Puerto Rico; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; St. John's, Antigua; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Croix. These message boards are a blessing!
A lot depends on what you are shopping for. I am not much of a shopper, so don't even remember what it is like in most of those ports. But, St Lucia has a resident artist who does the most amazing wood carvings. There is usually a ship's tour that will take you up to his studio, name is Eudovich if I spelled that right. I bought a flat carving, about 8X10 that I love for around $50, but if I ever go back, I am going for the higher priced pieces. I have always regretted not buying one that I saw. They will ship to your home for you and I can still "see" right where it would go.
"Talked with the person that bought the jewelry at H. Stern a few months back and she is 100% happy and pleased with her purchase. Learned that her husband sat on a bench outside the store and to this day does not know how much she paid." THAT IS SO FUNNY.. The first thing I wanted to do when I got to Manaus was to go to H. Stern...and it didn't take us long to grab one of their drivers and go over to the Tropicana Hotel where the store was located.. Yes, I know the benches where the womans husband sat..lol..and the delightful Scottish sales lady was delightful, but Parrot Pop just wouldn't go for the piece I wanted.. He said i could eat for the rest of the year or have the piece... That's okay.. when we stopped at the Opera House I ran across the street to a local shop and bought two native necklaces.. The wild part is that in Santarem... I went to the flea market at the end of the dock and bought four pairs of native semi precious polished stone necklaces ..each stone wrapped in gold colored wire at ...$7.00 each and receive raves everytime I wear the white stone with either the amethyst, lapus or a green...An elderly cruiser at the table with me was quite knowledgable about stones and said at the original price of $10.00 each they were a steal..