When it comes to shopping, cruise ships are one of the most overlooked places to find great items and good deals because most things are duty-free. I’ve known this since my first experience shopping on a Puerto Vallarta cruise.
In fact, my favorite time to shop while on a cruise is during the early morning hours when the ship is docked at port. At this time, many things are loaded on board and the gift shops and boutiques are restocked with new items. You can often have the first selection of the goods before anybody else has had time to see them. With that in mind, the top ten things to shop for when on a cruise are as follows.
When gems and precious metals are mined or created and then exported from countries, they often go through many hands before reaching their destination and there are many price markups along the way. Cruise ships visit ports all around the world and for this reason the jewelry stores on board often have jewelry and gems on sale at discounted prices.
Liquor and other types of alcohol on cruise ships and at port can be an excellent souvenir to take home. Alcohol imported into countries is normally subjected to tariffs and customs fees which are bypassed when you buy it on cruise ships or when docked.
For those who are into model hobbies, you can also find a wide variety of wooden ship models and model kits on cruise ships. Ships in bottles and other intricately crafted models can be shopped for in most cruise ship gift shops at amazing prices.
Teak Wood Items
Items made of teak wood are popularly sold at most ports in the Caribbean and other island destinations. As a result, you’ll find many unique handcrafted items and sometimes even small pieces of furniture made of teak wood on most cruise ships.
The boutique shops on cruises always have many types of perfumes gathered from around the world which are often priced much cheaper than what you’ll find on land. Many designer perfumes are available, but also lesser-known brands as well.
Cosmetics are almost always a good choice to buy when shopping on cruises. Well-known makeup brands such as Sephora often have exclusive deals with cruise line companies to sell their products duty-free. Some cruise lines employ makeup artists in their shops as well.
If you enjoy lounging around in flip flops, T-shirts, or shorts, these specific types of clothing and footwear are regular staples found in cruise ship gift shops and while at port. The material used to make these items, such as cotton and rubber, are often much cheaper in other countries and cruise ship patrons directly benefit from this.
Purses and Handbags
Handmade bags, whether they’re made of leather or woven, are regularly found while on cruise ships and at different ports. The boutique stores will normally sell the more recognizable brands, while the gift shops and port stalls often have a more eclectic selection.
Healthcare and Skin Products
Moisturizers and other skin products are often necessities for people when traveling because weather changes can have a major effect on some people’s skin. Cruise lines know this, so you’ll easily find many moisturizers and other healthcare products in the ships on board at prices cheaper than what you’d find in your local pharmacy.
A newer trend taking place on many cruises is high-end art auctions. Many art connoisseurs take cruises each year in order to have access to paintings and other extravagant art pieces with less competitors to bid against.
Cruises can be excellent opportunities for great products at cheap prices. Just remember to check and compare the prices of any items you find to those you’d find back home before purchasing anything.