Cruise Shopping 101

From designer duds to specialty shops, cruise ships boast a spectacular shopping scene: and they have a captive audience, you! We’re giving you a first-hand look into cruise shopping, so the next time you set sail you can easily navigate the world of retail; alleviating merchandise mayhem!

What types of shops are onboard?

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The better question may be: what shops are not onboard a cruise ship? Most major cruise lines offer just about anything and everything you may need (or want). Boutique shops, kids clothing, luxury jewelry, souvenirs, fragrance, games, even artwork are available to satisfy your retail wishes. Shops vary among cruise lines, but most ships encompass a large variety of luxury retailers including, Chanel, Michael Kors, TAG, Gucci, Furla and more. 

Bonus! These items are duty-free!

What is duty-free?

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Bottom line? Better prices. Not to be confused with tax-free, duty-free means that the usual taxes imposed on imported items (cigarettes, alcohol, perfume, fine jewelry) are exempt from the payment of individual local taxes(or duties). Meaning, if you are buying items internationally, you are essentially paying taxes twice; once in the country where the items are purchased and again when you bring your merchandise back to the U.S. When you shop duty-free, you are exempt from taxes (VAT) on the items bought internationally. Remember, shops are only open when the ship is in international waters, 50 miles after leaving port. Shops close when the ship is in port.

Is there a limit to how much I can bring back?

Yes. You can bring up to $800 worth of duty-free goods back to the U.S. without paying additional fees. The $800 allotment is per person. So if you’re traveling with kids, they also can bring back $800 worth of merchandise.

How do I know if I am getting a good deal?

By knowing the average retail price of the items you are interested in before you set sail, you will immediately be able to discern if your duty-free items are a good deal. A helpful travel website; Duty-Free Addict, compares duty-free prices online. 

Watch for sales listed in the daily cruise newsletter and “trunk sales” as well — these flash sales offer great prices, especially on gemstones and fine jewelry. The best part about shopping onboard a cruise ship is the price you see is the price you pay. There are no additional taxes added on. 

What duty-free items should I buy?

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Now is the time to buy those rare gemstones or that fancy watch you’ve been eying. Fragrance, cosmetics, designer handbags, alcohol, and cigarettes are the most purchased duty-free items.

Cruise companies profile passengers. Most likely, the stores on board already fit your personality. Couple this with great prices and duty-free merchandise and savvy shoppers can typically score some great deals.

Explore the Magic of Miami Before Your Cruise

Shopping in Bal Harbour, golfing at the Biltmore, lounging at Lummus Park Beach. These are just a few great reasons to get to your port city early if you are sailing out of Miami. And we have plenty more! So add on a few extra days to explore the magic of Miami before (or after) your next cruise.

Shopping in Bal Harbour

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he open-air shopping mall is known around the world for its unprecedented selection of high-end brands including Chanel, Dior, Prada, Balenciaga, and so much more. The chic scene includes a bouquet of European style cafes in a beautiful, tropical garden setting.

Golfing at the Biltmore

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The idyllic Biltmore Golf Course played host to The Miami-Biltmore Open, one of the richest prize purse professional golf tournaments of its time. Today the 18 hole, 71 par course draws a bespoke crowd to it lushly landscaped grounds set to the backdrop of the iconic hotel.

Lummus Park Beach

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Of course, you have to visit South Beach, but more specifically, the storied Lummus Park Beach. On one side of the beach lies the art deco cafes, boutiques, and bars of Ocean Drive, on the other; the famous candy-colored lifeguard stands and crystal blue waters. Take a stroll along the beach walk, let the kids play in the playground or explore the many water activities from parasailing to jet skiing at the famed beach.

Try Authentic Cuban Cuisine at Versailles

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Homemade croquetas, empanadas, guava pastries, and ropa vieja earns Versailles the moniker  “World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant.” Serving traditional Cuban cuisine since it opened in 1971, Versailles quickly became the unofficial town square for Cuban residents of Miami. And today it still embodies the essence of the vibrant country and rich cultural heritage of Cuba.

Explore Miami Design District

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The Miami Design District has it all: innovative fashion, architecture and design. Check out Art Angels, the go-to gallery for the chic and elite and the Frei Otto Tent, a tribute to the 2015 Pritz Architecture Prize Winner Frei Otto. After, make sure to grab coffee and pastries at Dior’s new Pop Up Café, on the garden terrace of its Miami Design District woman’s boutique.

Dine at Amara at Paraiso

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Bold Latin flavors married with coastal ingredients come alive in James Beard winner Michael Schwartz’s quintessential Miami waterfront restaurant. Menu items such as Banana Leaf Wrapped Cobia, House Made Chorizos and Cashew Chocolate Torte explode with innovation.


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