Work a little retail therapy into your vacation. The Caribbean is known as a shopper’s paradise—and it lives up to its reputation. The ports of call are brimming with stores and boutiques selling imported luxury goods and merchandise—think: designer jewelry, brand-name watches, coveted perfumes, high-tech electronics, and more—at prices up to 50 percent less than what you’ll find at stores on the U.S. mainland.
There are many ways to say it—tax-free, duty-free, island markdowns—but it all boils down to savings. The values are so plentiful that sometimes even the savviest shopper doesn’t know where to begin. Are some islands more wallet-friendly than others? Are there any specials this week? And what’s the deal with duty-free?
Let Royal Caribbean’s Port Shopping program be your guide. It’s a comprehensive—and entirely complimentary—service with a multitude of resources available to save you both time and money in the ports of call.
“Duty” refers to a tax or fee placed on goods by the local government. On many Caribbean islands, shop owners aren’t charged a duty on goods sold to someone leaving the country. The sellers pass the savings along to their customers, which is why you can find luxury items by top brands for bargain prices at stores in the ports of call. Whether you’re buying unique gifts for family or friends or treating your deserving self to a shiny souvenir, you’ll find shopping in the ports to be easy, enjoyable, and affordable for any size budget.
And you can shop with confidence. The cruise line’s shopping experts invited only the top stores in each destination to be a part of the Port Shopping program. They are so confident in their selections that they literally guarantee any purchases made at stores listed on the official Port Shopping Map. The map will be delivered to your stateroom the night before your port visit, or you can pick up advance copies at the Port Shopping Talk, which is a must-attend for anyone planning to shop in the ports of call.
Navigate your way to the best island treasures with these three easy steps:
1Go to the Port Shopping Talk
The talk is given by your ship’s resident Port Shopping Guide, the person whose job it is to help you shop in the ports of call. These experts are excellent resources for information and insider tips, which they dole out freely at the Port Shopping Talks and special seminars. (If you’re in the market for a sparkling new object, don’t miss the Diamond & Gemstone Seminar.) You’ll learn how to get the best price for whatever it is you seek, from color-changing T-shirts to limited-edition timepieces.
Your Port Shopping Guide is also the keeper of VIP Cards, which secure an elevated level of service at select stores, and the giver of the Treasure Pack—a free book packed with island offers and giveaways. The talks typically take place on the first sea day of the cruise, but it depends on the itinerary. Check your Cruise Compass when you get onboard for days and times. If you miss the talk, you can always catch replays on Port Shopping Live!, channel 22 on your stateroom TV.
2Bring Your Port Shopping Map Ashore
Only the stores listed on the official Port Shopping Map are backed by the cruise line guarantee. The maps are delivered to your stateroom along with the Cruise Compass every night before a port visit. If you have cell service or a Wi-Fi connection, scan the QR code on the front of the map to open a handy digital version.
3Register Your Purchases
After your port shopping spree, you can easily register your purchases for complete peace of mind. See your ship’s Port Shopping Guide during desk hours (check the Cruise Compass for times and locations), or head to www.RegisterYourPurchases.com and fill out the online registration form.