11 issues you must by no means purchase on a cruise ship (or in port)

Editor’s word: This can be a recurring put up, usually up to date with new info and presents.

Onboard cruise ship retailers are arrange with a number of notions in thoughts.

First, there are issues you could have left at residence that you’ll find yourself needing — and that even the very best packer has their suitcase misplaced by an airline often.

Second, some folks present up after which notice that formal nights actually do require, you understand, formal apparel.

Third, after a few gloomy and grey wet days at sea in a row, some shopaholics will purchase absolutely anything to get a success of that “solely on trip” feeling.

In ports, there are different pitfalls to keep away from — merchandise that received’t make it previous your native customs officer; these which can be laborious to move residence; and cheap (learn: poorly made) tchotchkes which can be prone to break earlier than you even put the important thing in your entrance door.

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Right here’s our recommendation on what to keep away from when the purchasing bug bites in your subsequent cruise trip (particularly for these of you who’ve a tough time preserving your pockets in your pocket if you’re touring – and you understand who you’re).

What to not purchase on board



Are you a world-renowned connoisseur of artwork from completely different time durations with an encyclopedic data of minor artists and their lesser-known works? We didn’t assume so.

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So until you wish to spend hours frantically doing internet searches for the worth of art work, simply steer clear of these onboard artwork auctions — irrespective of how unhealthy the climate will get or how crowded the pool deck turns into on sea days.

Associated: 15 ways in which cruising newbies waste cash on ships


Primary hygiene merchandise can be found within the ship’s present store for the determined — and sometimes priced accordingly. If you happen to’re heading into port within the morning and you’ll wait and purchase the product at an everyday outdated drugstore, you’ll get a a lot better deal.

Additionally, curating a set of toothpaste, shampoo, nail recordsdata and sunscreens from around the globe will jazz up your medication cupboard if you get residence and function fixed reminders of your worldwide adventures.

An alternative choice: Contemplate shopping for journey sizes that may stay in your suitcase’s toiletry bag completely to stop future mishaps.

‘Particular’ spa remedies

Positive, a day within the steam room and sauna may very well enable you calm down, and a few pricier cruise traces have wonderful onboard massages and facials.

Nevertheless, no matter which ship you sail on, keep away from spa remedies with claims that wouldn’t be medically sanctioned again residence, resembling Ionithermie, which claims that will help you reduce weight.

Associated: The 6 finest cruise ship spas

‘Medi’ spa remedies

Some cruise traces supply medi-spa remedies however do learn the tremendous print to be taught concerning the required coaching. You could be stunned to listen to that the “medi” terminology is a bit deceptive and most ships will not be crusing with medical doctors who carry out these remedies.

Any remedies in spas identified for the laborious promote


We additionally advocate avoiding any therapeutic massage or facial that comes with a tough promote.

How are you aware if you happen to’re going to face an aggressive lecture on the merchandise you completely can’t depart with out buying? If the spa received’t promise whole silence throughout your remedy, you could find yourself feeling like a sitting duck for a gross sales pitch.

Manicure and pedicures

These salon providers be surprisingly marked up. Additionally, it takes only one bump from a wave to lead to an imperfect end. Our opinion? Take the time to get your polish carried out at residence or search for a well-reviewed spot in port, however skip the onboard nail salon.

Associated: 16 errors cruisers make on cruise ship sea days

Valuable gems

If you happen to’re not already an professional in evaluating gems, a cruise shouldn’t be the very best time to make a big-ticket jewellery buy.

Once you’re dropping 1000’s of {dollars}, you wish to be sure you’re getting the standard you’re anticipating. Your thoughts is simply elsewhere on a cruise — from the pool and the new tub to the cocktail lounge or what’s on tonight’s menu.

In spite of everything, who needs to spend a sunny afternoon indoors researching gemstone cuts and carats?

What to not purchase in port


Souvenirs from the port terminal

From low cost hammocks in Mexico to cheap followers in Spain, the souvenirs you’ll usually discover in trinket-filled retailers are designed for the fast grab-and-go.

You went on a shore tour and didn’t depart time to buy your nephew? Decide up one thing on the terminal. The issue is that the standard there may be usually low.

If you happen to can, wander into city for just a bit whereas to select up one thing marketed to locals moderately than vacationers.


Many cruise traces — together with Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Oceania Cruises — will confiscate port-side liquor purchases and return them to you at disembarkation. Luxurious traces, resembling Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Silversea Cruises, will allow you to deliver alcohol on board if you happen to like.

Nonetheless, shopping for liquor to deliver residence comes with dangers and annoyances until you’re cruising proper into your private home port. (You weren’t planning on filling your baggage with Tahitian vanilla rum, had been you?)

That stated, if you happen to’re on a river cruise in France that goes by way of your favourite wine area, we perceive if you happen to make an effort to safe your favourite bottles to get pleasure from again residence.

Associated: Can I deliver alcohol on a cruise ship? A line-by-line information

Cured meats and gentle or uncooked cheese

Attempting to sneak culinary specialties resembling Jamon Iberico from Barcelona and raw-milk Comte from France by way of U.S. customs simply isn’t definitely worth the stress.

Our recommendation? Eat your fill in eating places whereas on trip — or as a picnic in your cabin’s balcony — and follow non-controversial edible souvenirs, resembling chocolate.

Recent fruit

Customs additionally received’t let you deliver recent fruit into the nation. In some disembarkation ports you’ll discover bins with indicators that threaten fines if you happen to don’t dump any recent fruit you could have tucked away in your baggage.

Sure, the bananas, mangos, pineapples and coconuts within the Caribbean could also be ripe and candy, however the fines are wealthy, too.

Search for frozen drinks constructed from recent fruit, moderately than powders or syrups, if you’re in port so you will get your fill of the actual factor earlier than returning residence.

Planning a cruise? Begin with these tales:

Further reporting by Erica Silverstein.

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