Cruise Shopping Destinations: 4 Favorites for Cruising Shopaholics

Image of couple doing some vacation shopping. They are at Effy, a well known cruise shopping destination.

Anyone can embark on an uninhibited shopping spree in their home country, but there is something extra special about going on a cruise shopping spree during a vacation. In addition to the basic desire to get souvenirs to commemorate the occasion of your vacation, there is a desire to take advantage of exotic shopping centers that can rival anything you would find in a major US city. We all know about the mental healing powers of so-called “retail therapy,” but vacation shopping therapy is on a whole new level, and worth the price of a cruise all on its own. We have here, for your consumeristic consideration, four of the best places to go for a cruise shopping spree.

For Luxury Item Cruise Shopping: St. Thomas

Our first recommendation for fantastic vacation shopping is Charlotte Amalie, the capital of St. Thomas. Charlotte Amalie’s Main Street is known as a premier shopping destination for tourists, in part because they offer duty-free shopping. Here you can find all kinds of accessories and luxury items, like watches, jewelry, electronics, perfumes, and clothing. The area used to be called Dronningens Gade and it was the original shopping district for the whole city. Today it is lined with high-end shops and restaurants that have taken the place of old pirate warehouses. If you don’t want to venture too far from port to do your cruise shopping, then you can instead head to Havensight Mall. This collection of duty-free shops is located right on the ship dock, and is a great place to do some last minute shopping right before your ship departs. There are also a few authentic Caribbean restaurants here, so you can grab a bite to eat in the middle of your shopping spree!

Related: Cruise to St. Thomas and Check Out These 5 Experiences

For High End Vacation Shopping: St. Maarten/St. Martin 

For our next vacation shopping destination, we have selected the dual island of St. Maarten and St. Martin. The hot spot here is the iconic Front Street in Philipsburg, which stretches a mile long and is lined with a wide variety of shops and stalls for you to pursue and purchase to your heart’s content. The outlets here represent a good variety of options, from high-end designer brand stores, to smaller boutique shops with authentic Caribbean goods. Whether you are looking for a new snazzy outfit to rock during your cruise’s formal night, or a local Caribbean trinket to keep as a souvenir of your vacation, somewhere on this mile of diverse shopping you will be able to find it. While you are in the area, take a break from your cruise shopping spree to visit the Guavaberry Emporium and pick up some of their signature liqueur that is housed in the old governor’s house. You can’t get any more authentically Caribbean than that!

For Handcrafted Vacation Shopping: Jamaica

The island of Jamaica is possibly the most iconic of all Caribbean islands, and it is definitely in the top tier for vacation shopping. Both Ocho Rios and Montego Bay have amazing shopping districts and whether you are looking for local handcrafted artwork or high-end chic fashion, you really can’t go wrong with either one. In Montego Bay, check out Half Moon Shopping Village for designer fashions, cosmetic products, trendy beachwear, and the like. They’ve got around 20 stores and feature brands like Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari, and Cartier for your shopping pleasure. Or you can head to Main Street, the shopping center previously known as The Shoppes at Rose Hall, if you specifically want luxury goods from brands like Dior, Chanel, Cartier, and others. If instead you want to get your cruise shopping done in Ocho Rios, the Taj Mahal Shopping Center is the place to go. They’ve got shops like Cool Runnings and Caribbean Paradise for souvenirs and other gifts like Jamaican CDs, hats, beachwear, rum, and coffee, or Island Craft for straw hats, wood carvings, Jamaican artwork, and other locally made Jamaican artwork. 

For Close to Port Cruise Shopping: Barbados

The final destination on our cruise shopping tour is Barbados, the small island on the Easternmost edge of the Caribbean. Vacation shopping has never been more convenient, as the island’s busiest shopping locale, Broad Street, is a mercifully brief walk from the cruise port. This street is lined with duty-free shopping outlets and department stores like the highly rated Cave Shepherd. You will also find plenty of luxury retailers nearby, selling goods from high caliber brands like Breitling, Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Louis Vuitton in the open-air shopping mecca called Limegrove. One thing to avoid here is black-coral jewelry. This endangered species of coral is illegal in the United States, so unless you are coming from a country where it is allowed, you won’t want to deal with trying to get it through customs!

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