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11 things you should never buy on a cruise ship (or in port)

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

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

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

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

In ports, there are different pitfalls to keep away from — merchandise that gained’t make it previous your native customs officer; these which might be arduous to move dwelling; and cheap (learn: poorly made) tchotchkes which might be more likely 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 whenever you’re touring – and you already know who you might be).

What to not purchase on board



Are you a world-renowned connoisseur of artwork from totally different time intervals with an encyclopedic information of minor artists and their lesser-known works? We didn’t suppose so.

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So except you need to spend hours frantically doing internet searches for the worth of paintings, simply steer clear of these onboard artwork auctions — regardless of how dangerous the climate will get or how crowded the pool deck turns into on sea days.

Associated: 15 ways that cruising newbies waste money on ships


Fundamental hygiene merchandise can be found within the ship’s present store for the determined — and infrequently 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 If you happen to’re heading into port within the morning and you’ll wait and purchase the product at an everyday outdated drugstore, you’ll get a a lot better deal.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 world wide will jazz up your medication cupboard whenever you get dwelling and function fixed reminders of your worldwide adventures.

Another choice: Think about shopping for journey sizes that may stay in your suitcase’s toiletry bag completely to forestall future mishaps.

‘Particular’ spa therapies

Certain, a day within the steam room and sauna may very well provide help to chill out, and a few pricier cruise strains have wonderful onboard massages and facials.

Nonetheless, no matter which ship you sail on, keep away from spa therapies with claims that wouldn’t be medically sanctioned again dwelling, comparable to Ionithermie, which claims that will help you drop a few pounds.

Associated: The 6 best cruise ship spas

‘Medi’ spa therapies

Some cruise strains supply medi-spa therapies however do learn the effective print to study in regards to the required coaching. It’s possible you’ll be stunned to listen to that the “medi” terminology is a bit deceptive and most ships usually are not crusing with docs who carry out these therapies.

Any therapies in spas identified for the arduous promote

Spa therapy room on Movie star Edge. MICHEL VERDURE/CELEBRITY CRUISES

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

How are you aware in case you’re going to face an aggressive lecture on the merchandise you completely can’t depart with out buying? If the spa gained’t promise complete silence throughout your therapy, 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 finished at dwelling or search for a well-reviewed spot in port, however skip the onboard nail salon.

Associated: 16 mistakes cruisers make on cruise ship sea days

Treasured gems

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

While you’re dropping 1000’s of {dollars}, you need to be sure to’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 outlets are designed for the short grab-and-go.

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

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


Many cruise strains — 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 strains, comparable to Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Silversea Cruises, will allow you to convey alcohol on board in case you like.

Nonetheless, shopping for liquor to convey dwelling comes with dangers and annoyances except you might be cruising proper into your own home port. (You weren’t planning on filling your baggage with Tahitian vanilla rum, have been you?)

That stated, in case you’re on a river cruise in France that goes via your favourite wine area, we perceive in case you make an effort to safe your favourite bottles to get pleasure from again dwelling.

Associated: Can I bring alcohol on a cruise ship? A line-by-line guide

Cured meats and tender or uncooked cheese

Attempting to sneak culinary specialties comparable to Jamon Iberico from Barcelona and raw-milk Comte from France via 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 keep on with non-controversial edible souvenirs, comparable to chocolate.

Contemporary fruit

Customs additionally gained’t permit you to convey contemporary fruit into the nation. In some disembarkation ports you’ll discover bins with indicators that threaten fines in case you don’t dump any contemporary fruit you will 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 constituted of contemporary fruit, somewhat than powders or syrups, whenever you’re in port so you may get your fill of the actual factor earlier than returning dwelling.

Planning a cruise? Begin with these tales:

Further reporting by Erica Silverstein.

Supply: thepointsguy.com

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