What Should You Not Buy on a Cruise

What Should You Not Buy on a Cruise: A Guide to Avoiding Regrettable Purchases

Cruises are a popular choice for vacationers seeking relaxation, entertainment, and exploration. With numerous onboard shops and enticing sales pitches, it’s easy to get caught up in the shopping frenzy. However, there are certain items that you should think twice about purchasing on a cruise. In this article, we will explore what you should avoid buying and why, helping you make informed choices during your next cruise vacation.

1. Electronics: While it may be tempting to purchase the latest gadgets or accessories on a cruise, it’s often better to wait until you’re on land. Onboard prices tend to be higher, and you may not have the opportunity to compare models or ask for expert advice.

2. Jewelry: Jewelry stores on a cruise ship might offer duty-free prices, but the quality and value of the pieces can be questionable. It’s advisable to purchase jewelry from reputable stores on land, where you can have better assurance of authenticity and quality.

3. Artwork: Many cruise ships have art auctions or onboard galleries, but be cautious when purchasing artwork. Limited time for inspection, lack of expert opinions, and potential for inflated prices can make it a risky investment. Take your time to research the artist and consider purchasing artwork from trusted galleries or dealers instead.

4. Perfumes and Cosmetics: While duty-free shops on a cruise ship may seem like a great place to buy perfumes and cosmetics, it’s important to remember that there are limits on liquids when traveling. Additionally, these items can often be found at comparable or even lower prices at local stores.

5. Medications: If you forgot to pack essential medications, buying them on a cruise ship might be your only option. However, be prepared to pay a premium price. It’s always wise to bring an ample supply of any necessary medications from home to avoid unnecessary expenses.

6. Clothing: Although the onboard boutiques offer a variety of clothing options, prices can be significantly higher than what you would find on land. If you’re in need of new attire, consider waiting until you reach a port of call where you can explore local shops and find unique items at better prices.

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7. Alcohol: While it’s true that many cruise lines offer duty-free alcohol, it’s worth noting that you’ll have to carry it throughout your trip, potentially incurring extra baggage fees. Moreover, alcohol can often be found at reasonable prices at local stores, allowing you to enjoy a wider selection and avoid the hassle of transporting it.

8. Accessories and Souvenirs: Cruise ship boutiques are filled with an array of accessories and souvenirs, including branded merchandise. However, these items are often marked up, and you can find similar souvenirs or accessories at a lower cost in the ports of call.

9. Watches: Luxury watches are frequently showcased on cruise ships, but the prices may not be as competitive as you’d expect. Shopping for watches on land provides more options, better pricing, and the opportunity to consult with experts before making a significant purchase.

10. Spa Treatments: While indulging in a spa treatment can be a relaxing experience, be cautious of the inflated prices onboard. Similar treatments can often be found at local spas for more reasonable rates, allowing you to enjoy the same level of pampering without breaking the bank.

11. Duty-Free Cigarettes: If you’re a smoker, purchasing duty-free cigarettes on a cruise may seem like a good deal. However, it’s important to note that some countries have restrictions on the quantity of cigarettes you can bring back, and you may be subject to additional taxes and duties upon disembarkation.

12. Wi-Fi Packages: Staying connected while at sea is important for many, but onboard Wi-Fi packages can be quite costly. Instead of purchasing an expensive package, consider utilizing free Wi-Fi in ports of call or disconnecting from the online world temporarily to fully enjoy your cruise experience.

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13. Photos: Cruise ships often have photographers capturing your every move, but buying their photos can quickly add up. Instead, take advantage of the ship’s photo opportunities and then use your own camera or phone to capture memories. You can also find better deals on photo printing services once you return home.

Common Questions and Answers:

1. Can I return items purchased on a cruise ship?
Return policies vary by cruise line and specific onboard shops. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the return policy before making a purchase.

2. Are there any exceptions to the rule of not buying electronics onboard?
In some cases, cruise lines may offer exclusive deals or limited-time promotions that make purchasing electronics more appealing. However, it’s still recommended to research prices and compare with land-based stores before making a decision.

3. What about duty-free alcohol?
If you have your heart set on a particular alcoholic beverage that is difficult to find at home, purchasing duty-free alcohol on a cruise ship can be a reasonable option. Just be mindful of baggage limitations and potential extra fees.

4. Can I haggle prices at onboard shops?
Haggling is generally not encouraged at onboard shops. The prices are typically fixed, and attempts to negotiate may not be well-received.

5. Are there any exceptions to the rule of not buying jewelry onboard?
If you’re purchasing jewelry as a souvenir or for sentimental reasons rather than investment, buying onboard may be acceptable. Just remember to exercise caution and research prices beforehand.

6. Can I find unique souvenirs onboard?
While cruise ship boutiques offer a range of souvenirs, they often lack the authenticity and uniqueness of items found in local markets or shops at port destinations.

7. Are there any advantages to buying onboard?
Cruise ships often offer convenience and exclusivity, particularly for limited-edition merchandise or branded items. If these factors are important to you, purchasing onboard may be worthwhile.

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8. Is it safe to buy medications onboard?
While cruise ship medical facilities are generally reliable, it’s always recommended to bring your necessary medications from home to avoid potential issues or inflated prices.

9. Can I find local products onboard?
Some cruise lines make an effort to showcase local products in their onboard boutiques, allowing you to support local artisans and purchase authentic items. However, prices may still be higher compared to buying directly from local shops.

10. Can I get a refund if I change my mind about a purchase?
Refunds for change of mind are not guaranteed and are subject to the specific refund policy of the cruise line and onboard shop. It’s best to inquire about this before making a purchase.

11. Are there any exceptions to the rule of not buying spa treatments onboard?
If you find a particular spa treatment or package that is discounted or exclusive to the cruise ship, it may be worth considering. However, do your research and compare prices to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

12. Can I get a better deal on Wi-Fi packages if I purchase in advance?
Some cruise lines offer discounted pre-purchased Wi-Fi packages. If staying connected is a priority for you, it’s worth exploring these options to save some money.

13. Should I avoid all onboard purchases?
Not necessarily. While it’s advisable to exercise caution and research pricing, there may be certain items or experiences that are unique to the cruise ship and can enhance your vacation. Ultimately, it’s about finding a balance between indulging in onboard offerings and making informed purchasing decisions.

In conclusion, being mindful of what you should avoid buying on a cruise can help you make informed choices and avoid regrettable purchases. By doing your research, comparing prices, and considering alternative options, you can make the most out of your cruise vacation without emptying your wallet.