Shopping for jewelry and watches is popular with many cruise ship passengers. On-board boutiques sell jewelry items to fit every budget, including some from high-end and luxury brands. These purchases are typically duty-free; however, it’s important to still declare them to U.S. Customs upon return to the U.S., as there are limits to the personal exemptions allowed. Many people buy jewelry to mark the occasion of the cruise, especially if it’s an anniversary event. Others simply enjoy looking for a good deal. But can you really get a good deal on a cruise ship?
Tips for Buying Jewelry at Sea
Be patient. Many folks have been warned that the markup on jewelry prices is pretty high but oftentimes, waiting a few days into the cruise can be worth it. That’s when the sales start, and shoppers can get a considerable discount.
Be prepared. Learn about what kind of gems are often sold on cruise ships, like tanzanite. Find out which ones have origins in the area your ship is visiting; for example, larimar is found naturally in the Dominican Republic. What kind of settings are popular for different gemstones? Learning what’s common in jewelry design with regard to specific types of gems will help you identify that one-of-a-kind piece more easily.
Set your budget ahead of time. Have a number in mind for jewelry purchases before you board your cruise, and give yourself a little wiggle room. Do some window shopping or online browsing before you leave so that you have an idea of what the going rate is for the types of pieces you’re most interested in, like diamond studs, a gold chain, or a pearl ring.
Negotiate. If you’re looking at a substantial piece and feel confident in your negotiating skills and your knowledge of what you’re buying, you might consider making an offer. Not every on-board jewelry store is willing to make a deal but some of them are. The most important part of negotiating is the hardest, though: are you prepared to walk away?
It might pay to move fast. If you find a piece of jewelry that’s exactly what you’ve been looking for at a price within your budget, it’s worth considering NOT waiting until the end-of-cruise sales start. Cruise ship jewelry shops have limited inventory and some pieces are one-of-a-kind for that sailing. If you wait too long, you might miss out.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice in buying jewelry on board your cruise ship is this: More than getting a good deal, buying jewelry that you really like and will enjoy wearing for years to come is what really matters. If every time you look at your watch, you’re reminded of your first cruise or you catch a glimpse of those diamond studs in your reflection and smile while thinking of that great anniversary trip you took, it’s worth it.