My family and I cruised last march on Costa Med. eastern carribean. My 17 year old daughter loved the shopping on our ports and bought many knock off purses. She would like me to bring her back some from the cruise my husband and I are taking on VOS in september. Will I be able to find fake name brand purses such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Gucci on our ports of call on western Carribian? Will the markets be the same as eastern ports?
You will be able to find plenty of knock off designer purses and matching wallets. A lot depends on which islands you will be visiting. In Jamaica and in any of the Mexican ports you will find a LOT of these at the various straw markets. The prices are negotiable so don't be afraid to bargain a bit!
CaribbeanBlue, this might be a good time to tell your story. How does a cruiser get the best deal on jewelry? How does one know they are dealing with a reputable jeweler? What are the best Caribbean Islands to buy jewelry?
I tried to go to your website several times, but it does not open.
I think most of us (loving jewels) are intersted in your advices. I made a good deal in St. Thomas, buying a pair a princess cut, invisible setting, diamond huggies in white gold (about 0,5 ct each) in the Mall close to the harbor. And it was a familiy owned store with really nice people.
And it was a wonderful gift for my 50th birthday two days later.
"How does a cruiser get the best deal on jewelry?" Do your homework prior to your trip. Visit your local jewelers and get an idea of diamond prices, gold prices and colored stone qualities and prices. Go for the best quality you can get for your budget. Set a budget in mind and don't get impulsive and go over your budget. It's easy to over spend once you get into the stores. Practice bargaining tactics on your gfamily at home. Most Americans are not the best at bargaining, their used to paying the tag price. It won't hurt the merchants feelings, they expect it.
"How does one know they are dealing with a reputable jeweler?" Do they offer grading reports with their items from independent sources such as GIA, CGI, EGL etc. Use a credit card for all purchases and keep your receipt. Not all stores offer money back guarantees or any refunds what so ever. Ask what their policy is, and the policy should be printed on the receipt, read it. Ask how long the store has been in business. I advise people to look for the family run shops that have been in business for over ten years. They are looking to have repeat customers and will go the extra mile to make you happy.
"What are the best Caribbean Islands to buy jewelry?" A lot depends on what you are looking for. For large loose diamonds, watches, large tanzanite, alexandrite and high end items your best bet is St Thomas, St Maarten or Aruba. Jamaica is great for set jewelry, designer jewelry and high end watches. (cutrrently Jamaica is offering the best prices on set jewelry as far as value for dollar paid) Mexico is awful for any jewelry with stones, look for silver or gold jewelry. Mexico has had a BIG problem with items not being as stated. (Synthetic stones instead of natural, gold content not as stamped, diamonds grading lower than stated.) The Bahamas is great for designer jewelry and set jewelry.
Summer time is when you will find the best bargains. The stores get most of their new merchandise around Halloween. They are trying real hard to move out as much jewelry over the summer prior to this. They will often accept a loss on an item just to clear it out during the slow summer months. Many people will e-mail their favorite jeweler in the islands over the summer to find what they have on sale and have it shipped to them.
News stations made a big fuss last year about knock-off purses sold in the U.S.. The story was that the purses originated in and funded foreign terrorist groups, such as Al-Quaida. Then again, who can resist a fabulous new cheap purse.