I'm going to go against the flow here but with a word of caution. In order to be a cruiseline authorized shop you have to pay a very very high anual premium to the cruiselines for that right and for them to direct their business to your shop. I have a friend with a shop in Grand Cayman. This couple refuses to pay what they consider extorsion rates to the cruise line for such an oppt'y at more clients. The main reason they refuse is their shop has a very good reputation and thrives without it. Also they would have to mark their products up to the point of being far less competitive or struggle to make a decent living if they keep the pricing low enough to compete with those who do not pay the fees. There are some disreputable business owners there as there are here, probably more there. Just be aware you're paying an artifically high price to cover these costs by patronizing the approved vendors. If you're careful and knowledgable there may well be better values elsewhere. But with that said, if you do shop unapproved shops it's buyer beware, no guarantees. I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with extrodinarillarly large purchases with just anyone there.
Thank you TrvlPro,
You said what I was trying to say without coming right out and saying it. I'll take the information, but I'll still shop where ever I want. Some of you have already read my opinion elsewhere about "high pressured sales." I look at the Destination Shopping Specialist as a wolf in sheep's clothing. She is only looking to line her own pocket. If anyone has doubts about this, I suggest you read the job description in the PPI link under "employment" on the Carnival website.
I'm going off topic at the risk of violating the rules for a moment, please forgive. Everyone seems to think buying jewelry at cruise ports of call is a better value than they can get at home. In my younger days I worked at a pawn shop briefly. Was a valuable education. Those big fancy jewelers you see selling very expensive hand crafted items, every city has some. There are some in Houston where I live as well. I discovered while working the pawn shops they not only buy diamonds from the normal channels they actually have staff hitting pawn shops on a very regular basis buying stones. They bring their loupes and inspect rings, pendants and other jewelry pawned looking for quality stones. They care nothing about the pawned engagment ring or brooch the setting doesn't mean anything. When they find quality stone they buy the ring. They melt the setting and re-set the stones in the multi-thousand or multi-tens of thousands jewelry they then sell. A diamond is a diamond is a diamond, same with colored stones. That amazing ring you have made may have ten peoples engagement rings in it. I got pretty good through some self education in determining what the difference is between a run of the mill diamond and a high end stone and have done what they do on many occasions for my wife. It can at times cost very little to buy these items especially if it's in a particularly ugly setting that no one is interested in. Some pawn shops are better than others at knowing the value of such stones. If you spend some time you'll find a few that are clueless and will sell such items dirt cheap.
Frase -- I appreciate the info on the poor conditions for the horses. I often have more respect for animals than people and found the reality that you presented very depressing. I get teary-eyed and feel sick to my stomach when I think about it. I will spread the word and will try to make a difference.
I have seen some pretty sad conditions on Cozumel regarding the horses. I have seen them tied up to trees without water and food in the sun. LHP's thoughts about more humane treatment of these animals is on the mark. IMHO.
I think we should move on now before this turns into a PETA debate.