Nowadays cruise ships fulfill all types of desires. There's something for the thrill-seekers, entertainment-lovers, spa-goers and even the shopaholics. Aboard every cruise ship is a designated shopping area, usually referred to as the mall. Here you will find a range of duty-free shopping, meaning purchases without local value added tax (VAT). From designer clothes and accessories to top-shelf liquor and the latest electronics, these are the cruise lines offering the best duty-free shopping on the seven seas.
Forget you're at sea when strolling through the Central Park and the Royal Promenade on Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class fleets. As the world's largest passenger ships, you are in for a treat. Allure of the Seas has a shopping area that transcends you into a high-class mall with well-known brands like Guess and Coach. Anthem of the Seas features fine jewelry like Regalia and timepieces from Cartier. They also offer a special edition Royal Caribbean watch from TAG Heuer.
While these ships have yet to grace Australian waters, Ovation of the Seas sails locally during summer and boasts the incredible Royal Esplanade and The Via shopping areas. Featuring brands like Cartier, BVLGARI and Hublot, you will shop till you drop.
Cunard's shopping areas showcase celebrated British luxury brands across seven boutiques. The Royal Arcade is modeled after London's Burlington Arcade. Get your hands on brands like Harrods, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton without paying tax. Limited edition pieces from Waterford, Swarovski and Faberge can be found at the Cunardia Museum Shop.
This cruise line takes shopping to a new level by providing free shopping seminars and special sales. Find high-end couture and exotic jewellery in the onboard boutiques and art galleries selling original work from well-known artists. Daily auctions take place if you want to bring home a piece of art. Left something behind? No need to worry, the shops stock toiletries, beach accessories, all-weather clothing and more. Take advantage of the Port Shopping Consultants to learn about the best shopping at designated ports.
The best shopping on cruise ships based in Australia are the Shops of Princess. You will find designer brands like Ray Ban, OMEGA, TAG Heuer, Chanel, Dior and much more. Shop unique local, destination products to bring home as souvenirs and find premium beauty products. Highly-trained specialists are available to ensure the best possible shopping experience. Look for Princess's new ship, Majestic for the cruise line's best shops yet. With tax-free savings up to 30% off suggested U.S. retail prices, you may need an extra suitcase for your new purchases.
Drool over the latest Michael Kors handbags and accessories aboard the Celebrity Eclipse and purchase without paying exorbitant added-on taxes. Celebrity is known for its luxurious shopping plaza with prominent European style. Here you will find high-end boutiques offering designer brands such as Armani, Versace, Calvin Klein and more. For exclusive brands like Bvlgari, Omega and Breitling climb aboard Celebrity Silhouette or Celebrity Reflection. In addition to top brands, Celebrity ships offer top-of-the-line electronics at their Innovations Store, an authorized Apple Reseller. Purchase iPads, MacBooks, digital cameras, and the latest gadgets on the market.
Image: Justin Ennis, Flickr Creative Commons
Disney Cruise ships are partnering up with designer brands like Dooney & Bourke to offer exclusive shopping at White Caps duty-free shops. Purchase sundries, perfumes, fine jewelry and more. Visit Sea Treasures to find nautical apparel and collectibles only available at sea. Find costumes for adults and children at Mickey's Mainsail and walk out like a princess from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique salon.
High end taste
For the most luxurious finds at sea, shop at La Boutique aboard Paul Gauguin cruise ships. Find exquisite Tahitian handicrafts, local arts and even Tahitian vanilla. The most prized collection is the Tahitian black pearls designed specially for the cruise line by Kelly Hinerava Bailey and includes necklaces, bracelets and earrings at prices up to $40,000.
Feature image: Prayitno Photography, Flickr Creative Commons