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Love to shop? Here are the best cruise ports for shopaholics

Love to shop? Here are the best cruise ports for shopaholics

For the shopaholics among us, there’s no greater satisfaction than waking up to a view of an unfamiliar place, with a plethora of fabulous new shops to explore.

While it’s refreshing to get away from Aussie shores and sample goods from somewhere other than Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, not all ports are created equal! When it comes to retail bliss on the international scene, a few destinations stand above the rest. Add these places to your cruising bucket list, save your pennies, and get ready to splurge upon landing, bringing home memories you can hang in your closet.

Auckland

Enjoy Auckland’s iconic skyline while shopping in the port.

Just across the ditch from Australia is the City of Sails in New Zealand. Auckland Central is forever growing with new shops popping up constantly as part of the new Commercial Bay Retail Centre, including a recently opened four-storey H&M. The best part is that getting to these great shops is easy.

Just a stone's throw from where the ship docks is the vivacious Viaduct. After you grab your caffeine hit and brunch from one of the many restaurants in the Viaduct, Queen Street is your next destination. Downtown Auckland boasts the likes of Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, to name a few. A wander up Queen Street leads you to New Zealand fashionista chain stores, passing various souvenir shops along the way. It must be noted that the souvenir shops in Auckland aren’t full of just keyrings and postcards, they are bursting with greenstone, merino wool and the famous manuka honey. When you’ve milked Queen Street dry, cross over to High Street. Running parallel to Queen Street, it has a totally different vibe, with smaller specialty shops and boutiques.

Wellington

The hip city of Wellington is a top shopping port

One of the humbler cruise ports is Wellington, New Zealand’s cultural hub and capital city. What Wellington lacks in size it definitely makes up for in style.

With its hipster vibe, Wellington is where boutique meets affordable, making it absolutely necessary to purchase something special. Walking up Cuba Street will lead you to an array of shops, gently taking you out of your comfort zone. These quirky shops are up to date with fashion, but the great thing about them is you can often purchase an item of clothing that no one else has. Grab a healthy lunch and be sure to check out Cosmic; even though the merchandise is a little out there, the coffee stall inside the shop is fantastic. If you don’t know it already, Kiwis won’t settle for bad coffee.

Nadi

Shop for traditional Fijian gifts when you dock in Nadi

If you want to enjoy the heat between the air-conditioned shops, head to Port Denarau, Fiji: the gateway to the Yasawa Islands.

This luxurious port in the South Pacific is ideal for those wanting to grab a traditional Fijian sarong to throw over the latest swimwear from one of the designer shops. You can wear the memories of this magically friendly place if you head to one of the Fijian jewellery shops. Choose one of the tropical pearls to look as fabulous as you feel following this relaxed shopping experience. Take your time meandering amongst the shops, stopping along the way to taste the local cuisine or pop into one of the salons to truly unwind. Enjoy the slower pace of shopping - after all, it’s always island time in Port Denarau.

Ho Chi Minh City

Dock at Ho Chi Minh City to shop in this colourful port

For those wanting a pleasant culture shock, it’s time to try out South East Asia. Don’t worry if harem pants and Asian beer tops aren’t for you as Ho Chi Minh City has so much more to offer.

Often referred to as the ‘Capital of the South’, Ho Chi Minh City is renowned for its bustling markets. Even though the city can be chaotically busy, the smiley locals make it enjoyable. If you arrive very early, you can appreciate the locals buying their produce for the day ahead. Vietnam is famous for its silk, made in Northern Vietnam but bought and sold in Ho Chi Minh City. In this colourful metropolis, you can pick up an exquisite silk dress or suit, made to order, at a considerably low cost. A walk around the beautiful fabric market is worth the experience in itself. If the markets are too hectic, head to one of the hundreds of grand shopping malls, which feature real designer shops. Depending on what you want to buy and your budget, there is bound to be a shopping mall or market to suit you.

Phuket

Shop in Phuket, a Thai port in the heart of paradise

Thailand isn’t just known for its crystal-clear waters, palm trees and exceptionally flavoursome food, it also stands out as one of the best places to grab a bargain.

Phuket offers a wide range of markets and shopping malls. Escape the heat and get lost in Patong’s Jungceylon shopping mall. Stores include the Robinson department store: shelves stocked full of brand names such as Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani. There are also markets for different days and occasions, and the playful locals make it near impossible to resist a bargain. Whether you want the top brand clothing stores or fancy a spot of shopping for gold, gems or Thai arts, you are destined to find it here in this shopping haven.

So where in the world will you be shopping first? Bag yourself a bargain and check out our current sales to hit the high seas.

From party cruises in the Baltic to a classy Cunard voyage, I’ve been lucky enough to experience the full spectrum of cruise life. Onboard you’ll probably find me by the pool with a doorstop sized book in one hand and a mojito in the other, or sampling an array of delicious foods.

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