Shopping in St. Maarten

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St. Maarten, the Dutch side is great for shopping when you are on a cruise, all the guests will wait for St. Maarten to shop and there are no surprises as to why.  The Harbour Point Village shopping is literally a stone’s throw away from where the ships dock.  Large tax & duty-free haven with a huge square foot Diamonds International with the largest selection of diamonds, Tanzanite’s and brands you could hope for.  Everyone goes there first, Crown of Light Diamonds exclusive to this location, 90 facets unlike a traditional diamond with 58 facets.  Extra facets for more sparkle for your money, traditional round in all shapes and sizes.  Some of my favorite brands are in Diamonds International, St. Maarten there is John Hardy, this has been my favorite brand since being introduced over 15 years ago.  I bought and still own the Batu Lava sapphire set and I still wear it regularly, well made, long lasting beautiful hand made jewelry.  John Hardy is still hand made to this day in Bali Indonesia where you can visit their workshops if you contact them in advance, pure quality and beauty.

Tax and Duty Free…

Some of my favorite watch brands are in St. Maarten such as Hublot, Breitling, Cartier, Bulgari and Raymond Weil, available at Majesty Jewelers celebrating 20 years of service .  Majesty also has Hearts on Fire diamonds, the worlds most perfectly cut diamond and Kabana beautiful jewelry made from high quality Australian Opal, Mother of Pearl, Spiney Oyster shell and Gold in Quartz, such good quality and stunning designs

Souvenir shopping…

  • Del Sol Everything changes color IN THE SUN, known as the “FUN” store!
  • Cariloha Bamboo apparel, everything is made from bamboo, SOFT, COOL, CLEAN and GREEN
  • Check out the Guavaberry, the national liquor of St. Maarten

I tell you another great family business is Kay’s Jewelers , if I may I would like to share a little story one of my Shopping Lecturer’s told me that happened to one of his guests on board a very big British Cruise line.

I was just sitting in the Coffee Port on board the ship when approached by a wee Scottish Wummin & husband, both with broad grins. What started as a 5-minute conversation ended up as a 50 min chat.

In short, guests on first cruise, first time to the Caribbean, on to their 2nd week on the cruise, looking at all the beautiful jewelry ashore but let me know each day that she had not yet seen anything with a Wow Factor, some very nice things but no Wow Factor.

Sent them into shop in St Maarten, again, some very nice items but nothing with Wow according to her. Met them in port and walked them into Kay’s and introduced them to Kevin, one of the most experienced guys there. After a while chatting, she informs him that she has been looking around the islands but still has not seen the Wow. He says ” I will show you Wow ” gets a ruby ring approx. $2,000 which she loves.  Shows her after a while a diamond ring approx. $1,200 which she also loves.  She can’t decide which but insists she cannot afford both, absolute limit of her budget is $2,000.  “OK what year were you married Kevin asks”?  “1983” she says, having done the mental arithmetic calculation he tells her.  “Here is what I will do for you, so you never forget where you bought your Wow ring and always remember how much you paid for it.  I will do both rings for 1983 GBP ($2,617) same year as your Wedding”.  “Her eyes lit up, shake hands, absolutely delighted, has not stopped smiling with her rings now for 24 hrs.   As a gift for the husband to buy a matching ring he offers a good price plus a leather jewelry roll.  He does not go for that, spent too much already.  When they return to collect the rings, the wife offers to buy the jewelry roll but is informed that these are not for sale, unfortunately.  Shame as he really loved it and would have paid $40 for it.

When she gets back to the room with her bag and rings, she discovers he has put in the bag, a Kay’s baseball hat and tucked inside…yes, the jewelry roll!

Beyond delighted, made the cruise, worked in retail for years, never seen any customer service like it, back home next week to tell all friends going on a cruise of where to go etc. etc. 

By John Dale

Isn’t that a great story?  I just had to share this with you.  This is my mate John Dale one of the best Shopping Lecturer’s in the business, from Scotland and a great story teller.  Tell us some more John…

Look how close the ships dock to Diamonds International.

Final Word…

There are some great places to visit in St. Maarten, a lot of guests go to the trouble of taking a shuttle or taxi over to the French side to visit the airport as seen on TV. This is where you can stand on the beach and be blasted by the airplanes or visit the nudist beach.  After years of visiting St. Maarten my advice is if it’s your first time to St. Maarten stay close to the ship on the Dutch side there are beaches, restaurants and shopping. With only one day it’s not worth sitting in a taxi all day to travel for hours to get to the French side.  Think about it your there for one day with the best shopping in the Caribbean and a great beach right there where the ship docks why would you spend practically all day in a taxi trundling over to the French side?  Not worth it, save that for your next visit or if you visit for a long weekend or week. Or if you have been to St. Maarten a million times then make a very early start and make sure you head back 2 hours before you need to get back on the ship.  Many guests have missed the ship due to traffic congestion. Even though St. Maarten is an island there are only a couple of roads back to the ship and one has a bridge to let the sail boats in and out, if this bridge is up then you can be stuck for quite some time in traffic.  Just watch the video of the planes taking off its the best angle. Enjoy a exciting day or shopping, lunch and beach right there where the ship docks, fabulous.

It’s all about the Champagne Daaaarrhhing….

I’m Melissa, I’ve been recommending shopping to Cruise ship and River Cruise guests for over 22 years. I love shopping in the Caribbean, Alaska, and European destinations. I develop shopping programs for Cruise lines, and I enjoy sharing all my recommendations with you. I hope you have a perfect day shopping, eating and drinking ashore during your cruise.

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