TRAVEL THERE: IS JEWELRY SHOPPING BETTER ON ST THOMAS OR NASSAU
I’ve already told you what a good time we had shopping in St. Thomas. Our tour dropped us off right at Charlotte Amalie’s Main Street and we had about an hour of blissful shopping. There were few shoppers and most of the stores we entered were absolutely gorgeous. With just enough exceptions to prove the rule, all the clerks and shopkeepers were marvelously polite and eager to please. It was like being in shopping heaven. Too bad we really didn’t appreciate how lucky we were.
The Shopping Seminar
Having enjoyed our shopping in St. Thomas so much, we were eager to attend the shopping seminar on our third at-sea day on the Norwegian Epic. We hadn’t planned on shopping at all in Nassau, but we’d caught the island shopping bug. The seminar was interesting, not grippingly so, but a pleasant way to spend the morning. I was hoping for more in the way of drawings and give-aways, but the idea was to get us to spend our money, not to give us anything. I learned a little about a new diamond cut and the new vein of tanzanite. The new tanzanite returned to the lighter colors of the first discovery, rather than retaining the dark colors that have been available most recently.
Our favorite discovery was Del Sol. Everything in their shop changes color in the sun, including the fingernail polish. Deb loved it so much she added it to her shopping list. The most important information was a reminder the shops close at five, a couple of hours before our departure time. We needed to shop in the morning. Over lunch we informed our husband what they should expect.
We arrived in port at noon on the fourth day of the cruise. After our shopping, we planned to head over to Atlantis Resort for a peek and it’s skyline loomed large on the horizon. As soon as the boat docked we dragged our husbands towards Bay Street.
Shopping in Nassau
Shopping Nassau was a whole ‘nother thing and it wasn’t a better thing. The first thing we noticed was how crowded it was. Nassau serves a lot more ships than St. Thomas. Many of the cruises are just three day jaunts out of Miami, devoted primarily to the art of shopping. We’d been told that this larger audience meant a larger stock of merchandise to enjoy. Thanks, but no thanks. I enjoyed the quieter streets of Charlotte Amalie.
There weren’t as many freebies in Nassau either. We anxiously looked forward to getting our shopping packet when we got off the boat, but all we found was an offer from Diamonds International and another from Effy. We’d gotten a coupon in the seminar to complement the Effy coupon in the shopping packet. In St. Thomas we’d had to pay a minimal amount for the earrings to match our necklace, but in Nassau, because of the shopping seminar we got earrings for free.
Perhaps because of the larger crowds, the salespeople aren’t as happy to distribute their free goodies as they had been in St. Thomas. There was the same begrudging hesitancy I’d remembered from Cozumel, one that led to my happy surprise at the alacrity of the St. Thomas jewelers. The good news was that for each island the big stores offer a different freebie. In St. Thomas we’d gotten garnets at Effy, but in Nassau it was amethysts. I was particularly happy about that, because I had an amethyst ring begging for some companions. Diamonds International offers you a charm bracelet at your first port and then other charms at your other stops. The fun of it for frequent cruisers is that you’re not getting the same old thing all the time. You could start a collection of sorts.
We hoped to do some additional shopping in Nassau, but were stymied. We looked for a Milano Jewelers, because Deb was beginning to regret that she hadn’t clued into what a great deal the sterling silver necklaces were. We found the Milano stores, but when we asked about the necklaces all we got was a look that suggested we were crazy and some mumbled assurance the cheap sliver necklaces weren’t available on this island.
We also searched out a Little Switzerland store, because I still hadn’t found a gift for my mom and the bracelets I’d seen on St. Thomas seemed like the best bet. Lest you think I was unwilling to share all the free goodies I’d gotten so far, my mom’s ears are not pierced and her advanced arthritis prohibited her from operating the clasps on necklaces. So I had lots of goodies to share with folks at home, they just weren’t going to work for my mom. Unfortunately, the Little Switzerland store we found had a very limited selection in their very tiny Impulse department. I didn’t see anything that looked like Mom.
We took a break from shopping to visit the Atlantis Resort, but I’ll tell you about that in a couple of weeks. I also shopped at the Nassau Straw Market on the way back to the ship, but I’ll compare that to the locals market in Marigot, St. Martin next week. Until then, happy shopping.