Sure, you can buy anything over the internet. Where’s the fun in that? Shopping is an experience, a treasure hunt. When the ship docks (or during your pre or post cruise nights) there are special stores my wife and I seek out.
- Munich – Champagne Bar in Kaufhof Department Store. The Germans know how to do shopping right. Some American malls have “Husband corrals” with televisions and sofas. Many German department stores build cafes into their food halls and supermarkets. Wine bars. Espresso bars and yes, a Champagne bar! My wife leaves me on a bar stool as she shops the gourmet food hall.
- London – Bermondsey Antique Market. It’s outdoors. It only runs on Fridays. It starts about 6;00 AM. Plywood tables, many serious dealers. Bought great jewelry, silver and china tableware. It’s a must visit stop, every time we are in London on a Friday.
- Madrid – El Cortes Ingles. It’s Spain’s flagship department store chain. They sell a Spanish version of caviar that’s affordable. One time, after checking luggage, airport security wouldn’t let me through with it for some reason. The agents at the American Airline ticket counter assembled a box, popped it in and checked it as baggage in the hold!
- Barcelona – La Boqueria. It’s the famous food market along Las Ramblas. You aren’t buying a leg of Iberian ham, but you might pick up some small boxes of saffron. It’s one of the world’s most expensive spice, usually priced by the gram. It’s more affordable in Spain.
- Southampton – Marks & Spencer. It’s the UK’s flagship department store chain, comparable to Macy’s in the US. They are in most shopping malls and towns. You can find their stores in Bermuda and Gibraltar too. If it’s British, there’s an M&S somewhere. The Southampton store is convenient to the port area. M&S makes the best men’s undergarments under their own label.
- Hong Kong – Tailors. Yes, you can have a new suit custom made in 2-4 days! They are all over the city. Our favorite is in Kowloon. We visited the shop once. They have staff that travels the world, meaning they will likely visit a city near you after your first purchase.
- New York City – Tiffany’s. There are many who consider New York the center of the universe. It has world class shopping including the flagship store of the Tiffany jewelry chain. They welcome visitors. The famous Tiffany diamond, 128 carats in size, is on display. In addition to gems and gold, they sell silver jewelry, glassware and other branded products.
- Amsterdam – Tulips. You don’t need to find a special store. The country that made the flowers popular has the most exquisite specimens at almost every corner flower shop. You won’t believe the works of art you can bring back to your hotel room.
- Copenhagen – Flying Tiger. It’s an international chain based in Denmark. They have stores in many European countries and the US. They carry novelties – thinks you never knew you wanted. Funny glasses for Christmas parties. Stuffed animals. Cellphone covers and cables. Pet tops.
- Beijing – It’s described as a Japanese lifestyle brand, but we associate the stores with big cities in China. There are lots in the Los Angeles area too. Interesting designs in bedside lamps, computer keyboards, smartphone cables and headphones, hats, cosmetics and snack foods. All very inexpensive.
We will all travel again. Now you know what I’m missing.