Once you go home after an amazing cruising experience you will want to think back to all the fun you had, right? One of our favorite ways to do that is by bringing home a small souvenir from each port that can serve as a reminder of the adventure.
Wouldn’t it be cool to wear a custom-made dress on the cruise formal night and then again at your company Christmas party? Antiguan and dressmaker Noreen Phillips has her own store and will make you a dress within the day — just get there early.
Because of Aruba’s Dutch heritage, souvenirs like Delft Pottery are readily available. All pieces are blue and white in color, and you’ll find those that celebrate Aruba. Delft can be found in multiple shops in the downtown area.
Found in the cruise terminal, the cute souvenir shop Best of Barbados offers what its name implies. What we love is that this store features artists from all over the island. Even better, the artwork starts in postcard sizes so you can bring it home in your carry-on bag.
The cruise ship terminal is surrounded by a huge rainforest, bringing the natural environment of this island right to port. A small shop in the terminal offers wooden figurines made by local artists to honor the culture of Belize. A variety of sizes are available, making for easy transport.
Bermuda – King’s Wharf
Unique to Bermuda, dolls and figurines are crafted entirely from banana leaves and palm leaves.
Dichroic Glass Jewelry
Bonaire is a gorgeous Caribbean island with some of the brightest blues you will see on your cruise. This glass jewelry portrays all the Caribbean colors in one piece and is made by a family on the island.
It is hard to go to Colombia and not be tempted to take home their most treasured products. Throughout the port are numerous emerald shops, where you can find finished jewelry pieces or raw, uncut emerald stones.
When the Mayans inhabited Costa Maya they used jade as trade. Today, visitors can view some of the lovely creations in small jade museums. Beautifully carved souvenirs are available for purchase at port — a great way to celebrate and remember the Mayan culture.
Every expert cruiser knows that Mexico has the best vanilla, and you will find it all over the port. Some say it needs to be in a glass jar to be really good; others say it just needs to be made in Mexico. Our tip: If it’s made in Mexico, you will be satisfied.
The first moment you step off the ship into Curaҫao you will discover the uniquely colored buildings, the floating bridge and the influence of Dutch culture. We recommend finding a coffee table book or other image-filled tome that describes the interesting history of this amazing place.
Handbags and Leather Accessories
We know this doesn’t really sound like a local gift, but leather handbags found right off the pier in Dominica are so beautiful that you cannot resist taking them home. We love that you will be able to show off something you won’t find in your local mall.
Blue Mountain Coffee
Some of the best coffee in the world can be found in the ports of Jamaica. Near the pier in Falmouth is Jablum Café, where you can order a cup as you arrive (and another when you depart, if you are so inclined … as we are). We stock up on a few bags for ourselves and gifts for our favorite family members (Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is not for an acquaintance at over $25/pound).
Truthfully, we’ve found that our favorite souvenir from Freeport is a rum-based concoction. Consider it our contribution to not increasing our carbon footprint. Cheers!
OK, this may not be locally made, BUT we know you will be visiting the stingrays. And you will want to commemorate that great experience. Many stores within walking distance from the pier feature stingray pieces from Cayman artists.
For off-the-beaten-path gifts, dive into the gift shops at the Turks & Caicos National Museum or The Salt House. The national museum’s shop specializes in artisan jewelry made from polished sea glass, ceramic-like polymer, handmade soap and woven baskets. It’s also a great source for guidebooks on birding, local ecosystems, and flora and fauna.
This is the spice island, so you must take some spices home with you. Dot’s Plaza, a tiny store right by the water, has a huge variety of spices, local jams and more.
Palm Hat or Basket
Key West is filled with street artists; you can find them along Duval Street, in Mallory Square and everywhere in between. Some of our favorites are the artists weaving palm leaves into baskets and hats right on the street. These will be fresh and green when you buy them, drying to a rusted-wood color.
When you are in Montego Bay all the stores accept the U.S. dollar, but sometimes you are given back Jamaican change — and it makes a great souvenir.
We know you are going to eat some conch, because that is what you do in Nassau, but why not also bring a shell home with you — especially if it’s in beautiful coral colors. Pick them up on the beach or buy them from street vendors or in the shops on Bay Street. When you are feeling nostalgic for your Caribbean cruise, just put it to your ear to hear the sound of the sea.
The moment you hear a reggae song you instantly relax, and it will bring you back to your island vacation. Reggae CDs can be found throughout Ocho Rios and are best played while you are sitting in traffic at home.
The Garifuna culture can be seen throughout the island. Take tours to learn more, and bring home colorful paintings and artwork from the locals.
These whimsical masks are a folkloric legend in San Juan and are still worn in parades today. They are bright, colorful and bring a bit of San Juan to your home.
Photo courtesy of GoToStCroix.com
Vintage St. Croix Posters
Bright vintage posters honoring the beauty of the island provide fantastic gifts to bring home for you or friends and family.
Handmade Batik Prints
Batik is a process of using wax and colorful dyes to make prints on fabric. You will find wall art and clothing with batik prints all over the island.
Kweyol Language Book
This is a little different, but we like different. In St. Lucia, Kweyol, a version of Creole, is spoken. For those who love to immerse themselves into the places they visit, a Kweyol-language book is perfect.
Anything From That Yoda Guy
Everyone knows that St. Maarten is one of the best places for tax- and duty-free shopping, but did you know the guy who helped create Yoda lives here? His name is Nick Maley, and he has his own store downtown that offers prints and other fun souvenirs of the island and of Star Wars. He is always in the store, and you can even take a picture with him.
Linens are what you want in St. Thomas (and that’s saying something, since St. Thomas is often ranked at the top of everyone’s lists for the Caribbean’s best shopping in general). Get beautiful pieces at serious discounts at one of our favorite shops, Mr. Tablecloth. Choose from a huge variety of quality linens and evening jackets for yourself and your loved ones.
Painted Gourd Bowls
A dried-gourd bowl painted with bright colors is a favorite for cruisers to bring home from their vacation. It’s something you rarely find at home, and it’s both practical and beautiful.