Posted May 19th, 2017, 04:15 PM
Be very careful with Celebrity buying on ship. They tell you it is tax and duty free but they also turn you into customs if you buy on the ship. Guess what....it is not tax and duty free. We learned the hard way. Customs does not know what you purchase in the Islands
Sorry, but I disagree with your perspective on this issue. Duty free shops, whether on Celebrity, another cruise line or ashore, legitimately advertise and sell their goods duty free. They don't state that duty might or might not be payable to the government of another country, just that they don't charge duty at the store.
When you re-enter the US, you are entitled to a duty-free exemption on goods purchased abroad. The amount of that exemption varies depending on such factors as where you have travelled outside the US and the period of time you've been out of the country. If you keep within the exemption amount, you won't pay any duty on those goods you purchased on Celebrity. On the other hand, if you choose to ignore the maximum exemption amount available to you and make purchases above and beyond your entitlement, you can expect to pay duty on the excess.
Whether or not Celebrity provides information to US Customs really doesn't matter, because you have a legal requirement upon re-entering the US to declare your purchases. Previously, this entailed completing a CBP declaration form, but such innovations as the Mobile Passport app provide alternative means of making the declaration.