Shopping consultants - Beware!

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661 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
You think? It’s bizarre to me anyone shops in these chain stores that exist in every port from the Caribbean to Alaska. Weird and strange business.

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Lee's Summit MO
1,646 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
No not always trinkets lol. We were vaguely thinking about a wedding ring to buy before our 2011 wedding. I watched the ship TV and decided at St Thomas stop we had to get something unique. Tanzanite International fit the bill! What we got
was appraised here at the same price we paid.
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32,422 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Originally posted by 1025cruise
Hmm, I wouldn't spend $8k on a piece of jewelry overseas unless I had done so much research that I would have known what to get down to, and even then would have been weary.
my thoughts exactly. As for the consultants being employed by a certain company, that isn't news to many of us. Of course they are going to claim this is our bottom line. that is their job, but OP thanks for letting us know your experience, hopefully it will help others. I think many of us have been taken aback by trying to deal on jewelry both on ships and in some of the ports.
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Columbia, MD USA
3,382 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Although I do have a four year old granddaughter who loves the trinkets they give out for free at these stores. Am too risk averse to purchase an expensive piece outside the country.
3,276 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Many many years ago I worked in the Jewelry business, so I know a thing or two about quality and markups. That being said, the first time I walked into a DI store in the Caribbean I almost burst out laughing at their prices. I have to admit I did admire them for their chutzpah!

I think it was P.T. Barnum who said this about shopping in tourist traps -

"There's a sucker born every minute"
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New Jersey, the Philly end
7,540 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Originally posted by BostonGal35
i had a similar experience.

i went to DI in cozumel (the one right at the pier). that was the location where the consultant was working. i found a necklace i LOVED. price tag was $3750. I couldnt swing it. they came down to $3500 and i said no thanks.

we then walked the entire storefront of cozumel. At the second DI, i saw the same necklace, this time priced at $3000. they offered me $2500. i said no thanks.

we then hit the third DI. same necklace was around $2500. I said no thanks (at this point, we saw what was happening and knew there was a fourth DI).

We then proceeded to the fourth DI. at this one, the necklace was about $2100. Knowing this was the last stop, i said look, ive seen this necklace now four times today, price consistently dropping. I said if they would take $1500 cash id buy it right then and there.

they then did the usual dog and pony show with the calculator, "calls to the higher ups" and i walked out with the necklace for $1500.
Let me guess. Two weeks later you saw it in a mall at home for $999.
New Jersey, the Philly end
7,540 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
DW just reminded me that on our first "modern era" cruise we went to the Port Talk as we were totally new to the cruising experience. It was quickly clear to us that we would learn nothing about shorexs and that the entire dog and pony show was a live infomercial for a select few retailers.

Several years ago, we were on a family group cruise. On of the "out-laws" was a jeweler who wanted to visit on of the big chain stores. He pulled out his loupe to examine a piece and was almost immediately told to put it away and leave.
2,081 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
I always enjoy taking in the shore shopping seminars whenever I am aboard a ship. No, not for the valuable information, but for the entertainment value of seeing what new item they are pushing. Yes many are the same, but they do get a few new wrinkles from time to time.

One of my hobbies is making jewelry and I usually buy my stones direct from the cutters overseas, usually in Thailand or India, so I have a pretty good idea of value of the gemstones and the various settings they use. I will admit that I work more with colored stones than I do diamonds, as diamonds are much more difficult to grade for me; but when they push a cheap beryl such as helidor, then market it as yellow emerald, it really makes you suspect of any advice that you might receive from these shopping seminars. Most of the information they give you is just for the businesses that are paying the cruise line to be one of their recommended vendors in port.

I can relate to the one post about the friend who brought their loupe with them. One time I was at a Columbian Emerald store in Cartagena, when I asked the sales person if I could borrow a loupe to look at some loose stones. After I did that, she brought a loupe for me to use, and then whispers, here, let me get you some better stones to look at, and brings out a completely different tray of stones. It is still buyer beware, and please folks, take those shopping seminars with many grains of salt.
Citrus Heights, CA United States
4,274 Posts
Joined Dec 2002
I guess I am just not trusting and we have never purchased any fine jewelry when on a cruise. I think people enjoy purchasing an item and saying they got it in whatever port.
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1,721 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
Originally posted by swilliams1660
Shopping consultants are like contractors. Some good and some not so good. Let the buyer beware.

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The good ones are the ones no longer in the racket.
long Island NY
1,903 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Best is that they list this "activity" as a port and shopping talk. Very little information about what to do in port except shop

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
7,706 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
One thing worth remembering however, is that they make a LOT of money from cruise passengers, and the last thing the store wants to do is upset one.

I bought a "white & blue diamond" white gold ring ON BOARD the ship. I didn't want to travel with the receipt, so they agreed to mail it to me at home, along with the appraisal which they didn't have at the time (red flag!).

When the appraisal finally arrived, some 6 - 7 months later, it described the "blue diamonds" as rare white diamonds which were subsequently tinted. I seethed and seethed for another couple of months, thinking I'd been ripped off. Then I decided to do something about it.

I wrote a calm letter, discussed what the salesperson had "sold" me, and explained how disappointed I was in the difference with what I seemed to have ACTUALLY purchased.

Long story short (oops...too late!), returned the ring, and received a full refund - even though I'd had & worn it for nearly 9 months.


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Flushing, NY
7,087 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Agree that it would be nice if they gave a real port and shopping lecture, about popular places to go, and little known places that were worth the time to go, but unfortunately, that is an extreme rarity on a cruise. As said, they only promote what they are paid to promote, and little else....
On the other hand, these folks have been there often, and usually do have some good knowledge....the trick is to get them aside after the presentation, and quietly ask about other things of interest.

As for making purchases....I do not wear or buy any kind of jewelry, and have no knowledge in that field...however, I am an avid watch lover, and do a lot of research on fine watches, which are much easier to appraise than jewelry....
I have purchased a nice Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chrono, at "Little Switzerland" at Havensight Mall in St. Thomas, and outside of some questionable 'gray market' offers on the internet, haven't found a better price at any authorized Omega dealer, anywhere...
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coming back is the other half!
4,877 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
Everything........EVERYTHING on a cruise is more expensive than on land and it comes with more risk. The art shows and jewelry buys are nice but extremely over priced for the quality. This is not new. If you google the dealers the cruise lines go with, you will see the lawsuits and the shady dealings.
For those that swear they got a good deal on a ship, no need to flame me. Good for you if you believe you got a good deal.
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New Jersey
255 Posts
Joined Oct 2015
On my first cruise in 1988, I fell for the jewelry sales talks and decided I would buy something in Saint Thomas. The DI stores were well over my then budget. I knew very little about jewelry other than gold or your basic diamond ratings. A jeweler in a small store told me that a much better investment than the 7 carat London blue topaz at $10 per carat I was purchasing would be to buy a one carat beautiful deep purple stone for $75 per carat. - should have listened - the stone was tanzanite! Paid much much more for tanzanite years later. But it was the 1980s and bigger was better -not! Still love the London blue ring and our local jeweler said it is a good stone and was fair priced. Lesson learned - education before impulsive purchases!
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Big Apple
7,813 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Last time we attended one of these hosted presentation on a cruise ship was like 15 years ago ...

The joke for us is when we see DI and Del Sol, etc. is signal to make a 90 degree turn and/or a turnaround to head the opposite direction. If anyone is lost finding their way back to the ship, odds are that the shopping consultant will be in the store "assisting" anyone & everyone for the prize drawings.

It was amusing - quite a few years ago - to see them in Alaska ports literally across the street from the piers ... too bad, they couldn't say it was duty-free shopping. Now, if they offer free WiFi ... it should attract more foot traffic to match their giveaway
Columbia, MD USA
3,382 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
I have to say that this is one of the more entertaining threads I have followed in awhile. As I indicated earlier I have never bought jewelry on a cruise. However, I know people who cruise regularly and part of their routine is to pick up a piece. of jewelry. Never figured it out but it is their tradition. I also don't think they are worried about over paying as their experience is more important than the value.
23,075 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Originally posted by PATRLR
I've learned over the past few years that the onboard shopping "consultants" are actually funded by the big stores (e.g. Diamonds International, Cariloha, etc) and to take their "recommendations" very lightly because they are only recommending the stores that pay them.

Unfortunately, my experiences on a recent NLC cruise hit a new low with them recently.

We were looking at a piece with a $13.5K price. I asked for their "best price" and they came back with $10K. We're thinking about it, wandering around a bit and the shopping consultant approaches us and we chat a bit. She says the most I'll get them to come down is another 10% but probably won't get that much. Also tells me we're dealing with the manager so, we'll get the best possible price. We go back and ask if they can do any better, they come down to $8900. We talk back and forth, my wife is still unsure and finally I say "can you do $8K, I think I can talk my wife into $8K". They go off, supposedly have to call NY (yeah, sure), my wife says to me "No, don't want to spend that much now", I tell them "never mind", but they quickly say "OK, $8K". We apologized and left. Later that afternoon, we see the shopping consultant again - she tells us she's been looking for us and the store is willing to give us an even better price (we didn't go back).

So the trusted shopping consultant tried to convince us the absolute best price was going to be $9K. We got them to $8K and apparently, they were ready to go even lower and they sent her out to find us.

The lesson: Don't trust the shopping consultants and make sure you keep pushing for a lower price. I got a 13.5K piece down to $8K and can't help but wonder how much further they would go.
That practice is well know.