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Shops on board

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No.

That was a bit abrupt. Also one of those things that has rankled me recently.

 

Perhaps it's me. But I never shop at Michael Kors, or H. Stern. And to be frank, those shops seemed mostly empty. Perhaps it only takes one or two sales a day to make them profitable, but more likely, shops are now mostly leased to luxury retailers who look at it as a status marketing opportunity than actual retail. Meanwhile, the shop selling clothing like khaki trousers, cufflinks, souvenirs and sundries has been shrunken with the redo of the casino.

 

Even Sir Samuels has been taken over. No free sandwiches and snacks (luckily moved to the beautiful new Carinthia Lounge) but Godiva chocolate for sale. Although the price point is more reasonable than the shops (although candy used to be free) - I'd still be surprised if the sales in the shop were sufficient to pay the rent.

 

High-end shops were always part of the appeal on the QM2 and QE2. (Certainly Harrods marketed the heck out of their old QE2 shop.) However, the mix has moved away from shops selling the more popular wares to "prestige" nameplates with more customers in their advertising photos than in person. Presumably, the revenue premium from the base rent for these onboard outposts is greater than their portion of sales of a popular shop.

 

As to the helpfulness, it was a mixed bag. (Realize were talking about checking out a hoodie, formal braces, sundries and souvenirs at different times, but not high ticket or merchandise requiring consultation) Like most other cruise lines, they concession the business to a company called PPI. Usually, they were very friendly and helpful, but I have run into those who couldn't be bothered. Much like on land.

 

As to "value for money" - you're unlikely to find any great prices except for the tat on the tables outside the shop, (I'm not certain of its "value.") I can say with certainty that, on a crossing while the shops are open, the prices can't be beat for miles around!

Edited by MarkBearSF

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The shops aren't as good as they used to be. Especially the book shops since Ocean Books left.

 

Also, on the QV they changed the souvenir shop into a place to book future cruises. All the souvenir goods were squashed into the already small bookshop.

 

The tables and sovenir shops are run by Harding Brothers.

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Thanks for mentioning the bookstore, Ray66. (I had forgotten it)

And thanks for the correction. I had remembered Alders from years ago, but googled to come up with the current name, and jumped to the wrong link to PPI (they handle "shopping port lecturers" not shop concessions)

 

- Mark

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In December I purchased a Tissot watch which was around $600 (only because I had loads of OBC!), the salesman was excellent and spent some time with me, even after the shop had closed. I could have bought the same watch a leading UK chain for around £45 less.

 

If I am in my garden or workshop, I wear a cheap Casio watch, which is far cheaper than anything offered on the on board tat sales. I have bought my wife several pieces of jewellery over the years, not as an investment, but as a memory of a special time, and she can still tell me which cruise and ship they were bought on!

 

In my later working life managing a shop with 20 staff, I was amazed what discounts we were offered at times, what the big chains could buy for must have been eye watering!

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As for the QM2 shops , the shops that we usually buy from have been Reimagined to our dismay.

The Library Store stock has dwindled down and the Cunard Logo shop is now in a tiny corner of a larger store .

Add to that the Casino space exchanged for more cabins still upsets me .

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Have just finished 2 weeks on QM2 (loved it) and what we noticed was Michael Kors was pretty much empty all the time the jewellery shop was busy at times probably due to the Lectures they gave in there but we did notice that the little shop that sells Chocolate ie Toblerone and duty free alcohol their prices where much cheaper than the Sydney airport Duty Free on a couple of items by more than half!! We did buy one of those world globes which we saw on our last cruise and wished we had bought then so we had to go on the last cruise to buy it:)

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I have to agree with the others regarding the shops on the QM2. Not so great with staff who just basically take your money. I've shopped when I had excess OBC and felt as though I was completely on my own. Also not a great variety of necessities for when you run out. But then there are the days when they set up the big tables with all the junk in the middle of the otherwise beautiful public spaces. Worse than Filene's basement. NOT luxury cruising.

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Do Cunard ships have good shops, value for money and helpful staff?

 

No to good shops and value, yes to helpful staff.

 

They seem to be focussing more on high end merchandise, and less on Cunard memorabilia and books.

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Unless one has an inordinate amount of OBC to waste I would never buy anything of value on any ship. They have to get their cut so prices will always reflect that.

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Is Chopard gone? I always bought scarves and bags there - I loved shopping there and I often spent a few days deciding which bag or scarf I wanted on a particular trip and the people working were always great. The Chopard prices were the same as here on land but no tax (yay!) And I have a beautiful collection of Chopard Cunard scarves now and even a bag my husband probably would not have bought if we had not been in the Chart Room having cocktails :p

 

Michael Kors I love and would definitely shop there - so if the shop is empty, all the better! I also usually purchase a Pandora charm for my mon when I am on board but no serious jewelry from H Stern. I usually also buy some Cunard merchandise. I have bought Harrod's purses too - they are not high end but they are elegant and last a few years. I love the shopping...but I see I am in the minority. As for HAL - I cringed every time I walked by the stores. There was not one thing I was willing to spend money on - it was all Made In China junk in my opinion.

 

I sail the Elizabeth next so I have no idea what shops will be on board there!

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Do Cunard ships have good shops, value for money and helpful staff?

 

The shops on QM2 and QV have changed - and not for the better. IMO it was debatable they were ever really good value but at least the Souvenir/Logo & book shops were interesting. Both have changed and as other say are stuffed in other areas where ever there is space.

 

We have only ever shopped in them recently to use up remaining OBC on fragrances or discounted cruise cap/world cruise tee etc.

 

The 'trunk sales' - trestle tables set up in the grand lobbies and surrounding area are really generally a bit cheap and horrid. They also have special sales in the ballrooms during which they sell off 'souvenirs' from ports visited = again IMO generally a bit tacky.

 

Apart from the named 'luxury' brand stores the general perfume/gift stores are run by

Harding Brothers and t

he service ranges from occasionally reasonably polite & helpful to completely uninterested and rude - like serving someone is a real pain.

 

I would suggest save your $ for on shore and use up the OBC towards the end of the cruise when they have 'special sales'. At the end of the final sectors of the World Cruises they really heavily discount those products.

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Queen Mary 2 shops boring, uninteresting and cheaper on the high st. I use Clarins and it's a complete rip off. I had a lot of on board credit to spend and was looking forward to spending it in the shops. How wrong I was. I had great difficulty. I met several others like me just brought things for the sake of it. Some people didn't use all the credit which is criminal. To use up the credit. I will be asking friends and family if there is anything particular. I don,t drink tea, coffee or alcohol. We did try the spa which was a disappointment because of the terrible humming noise. Relaxing no!

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