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Onboard Souvenir Strategy


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Every ship has different souvenir merchandise (I'm assuming you mean ship specific merchandise like an magnet with the ship name/image on it and not general cruise merchandise) and that souvenir merchandise will not go on sale.  You may want to buy something you like at the beginning of the cruise as it could sell out.  The only discount that we've used is the C&A discount.  There are sales on general cruise merchandise but those sales usually won't include ship specific merchandise.

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Just now, Fuzzywuzzy said:

The Anthem did an all t-shirts for 10 dollars sale starting at 10:00 one day. There was already a long line waiting for them to open at 9:30 and the stuff went fast.

This $10 sale is pretty standard across the fleet, when on your cruise always check the Cruise Compass they will have promotions and sales mentioned everyday.

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52 minutes ago, Firemanswife2 said:

I buy the Christmas ornament on each ship. I've never seen it discounted. I just buy it early in the cruise.

I also like to buy the cruise ship Christmas ornaments. Lately, this has expanded to buying ornaments in port when I see them as well. I started with the coffee mugs, but the number of mugs I owned became excessive and I gave up. 

We also buy the bottle cap shaped magnets from each ship (unfortunately, some ships don't carry them but we get them when we can). 

As others have mentioned, there are no discounts really made available outside of the standard C&A coupon discount. Also, the $10 t shirt sale has happened on every cruise I've been on, and it's always the exact same t shirts and it's always a mess. That said, it makes for easy souvenirs for those back home. 

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My souvenir strategy is normally as follows

Day 1.  Scope out the shops, and DONT BUY ANYTHING.  Make a list of must haves, nice to haves, and impulse purchases.  Again, DONT BUY ANYTHING.  (liquor is a maybe because on some ships there is a sale on the first day at a tasting but dont count on it and remember you cant consume it during your cruise)  I'd also rank your Must Haves from "it would crush me if I didnt pick up this item" to "I'd really really really like this but my life wont be over without it"

Day 2.  Scope out the shops again, buy something that's a MUST have before stock becomes limited.  But just one thing

Day 3-5  Scope out the sales listed in the Compass.  Buy another MUST have (I'd pick from the ones that appear as though stock is dwindling)

Day 6  Scope out the sales listed in the Compass again.  This is where the deep discounts are and when stock absolutely plummets.  You shouldnt have any remaining "must" haves and you're down to your "it would be nice to haves" and "impulse" purchases.  

Day 7.  If any must haves remain, purchase.  If your budget allows for any remaining "nice to haves" purchase.  And if your budget allows for any remaining "impulses" purchase those as well.

 

If your must haves involve luxury goods like watches, jewelry or purses, get an idea of what the cost of these on land would be in your average store (items like watches, perfumes and purses check out your local department store online.  When you're doing your initial scouting write down the item and model number, style name, etc, and if you have the internet package, look it up on your local department store's website to see if you're getting a bargain off of realistic cost for the item, not the MSRP)

 

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Wow, @ThyriC, you are one serious shopping planner. Those are some good ideas about the must haves, etc.

I don't see me ever buying luxury items like watches or jewelry on-board. I find it hard to believe that overhead costs on a cruise ship could possibly be lower than the overhead at my local store, or Amazon. I believe that they are looking to make a killing on people impulse buying these items.

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1 minute ago, Brobbins246 said:

Do onboard purchases have to be included in your declared value of imports (the $800 you're allowed) when you go thru customs at disembarkation?  Or no, hence the concept of duty free? 

My approach is to declare everything I have acquired.  Just because a seller claims something is duty free doesn't mean that CBP will agree.  I'd rather over declare and have CBP appreciate my transparency than find out I shouldn't have made an assumption that makes it appear as though I was trying to hide something.  I even declare a bottle of wine I got for free as a C&A gift in my declaration (if I don't drink it and bring it home).  It has a value even if I didn't pay cash for it.  

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Just now, twangster said:

My approach is to declare everything I have acquired.  Just because a seller claims something is duty free doesn't mean that CBP will agree.  I'd rather over declare and have CBP appreciate my transparency than find out I shouldn't have made an assumption that makes it appear as though I was trying to hide something.  I even declare a bottle of wine I got for free as a C&A gift in my declaration (if I don't drink it and bring it home).  It has a value even if I didn't pay cash for it.  

Good suggestions!  This will help prevent me from spending too much as well if I keep it all within $800. 👍

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13 hours ago, KLA said:

I also like to buy the cruise ship Christmas ornaments. Lately, this has expanded to buying ornaments in port when I see them as well. I started with the coffee mugs, but the number of mugs I owned became excessive and I gave up. 

We also buy the bottle cap shaped magnets from each ship (unfortunately, some ships don't carry them but we get them when we can). 

As others have mentioned, there are no discounts really made available outside of the standard C&A coupon discount. Also, the $10 t shirt sale has happened on every cruise I've been on, and it's always the exact same t shirts and it's always a mess. That said, it makes for easy souvenirs for those back home. 

Change coffee mugs to fridge magnets and I’m similar to you. Will be needing a second fridge soon. On board I only really see RCI clothing and watches/jewellery on sale, nothing really different tbh.

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We started buying ship ornaments for each of our girls on the cruises they take and also an ornament in each port.  Not sure what level my hubby is but we had a 10% off note in our cabin so we used that to purchase them.  We went in December and I bought the last 4 they had.  If you are going for the ornaments I would buy it right away.  I have decided that if we cannot get them an ornament on the ship they are going to get a key chain that I will change the hanger on to make it an ornament.  I wish I would have thought of this a long time ago for my oldest because she would have 11 ship ornaments by now and tons from ports and other places we have visited. 

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