Porthole’s Five Faves
Unique Stores At Sea
Not all ship shops are stocked with brand-stamped hats and duty-free booze. In honor of Black Friday, we highlight our favorite onboard, one-of-a-kind proprietors.
The fourth Wednesday of November has always been a day devoted to two worthwhile pursuits: counting down the hours until the work-whistle signals your Thanksgiving vacation has begun, and plotting your course for optimum Black Friday shopping. Should you need a break from either activity (or just need a calming presence as you wait in some motionless checkout line), take a moment to check out these unique onboard stores. It’s no secret that cruisers enjoy great at-sea savings on jewelry, alcohol, bags, and all sorts of logo-boasting merchandise, but today we’re highlighting those stores devoted to items not normally seen on ships. It might be too late to get to these places before Friday, but there are still 394 more days before Christmas 2015.
Celebrity iLounge – most Celebrity Cruises’ ships
As the i-prefix gives away, this onboard Internet space is Apple-approved. Not only does the Celebrity iLounge have the latest in MacBook Pros and iMacs, but you’ll find authorized Apple specialists who offer helping hands and are even able to sell some of the devices.
Britto Gallery – Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas
Pop artist Romero Britto puts his unique touch on everything from stationery and teapots to pet toys and luggage at his Royal Caribbean store, located in Allure of the Seas’ Central Park. Of course, visitors can also see (and purchase) limited edition custom works.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – Disney Fantasy
You could buy a princess dress and pirate accessories for your kids anywhere, but buying it at this one-of-a-kind shop means 1) it’s Disney-approved and Disney-awesome, and 2) they also get a full makeover from expert Fairy Godmothers-in-Training and veteran swashbucklers so they can look their absolute prettiest/piratey-est.
Cherry On Top – many Carnival Cruise Lines ships
More than a candy shop, Cherry On Top is a visually stunning dreamland unto itself. In addition to candy and chocolates, the shop offers floral arrangements, party decorations, and all sorts of unique gift baskets.
Bookshop – All Cunard Line ships
Literature is an obvious focal point in this gorgeous, appropriately named store on all three Cunard Line ships, but if you’re looking to purchase the finest in nautical collectibles as well — be it posters, postcards, or other memorabilia — this is your place. Each Cunard ship also has a shopping thoroughfare that will appeal to the anglophile in all of us, bringing no less than the most famous department-store brand on land — Harrods — to sea.
— Rico Bronte
Photo credits: Celebrity Cruises; Royal Caribbean International; Disney Cruise Line; Carnival Cruises; Cunard Line