Gems International: Sapphires in Grand Cayman
Buyer beware. Gems International sold me fake synthetic sapphires which they claimed were authentic. They gave me an appraisal valuing the bracelet at $3,620.00 and the pendant at $950.00. I had them appraised in the US and their combined value was only $550.00. The gem expert in Florida told me that these were fake synthetics and not authentic. The Cayman Islands police service failed to contact me after I filed a complaint. Fortunately, my credit card company gave me a full refund.
What to buy: Definitely not jewelry. There is no way to confirm the authenticity of the gems and no one to make the store accountable.
Del Sol: ColorFUL shirts
I (Beth's daughter) went to the shopping talk on the ship and I decided that I wanted to get gifts for the family at the Del Sol store. So after we did the Duck tour, we went to shop.
What to buy: I got t-shirts (including one for myself), and some swim shorts for my brother (which he claimed were too big in the waist). We also got the color changing nail polish.
What to pay: nail polish is $5-8 and usually if you buy five you get one free
T shirts run around $25
The board shorts are more expensive and I had to go in with my grandmother on those
- Family Travel
- Luxury Travel
Buy local rum
What to buy: Buy grand Cayman's only TRUE local rum... it is called Seven Fathoms and it is handcrafted and distilled locally in small batches and, apparently, aged underwater. It should be possible to visit the distillery but when we tried to find it, everyone sent us to the old location - it had just moved (july 2013), but we still managed to find a stall selling a few bottles of it.
Pay attention when buying local rums: Seven Fathoms is not sold inside the port's duty-free shop. What you will find there is Tortuga rum, which reads Cayman ISlands on its label, but if you read the fine print on the bottle it will tell you that this rum is actually made in Jamaica for the Caymans - therefore not very local.
What to pay: around 30 dollars a bottle (1 full liter bottle)
Margaritaville Trading Post: Margaritaville Merchandise
After enjoying some lunch and drinks at Margaritaville; we stopped into the Trading Post. I collect Margaritaville glasses so I had to find some to bring back home to add to my collection.
The shop carries a variety of Margaritavill themed merchandise; tee shirts, glasses, magnets, hats, etc. I found two Margaritaville Pilsner glasses that were to my liking. The glasses were about $12 each; not a bad price.
Milano Diamond Gallery: Beware of Milano Diamond Gallery
Milano Diamond Gallery in Grand Cayman as well as Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan Alaska. I bought a $2,500 tanzanite and 36 diamond ring in Juneau. Within 24 hours 2 diamonds had fallen out and were replaced in Skagway. Within another 48 hours another diamond had fallen out. The setting is very poor quality, stones are inconsisent size and shape and the workmanship is poor. A reputable manufacturing jeweller in my Australian hometown has assessed it and described it as very poor standard. I have contacted Milano Diamond Gallery and if I spend $150A to send it to their New York office, they will repair it. I am unwilling to take the risk of their poor workmanship resulting in more stones falling out once it has been returned to me. I want a full refund and Milano Diamond Gallery refuse. They clearly do not stand by their products.
What to buy: Do not buy anything from Milano Diamond Gallery in Grand Cayman or anywhere else
What to pay: Don't spend any money at Milano Diamond Gallery, you will probably be buying poor quality and be as disappointed as I am.
Shops near the cruise docks: Souvenirs in George Town
We usually like to bring home a trinket from our trips but I don't get into the shopping like many cruise passengers do. But if you do, the cruise will likely provide you with all kinds of information on where to shop in port, all of it within walking distance of the cruise docks. I imagine that the stores that the cruise ship recommend might be a little more pricey than some of the others but as I said, I've never done much shopping in the Caribbean. We popped into a couple of shops but nothing really caught our eye, after awhile the crafts and tshirts and shot glasses all start to look the same in every port in this part of the world.
Flagship: Jewelry and Fine Gifts
Flagship is definitely one stop shopping. The store carries everything you could want in the jewelry, crystal, silver, watch and china department. My wife had a grand time perusing the merchandise especially the watch department (she'll still looking for the "perfect" watch and has yet to find it). The sales people are very friendly, helpful and not pushy. It was a pleasure shopping here without having the hard sell you can get on some other islands.
Gem Palace (Milano Diamond Gallery): Buyer Beware of Gem Palace (Milano Diamond Gallery
Gem Palace (Milano Diamond Gallery) is one of Carnival Cruiseline's recommended stores. Carnival cannot be trusted when it comes to their port shopping program... it is all a ploy for them to make more money by receiving a cut when you make in-port purchases. The guarantee they offer is completely worthless.
On May 10, 2011, I purchased a 14 karat white gold diamond ring from Milano Diamond Gallery in Georgetown, Grand Cayman for the amount of $3395.00. I consider the item purchased at Milano Diamond Gallery to be a fraudulent product.
34 days after purchasing the ring, a small diamond fell out (one of 58 small diamonds surrounding 3 larger diamonds). I became uneasy about the product I had purchased, so on June 20, 2011 I took the ring to a very trusted and reputable jeweler whom I have done business with for years. After inspecting the ring, he informed me that it was a "total disaster" and that there were several more diamonds on the verge of falling out at any time.
I received a certified letter from the jeweler (and certified gemologist) who inspected the ring. He stated the following:
“Upon inspection of a 14K white gold diamond ring belonging to Katie Morgan, it is evident that the reason for a diamond falling out of the ring is because of inferior workmanship in the setting process of the diamonds. It is evident that more diamonds will fall out of this ring because of the lack of stability of prong work when the diamonds were set. It is not an option to rebuild all prong work because of major expense involved and the initial instability of material to work with. We are custom-design manufacturers of jewelry of all types, and have over 30 years of experience in the field of manufacturing of jewelry, for not only the public but other stores as well. “
I have since made numerous attempts to settle my dispute with Milano Diamond Gallery who has been extremely uncooperative and difficult to contact. My emails to the company have gone unanswered and when I called Milano headquarters in New York on June 22, 2011, my requests to speak to a supervisor were repeatedly denied.
After having no success reasoning with the merchant (Milano) I turned to Carnival and The PPI Group (who is in charge of the port shopping program) to take responsibility. I sent multiple emails to corporate leaders, contacted customer service many times, and even sent certified letters to The PPI Headquarters. I have only gotten responses from one staff member and she has repeatedly denied my requests to demand a refund from Milano.
Tortuga Rum Company: Duty Free Liquor & Rum Cake
The Tortuga Rum Company is a duty free store right by the cruise port. The store specializes in "Tortuga Rum Cake" and assorted island rums. They also carried a large selection of hard liquor, wine and champagne.
After perusing the store and checking out the prices we left empty handed. The liquor prices onboard the ship were better than they were offering in the store.
Cheeky Monkey: Souvenirs
We had to come into the Cheeky Monkey just because of the name. The store is another souvenir shop that carries the usual tee shirts, post cards, magnets, shot glasses and other island themed merchandise.
I found a nice Grand Cayman tee shirt I wanted in blue with a simple design on the back. Liz picked up two shot glasses for her friend Koky back home. The tee shirt was $20 and the shot glasses were $3 a piece.
Blue Iguana: Island Themed Christmas Ornaments
The Blue Iguana is a typical souvenir shop. The store carries a variety of inexpensive to moderately priced souvenirs from shot glasses, post cards, tee shirts, photo albums, Christmas ornaments and children's toys. My wife and I decided to check this place out after we saw some Christmas ornaments through the window.
My wife and I collect Christmas ornaments from every place we visit; so we were happy to find some nice ones here. We decided on a nice Christmas ball that had a pretty beach scene painted on along with the location and year. The ball was very inexpenisve at $6 and made me happy to add another ornament to our tree at home.
Effy Jewelers: New Earrings for my Wife
Effy is a chain of jewlery stores that are scattered across the Caribbean. During our visit to Grand Cayman we stopped here to check out a few items that my wife was interested in trying on.
The store has the usual rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and watches to choose from. They have special Effy specific collections which are quite nice. My wife found the necklace she was looking for but wasn't thrilled with the quality and brighness of the saphires. Although she did love the pair of blue and white diamond Diversa earrings she tried on. After some haggling we agreed on a price and my wife had a new pair of earrings as well as a free jewelry case.
I think the store's specific collections such as Diversa are a nice quality but with most jewelry shopping you have to know your prices and quality before you buy. Over the years my wife has given me a good education on these things so now I can see the flaws that make her say no to an item.
The Jewelry center: The jewelry Center- a scam!!!!!!!!!!
Jewely shop. It claims to have very high quality jewelry
What to buy: Nothing - I bough a new setting for my diamond ring.
I brought it home - wore it for about 6 mo, developed a terrible rash from the so-called 14 kt white gold. I brought it to my local jeweler who said it had many defects in the crarftmanship.
Ring send back - not fixed. The Jewelry center said they would send me another higher quality ring. Ring sent - 2 months after I sent original ring!!! New ring was a JOKE - very light - tin like.
A diamond was missing from the setting!!!!!!!!
Called the Jewelry center and spoke with Romesh Mirpuri who said he would refund my visa.
BEWARE AND AVOID AT ALL COSTS>
We had to contact visa's fraud dept to get a refund.
What to pay: avoid
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Cheaper to walk away
When shopping in Georgetown the prices get lower to further from the port you go. Don't purchase right away. Walk down a few blocks and you will find better deals.
What to buy: Jewlery or anything with rum (i.e. rum cake, etc.)
Big Black Dick's: Rum, Rum and More Rum
OK, despite what you may be thinking about the name of this shop, just remember that Big Black Dick was a real character. It is believed that he was of Royal African parentage, and was kidnapped by French slaves who named him "Richard Le Noir." His captors eventually tossed him overboard near Grand Cayman, where he then began to make a living laboring in the sugar cane fields, which he then turned in to the Caribbean's finest rum. Big Black Dick's sells this famous rum as well as rum cakes, rum candy - ANYTHING that involves rum. It is definitely worth a stop, even to just look around.
What to buy: Besides rum, Grand Cayman offers duty-free jewelry shopping. There is a jewelry shop on almost every corner.
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