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A Short Guide to Duty-free Shopping on a Cruise

Duty-free shopping on a cruise is a great way to find good deals. If you like to shop and to save money, keep reading.

By Cruise Booking Team

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You must have heard the term duty-free shopping. If you step inside a duty free shop, then you will find a host of items there, starting from jewelry to perfumes, chocolates, and more. You can now enjoy this liberty on a cruise as well. There are stores offering similar products and prices that you will find in offshore stores. However, before going ahead with duty-free shopping on a cruise, learn about it a bit more to have an even better experience.

All You Need to Know About Duty-free Shopping on a Cruise

What is Duty-free Shopping All About?

If you examine the term duty-free technically, then it means that those goods that are sold in a foreign country have come into that country without being subjected to the local import taxes.

Duty exemption can only be given to a product that has never been sold with regular goods to locals. To make the product duty-free, buyers must soon exit the country where they purchased the products. That’s why legal duty-free shopping is allowed in airports and on cruise ships. Since the products are not being purchased by the local population (even the ones who live near the cruise ports).

Suppose you are a US native who is returning from a short holiday in Spain, upon your return to the US, you will have an $800 exemption on the products you brought from Spain. For the next $1,000 worth of goods, there is a flat rate of 3% tax that must be paid to the authorities. If you spend under $800, then you do not have to pay a duty.

What Can You Buy Under Duty-free Deals?

There is a whole range of duty-free products that can be bought on a cruise or at the port. But here in this list, we will just name a few. Popular duty-free items that can be bought on cruises are liquor, cigarettes, and jewelry.

Other lists of products include makeup, purses, clothes and apparel, chocolates, and other edibles. You can even buy some luxury goods like pens, leather goods, and accessories. You might also find products from brand boutiques where available.

Duty-free Shopping on a Cruise is Different from That of in Port

There are many duty-free shopping deals on a cruise. Should you purchase duty-free products on a cruise or at the port? This isn’t a trick question, but we need to answer this question very carefully. That is because there are some subtle differences involved.

Although there is no difference in rules of duty-free shopping in the port or the cruise, however, since some of the items have a considerable weight, there might be an extra tax on them when you board the cruise. So, make sure you are well aware of the tax laws beforehand.

Duty-free Shopping isn’t Tax-free Shopping

This is a point of confusion for many, so it is important to understand that duty-free is not necessarily tax-free. Even though you are not paying any additional taxes or charges on the product on the cruise while buying it, you will be taxed as per the laws when you leave the ship and enter the country. So, it is only ideal to be aware of the taxation rules to avoid paying anything extra and enjoy the true benefit of duty-free shopping on a cruise.

Parting Thoughts

Duty-free shopping on a cruise is a great feature to help you purchase a host of things on board. At the same time, be aware of your country's tax laws to know how to make the most of this opportunity. Various cruise lines also offer reward points on shopping. So, head over to to book and find your ideal cruise.

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