Originally Posted by reimero
I was fairly disappointed in St. Maarten shopping as well. It was obviously set up for high-pressure, no-research purchasing. That's one thing I did do: I scoped out domestic price ranges for some stuff (MUCH harder to do with jewelry!) and came away fairly disappointed with what they were offering.
Also, the "Disney Recommended" shops are shops that pay Disney to get listed on the maps and mentioned in the onboard shopping sessions. I figure Disney would dump a company that was selling fake goods, but despite what the cruise lines tell you, there is no guarantee you're getting the best deals or best service. You're just buying from somebody who advertises through the cruise line.
I feel the same way about most cruise shopping. I prefer shopping for items that are handmade/known to the island I'm visiting. For instance my mom bought a beautiful hand carved wooden box in Antigua straight from the young lady making them. I loved shopping for spices in Tortola and I'm excited to try the Guaveberry liquor from St. Maarten. For me the travel shopping experience should be about local items - not duty free gems and the like.