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Holiday: Cruise Line Gift Shops

Back to Cruise Critic Classics: Holiday Gift Guide

Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean offers plenty of items branded with the cruise line's blue and yellow logo. In lieu of making yourself or your recipient a walking advertisement by purchasing an entire outfit stamped with "Royal Caribbean," avoid the clothing section and check out RCI's other gift shop offerings. We like the Just for Kids section, where you can find the Crayola Travel Turtle gift set -- a portable turtle pillow filled with art supplies that has a sturdy drawing surface on the turtle's back ($23). Another nice gift option is the Royal Caribbean photo album, found in the Commemorative Shop, which features an explorer-themed cover and has 50 pages waiting to be filled with fun cruise photos ($21).

--by Caroline Costello, Editorial Assistant
Holland America Line

Holland America easily has the industry's most comprehensive online boutique, but it sells so much stuff -- and so much that's unrelated to Holland America -- that it's tough to wade through. If you've got the patience, really interesting finds include art nouveau posters of a couple of ships ($175), a copy of "The Captain's Log" by HAL commander Captain Hans Mateboer ($14.95) and Mariner Dream Beds from $999. Otherwise, you can find books by Jonathan Raban and John McPhee, travel guides by Fodor's and Riedel wine glasses, with far less hassle than at major Web sites. Check it out though -- go to and click on Holland America Line Shop.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief

Definitely credit Cunard for trying -- though the only way to find their gift section easily is to click blindly. Luckily, we did the work for you -- click on "About Cunard" at the bottom of the home page, then "Cunard Merchandise" on the left. They've listed three purveyors of memorabilia. You can click on "marine art posters" and there's a London bookseller that markets a small selection of Cunard-related tomes. Frankly, though, there are plenty of places online to buy this kind of stuff.

Where we stumbled onto genius was by clicking maritime replicas. Now here's a gift for the cruise-loving man (or woman) in your life! Commissioned by Warren Samut, a Miami-based architect who opened the business as a hobby, and works with artisans in a Beijing workshop, the Queen Mary 2 replica, done to scale, is gorgeous and admittedly a big splurge at $3,500 apiece. Can't swing a couple thou? Check out the company's line of 18-inch souvenir models -- and here you can opt for other lines' vessels, such as Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas and Seabourn Pride. They're made of resin and acrylic, and balconies are etched in brass. Samut's particularly proud of his Princess models -- their distinctive funnels have pipework outlined in brass.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival, like most lines, has embraced the heavenly bed revolution. I've slept on them, and they're fantastic -- and this is the only merchandise they sell online. And heck, a whole new bed set is a great idea for someone who comes back from a Carnival cruise moaning "I haven't slept well since." So bring that vacation patois into the bedroom with a mattress set (from $989 for full), a satin striped duvet cover ($59 - $69), full to king and a suite-caliber down pillow ($39.95 - $49.95). What we find odd about Carnival's site, though, is that much of the merchandise it offers for on-ship delivery only would make great presents -- like the set of Carnival recipe books, a little skipper pak that's packed with plush animals or the Carnival Towel Creations Book.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
Princess Cruises

If you can even find Princess' "gift" section, you will discover slim -- but interesting -- pickins'. First up is its fabulous Courses cookbook (so fabulous that we recommended it in our Staff Picks: Best Cruise Books); it's available on (from $12.39). There are a couple of other intriguing offerings: a series of cruise companions and maps for the Panama Canal, Caribbean and Alaska is just the kind of thing people like to have before they travel. But other fantastic offerings, available only onboard, merely tease, like the silver photo album, ship-specific models (plastic and crystal!) -- and a charming Swarovski Seawitch Pin bearing Princess' logo.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises' gift shop offers a variety of branded items -- everything from apparel to travel essentials -- although portions of the site still seem to be under construction. Most items in the "Delivery Ashore" section are practical in nature, and Celebrity fans are likely to find smaller gifts here, ideal for stocking stuffers. Some of the most exciting picks include a disposable underwater camera with a built-in flash ($25), a pen and notebook set ($12), and a travel alarm clock ($14) -- all perfect for your gift recipient's next cruise. For friends and family away on a cruise for the holidays, choose the "Delivery Aboard" section to deliver gifts to their cabins.

--by Ashley Kosciolek, Copy Editor

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