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Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Cruise Line Gift Shops

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  • 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, Assistant Editor
  • 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.

    --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 amazon.com (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 Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
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