We'll Always Have... Souvenirs?

For me, travel has always been about the destination - even after being bit seriously by the cruise ship bug - I mean, there's nothing wrong with traveling in style, but travel is the thing. But - I may be in the minority. After our sixth or so Caribbean cruise - my wife stopped getting off the boat ("Oh - it's just another island with beaches and palm trees..."). And I've run into plenty of fellow travelers who rarely get off the boat at all. Not me - I'm out and about as much as time allows and on the hunt for special sights, experiences and mementos. It might be a "special" stamp in a passport, a label steamed off of a bottle, a genuine Panama Hat from Panama (pricey but cool), a "go native" yerba mate kit from Uruguay (leather case, silver straw, silver-bound leather-clad gourd "mug," thermos, and bag of mate), or even a driver's license from the Falkland Islands (took an hour and cost less than $50 and is good for life). I've bought packs of cigarettes with goofy labels and printed in exotic languages (I don't smoke cigarettes), hand-forged knives (had a few "confiscated" by security for the duration of the cruise), and religious "artifacts."  I've visited Masonic Temples and communicated with real fellow travelers; book shops with Mayan, Incan (or even Swahili) primers and cookbooks; and street stalls for counterfeit Cuban cigars (for me more memorable than the real McCoy).

Tags: Tangible memories.

17 Answers

Doesn't get off the boat?? Wow I cannot even imagine to be honest. That is all part of the cruise experience! LOL

For me and my wife, we always get a shot glass from every place we go, whether land or by sea. Neat little momentos

Ummmm, well, let me put it this way, if your genuine Panama hat came from Panama, you can put it with your fake Cuban cigars. Genuine Panama hats come from Ecuador. I'm sure you can get them in Panama. We bought ours in San Juan.

Sorry for that bit of info.

I'm good with photos to to print and hang on the hall way wall (that wall is now getting to filled up so into a digital photo frame) and my collection of S&S cards. I used to get a polo shirt or t-shirt from every port but now I have more shirts then I could wear out in the rest of my life.

No problem. Ecuadoran or not - cool hats - and the good ones...

We have been in the Caribbean many times, but the only times we prefer to stay on the ship are places we feel unsafe and the few places we don't really care for. If we are traveling with newbies, we like to show them our favorite spots. Since we usually sail in the Winter it is just fun to be in the warm.... sometimes the mode of travel is as exciting as the destination!

We almost always get of the ship. I bought my Panama hat in Ecuador $25. Best hat I've ever owned! We take photos. Don't buy many chactkas anymore.

We rarely buy any souvenirs for ourselves, but have lots of photos for our memories. We do like to get something on our trips for our grandchildren, and maybe some local treats from a port for friends and our kids.

The ship has no business taking you to a port that is patently unsafe. I had a stop in Colombia cancelled due to "unrest."

I isn't necessarily unsafe... I just feel unsafe and I'd rather be on board. Sometimes the cruise line won't know of any incident(s) before they dock. As we have all mentioned, any place has a potential of criminal activity... so what feels safe to you mat not feel safe to me. I like your input on the matter.

I get it - stuff happens - or can happen. But some ports (Dominican Republic decades back where you couldn't leave your hotel without getting mugged, Egypt where armed police guard every intersection until the tourist busses can get through, or Colombia in the height of cartel bloodshed) are much riskier than others. And I have noticed a definite change in cruise ship policy towards their passengers' safety. Back in the early days with Celebrity in the Caribbean - the attitude was - "stuff can happen - but get back to the ship and you are safe." Nowadays, regardless of cruise company - it is more like "stay out of trouble in port and if anything happens you are on your own."


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