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Endorsing Jewelry Stores on Shores?

If you've ever been to Alaska then you have discovered, like us, that there can be a jewelry store on every corner…and sometimes in between. Of all the cruise stops we have made, Alaska's lead the league for concentrated jewelry shopping.

So it's BIG business for those Alaska retailers and over the years there have been stories about kickbacks, serious enough that the state implemented regulations to stem the criticism.

According to Alaska Public Media, based on information from one local jewelry store owner, he paid $25,000 plus 10 per cent of sales to be included in the shopping programs that are promoted on cruise ships. The programs are run by media companies that pay the cruiselines for the "privilege" of having their "port lecturers" on the ships. The lecturers allegedly try to convince shoppers to visit the store owners who pay.

If that's true, the cruise lines can say their hands are clean — they just hire the lecturers.

In Alaska, the rules have changed. After investigating complaints, the state made a $200,000 settlement with the three Florida-based companies that send port lecturers to 

Alaska. The companies didn't have to plead guilty but they do have to comply with rules that lecturers now must:

• Disclose they don't work for a cruise line

• Disclose that their sales pitch is a form of advertising

• Refuse from bad-mouthing retailers, presumably the ones who don't pay

• Refuse to make misleading statements about sale prices and return policies

Taping the presentations enables the state to monitor this. The result of viewing 70 recordings has been an improvement, according to non-participating retailers and consumers who will talk.

We've always wondered about the come-ons from port lecturers but never bothered frequenting their recommended jewelry stores…but then you have to be buying jewelry to do that, don't you? Perhaps being naive, it never occurred to us that store owners might be badgered into paying — what is this, the cruise mafia?

Now we're wondering if jewelry-infested ports in the Caribbean might follow suit with "port-lecturer regulations."

Don't hold your breath.

Azamara Journey
14 nights
October 26, 2013
AthensRhodes, Limassol, Suez Canal, Muscat, Dubai
Oceanview: $980
Cost per day: $70


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