10 Top Craft Markets You Can Visit on a Cruise

by Yolanda Crous

10 Top Craft Markets You Can Visit on a Cruise

by Yolanda Crous

There’s no better way to remember your cruise than to bring back a local memento you can display for years to come. These markets are not only great places to pick up handmade crafts but also perfect spots for rubbing shoulders with local artisans and getting a taste of daily life in your port of call. Here are 10 top picks at ports around the world, from the Caribbean to Asia and Europe as well as in the U.S.

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Soap Market in Marseille / iStock.com / Bernd Rehorst
Pike Place Market
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1. Pike Place Market

Port: Seattle

More than a century old, Seattle’s legendary farmers market is also home to more than 200 local artisans plying handmade wares ranging from pottery to paintings to hand-carved wooden longboards. Shop for one-of-a-kind finds in the Main and North Arcades, then head to Beecher’s Cheese to sample the killer mac and cheese and watch the cheesemakers work their magic.

Lay of the land: Pike Place sits on Elliot Bay, just a 20-minute walk from Pier 66, where Oceania and Norwegian dock.

Address: 85 Pike Street

Port: Seattle

More than a century old, Seattle’s legendary farmers market is also home to more than 200 local artisans plying handmade wares ranging from pottery to paintings to hand-carved wooden longboards. Shop for one-of-a-kind finds in the Main and North Arcades, then head to Beecher’s Cheese to sample the killer mac and cheese and watch the cheesemakers work their magic.

Lay of the land: Pike Place sits on Elliot Bay, just a 20-minute walk from Pier 66, where Oceania and Norwegian dock.

Address: 85 Pike Street

Ocho Rios Craft Park
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2. Ocho Rios Craft Park

Port: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

This town’s most famous attraction may be Dunn’s River Falls, but if you’d rather spend your time searching for a souvenir, you can’t go wrong spending some time at this local market, which has more than 130 stalls. Pick up a straw hat or bag, or hang out and wait while a vendor weaves one for you on the spot.

Lay of the Land: Be prepared to haggle — vendors expect you to bargain.

Address: Main Street

Port: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

This town’s most famous attraction may be Dunn’s River Falls, but if you’d rather spend your time searching for a souvenir, you can’t go wrong spending some time at this local market, which has more than 130 stalls. Pick up a straw hat or bag, or hang out and wait while a vendor weaves one for you on the spot.

Lay of the Land: Be prepared to haggle — vendors expect you to bargain.

Address: Main Street

Nassau Straw Market
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3. Nassau Straw Market

Port: Nassau, Bahamas

Straw working is a major part of Bahamian culture, and you’ll find all the hats, bags, and baskets you could ever want at this market near the cruise docks — along with T-shirts, jewelry, and other trinkets.

Lay of the Land: The market is within walking distance of the cruise-ship port, and haggling is expected.

Address: Bay Street

Port: Nassau, Bahamas

Straw working is a major part of Bahamian culture, and you’ll find all the hats, bags, and baskets you could ever want at this market near the cruise docks — along with T-shirts, jewelry, and other trinkets.

Lay of the Land: The market is within walking distance of the cruise-ship port, and haggling is expected.

Address: Bay Street

Nuremberg Christmas Market
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4. Nuremberg Christmas Market

Port: Nuremberg, Germany

Europe’s Christmas markets have become a huge draw for river cruise ship passengers, and this one may be the most famous of them all. Dating back to the 16th century, Nuremburg’s market is the perfect place to sip on mulled wine and nibble on gingerbread while you shop for ornaments and presents to bring home.

Lay of the Land: Christmas market cruises along the Rhine run from the end of November through New Year’s.

Address: Main Market Square

Port: Nuremberg, Germany

Europe’s Christmas markets have become a huge draw for river cruise ship passengers, and this one may be the most famous of them all. Dating back to the 16th century, Nuremburg’s market is the perfect place to sip on mulled wine and nibble on gingerbread while you shop for ornaments and presents to bring home.

Lay of the Land: Christmas market cruises along the Rhine run from the end of November through New Year’s.

Address: Main Market Square

Les Artisanales in Marseille
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5. Les Artisanales du Vieux-Port

Port: Marseille, France

Also called the Cruise Passengers Market (Marché des Croisiéristes), this summertime bazaar bustles with vendors selling Marseille soaps infused with local lavender, Provençal honey, wooden statues (“santons”), and textiles.

Lay of the Land: The market is only open on the weekends during summer.

Address: Quai du Port

Port: Marseille, France

Also called the Cruise Passengers Market (Marché des Croisiéristes), this summertime bazaar bustles with vendors selling Marseille soaps infused with local lavender, Provençal honey, wooden statues (“santons”), and textiles.

Lay of the Land: The market is only open on the weekends during summer.

Address: Quai du Port

Chatuchak Weekend Market
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6. Chatuchak Weekend Market

Port: Bangkok

Though it’s two hours from Laem Chabang, where most cruise ships dock, this massive 35-acre market is worth the trek. You’ll find more than 15,000 vendors selling everything from jewelry to leather goods to colorful Thai silks. Hungry? Stop at a food stall for Thai fried chicken, mango sticky rice, or fish balls.

Lay of the Land: The market is open Friday evenings and all day Saturday and Sunday, and most vendors only accept cash. If you can, go in the morning before the crowds arrive.

Address: Kamphaengpecth Station

Port: Bangkok

Though it’s two hours from Laem Chabang, where most cruise ships dock, this massive 35-acre market is worth the trek. You’ll find more than 15,000 vendors selling everything from jewelry to leather goods to colorful Thai silks. Hungry? Stop at a food stall for Thai fried chicken, mango sticky rice, or fish balls.

Lay of the Land: The market is open Friday evenings and all day Saturday and Sunday, and most vendors only accept cash. If you can, go in the morning before the crowds arrive.

Address: Kamphaengpecth Station

Istanbul's Grand Bazaar
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7. Grand Bazaar

Port: Istanbul

Looking for a Turkish rug? This 5,000-shop market — which dates back to the 15th century and sprawls across 60 streets — should be your first stop. Along with kilims and carpets, expect hand-painted ceramics, gold jewelry, antiques, and epic people watching. There are four main gates to the market, which is closed on Sundays.

Lay of the Land: In early 2016, most cruise ships pulled out of Turkey for the season in response to terror attacks.

Address: Beyazıt Gate

Port: Istanbul

Looking for a Turkish rug? This 5,000-shop market — which dates back to the 15th century and sprawls across 60 streets — should be your first stop. Along with kilims and carpets, expect hand-painted ceramics, gold jewelry, antiques, and epic people watching. There are four main gates to the market, which is closed on Sundays.

Lay of the Land: In early 2016, most cruise ships pulled out of Turkey for the season in response to terror attacks.

Address: Beyazıt Gate

Artisans Market in Puerto Rico
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8. Artisans Market

Port: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Though small, this crafts market near Pier One is one of the best places in Old San Juan to find Puerto Rican crafts. Everything from handmade lace to religious carvings to colorful paintings are on sale, and street vendors plying “piragua” (shaved ice) and coconut water will help you cool off while you’re on the hunt.

Lay of the land: There are often free concerts here on the weekends, so ask around when you disembark.

Address: Plaza de la Dársena

Port: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Though small, this crafts market near Pier One is one of the best places in Old San Juan to find Puerto Rican crafts. Everything from handmade lace to religious carvings to colorful paintings are on sale, and street vendors plying “piragua” (shaved ice) and coconut water will help you cool off while you’re on the hunt.

Lay of the land: There are often free concerts here on the weekends, so ask around when you disembark.

Address: Plaza de la Dársena

Grenada's Grand Anse Beach
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9. Grand Anse Spice and Crafts Market

Port: Grenada

Famous for its cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, ginger, and especially nutmeg, Grenada is known as the Island of Spice. This seaside bazaar on the soft sands of Grand Anse is one of the best spots to pick up some of the aromatic stuff, plus tons of handmade crafts. Before parking yourself on the adjacent beach, check out the 80-plus booths of tortoiseshell jewelry, wood carvings, and seafood stands. Make sure to stop at Esther’s Bar for mojitos and rum punches, some of the best on the island.

Lay of the Land: You can take a water taxi from the cruise ship port directly to Grand Anse.

Address: Grand Anse

Port: Grenada

Famous for its cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, ginger, and especially nutmeg, Grenada is known as the Island of Spice. This seaside bazaar on the soft sands of Grand Anse is one of the best spots to pick up some of the aromatic stuff, plus tons of handmade crafts. Before parking yourself on the adjacent beach, check out the 80-plus booths of tortoiseshell jewelry, wood carvings, and seafood stands. Make sure to stop at Esther’s Bar for mojitos and rum punches, some of the best on the island.

Lay of the Land: You can take a water taxi from the cruise ship port directly to Grand Anse.

Address: Grand Anse

Brooklyn Flea Market in Williamsburg
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10. Brooklyn Flea

Port: Brooklyn

This market may be less than a decade old, but it already ranks among the world’s best, thanks to a tightly curated selection of goods by Brooklyn-based artists, jewelry makers, and furniture designers — not to mention a major dose of hipster appeal. And since Brooklyn Flea also operates the adjacent Smorgasburg, showcasing the borough’s coolest artisanal food, you’ll never want to leave.

Lay of the Land: From April to November, the market is outdoors and rotates between Fort Greene on Saturday and Williamsburg on Sundays. In winter, the market moves indoors to Industry City.

Address: 241 37th Street December through May; 176 Lafayette Avenue on Saturdays from November through April; and 50 Kent Avenue on Sundays from November through April

Port: Brooklyn

This market may be less than a decade old, but it already ranks among the world’s best, thanks to a tightly curated selection of goods by Brooklyn-based artists, jewelry makers, and furniture designers — not to mention a major dose of hipster appeal. And since Brooklyn Flea also operates the adjacent Smorgasburg, showcasing the borough’s coolest artisanal food, you’ll never want to leave.

Lay of the Land: From April to November, the market is outdoors and rotates between Fort Greene on Saturday and Williamsburg on Sundays. In winter, the market moves indoors to Industry City.

Address: 241 37th Street December through May; 176 Lafayette Avenue on Saturdays from November through April; and 50 Kent Avenue on Sundays from November through April

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