The beauty of Antigua’s Port, is that cruise passengers can step straight from their ships to the boardwalk along the charming waterfront enclave of Redcliffe Quay and the duty-free port of Heritage Quay.
Once a slave-trading area for St. John’s, historic Redcliffe Quay is a collection of old Georgian buildings and former warehouses restored and painted in a variety of bright colours and converted into small shops and galleries selling gifts ad pottery.
Nestled within the stone courtyards shaded by palms and flamboyant trees, are numerous cafés, arts and crafts shops and restaurants.
Other shops are the purveyors of designer and tailor-made clothing, with names from Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren to the haute couture, high-fashion garments at Noreen Phillips Couturiere.
The proprietor is a charming, witty and attentive as her creations are striking, glamorous and sought after.
Noreen started business designing and hand-crafting fine garment sand accessories in 1984. Her success has become the stuff of Caribbean legend and today her clients dot the globe, adding to their exclusive collections each time their cruise liners call at St John’s.
The inspired and immensely talented Noreen prides herself on the fact that she and her small dedicated and courteous team provide the very highest levels of customer service.
Customers whose chosen garments may need alteration can enjoy their time ashore in Antigua safe in the knowledge that their beautifully wrapped and presented items will be delivered to their ship before it leave the port.
“Our cocktail dresses, evening gowns, suits and daywear are tailored to the specific requirement sof each clients,” explains Noreen. “I believe no-one should go out of my shop wearing one of my dresses that does not perfectly fit. Also, crucially, it must also suite the client choosing it. It is not sufficient that the client likes it, The garment bears my name, and I have to be satisfied the person wearing it is a perfect advertisement for my clothes.”
Elsewhere at Redcliffe Quay a variety of quaint shops and other outlets offer an appealing range of both international and local goods.
Nearby Heritage Quay is the prime duty free retail area located immediately at the end of one of the port’s main cruise berths.
It offers a variety of high-fashion boutiques, cafés, bars, restaurants and marquis stores like Abbott’s Jewellery, who are known for brand name watches, designer jewellery, crystal and fragrances. The promenade has lasting appeal for cruise ship shoppers because of its prime location close to their ships.
The unique architecture of Heritage Quay is just as interesting as the shopping itself.
The two-storey buildings bathed with their pale yellow walls and red roofs house more than fifty shops that sell everything from wines, champagne and local rum to designer brand swimwear, resort wear, handbags, jeans, T-shirts and souvenirs.
A two-storey craft market and vendors mall employ locals selling everything from locally made beaded jewellery and miniature steel drums, to T-Shirts, straw hats, sandals, wood carvings, beautifully-painted conch shells, embroidered table cloths, linens and other souvenirs.