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Old 16-02-2016, 08:48   #1
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Packages/Mail while Cruising?

I've just started cruising fulltime (currently through the Bahamas) and was wondering what the best ways to have packages shipped to me are? Things like spare boat parts and mail from home. How do you handle it?
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Old 16-02-2016, 09:59   #2
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Re: Packages/Mail while Cruising?

many marinas will receive mail for boats staying with them, pretty common practice.
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Old 16-02-2016, 14:28   #3
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Re: Packages/Mail while Cruising?

We were disappointed with the reliability of receiving mail in an expected length of time in the Bahamas during cruises there in the 1970's and 80's. We attempted to rely on companies such as Fed Ex in more recent years, but still found ourselves delayed in ports waiting for something that we had planned to receive.

If you plan to remain in one area for the season, then it can be satisfactory, but we like to move about with the times of best weather and not be tied down with an itinerary.

In a true emergency we would have to wait, but our best plan is not to receive any mail at all in the Bahamas. It won't do for packages, but St. Brendan's Isle (mail and residency service) will scan your mail contents for an online view.
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Old 16-02-2016, 14:43   #4
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Re: Packages/Mail while Cruising?

We had a family member scan important mail and email us to it. Other than that we really had no mail we really needed to get. Package reception varies a lot depending on where you are. In some areas it is very straightforward and cost effective. In other countries you may need to employ a customs agent and the agent's fee along with import duties and other governmental charges can be more than the value of the object unless it is at least a few hundred dollars. When you get somewhere ask other cruisers for their experiences - for example FedEx may be best on one island and DHL on the next.
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Old 16-02-2016, 15:38   #5
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Re: Packages/Mail while Cruising?

Fed-ex charged me $130 to send a credit card from Australia to the Caribbean.

So be careful!
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Old 17-02-2016, 01:27   #6
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Re: Packages/Mail while Cruising?

we have used st brendans isle for a long while and always managed to get us our mail regardless of the country - but we give them a bit of a heads up as to where we will be and make arrangements for a marina to hold our mail.
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Old 17-02-2016, 04:44   #7
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Re: Packages/Mail while Cruising?

An old discussion, that never developed legs ➥ Shipping Packages & Mail
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Old 17-02-2016, 13:47   #8
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Re: Packages/Mail while Cruising?

I'm looking at the "mail from home" part of the equation.

Long ago on some forum, I heard about mail forwarding services. At that time, good things were said about the Parcel Room in New Hampshire.

Being nearby, I'll probably use them when I go away. You forward all your mail to them, they scan it in so you can view it, and you have 30 days to ask them to forward you anything you want to keep. The rest is shredded. The fees seem reasonable, although I have nothing to compare them to so I can't be sure.

The biggest part of the equation is to go all electronic with as many bills, payments and other transactions as possible. I've been working on this for a couple of years and I'm pretty much at the point where I never visit a bank or Post Office, never write a check and get very little mail. 90% of it can be done with my cell phone, although I do spend a few hours a week on a laptop keeping track of it all.
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Old 23-02-2016, 19:41   #9
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Re: Packages/Mail while Cruising?

Thanks for the replies. I have the package coming by DHL to a marina in Nassau where we'll be staying for a few days. Fingers crossed and I'll try to post how the experience was.
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Old 23-02-2016, 20:40   #10
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Re: Packages/Mail while Cruising?

I believe some parts of the FedEx and UPS operations overseas are run "for" them, not by them, so the rules may vary. But both of those normally allow for "HOLD AT DEPOT" for varying times and ways, call them directly and then try to contact the "depot" or outlet you'll be trying to use.


Post Offices around the world (not every general store, but a "main" post office) offer "Post Restante" which is a general delivery service--and postal parcels often are not charged a brokerage fee, big price difference. Parcels and letters addressed "Post Restante" at a specific postal station are held until someone comes to pick them up, again subject to terms and limits. American Express used to hold mail and parcels for members, in their offices. I'm not sure if they'll still do that, or what level of membership you might need.


The service from ANY carrier varies a great deal with where you are, so try to ask which one has a good reputation in a specific area before you choose them. (Like, DHL may be great in Germany, but they flunked their first attempt at the US market. And FedEx, true FedEx in the US, laughs at "FedEx Ground" or "Fedex Home" which often goes out to contractors with highly variable results.)
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