If you’re wondering what to pack for a Mediterranean Cruise look no further. This is a complete guide that will show you everything you need to know about packing (including some money saving tips)!
What to Pack for a Mediterranean Cruise
Written by: Kate Langille
Cruising used to conjure images in the mind of prospective travelers of the blissful honeymooners pawing at each other endlessly, or on the opposite side of the spectrum, senior citizens lining up to play shuffleboard on the top deck. While those tropes still exist on board, cruising is an excellent choice for many modern travelers while still having the charm of traveling old school sailing style.
The Mediterranean is the best example I can think of when traveling where the old mixes with the new, hitting some of the most fashionable and modern cities with millenia’s worth of history, art, culture, and culinary styles. I had an absolute blast city-hopping from Barcelona, Cote d’Azur, Amalfi Coast, Rome, Florence, the Greek Isle, Athens, Kusadasi/Ephesus in Turkey. Cruising is a great way to sample the best of Europe while only having to pack and unpack once.
Considering what to pack for a Mediterranean cruise can lead to confusion. Let’s take a look at the essentials along with some time and budget savers as it’s easy to splash out on a cruise with specialty restaurants, alcohol (which is usually not included), and excursions.
I Don’t Know What to Pack for a Mediterranean Cruise, Help!
Follow the Maximista packing list for European Destinations and you will have more than enough outfits to choose from. As the weather in the Mediterranean can vary by location, and depending on the season, it’s a good idea to consider layering items as your overall packing goal. Remember, you can peel off thin layers, but warming up when you’re underdressed and unprepared can harshen your travel buzz on shore.
It can get incredibly hot in the Mediterranean even in the late fall yet I was comfortable and prepared on each stop. In Greece and Turkey it was blistering hot in the middle of November, while in Rome and Florence it was slightly chilly.
Read this guide if you’re planning a trip to Italy!
I went on the shoulder season and ended up wearing my heaviest outfit, knee high flat boots, dark skinny jeans, a long sleeved shirt and wool granny sweater on the plane to save room for my dressier clothing in my carry on. Take your staples with you, your favorite jeans, cardigan, blazer, or whatever your staple item may be.
Follow the TFG philosophy when you plan what to pack for a Mediterranean Cruise: comfortable, practical, and of course fashionable. Personally, I needed dark skinny jeans and a pair of jeggings in order to feel like myself, all other clothing items vary depending on my mood.
Take a look at the best carry-on suitcase for traveling Europe!
Don’t forget a swimsuit or two and some flip flops! There are typically several pools on board and jacuzzi hot tubs, even on deck which I highly recommend to experience the relaxation of the tub and eerie calm of the sea in the dark. Towels are provided.
A novel travel consideration some cruisers worry about it the formal nights on board. Most cruises have dress guidelines ranging from casual, smart casual, to formal which isn’t mandatory outside the formal dining room, although it’s a nice opportunity to get glammed up.
Other than weddings, I don’t have many opportunities to wear a beautiful dress, so I loved the idea of heading to the formal dining room in my best gear then hitting the casino, and the dance club.
Treat yourself to one nice cocktail dress when doing some shopping at one of your stops, or simply take your tried and true little black dress and your favorite sandals, a few pieces of classic costume jewelry, and a small clutch or wristlet. I love wedges and took my favorite tried and true, old faithful pair. I’d avoid stilettos unless you’re an absolute expert since your balance can get off kilter on board nor it is the most practical for sight seeing on old cobblestone and steep inclines.
Take a look at these travel-friendly wedges!
There are people on board will do tuxedos and full length formal gowns and sky high shoes, and power to them, but don’t feel underdressed if you decide not to. Feel good because you packed less!
There are suggested dress “codes” but they are more guidelines than rules. There is no one policing what you wear, but you can be sure TFG’s packing lists will carry you through any situation on board with 100% certainty. A good rule of thumb is to try to take it up a notch at dinner, while keeping your beach attire, shorts, and tank tops for poolside or for sightseeing.
Can’t Live Without Cruise Item: A shawl, pashmina, or a large scarf. Not only can you dress up any outfit, wear it with your dress on formal nights to keep warm on deck, there are some uses you may have not thought of. It’s a great coverup for your swimsuit and for your shoulders or legs in more modest countries and cathedrals, doubles as a tablecloth for a picnic for on your docked days, and you can even tie it up into a handbag, use it as a hair accessory, you get the drift.
Beauty and the Like
Being the makeup nerd that I am, I need to pack strategically and think logically about how much time I want to put into my routine on a cruise. Early morning’s are common on an travel itinerary and this is foremost in my mind. I’d adhere to my Beauty Junkie’s makeup packing list, with a few specific items that make it easy to have a simple face, or go all out and make it an Instagram worthy makeup look.
As with signature personalized fashion pieces, it is great to build a look around what makes a look your own when doing your makeup, especially on a cruise where you have a chance to get dolled up. If you are a false lash kind of girl, bring a few of your favorite sets. Is graphic eyeliner your thing? Then go ahead and take a gel, a pencil, and a liquid liner. For me, it’s all about the face. I love blush, highlight, and bronzers. Lip color is a fantastic way to play up any look and very easy to pack, go nuts if snazzy lips are your deal.
A few things to keep in mind with makeup is to have products that are easy to touch up and build upon. For foundation, I love L’oreal True Match which can be blended for a sheer effect or layered to achieve a full coverage face.
On the more expensive but still as functional end of the spectrum, Kat von D’s Lock it Tattoo Powder foundation gives light coverage with a brush/ For full to heavy coverage using a sponge, I recommend the Beauty Blender or my personal and more inexpensive favorite, the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. This makes applying foundation easy, quick, and flawless, just be sure to wet it and wring it out for maximum effectiveness. Perfect for early mornings and rushed special occasion dinners.
All in one palettes are so much fun because they are compact, cute, versatile, and get the job done without needing to overthink your makeup. Since I am a face makeup obsessed gal, I would bring my NARS Virtual domination Palette which has three blushes, a highlighter, and a bronzer, this is sadly only limited edition, NARS comes out with seasonal special edition palettes like this one with lip, cheek, and contour products.
For the eyes, save on toiletry bag space with an eyeliner pen and a tinted eyebrow gel, pen or pencil that don’t need brushes, and again are buildable from day to night. A set on defined brows and a cat eye flick of liner especially takes a look from casual to fancy. Choose an eyeshadow palette with a few light shades, at least one darker colour, and one shimmer or satin shade to achieve a nighttime look with a few sweeps of a blending brush, like the Smashbox Full Exposure Travel Palette.
Take the eyes up a further notch by building layers upon layers of your favorite mascara. It may seem silly, but I plan my makeup looks as one would outfits and practice before I travel if there is something special I want to do, I suggest this for all novice makeup wearers women wanting to spice up your makeup for a fancy night on board.
Bring all your beauty and grooming essentials with you like shampoo, body wash, hair products and so on as little bars of soap are typically all that is provided.
Take a look at out top 10 toiletry bags for all your beauty essentials!
Can’t Live Without Cruise Item: A small magnified mirror makes for easier makeup application on the go and in cramped cruise cabins. You don’t realize how much you miss this once you travel without it.
Time, Money, and Convenience Savers
If you’re someone who needs to stay connected on your travels, I highly recommend bringing your own smartphone or tablet to use when you dock. There is a business centre on board for computer access, but the exorbitant price is a huge deterrent for me. Head to a Starbucks or McDonald’s for free wifi almost anywhere in Europe.
Also, smartphones have offline maps which was especially useful getting lost in Rome and having to get back to the excursion bus back to the cruise port of Civitavecchia. Be sure to bring a portable battery backup charger when planning what to pack for a Mediterranean Cruise.
Another cruise travel essential is a simple plastic water bottle. Don’t waste money or time buying and lugging water back to the cruise ship. Instead, buy one liter bottle before you leave and use one of the many public water fountains for a refill. Public fountains are especially common in France and Italy.
Ziploc baggies are handy for a cheapo like me. Before you head on shore, grab a few pastries, some fruit, veggies, bread, deli meat, cheese, hard boiled eggs ect from the main dining hall and have them in your day pack for a quick snack.
This tactic won’t lead you to buying a really terrible baguette sandwich that was hard enough to cut the roof of your mouth and a 4 Euro diet coke from a tourist trap. You’ll be happy about not wasting money on bad food, or wasting time running around trying to find sustenance in the short duration you have for sightseeing. It’s going to be hard to find and get into a nice restaurant in the time allotted, although it is a great goal if trying local food is your travel passion.
If you are an extra light packer, some laundry soap, such as space saving and spill proof laundry soap sheets and a sink stopper to wash some clothes in will be extra handy. Luckily, there was a clothesline in the shower on the cruise I went on. Getting a few shirts laundered is really expensive, and with limited time on shore, it would be such a waste to try to get to a laundromat. You are better off doing it by hand or at least simply taking enough panties to last you the entire trip.
Can’t Live Without Cruise Item: Gravol. Whatever your must have belly ache remedy is, be sure to have it with you. There is a store on board, but of course there is a mark up and you may not get exactly what you need. I got pretty sea sick one night and might have robbed someone if I knew they were holding an antinauseant. Lesson learned, over the counter medications like Advil, Immodium, and Pepto Bismol tablets are easy to transport and are a lifesaver in really uncomfortable moments away from home. (Always make sure you aren’t allergic to any ingredients and consults with a physician to be sure.)
What are your tips on what to pack for a Mediterranean Cruise? Please comment below!
For more ideas on cruise travel, please read:
- What to Wear on a Cruise to the South Pacific
- Ten Unexpected Things You’ll Experience On a Cruise
- Caribbean Cruise Wear Essentials
- What to Pack for a Cruise Vacation
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Author Bio: Kate is a small town girl looking to explore the world on a budget with a carry on bag in hand, all while looking smugly proud of her packing skills. Traveling internationally since 2008, Kate has stayed in dive hostels to high end hotels with every mode of travel getting her there. Kate has a passion for makeup, skin care, hair care and is obsessed with finding the best way to take her beauty routine in the road with her.