Mediterranean cruise packing list – a quick and easy guide

So you’re off to the Mediterranean for a dream cruise in the summer. Perhaps by now, you have read how changeable the weather can be depending if you are traveling in the spring, summer, or fall.

Whether you are a seasoned cruiser or a first-time cruise guest, we recommend you make a packing list to ensure you have everything you need for a comfortable trip. And if you are like me, then a packing list will be drawn up by January and suitcases dusted off by March, ready to pack for my summer cruise vacation. Ah, the anticipation!

Here is a comprehensive packing list to help you get started and to help you navigate our Mediterranean climate:

Essentials for onboard the cruise ship

Comfortable lightweight clothing

Be sure to pack plenty of lightweight, breathable clothing that you can layer as needed. This will help you stay relaxed and comfortable during the hot summer months and give you an extra cover-up for any cooler evenings on the deck.

Bathing suits

Don’t forget to pack at least one swimsuit for your trip. Or two if you plan to visit a beach as a shore excursion or do a water sport. You don’t want to pack a wet and soggy swimsuit from your morning swim in your backpack for your shore excursion swimming with the dolphins.

Hats and sunglasses

A har and a pair of sunglasses are essential for protecting your face and eyes from the strong Mediterranean sunshine. Opt for a wide-brimmed hat that covers your face and neck, and choose sunglasses with good UV protection.

Sunscreen

Protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays by packing plenty of sunscreens. It costs a lot more on the ship to buy compared to bringing it from your local supermarket. Remember that it is classed as a liquid at the airport, and you will need to pack large tubes into your suitcase. Seal it in a plastic bag amongst your clothing.

Comfortable shoes

Sandals or sneakers are a good option for onboard the ship. There are usually lots of activities to join, so comfort is key!

Formal attire

Most cruises include some more formal nights. Sometimes called “casual chic,” and while you do not have to go all out with a ballgown or tux, some guests do and think it’s great fun. Others prefer more low-key smart casual attire, and either, of course, is acceptable.

Travel documents

Have your travel documents packed in your hand baggage, such as your passport, cruise ticket, visa, or vaccination records. You will need at least some of these when you check in at the port. By then, the cruise line baggage handler may have already whisked away your suitcase for delivery to your assigned cabin.

Cabin accessories

Extra wall hooks, handling storage bags, and wrinkle-release sprays are all popular to take on board. Each cabin has storage, but by bringing a few clever gadgets from home, your cabin will be free of clutter, and you’ll find everything you need quickly, especially if you are a family sharing a cabin. It’s easy to get into a muddle sometimes. Check out packing cubes, a popular must-have on the packing list of many seasoned cruise guests.

Smart packing for on-shore excursions

In addition to all of the above, give some thought to packing the following items that can make all the difference when on shore and exploring your destination cruise port and the surrounding area:

Backpack

Bringing a backpack from home is a good idea. This way, you can keep your belongings together on shore and still be hands-free. You’ll have room for your cruise card, wallet, extra clothing layers or swimwear, camera, or smartphone.

Waterproof bag

A waterproof bag that clips around your waist or wrist is ideal if you plan to participate in water sports. It would be best if you had a safe place to keep your valuables.

Water bottle

Bring a water bottle from home and fill it up on board before your shore excursion. It will be less expensive to buy bottled water for the whole family on a hot day.

Child’s stroller

If you are traveling with a young child, we recommend a lightweight stroller to bring from home. It will easily slide under your cabin bed when not in use. And it could prove to be a godsend for a tired toddler on a long day out. These are not provided on board by the cruise line.

Comfortable walking shoes

It’s impossible to have a great day out if your feet hurt. Depending on what you plan to do on shore will determine the type of shoes you need to pack. Sneakers usually work for most things. For beach visits, slide a pair of flip-flops into your backpack. For hiking, you’ll need something more robust. And with any planning water sports, we recommend soft-soled water shoes to protect your feet in the ocean.

Local currency

Traveling to the Mediterranean means, most likely, all your destinations will be in Europe. Most countries in Europe have the Euro as their local currency. Exceptions include ports in Denmark (Danish Krona) and Sweden (Swedish Krona). Dollars and pounds are not excepted in retail shops. We recommend you bring some Euros and international credit cards that are widely accepted everywhere.

Remember, if you visit the U.K. at any time at the end or beginning of your cruise, you’ll need Pounds Sterling.

Travel insurance: When leaving home for any trip, make sure you have a valid passport and travel insurance. Always check with your provider what protection you are offered when traveling in Europe regarding everything from medical care and travel delays to lost suitcases and loss of personal belongings. Never leave home without adequate travel insurance for the whole family. Remember adult children no longer living at home may also not be included on your policy any longer and will need their own insurance.

Meet the author: Sarah has created and booked hundreds of travel itineraries for thousands of customers during a career in the travel industry that spans 20 years. Having worked hand in hand with cruise lines, hotels, airlines and tour operators worldwide, she offers inspiring & detailed insights in the world of travel and tourism.