Packing for any kind of cruise requires a balance of resort wear, beachwear, evening wear, and comfortable clothes for exploring port destinations. Once you’re on board, there’s no turning back or finding your nearest department store. Being organised is key, and you’ll also need to take into account the weather.
Most regions in the Med have mild winters and warm summers, and are glorious during peak cruising season. But climate may differ slightly between port stops, so it best to be prepared for all eventualities. If you’re unsure, here are our top tips on what to pack for a Mediterranean cruise.
WHAT TO PACK BY SEASON
When packing for a cruise in the Med, be sure to consider the climate in your month of travel, checking the weather forecast before you go. Here are some of the most common questions answered.
HOW DO I PACK FOR A MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE IN SUMMER?
Summer is high season for cruises in the Mediterranean, with most travellers lucky enough to experience non-stop sunshine. The Med’s coastline is very reliable during the months of July and August. Rainfall is low, and temperatures are perfect for the pool or beach – music to cruisers ears.
Average temperatures across the Med during the summer months sit at around 23°C, pushing even higher during the peak months of July and August. Some of the hottest parts of the region, such as the Greek Islands, can climb to over 30°C.
Tips for packing:
- Bring enough sun cream for your whole trip
- Pack UV protective clothing for hiking or outdoor activities
- Wear a hat and sunglasses when walking around in the sun
- Choose light fabrics such as linen
HOW DO I PACK FOR A MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE IN OCTOBER?
If you decide to go on a Mediterranean cruise during the shoulder season (also includes late-September), the good news is that the weather is still lovely and across the majority of the region. Rainfall is a little higher at this time, but rain showers are usually short, with sun very much top of the menu.
Even as you get into October, much of the region remains hot. In some areas, like Cyprus, highs can still reach a more than satisfactory 26ºC. Other port regions, such as North Eastern Spain, have averages of around 17°C.
Tips for packing:
- Bring sun cream and protective eyewear
- Pack plenty of layers for varying weather
- Don’t forget a light jacket for cool evenings
- Carry an umbrella in case of rain
HOW DO I PACK FOR A MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE IN SPRING?
The months of May and June promise great weather, but isn’t quite as intense as summer. For anyone who doesn’t fare well in heat, this can be a more comfortable time to go.
Expect average daytime temperatures of 20°C or more in coastal cities such as Barcelona, Palma, Naples, and Cannes.
Tips for packing:
- Bring sun cream for every destination
- Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses for outdoor activities
- Pack layers and a light jacket for the evenings
- Wear a wetsuit for watersports (sea temperatures can be cool)
WHAT TO PACK FOR EVENING ATTIRE
Another uncertainty is knowing what to pack for a Mediterranean cruise at night. Evening attire is an important part of the cruise wardrobe, especially if you want to dress up for dinner and drinks. The rules tend to vary depending on the cruise lines, with some of the more traditional ones requiring formal evening wear – so best to check with them before you begin packing.
Whilst some will demand a more formal approach, modern cruise liners are changing their approach in favour of ‘Freestyle Cruising’. These ships aren’t as stuffy or strict when it comes to dress code. You can wear whatever feels comfortable, but you can also sport your best dress or dinner jacket if you wish.
For some of our al fresco restaurants overlooking the ocean, you can enjoy the mild Mediterranean evenings. Just be sure to bring a light jacket or shawl in case the temperature drops.
HOW TO PACK FOR A 2 WEEK MEDITERRANEAN CRUISE (OR MORE)
Long cruises give you more time to relax and enjoy the on-board amenities, and you can experience cruising at a more leisurely pace. But this can be tricky when it comes to packing, as you will need to bring enough for the entire cruise duration. Here are some tips to help you out:
- Pack clothing items that are interchangeable
- Choose outerwear that can match different outfits
- Bring plenty of layers with you in all seasons
- Use on-board laundry services instead of over-packing
- Don’t pack hairdryers or bath products if your cruise line provides them
- Hire beach towels instead of bringing your own
- Download eBooks instead of weighing your suitcase down
PACKING TIPS FOR DESTINATIONS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
The final thing to remember when packing for a Mediterranean cruise is to research the ports. For excursions and activities, you’ll need suitable clothing and footwear. For sightseeing, you will need to respect local etiquette. For instance, when visiting churches and cathedrals, it may be compulsory to be covered up (so no shorts or beachwear).
Certain casinos in Monte Carlo and some upscale restaurants in the French Riviera will also require smart attire. And there are some port cities where the general dress code is just more refined in general.
Not settled on which Mediterranean experience you want to embark on? You’ll find no end of options with Norwegian Cruise Line’s.