Wondering what to wear on a Mediterranean cruise? In this guide we will tell you exactly what to pack for an Mediterranean cruise no matter the length of cruise, cruise line and whether you cruise ports are in Italy, Croatia, Greece or elsewhere.
But before we get onto to wear for an Med cruise, we first will turn our attention to what non clothing items you should pack for your Mediterranean cruise.
What do I need to pack for a Mediterranean cruise (non clothing)?
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Passport and identification
For a European cruise always pack a passport and identification.
And remember that this needs to be in your embarkation day carry on bag.
Documentation including Covid 19 related paperwork
Alongside your passport and identification you will also need all other important cruise travel documents which includes but is not limited to:
- Travel insurance
- Covid Related paperwork such as vaccination certificates and PCR/Lateral Flow test results depending on your cruise line and port requirements.
- Cruise Suitcase labels – these are provided by the cruise line but are usually required to be completed and put on your suitcases before you arrive at the cruise terminal.
I would say this is an optional item, but in my experience most cruisers like to have a lanyard. Cruise cabin keys are the most important thing you have on a cruise. They are your form of identification to get back on and off the ship in ports, pay for things on the ship and is used for photographs, dining reservations and more.
Most cruisers find a lanyard is the best way to keep their cabin key safe and on them at all times on a cruise. The best ones are waterproof so can be used on shore excursions where you will be spending a lot of time in the water and can also be used to keep small amounts of cash and a government issued id.
Waterproof Phone Case
As well as the lanyard for your cruise keycard we also recommend having a waterproof phone case. You can use this in the cruise pool or hot tub and on beaches if you have any beach excursions booked. It is the best way to keep your valuables and phone safe.
Universal Travel Adaptor
Depending on where you are from, who you are sailing with and where you may need to take a travel adaptor with you to ensure that all your electronics will work. Newer ships also tend to have USB charging points in the cabins so you may also want to have a USB charging cable with you.
You will also need to pack any medications you need in your carry on and be sure to have prescriptions with you.
As well as prescription medication some other medications you may like to travel with include:
- pain medications such as Advil, paracetamol, Tylenol and Ibuprofen
- Reflux Meds such as Gaviscon, Tums etc.
- Birth Control
Sea sickness medication or motion sickness bands
I personally have never gotten sea sick on a cruise ship. However some of the seas in the Med are renowned for being quite choppy. In fact “medicane” is a term coined for the roughh seas and high winds that can be experienced by some cruise ships departing from Barcelona and Rome in the Western Med.
So if you are concerned about seasickness or are prince to it be sure to pack some sea sickness meds and some anti motion sickness bands.
Although most ships provide toiletries I will always pack some on my own as I think they are better quality than those you get on board
For more information on the best toiletries to bring on a cruise check out this post.
On top of the regular travel toiletry essentials we also recommend packing bug spray, after sun / aloe vera as well as a small first aid kid including blister plasters.
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Although toiletries are usually provided you will need to bring your own tooth brush and toothpaste.
This is definitely needed for all Med Cruises no mtter the destination.
Note: Sunscreen is usually available onboard but will cost you a premium if you wait and buy on board. Therefore you should bring this with you if you can.
The contrast between the nice weather on a warm weather cruise with the cruise ship air conditioning is the perfect recipe for dry lips.
We always recommend packing lip balm that has an SPF for the Med so your lips are protected when on beach excursions etc.
A backpack is another essential for any Med cruise. The variety of activities on board a Mediterranean cruise range from cities, beaches, and even countryside hikes For this reason we think a backpack is the type of bag that suits this range of activities most.
If you plan on doing some long day activities where you will spend lots of time outside we recommend also having a waterproof cover for your backpack.
The Med is beautiful be sure to have a good quality camera with you.
What to wear for embarkation on a Med cruise?
So now you know what to pack non clothing wise for a Med cruise we will turn our attention to clothes to pack for an Mediterranean cruise.
I have split the clothes into those that you should pack in your main case and those to put in your carry on bag so you can enjoy your embarkation day.
Day to night transition outfit
Embarkation day is the first day of your cruise. And there are lots of fun activities onboard. However it is important for first time cruisers to know that you are unlikely to get your luggage in your stateroom until after your first dinner.
Therefore we recommend packing a day to night transition outfit that is comfortable for day times out on deck in the sun but also is suitable for the main dining room.
Note: the main dining room usually operates a casual dress code on the first night but I still like to have an outfit that is a bit smarter than jeans and a t shirt.
And as the dining room can get chilly with the air con as well as the cooler temperatures you will experience the further North you go we recommend packing a pashmina. I usually pick something in a neutral color to go with all my cruise capsule wardrobe outfits.
Comfortable walking shoes
And for the first day I also recommend packing a comfortable pair of shoes. Personally I usually wear sneakers.
Also if you plan on using the pool on day one you may also want some flip flops and shoes for walking around the deck.
Depending on the cruise line and ship you are traveling on will affect whether or not the pools on your ship are heated. However even if they aren’t you might want to take a dip in one of the pool deck hot tubs.
If you want to do this on day one be sure to have one piece of swimwear in your carry on.
What to Wear on a Mediterranean Cruise
So now you know what to wear on and pack for embarkation day, we will turn our attention to what else to pack for a Mediterranean Cruise.
Now Med Cruises are seasonal and typically run from April right through to November. But peak season is classified as June, July, August and September. Therefore this cruise packing list will concentrate on what to pack for the summer season in Europe.
However if you are cruising the Med in April, May, October and November we will add month specific additions in the FAQs below.
Daytime Casual Outfits
Whether you are on the cruise ship or are out in port, you are going to need some casual day time outfits. Now depending on where you are going you may be touring historic cities and religious sites such as in Rome and Barcelona as well as beaches in Greek Island, Croatia and Montenegro.
This means you are going to need a variety of of outfits that work from everything from beaches to Cathedrals which can make packing for a Med cruise challenging. However here is what we find useful to pack:
Trousers / Pants
For a Med Cruise in Summer trousers and pants are a good idea for religious attractions and cities. At religious sites such the Vatican, Florence Duomo or the Sagrada Familia you are required to keep your knees covered. For this reason pants / trousers are a good pick.
As the summer weather in the Med is so hot we recommend packing linen pants for both men and women.
For Spring and Fall cruises jeans are also a good pick and chinos are a great choice for men in the day as well as for cruise ship restaurants.
Maxi Dress / Midi Dress
I also like summer dresses for the Med in Summer. I tend to stick to Maxi and midi style dresses as these work on beaches and in religious setting.
I never go on any cruise without a t shirt as a base layer. I personally stick to plain tees in neutral colors that work best as part of a capsule wardrobe for Europe.
Layers are an essential for any cruise. I like to have a cardigan, sweater and a pashmina with me for summer cruises. But hoodies are a good pick for Spring and Fall.
Although swimming on shore excursions in the Med is usually something people do on the Greek Islands, Italian islands like Sicily and Sardinia or in Montenegro and Croatia. But even if you don’t plan on visiting beaches and swimming you will still want swimwear with you for use on the pool deck and hot tubs on board the ship.
We recommend packing a wide brimmed hat if you are. cruising to the Southern Med or the Greek islands.
For more information on how to pack hats for travel click here.
The sun is strong in the Med so sunglasses with UV protection are an essential.
What to wear on a Med Cruise at night
Whenever we talk about our cruise packing lists perhaps the thing we get most questions about is cruise dress codes and what to wear on cruises at night.
Now this largely depend on which cruise line you are traveling on. Some cruises have more formal dress codes such as Cunard and Holland America. Whereas some offer freestyle dining such as Norwegian which means there is no enforced dress codes.
For more information on cruise lines dress codes check out the below posts:
- Carnival Cruise Line Dress Code
- Celebrity Cruises Dress Code
- Disney Cruise Line Dress Code
- Holland America Dress code
- MSC Cruises Dress Code
- Norwegian Dress Code (NCL)
- Princess Cruises Dress Code
- Royal Caribbean Dress Code
Be sure to know your cruise line requirements before you travel so you know what to pack if you intend on attending the formal night on board your ship.
Personally I do go to formal night in the main dining room when I cruise. I would normally pack 1 more formal wear outfit, no matter the cruise line because I like to dress up at least one night on every cruise. For women this is usually cocktail dresses and for men a combination of chinos and shirt, or even tux if you want to go all out.
On top of this I would pack at least 2 smart casual outfits for evenings for non formal night evenings . All items in this category will be interchangeable as a capsule wardrobe and I may partner a top from a dinner with different bottoms for a casual shore excursion look.
For me this usually consists of some smart trousers and some blouses, or a dress or maxi skirt of and top.
Also as the air conditioning on ships is fierce. Therefore be sure to have a pashmina or something like a cardigan or jacket with you expecially if you plan to go out on deck.
Now I don’t like to bring too much jewelry with me on cruises as I don’t wear it on shore excursions. However if you want to bring some with you for formal nights be sure to take in your carry on and put in your safe once in your stateroom.
For more tips on how to pack jewelry for travel check out this post.
Best Shoe for a Med Cruise
So now you know what clothes to pack for a Med cruise we will look at the best shoes. Shoes can be challenging to pack for a Med cruise as you could be doing everything from touring cities, hitting the beach and going on hikes.
Therefore you will need to pack at least 2 -3 shoes. We recommend:
These are the most comfortable walking shoe for me no matter where I am heading. I recommend packing a pair of white sneakers as they go with most things. My favorites at the moment are the Addidas Cloud foams.
And remember to pack sneaker socks so your sneakers don’t smell in your stateroom at the end of a long day.
Of course no Med capsule wardrobe is complete without sandals. Sandals are breathable and are good in the heat. We just recommend you picking one with arch support. We also like to wear these at night too so be sure to pick a pair that can double up.
Flip Flops (Optional)
Flip flops are not good for walking however I always take them for a Med cruise. They take up very little space in your case so don’t really cause overpacking. And they are great for hot tubs and for using on the pool deck.
Note: unless you are doing something like hiking Cinque Terre as part of your cruise shore excursions you are unlikely to need hiking boots.
Other Alaska Cruise Essentials
Note: the above has dealt with a women’s Alaska cruise packing list. However for men’s cruise wear essentials check out this post.
One set for a week.
I will also have underwear enough for the cruise and a few spares.
What to pack for an Med cruise (Optional)
You will only need workout wear if you plan to use the gym on board your cruise ship. I am terrible for packing this and then never going to the gym.
FAQs about what to wear on a Mediterranean Cruise
What to wear on a Med Cruise in Spring or Fall?
Although summer is the peak season for Med cruises, Med cruises also operatre in Spring and Fall i.e. April, May and October and November.
If you are traveling on a shoulder season Med Cruise then we recommend packing the same items as the summer packing list above. However you may also want to add some extra layers like merino wool sweaters, cardies and a hoodie.
Jeans are also a good pick for the shoulder seasons when the weather is a little cooler.
How many outfits should I pack for a Mediterranean cruise?
The number of outfits you require will depend on how many days your cruise is.
For this reason we have created packing list for specific number of day cruises:
- 3 day cruise packing list
- 4 day cruise packing list
- 5 day cruise packing list
- 7 day cruise packing list
- 10 day cruise packing list
- 14 day cruise packing list.
to give you some perspective on the amounts you should take.
And it will depend on the dress codes aboard the line you are sailing with as well as whether or not you want to do laundry or pay for the laundry service on your cruise.
Do you have any other questions about what to wear on a Med cruise? Leave us a comment below and we will do our best to answer.
And if you are traveling to other parts of the world on a cruise ship be sure to check out our other cruise destination guides: