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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   3 min read

Cruising has become all the rage in the last few years. Once it was reserved for the rich but you’d be amazed at the deals you can get on commercial liners these days! Cruises are no longer reserved for the 1%, they totally cater to the 99% who want to take that all-inclusive holiday and don’t want to break the bank doing it.

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What’s popular? In winter, it’s the Carribbean but in summer, the Mediterranean is the top of the cruising cake! Thinking of spending next summer’s holidays in Spain or Italy? Why not cruise your way around the Med instead?

Packing for a Mediterranean cruise isn’t the same as packing for any other trip. Here are some tips to help you through the packing process.

What should I wear?

Your first thought when packing for a summer Med cruise is that it’ll be hot, right? Well, yes. During the day the sun can be a scorcher and it can get pretty hot up there on the deck. But as soon as the sun sets and the ship is still moving, it can also get pretty chilly. Like most trips, pack layers, including some light sweaters and long pants for those chilly evenings.

A rain coat is never a bad idea, no matter where you go on holidays. This is an essential if you’re planning on cruising during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall).

Tips for women

During the day, pack plenty of tank tops, shorts and skirts. Remember, that some churches in Italy and Spain require you to cover your shoulders in order to enter out of modesty and respect. Always pack a light scarf that doubles as a shawl, a wrap to keep warm and a sorong for the beach.

Most first-timers think you need to dress up for dinners on the ships. This is a really old-skool idea from the times when the Titanic sailed the seas. If you want to wear something a little nicer to the dinner table, consider a sundress but nothing dressier is needed.

Tips for men

Polo shirts work really well on cruises. They’ll keep you cool and keep you looking cool while on the ship. Pair them with a nice pair of shorts and you’re already looking like you’re about to go for lunch at the local country club! They’re easily dressed down as well. Leave your jacket and tie at home but a sports jacket is a nice touch for the Captain’s Dinner at the end of every cruise (but not an essential).

Venice

What else do I need?

Don’t forget your sunglasses and a hat. If you forget both you can visit the ship gift shop but be prepared to dish out for these simple essentials. Bring two swim suits to alternate between days. Almost every port of call will have a beach nearby and plenty of opportunities for water sports like kayaking and snorkelling. Ladies, we recommend a bikini for sun bathing and a one piece for more activity-based water ventures.

Sunscreen. A big bottle of it, not just the little 100ml you’re allowed in your carry-on. Don’t be surprised if a bottle at port costs €15 or more. It’s cheaper to bring it from home and pack it in your checked luggage for your flight.

Motion sickness pills. Boats rock and it’ll drive you crazy until you get your sea legs.

Consider packing a few pairs of shoes. One for dressy (think casual business attire) dinners and going out. That could mean a pair of ballet flats for ladies and a pair of leather shoes for men. Sandals (flip flops go a long way) and a pair of hiking or running shoes for extra excursions which could find you walking for hours on uneven terrain.

Have you ever been on a cruise? What did you forget to pack that you wish you hadn’t?

Images: nitdoggx, ghost-rider / Flickr cc.

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