European Cruises Deals

What to pack for your European Cruise

PDF Print E-mail
Now that you’ve booked your European cruise and reserved all your must-do excursions and massages, it’s time to create a packing list for your cruise. Choosing what to bring with you may be the final vital part of your decision-making process, since most of your activities on the cruise will be booked in advance.

Making a cruise packing list is crucial. You don’t want to realize at port that you are missing a necessity. If you need to buy a forgotten item on board, expect to pay two or three times more than what you normally would.
You may have to do a bit of research beforehand to see what paperwork will be required for your cruise. You will likely require a passport, since European cruises tend to visit the ports of several neighboring countries. Most importantly, before you go, find out if any visas are required. Make sure you start the visa process a few months in advance, as non-expedited visa services can take more than a month.

What you pack, of course, depends on where you are going and when. If you venture to the Mediterranean in August, you’re likely to overheat and melt, so pack accordingly. Traveling through the Arctic Circle in spring, however, will be quite cold, and you’ll want to make sure you have a wool hat handy. In either place, you’ll want to dress up elegantly, for a night out on the town or a dinner and dancing on the cruise ship. Make sure you bring your dancing shoes, even if you reputedly don’t dance. In short, be prepared for everything. Bring some fair-weather or fun-in-the-sun outfits as well as clothes to layer and warmer weather gear for chilly evenings and possibly rainy weather.  

It’s always a good idea to stow some emergency items in your carry-on luggage in case your bags are lost or delayed. Your carry-on should contain at least one change of clothes, all of your very valuables, a toothbrush, toothpaste and other toiletries used daily.
Here is a sample packing list for cruise travel. You can save it as a text document and add or remove points from it as it suits you.

What to pack for your European Cruise…

Travel Documents & Other Important Papers

  • Airline tickets or printout of e-ticket confirmation
  • Cruise papers and activities reservations
  • Passports with visas, as necessary
  • Vaccination certificate, if required
  • Driver's license and auto insurance card, especially important if you rent a car while ashore
  • Second picture ID (after your passport) if you don't have a driver's license
  • Medical insurance cards and medical history with a list of the prescriptions you are taking
  • Credit cards & ATM bank card; before you go, call financial institutions to let them know your you are traveling to avoid denied transactions.
  • Pre-paid international phone card; or you may want to activate international calling on your cell phone before you leave.
  • Cash or traveler's checks; keep the receipt for your traveler's checks in a separate location. Alternatively, getting the local currency from a cash machine will always give you the best exchange rate. Just be sure you know how much your bank will charge you for international transactions back home.
  • A copy of airline tickets, cruise tickets, passports and visas as well as your itinerary. Also, before you go, make sure you email yourself an electronic copy of all documentation. This way, you can access the information from anywhere.
  • Financial institution contact numbers to report lost or stolen credit cards or traveler's checks. Hopefully you won’t need to dial these numbers!
  • Emergency phone numbers for home
  • Currency conversion chart. Knowing the currency rates at each place might save you from being ripped off by con artists.
  • Wallet, fanny pack and/or a money belt that can be worn beneath your clothing.

Reading & Writing Materials

  • Books to read on the plane or lounging around by the pool.
  • Guidebooks (and optional maps) for places you plan to visit on land.
  • Foreign language phrase books or dictionary.
  • Journal with at least two pens and a pencil to write your about your adventures and thoughts while traveling.
  • Glasses, contacts and contact cleaner.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Physical addresses of folks back home for sending postcards.
  • Business cards (if you have them) with email address to hand out to new friends you meet during your journey.
  • Small flashlight or headlamp to read or write at night without disturbing your cabin partner.

Electronics & Camera Stuff

  • Set of adaptor plugs and a voltage converter.
  • Cell phone (with international calling enabled) and charger.
  • Laptop computer with charger. But consider traveling “unplugged.” Chances are, you’ll truly relax and you will enjoy your vacation all the more for it!
  • Digital camera. If you have a DSLR, be sure to bring all lenses, filters, cleaning kit, tripod, etc. with you.
  • Extra memory cards for your digital camera.
  • Extra batteries or charger for your digital camera.
  • Extension cord or power strip with multiple plug-ins, especially if you are planning on bringing a computer and other electronic items that will need charging. Cruise ship cabins are slim on outlets.

First Aid & Medicine Kit

  • Carry prescription drugs and any other essential medications in your carry-on luggage
  • Small first aid kit, with band aids, antibiotic cream, bandages, anti-diarrheal medication, cortisone cream, pain relievers, and some sort of motion sickness medication.
  • Anti-bacterial hand cleaner.
  • All-purpose lotion or body cream.
  • Lip balm.
  • Sun block and lip sunblock.
  • Wet wipes.
  • Insect repellant.  
  • Ear plugs.

Other Essentials

  • TSA-approved security luggage lock, which can be opened by the Unites States Transportation Security Administration. If they decide to check your bags randomly and cannot open the lock, they will break it.
  • Name tags on your luggage.
  • Day packs for day-long excursions, to take to the beach or walk around town.
  • Ziploc bags of all sizes and a couple of garbage bags. You never know when they will come in handy.
  • Multiuse pen knife, to be placed in your checked luggage.
  • Corkscrew (if there isn’t already one in your pen knife), to be placed in your checked luggage.
  • Collapsible travel pillow for those long airplane flights.
  • Playing cards or other mini travel games.
  • Small sewing kit with scissors (pack in checked luggage).
  • Extra collapsible bag to bring souvenirs back with you, in case you don’t have enough room in your main luggage.  
  • Hats with visors to keep the sun out of your eyes.
  • Travel towels and/or big beach towels.

Women's Cruise Clothing Checklist

  • Bras (include strapless if needed for evening wear)
  • Panties
  • Lingerie and pajamas
  • Work out clothes and sports bra
  • Exercise shoes and socks, for the gym on the cruise or jogging once you stay on land
  • Trouser socks or pantyhose
  • Purses (day and evening)
  • Belts
  • Scarves
  • Gloves and wool hat (especially if you will be visiting Arctic or other cold regions)
  • Walking shoes and sandals
  • Pretty evening shoes
  • Jewelry (necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings)
  • Swim suit or bikini
  • Swim suit cover-up or sarong
  • Flip flops for beach walking and for taking showers in public areas
  • Dresses or outfits for formal nights on and off of the ship
  • Dresses or outfits for casual nights on ship and off of the ship
  • Tops and blouses (sleeveless, short-sleeved, long-sleeved)
  • Evening sweaters or wraps
  • Slacks, capri pants, shorts and jeans
  • Windbreaker jacket
  • Raincoat with hood if your windbreaker doesn’t have a hood

Women's Toiletries

  • Blow dryer
  • Curling iron, curlers or flat iron
  • Comb or brush
  • Hair gel, mousse or spray
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Shower cap, if you normally use one
  • Bar soap in plastic container
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, mini mouthwash
  • Tweezers
  • Make-up and make-up bag, optional make-up mirror
  • Make-up remover
  • Facial cleanser
  • Moisturizer and freshener
  • Perfumes
  • Nail clippers and file, to be packed in your checked luggage)
  • Nail polish and remover
  • Hair removal system, products or razor and shaving cream

Men's Cruise Clothing Checklist

  • Underwear (briefs or boxer shorts)
  • Undershirts & pajamas
  • Work out clothes
  • Exercise shoes and socks, for the gym on the cruise or jogging once you stay on land
  • Dark dress socks
  • Belts
  • Gloves and wool hat (especially if you will be visiting Arctic or other cold regions)
  • Walking shoes & sandals rubber
  • Evening or dress shoes
  • Casual shoes
  • Suit or tuxedo jacket with appropriate ties
  • Cufflinks and studs
  • Sport jacket
  • Dress or tuxedo shirts
  • Swimming trunks
  • Flip flops for beach walking and for taking showers in public areas
  • Evening sweaters
  • Slacks, shorts and jeans
  • Windbreaker jacket
  • Raincoat with hood if your windbreaker doesn’t have a hood

Men's Toiletries

  • Comb or brush
  • Shampoo, gel & other hair products you normally use
  • Bar soap in a plastic container
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, mini mouthwash
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers to be packed in checked luggage)
  • Razor and shaving cream (or electric razor and supplies)

Enjoy your cruise!