A view of the ocean from a balcony in Santorini, Greece

Your Perfect Packing List for a 12-Day Mediterranean Cruise

For those seeking relaxation, stunning beaches, delectable food, and historically beautiful cities, a Mediterranean cruise is calling your name! If you’re thinking about booking your trip anytime soon, here’s what you need to know; from when to go to what to bring.

Why the Mediterranean?

Mediterranean Europe is undeniably one of the most beautiful, culturally rich, and exciting destinations in the world. From the ancient stone villages of Portugal to the quiet flare of Turkey, there’s an endless itinerary of beaches, culture, food, and history. Whether you’re looking for shorelines to relax on or ancient ruins to explore, there is truly something for every type of traveller. It’s that unique diversity that makes a Mediterranean cruise a perfect trip.

Why a cruise?

For many travellers, finding the ideal combination of relaxation and adventure can be tricky. It begins to feel like you have two options: booking a vacation or taking off on a backpacking journey – two things that are undeniably different. That’s why a cruise, specifically a Mediterranean cruise, is the perfect solution. You’ll be treated to all of the luxuries that come with a cruise, like lavish dinners, beautiful beaches, days by the pool, and a flawless tan. On the other hand, you’ll have time to explore ancient cities, hike unique landscapes, get to know the locals and indulge in history. There’s a difference between travel and vacation, and a cruise is one of the only ways to get that elusive combination of the two.

A view of the ocean from a balcony in Santorini, Greece
A Mediterranean cruise is a perfect balance of travel and vacation | © Alexandre Chambon/Unsplash

When to go?

The Mediterranean has unique seasons, each one different, offering various perks and experiences. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which season fits you best.

Summer (July/August)

Summer is the high season for travel in the Mediterranean. This is when the region is typically at it’s busiest, bursting with travellers looking to soak up the sun. The weather is hot, the water is warm, and the coastlines are filled with tourists. While it might be the most popular season, it’s that abundance in tourism that has lots of travellers opting for the shoulder seasons.

Manarola at dusk
Cruise to seaside villages and explore all the Mediterranean has to offer | © Marc Zimmer/Unsplash

Spring (May/June) and Fall (September/October)

Spring and Fall are shoulder seasons and are widely considered the best time to visit. The crowds are much fewer, while the temperatures are comfortably warm and the sun is just as bright. In the Spring, the flowers are in bloom and the landscapes are lush and green. The fall brings mild days with beautifully crisp and clear skies. The water is a bit colder but definitely still swimmable, especially for those who love a refreshing dip.

Blue domed building in Oia, Greece
Iconic sights in the Mediterranean | © Matt Artz/Unsplash

Winter

Winter is the offseason in the Mediterranean, meaning there are very few tourists. You’ll get to experience the peaceful atmosphere of iconic destinations, without the crowds or cost increases. That being said, for a cruise, it might not be desirable. In fact, many cruise operators don’t ofter winter departures. The water is cold and rough, the days are chilly, and many excursions are closed or cancelled. The solitude is lovely, but in terms of cruising, the conditions aren’t as ideal.

What to pack?

Assuming you’re boarding your cruise during the warmer seasons, here’s everything you should pack to get the most out of your 12-day Mediterranean cruise.

Port Hercule, Monaco
Get a taste of Monaco’s class and luxury | © Nick Karvounis/Unsplash

Clothing

  • Walking Shoes: When you’re off the ship exploring, you’re going to want comfortable shoes. Sandals are great for while on board or at the beach, but running shoes are ideal for exploring when you dock.
  • Flip flops: Opposite to your exploring shoes, a great pair of flip-flops or sandals are a must for while you’re at the beach or lounging on the deck.
  • Bathing Suits: You’re going to spend a lot of time in the water, whether it’s in the hot tub or in the sea itself. Bring multiple bathing suits so you can continue enjoying the water even while the other bathing suit is drying.
  • Sundresses: A sundress is perfect for lounging by the pool or wandering around the beach. Plus with the warm temperatures, it’s almost essential.
  • Light shirts and pants: The weather is going to be hot, so come prepared with light t-shirts, tank tops, shorts, and breathable pants.
  • Sunhat and sunglasses: To avoid sunburns or heat stroke, a sunhat and sunglasses can be a real lifesaver. It will make your adventures at port a lot easier to enjoy.
  • A sweater or shawl: On occasion, the temperatures will dip a bit colder than comfortable. Having a sweater, shawl, or jacket can save the day.
  • A dressy outfit: Of course, you’re going to want to dress up a night or two and enjoy a fine dining experience. That’s why bringing at least one dressy outfit along with you is a must.

Technology

  • Portable charger: If you want to stay connected, be sure to remember your portable charger. It’s easy to forget to charge your devices when you’re having a good time.
  • Laptop or tablet: For the times that you’re on the ship and have some downtime, having a tablet or laptop helps keep you connected and gives you the chance to share photos and memories online.
  • Camera or go-pro: Don’t forget a camera or go-pro to document your travels. The photo opportunities will be endless, so you don’t want to travel without one.
A street in Cagliari
Explore beautiful streets and take in the culture of the Mediterranean | © Roman Kraft/Unsplash

Miscellaneous

  1. Seasickness medication: It’s impossible to know how your body will react to a cruise. Better to be safe than sorry and pack some seasickness medication.
  2. Sunscreen: Nothing ruins a cruise like a sunburn, so make sure you’ve got a bottle of sunscreen with you everywhere you go.
  3. Photocopies of passport and travel documents: It’s always a good idea to travel with a photocopied version of your passport or other travel documents. Keep it with you at all times!
  4. Binoculars: There’s some really cool wildlife in the Mediterranean. If you want to catch a better view of the birdlife, seals, turtles, sharks, or rays, binoculars will make it a lot easier.
  5. Beach blanket: A nice big beach blanket will make your time on the beach much more enjoyable. Try to find something compact that’s easy to roll back up again.

From relaxing on board to hitting the pavement and getting to know the history, art, food, and culture the Mediterranean is known for, you’re sure to have an incredible time on your cruise. The best part? You’ll only have to unpack your perfectly-packed suitcase once, since you’ll be exploring destinations from the comfort of your cabin!

Have you been on a Mediterranean cruise? Where did you go?

Jesse is a blogger and content creator who loves travel, the outdoors, and her dog, Molly. With a never-ending bucket list of places to go, she's is always up for an adventure and loves trying new things. When Jess isn't planning her next trip, she can be found watching Netflix documentaries, enjoying time by the water, or eating soft serve ice cream. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or check out her blog.

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