Packing For A River Cruise

Packing for a river cruise

So, it’s all booked and you’re going on a river cruise! You’ve waited weeks and weeks, probably months for your holiday to approach and now it’s finally time to start packing (awful I know)!! You lift out a selection of clothing, shoes and accessories, trying hard not to forget anything – your suitcase becomes full quickly and you struggle to think of anything else you could possibly need - but you always forget at least one thing? – Yes we have all been there! & if you didn’t forget anything, you probably packed far too much!

Fear not, with a few useful hints and tips, plus a little list of essentials, we hope to give you a good idea of what to pop in your case!

A few tips…

Check the weather!

Above-all remember where you are going – check the general weather forecast with the time of year in mind (a google search will give you a generally good idea of what to expect). On a European river cruise during the summer months you would expect some hot & sunny days, however the weather can be unpredictable and it might be sensible to pack something for a chilly evening or a rainy day.

Check your itinerary!

Now take a more detailed look at your itinerary, do you fancy some of the excursions and tours? Will there be a lot of walking involved – Pack some sensible walking shoes. Is there a Captains Dinner during your cruise? Pack accordingly (There are no formal nights onboard a river cruise, however a Captains Dinner would require a slightly ‘dressier’ outfit). Also remember that you may be visiting religious sites where knees and shoulders must be covered. Oh and whilst you’re looking at the itinerary bear in mind, you may be visiting more than one country and therefore need more than one currency.

What's Oboard?

Which Ship are you travelling onboard? What amenities are there? Many River Ships have a swimming pool, hot tub and even a gym. You wouldn’t want to get onboard and realise you forgot your swimwear or trainers! You also may not need to pack quite so many toiletries – depending on the ship – many toiletries are complimentary in your stateroom!

The essentials…

Okay so hopefully you’ve got a general idea of what the weather should be like, which excursions you may join and what amenities you will find onboard.
But here is what I believe to be the absolute essentials!

  • Clothing
    • Casual & comfortable daywear
    • Casual & possibly smart evening wear
    • Lightweight jacket (possibly a warm coat depending on where you are going/for the cooler months)
  • Shoes
    • Comfortable walking shoes
    • Smart evening shoes
  • Accessories
    • A small day bag/purse
    • Umbrella
    • Sunglasses, sun hat & Swimwear
  • Toiletries
    • Plus any essential medication
  • Electricals
    • Camera - Do not forget your camera – and make sure there is plenty of space on the memory card. River Cruises are known for the magical scenery – there are plenty of photo opportunities!
    • Ps. remember the charger or extra batteries!
    • Most ships provide a hair dryer, do double check as this can save you some space and weight!
    • If your taking your mobile phone and tablet – remember the chargers
  • Travel Adapter
    • There is nothing worse than arriving onboard, lifting out your phone charger or even your hair straighteners and realising you didn’t bring an adapter to plug them in!
  • Travel Documents
    • Flight, hotel cruise and travel insurance information (where applicable)
    • Oh, and don’t forget your passport!!


My final tip…

Remember how long you are going for! Pack coordinating outfits with the intention to wear a pair of trousers more than once. And try not to pack too many pairs of shoes.


Think I’ve missed something – Please do pop your thoughts in a comment below.

Ready to pack? Fantastic!


Come back soon. Jess Nuttall -