Style Advice: Packing For a Winter Mediterranean Cruise

Photo by egonwegh

A couple weeks ago, I received this email from lovely reader Meghan:

First, let me start off by saying that I absolutely love your blog! It’s awesome! Well, I was reading your blog on “Packing for a Mediterranean Cruise” and I have to request some more of your expert opinions on this matter. I am going on a 12 day Mediterranean cruise for my honeymoon in JANUARY! It’s going to be cold- but there are also pools on board, and we will be walking around at the ports and all the temperatures are different. Ahhhhhhhh—I’m stressing a bit because I don’t really know what to pack (I have never been on a cruise before), and to stay within one (maximum: two) suitcases. I know that I should layer, but it’s so hard to pack for a 2 week vacation in other countries when it’s flipping freezing!!! HELP!

Meghan, thank you for the kind words about my blog and congratulations on your impending marriage and honeymoon! You must be so excited, and a 12-day Mediterrenean cruise sounds marvelous. Based on the itinerary you sent me, the temperature in your destination cities will hover between 6 and 15 degrees Celsius--most likely around 10 degrees Celsius--with the possiblity of rain. In short, the weather at your port cities sounds like it might resemble Vancouver in autumn. Here's a Polyvore set representing your capsule cruise wardrobe.

Some key points about this Polyvore set:
  • As I said in my other Mediterrenean cruise post, pick a colour palette and stick to it. I chose pink and blue for this set because they mix well with each other and accent silver, white, gray, and black nicely.
  • You're absolutely right about the importance of layering! Layering is the key to conserving suitcase space and keeping warm in style. Bring enough fitted camis for 2 weeks and 1 or 2 cardigans. (Change the camis but air out the cardigans when you're not wearing them.) I'm a huge fan of Uniqlo's HeatTech camisoles, which are super-thin but opaque enough to be worn alone and insulate better than the average tank top. For maximum warmth with minimal bulk, the cardigans you pack should be dense-knit, fine yarn merino wool or cashmere.
  • Your sightseeing uniform in port cities: fitted cami + wool/cashmere cardigan + skinny jeans + flat black leather boots. On top, wear a belted wool jacket + colourful scarf + knit beanie + fingerless gloves. Carry a roomy cross-body leather bag (such as the Coach 'Sabrina') + mini umbrella. The boots and umbrella will keep your feet and body dry if it rains. If you find yourself overheating, stuff the scarf, beanie, and gloves into your roomy bag. Fingerless gloves, aside from being trendy items, will keep your hands warm while letting you maintain dexterity as you fumble with your digital camera or your map.
  • Aside from the roomy leather handbag, pack a canvas tote for all your poolside essentials and a clutch for evening.
  • Bring 3-4 bikinis in complementary colours so you can mix and match tops and bottoms. Instead of a sarong, pack a jersey dress with pretty draping as a cover-up; in a pinch, it can double as an evening dress.
  • Cruises usually have an evening dinner dress code, so pack plenty of knee-length cocktail dresses which can be dressed up or down. A dressy bolero in a neutral colour will keep the chill off bare shoulders. Paired with a quilted clutch, silver heels, and eye-catching jewelry, you'll be dining in style every night!
  • Keep metallic accessories in the same colour family to make mixing and matching easier (here I've chosen silver). For day, a simple pair of studs and silver pendant necklace provide subtle polish for your "port city" look. For evening, a pair of statement earrings and a cocktail ring are just the right amount of bling.
  • Try to limit yourself to 4 pairs of shoes: flat black boots (for sightseeing in cold, possibly rainy destinations), ballet flats (for the long flight to and from Barcelona, going to and fro on the cruise), flip-flops (for the pool), and heels (for evening).
Bon voyage, Meghan! To the rest of my readers, do you have any other advice for Meghan about what she should pack?


  1. Oh how I love Polyvore. So useful for things like this. Lovely set!

  2. i love the polyvore set! I think nothing is missing! and I envy your reader! I want to go on vacation too! it doesn´t have to be to the mediterranean it can be anywhere but unfortunately i have no time! :(

    kiss have a lovely week!

  3. Great set! Great tips, because while I am not going to the mediterranean, I am headed on a vacation where the weather will be varied. I actually wrote a post scheduled post sort of like this one last night.

  4. AWESOME TIPS! i've never been on a cruise before, but I'm pretty sure you are spot on! LOVE uniqlo :)

  5. Oooh really good advice for a lucky one that gets to go on a Mediterranean Cruise!!! lol!

    Oh I also wanted to let you know that I’m hosting a contest starting tomorrow at my blog and I’m giving away a watch so please stop by and enter it when you have the time!

  6. Love this set, sis and I are thinking of doing our cruise soon too so this will be a very big help!

  7. i think the most important tip is to not bring things you can get there - umbrella, etc. especially if you wnt to be under your baggage limit. maybe take 1 scarf and buy others in europe, they have heaps and they're super cheap. and don't forget that you want to make sure that you have enough room to BUY things! if you go there with 2 packed bags, you can still only take 2 bags back. there are loads of travel blogs where people post about things they took and at what time of year that are also helpful.

  8. don't you just love polyvore? i adore it.

  9. This is perfect! Polyvore is so handy!!

  10. I love the idea of mixing and matching bathing suits, one of the things I noticed in Europe was that not a lot of girls/women wear matching suits. They usually wear crazy colors and prints that you would not usually put together.

  11. Such a fab idea to use a jersey dress as a cover-up and evening wear!

  12. Great advice! An outfit set for a mediterreanean cruise at that time of the year is a tricky one and I agree that layering is the key. I had a similar problem when I went on my honeymoon, which involved three countries with three very different climates. Cardigans and simple basics are a lifesaver!

  13. Great advice on packing for a trip! I always have a hard time packing just because I always bring way more than I need.

  14. Great tip on the fingerless gloves!


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