The Ultimate Guide to Packing for River Cruise


When packing for your next adventure, you should first consider if you are leaving for a river or an ocean cruise. In fact, both experiences may require different kinds of equipment. Another thing you should consider is the weather at your destination.

As a general rule, packing for a ricer cruise tends to be much easier than gathering your stuff to go and explore, for example, the Maluku Islands. Moreover, river cruises do not usually host a formal night, so you will not need to bring your fanciest dress and a pair of stiletto heels. Besides, if your cruise includes walking tours, you cannot definitely forget a couple of comfort shoes.

Packing for River Cruise
Packing for River Cruise

Here you can find all the best tips and pieces of advice to pack for your river cruise and make sure you don’t forget your essentials. And yes, before you ask: you will definitely need to bring your smartphone and take hundreds of selfies.

1.    Choose Your Suitcase

Usually, you don’t need a big suitcase for a river cruise. One standard suitcase, plus a small purse or travel bag, should be enough to carry your stuff. If you are traveling with children, you will also need an additional bag for their clothes and toys.

Your chosen suitcase should be small enough to be stored under your bed. Don’t forget that ships used for river cruises are generally smaller than the ones that need to travel through the ocean. Consequently, you will most likely don’t have access to enough space in your cabin to store many bags.

Before you start packing, you should check if there are any luggage limitations, especially if you need to fly to reach your ship. As a general rule, cruise luggage limits are 23kg (50 lbs.), and you cannot bring more than two bags for each member of your group. You may be able to add one more bag if you pay an extra fee, but this is recommended only for trips that last for more than two weeks, and for big families traveling with children.

2.    Choose the Right Clothes…

There is no specific dress code for a river cruise. However, you may end up spending the majority of your time touring and exploring different places. For this reason, packing comfortable clothes and shoes is essential.

Keep in mind that temperatures in most fluvial areas tend to fluctuate during the day. It is always a good idea to pack a windproof umbrella and your best raincoat, but also to be prepared for more humid and torrid weather.

travel tips River Cruise
travel tips River Cruise

3.    …and Your Most Comfortable Shoes

A pair of comfortable walking shoes will be your best friends during your time on a river cruise. Your ideal shoes should be sturdy, have a padded footbed, and a robust and waterproof insole. In other words, this is not the right time to try your new pair of high heels. You should instead rely on a pair of shoes that can make you walk for long distances without problems or pain.

4.    Don’t Forget Your Accessories

Although you are not supposed to bring your whole wardrobe with you on your river cruise, it is always nice to have a few accessories in your bag. You may never know when they can come in handy.

Depending on the weather, you should pack cozy scarves, hats, gloves, and a sturdy umbrella. You may also want to include a small back or a round-around-the-neck holder to store your passport and your money.

5.   Toiletries

While many cruise lines offer complimentary shampoo and conditioners, you should always bring your own toiletries. Of course, it is recommended to pack travel-sized products. Don’t forget your sunscreen and your after-sun lotion, especially if you are cruising somewhere sun-soaked!

You should always add in your bag a few medications for upset stomach and motion sickness. Even if you think you may be fine, it is still advisable to be prepared for every possible scenario. You surely don’t want to spend your time in your cabin, feeling sick!

6.   Make Your Journey Smart

No one would feel ready to leave for a trip without packing his or her electronics. From your phone to your e-book reader, all your smart devices are prepared to join you in every experience, including your next river cruise.

One thing you cannot afford to forget to add to your bag is an adaptor for your destination’s plug. Although cruises always have a few spare adaptors that they are happy to lend, you must always check if you are going to need one before you leave. Another good idea is to bring a portable backup battery charger, so you can ensure that your phone will never give up on you.

Like it? Share with your friends!