How to pack like a pro for a cruise across the Mediterranean in Autumn

If cruise ships and the Mediterranean make you think of Aperol spritz, sundresses, and sandals…well, you wouldn’t be wrong! But the med has its cooler days too. In October, a Mediterranean cruise could mean some days of blazing sunshine, or some days of clouds and a breeze.


2min read

Published 15 October 2023

Flight Centre Author

Guest Blogger


If cruise ships and the Mediterranean make you think of Aperol spritz, sundresses, and sandals…well, you wouldn’t be wrong! But the med has its cooler days too. In October, a Mediterranean cruise could mean some days of blazing sunshine, or some days of clouds and a breeze.

From exploring the bustling harbour of Marseille to cosying up with a coffee in busy Milan, to diving into specialty cuisine or enjoying an evening show, you can enjoy a cruise in any weather.

In early October, you can expect warm and sunny days with temperatures ranging from 21-27°C. Evenings may cool down slightly, so having a light jacket or sweater is advisable. Temperatures may start to drop, ranging from 15-21°C. Rainfall is more likely, so packing an umbrella and a light rain jacket is a good idea.

When it comes to October in the Mediterranean, we’re smack bang in the middle of Autumn. So how on earth do you pack for changeable seasons, excursions in the cities, and everything from dinner and cocktails to go-karting on the ship?

I’ve taken around ten overseas trips during the last year, going everywhere from a wintery Chicago to a hot and humid Korea, so I think I’ve got packing down to a fine art.

Here’s exactly how to pack - as well as a glimpse at my own suitcase for a cruise on Norwegian Prima to the Mediterranean in October.

What Clothes Should I Pack?

Let’s start off with the most important part – clothes! You’ll want to base most of your outfits on casual wear which you can easily wear while relaxing with a coffee and a sandwich, or while exploring The Colosseum on foot. The key for October weather is, of course, layering!

For my cruise, I packed:

  • Two swimming costumes
  • One cover-up
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 1 long-sleeved shirt
  • Two jerseys
  • Three pairs of pants (dark jeans, light jeans, and a pair of high-waisted bootcuts)
  • Two pairs of bottoms (I went with one skirt and one pair of shorts)
  • My trusty ‘goes with everything’ denim jacket
  • One warm and waterproof coat in case of rainy, windy, or extra chilly days – make sure this is lightweight. The trusty South African K-Way is always a good option here!

On top of that, you’ll probably want to pack one formal outfit (like a black dress!) and one semi-formal outfit, whether that’s chinos and a button-down shirt or a calf-length wrap skirt and a silky blouse.

I also chose to add a lightweight sports t-shirt and pair of gym leggings (which I always fly in as they’re so comfortable) and a pair of running shorts which I could use for hiking on hot days, lounging around at the pool or in my cabin or…. actually going to the gym.


Shoes and Accessories To Polish Off Your Outfit

Now, what about the shoes? This can be a big stumbling block, especially for women or shoe aficionados. We all know that shoes make an outfit! My tip here is to be ruthless.

I always pack my black Nike sneakers – they pair well with almost every casual outfit and are the most comfortable walking shoes I’ve ever owned. I also tend to bring a pair of sandals or pumps for relaxing on the ship or wearing with dresses and skirts. If you choose the second pair carefully, it can double up as your shoe choice with formal outfits – strappy, sparkly sandals or leather slingback pumps can both stand up to formal attire.

Accessories are another thing to consider. As they always say, they can add variety and style to your outfits without taking up loads of extra space or weight. Whatever you do, you’ll want to include at least one hat and a pair of sunglasses.

I always opt for a wide-brimmed hat for both sun protection and style – but a fedora or baseball cap are both good options too. I also add a lightweight silk or cotton scarf, which I can use to cover my shoulders in places like cathedrals, add an extra layer of warmth on cooler nights, or wrap around my waist at the pool in place of a sarong.


Packing Hacks

It goes without saying that you have to be practical when it comes to packing for your Med cruise over October. But the easiest way to do this, and my best packing pro tip, is this: make sure everything you pack pairs well with at least three to four other items of clothing. You might feel like this forces you to stick to neutrals or boring choices, but it really means building a portable capsule wardrobe so you’ll always have options even when you’re a week in and accidentally spilled pasta on your favourite pair of jeans. If that one shirt you LOVE only pairs well with a certain style of jeans, leave it behind.

If there’s something crucial you’re missing, like a raincoat in South African summer season, remember that you can often order online and send it to the hotel you’ll be staying at the day before you depart for your cruise.

Finally, look into packing cubes or even just large Ziploc-type bags. Not only can these save space, but they can also make it way easier to find your clothes. You can either pack complete outfits into these, or separate them out by tops, bottoms, underwear, and so on. I also like to set one bag or cube aside for dirty socks and underwear as the trip goes on, so I’m not rifling through my socks desperately trying to find a clean pair when I’m in a rush.

Flight Centre Author

Guest Blogger


Flight Centre

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