Six things to pack for a river cruise

Is there anything more exciting than packing for river cruises? That sense of anticipation the night before you sail is like nothing else, and we aren’t afraid to admit that picking out outfits and choosing appropriate reading material is one of the most fun parts of the cruising experience. So much so, in fact, that it is easy to get carried away and forget to pack some of the absolute essentials!

Here are six things to pack for a river cruise before you think about filling your suitcase with anything else.

Pack a camera to take beautiful shots on river cruisesCamera

A camera should sit at the top your river cruise essentials list. Whether you are embarking on a Mekong river cruise or a tranquil voyage along the Seine, there is no end to the photogenic sights you will see gliding past your ship. And that is before you step onto dry land for shore excursions to local landmarks and natural beauty spots: unmissable sights that make for envy-inducing snaps.

Pack a formal option as part of your river cruise outfitsThe right clothing

Shore excursions, formal dinners, evenings spent on deck: river cruises offer plenty of opportunity for outfit changes. But rather than packing for every possible event, build your river cruise wardrobe around a few absolute essentials.

With all that exploring you will need to pack your most comfortable pair of shoes, and for clear evenings spent stargazing and enjoying drinks on-deck, a toasty jumper. Many river cruise ships also host formal evenings, so depending on your cruise line, you may also want to pack at least one formal option for dinner.

Don't forget to pack your passport on river cruisesPassport

When the bulk of your holiday will be spent on the water it is easy to forget that your journey often begins and ends at the airport. This means that, as with any holiday, it is crucial to remember your passport. And there is no need to be nervous about what you will do with it once you set sail – many cruise lines will hold your passport securely for the duration of your trip.

Phrasebooks are a great way to enhance river cruisesPhrasebook

Whether you are cruising to the bright lights of Beijing or the cobbled streets of Budapest, locals appreciate you trying your best to speak the language. A simple hello goes a long way, while being able to order food  is a big bonus. Packing a phrasebook means you can try your hand at more complicated phrases, and if you are cruising somewhere a little more exotic, get the basics down to a tee.

Remember to pack local currency for your river cruiseLocal currency

It goes without saying that without local currency, you river cruise wouldn’t be much fun! While things like on-board meals and shore excursions come part and parcel of river holidays, if you really want to immerse yourself in your destination, there is nothing like sampling local cuisine in authentic restaurants. You could even buy a special keepsake for loved ones back home.

Pack a good book for river cruisesA good book

River cruises are packed full of shore excursions and on-board talks, but there is still time to simply sit back and relax in the beautiful surroundings. In our opinion, one of the best ways to do so is with a good book.

Pack your favourite read or a book you have been meaning to get stuck into for months and enjoy turning the pages in a quaint local bar, on the deck of your river cruise ship or in the comfort of your stateroom before dinner.

Not sure what else you might need to pack for your next river cruise? Get started with these six essentials and you can find more packing tips here. If you need more advice, call our Cruise Concierge on 0800 197 0854 to ask them your burning questions.

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About Emma Smith

Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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