What to Pack for a River Cruise

Here, we help you pack before your river cruise. Ensuring you have everything you need, and nothing you don’t

Whether you’re dressing to impress or dressing for comfort, there’s no need to be confounded by your river cruise clothing. With the help of some of our favourite cruise bloggers and journalists, we’ll help you pick out your water-bound wardrobe, along with other holiday essentials, for your first journey on some of the world’s most beautiful rivers.
How should you dress on-board an Emerald Waterways Star-Ship?
One of the things Emerald Waterways guests love about travelling with us is the relaxed dress code. We’re not strict about what you wear, only that you bring clothes that will help you enjoy the great cultural tapestry of Europe in complete ease and comfort.

Below, we list our recommendations for the clothing you should bring for an eight-day European river cruise, both for days and evenings. We’ve tried to be as comprehensive as possible, taking into account different clothing for the time of year.

During the day

what to pack in a river cruise
During the day, your everyday clothing should do the trick, so no need to splash out on a new wardrobe. Our good friend, the travel writer and cruise expert, Alan Fairfax, says: “Think chinos and sports shirts, while ladies - the choice is yours.”
 
  • A choice of t-shirts, tops or casual shirts that are comfortable for day-long wear. In the colder months, these can be worn as a base layer.
  • A couple of warm jumpers, sweatshirts or knitted tops. Even in spring and summer evenings can be chilly, so make sure you have something warm to pull on – particularly when you’re away from the ship.
  • A few pairs of trousers, jeans or chinos (we’d recommend around three for an eight-day cruise). Of course, if the forecast looks warm, bring a couple of pairs of comfortable shorts, too.
  • A light weather-proof jacket, rising to a good winter coat in the colder months. Even the summer months can’t guarantee dry weather, so don’t get caught without a rain and wind-proof jacket.
  • A good pair of walking shoes. The cobblestones of Europe can be tough on feet, so make sure you bring a pair of comfortable, thick-soled walking shoes for comfortable daily wear.
  • Swimwear. With Emerald Star-Ships boasting a pool, be sure to pack your swimwear to enjoy a leisurely dip as your ship floats to its next destination.
  • Hats, gloves and a scarf – for those chilly winter days on the river.
  • Sunglasses and sun hat.

During the evening

what to wear on a cruise
During evening meals, smartening up is a nice touch, but there’s no need to bring your tuxedo; open-neck shirts, trousers and dresses complement our luxury surroundings just fine.
 
  • A selection of long-sleeved, open-neck shirts for gents, and a couple of casual evening dresses for ladies. There’s no need be overly formal – think smart casual comfort.
  • A couple of pairs of chinos, smart jeans or trousers. These can be the same as the ones worn during the day, paired with an open-neck shirt, for instance.
  • A blazer or smart jacket. Though not necessary, it’s nice to dress up for the Captain’s Welcome dinner or evenings spent onshore – but there’s no need to bring a tie.
  • A comfortable pair of smart shoes. While you’re free to wear the same pair as during the day, there’s a chance they could get dirty, so it’s good to have a reserve for the evenings.

Essentials

With clothing and footwear wrapped up neatly in your suitcase, it’s time to consider those easy-to-forget essentials that you may or may not need during your river journey. Below, we recommend a list of personal items and electronics which you should pop in your case for a comfortable and hassle-free trip.

Personal items

Medication

what to wear on a river cruise

From prescribed medications (clearly labelled) to painkillers, allergy relief tablets and travel sickness pills, you shouldn’t leave home without packing those all-important medicines.

A rucksack, satchel or travel bag

what to pack in a river cruise

Remember to bring the charging lead for your phone, camera and other electronic items, as well as a travel adapter. All Emerald Waterways Star-Ships feature two-pin standard European sockets, so you’ll need an adapter plug.

Insect repellent

what to pack for a river cruise

Depending on the time of year you travel, you may want to pack insect repellent to divert the attention of Europe’s creepy crawlies, including mosquitoes and midges.

Toiletries and cosmetics

what to pack for a river cruise

While we provide a selection of complimentary toiletries, we understand there are some things you can’t live without – so don’t forget your washbag.

Travel documents

what to pack for a river cruise

An obvious one, but easy to neglect; make sure to pack your passport, tickets, boarding passes and any other documents related to your trip.

Tech and handheld devices

A smartphone or tablet

what to pack in a river cruise

While a river cruise is a chance to escape the realities of everyday life, a smartphone or tablet is useful for helping to plan and research the day’s activities, or help you navigate one of the continent’s bustling cities.

Device chargers and travel adapters

what to pack on a river cruise

Remember to bring the charging lead for your phone, camera and other electronic items, as well as a travel adapter. All Emerald Waterways Star-Ships feature two-pin standard European sockets, so you’ll need an adapter plug.

A camera

what to pack in a river cruise

From the Rhine Gorge to Buda Hill, the rivers of Europe boast some truly beautiful vistas, so pack a camera to document those special moments.

Headphones

what to wear in a cruise

Whether listening to music by the pool or tuning into coach tour commentary, a pair of headphones is a useful addition to your suitcase.

Extra memory cards

what to pack in a river cruise

From the moment you set out, you’ll feel the impulse to capture your surroundings, so pack additional memory cards for your camera or smartphone to ensure you never miss a beat.

E-reader

what to pack for a river cruise

There’s something wonderful about reading a book as the great spectacle of Europe floats by, so if you’re an avid reader, save space in your case with an E-reader.

What not to pack

We understand it’s the small touches and finer details which make your travel experience that much more special and care-free. That’s why our Star-Ships are kitted out with a range of carefully-considered amenities and inclusions, taking the stress out of packing for your upcoming Emerald Waterways river cruise.
 
Below, we list all the things you won’t need to pack for your European river journey.
  • A hair dryer
  • Towels
  • Toiletries (we provide a selection of toiletries, but you may prefer to use your own)
  • Hiking poles and umbrellas
  • Bottled water for excursion days
  • A travel iron (all ships offer a comprehensive laundry service, for a fee)
  • Coat hangers
  • Bathrobe and slippers
Other things to consider
“Take lots of guide books. You'll want to read more.” – Sarah Lucas
 
Alan Fairfax was kind enough to provide a handy checklist, compiling some little extras to make your first-time river cruise even more enjoyable.
 
  • Don’t forget a lightweight plastic hooded rain mac for those unexpected showers.
  • A small rucksack for your camera, binoculars, rain macs and other items when out on excursions is essential.
  • Research the countries you’ll visit. Check their currency, especially if travelling the Danube. If you’re using cash, get it before you leave. If you choose to use a credit card, ensure there are no transaction charges. Emerald Waterways Star-Ships do hold a small amount of currency – please refer to the FAQ page for more information.
  • Don’t forget your electrical plug adapters. All sockets on the ships are the two-pin variety.
  • A phrase book is always handy, especially in the smaller, more provincial towns and villages. 
  • Check your mobile network provider for any overseas charges, and don’t forget chargers and cables.
Call our Cruises Experts on 0808 159 4193 to secure your place or
Request a Brochure