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The Emerald Experience > New to River Cruising? > What to Pack for a River Cruise

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?

During the day

what to wear on a cruise

One of the things Emerald Waterways guests love about travelling with us is the relaxed dress code. We’re not strict about what you should wear through 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.”

Likewise, Pat Richardson of Perfectly Worded recommends: “Versatile clothes to combine in various ways. Think layers: you can always be comfortably warm, never comfortably cold.” Your comfort is of the utmost importance to us. There’s a lot of freedom when it comes to the dress code, though when you’re dining, we’d recommend you leave the swimwear and sleeveless vests in your cabin.

During the evening

what to wear on a river cruise

During evening meals and entertainment, smartening up is a nice touch, but there’s no need to bring your tuxedo; open-neck shirts, slacks and dresses complement our luxury surroundings just fine.

Sue does suggest though: “You might want to dress up a little for the Captain’s welcome and farewell dinners. Men don’t need a tie, though.”

On the move

When you’re away exploring winding city streets, cobbled pavements and quaint villages, you’ll want to be as comfortable as possible, so pack with these on-shore jaunts in mind. The one thing our trusted friends and journalists always recommend is appropriate footwear.

Actress and editor of Cruise International, Julie Peasgood, offers: “Don’t over pack but do make sure you take a really comfy pair of shoes for sightseeing, as you’re more than likely to encounter some cobbled streets along the way.”

what to wear excursions

It might be easy to underestimate the amount of walking, so it’s best to be on the safe side. “Choose shoes that take rough ground in their stride”, says Pat Richardson, while the Sunday Times’ Sue Bryant notes: “Don’t worry about walking poles – they’re provided on-board”, so that’s one less thing to worry about.

If you’re opting out of the excursions, then consider Sue’s advice: “A sunhat that won’t blow away in the river breezes is always a chic look, and if you’re likely to be tempted by the pool, a swimsuit is essential.” Take note of the seasons though, shorts, t-shirts and light dresses work a treat in the heat, but the autumn months get cold, so pack for falling temperatures with hats, gloves and snug coats. 

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.
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