My Packing List for a European Cruise

As promised, today I want to share with you my packing list for my European cruise last month. As you guys know, my husband surprised me with this trip and I had no idea where we were going until we got there. He gave me a packing list, weather guide, and a Euro, so I had some idea of what to pack, but it was definitely a lot of guessing.

So today I wanted to share what I packed for the trip and links to all the pieces I wore.

Our cruise was seven days, and we had 2 other days on top of that for travel, so nine days total.

Here are my seven must haves, and then my full packing list.


Must have #1: Lots of dresses.

packing essentials for traveling to Europe. Dresses are a must!

Dresses were my go-to for this trip because they’re so easy and comfortable, and they give off that chic, European vibe. My goal with travel is to always look as non-touristy as possible, and dresses are the perfect easy outfit to fit right in.

I chose dresses that were feminine and flattering, like wrap dresses, shirt dresses, and fit and flare dresses. These ones will look great in pictures pretty much no matter what. Swing and shift dresses can be a little less flattering in photos, and they don’t have that same chic silhouette.

I also brought a couple of skirts to wear with white t-shirts. Those were a good alternative for a more casual look.



Must have #2: Comfy Shoes

The only shoes you'll need for a trip to Europe |

I brought six pairs of shoes and only ended up needing three: flat sandals, small sneakers, and neutral heels. Literally, that’s all you need. I wore these flat sandals almost every day. They’re super comfortable for walking, and even in Pompeii they said everyone should have sneakers (which I brought), but these sandals would have been totally fine.

But if you want a little more support, I brought these Keds sneakers and they’re the perfect small sneaker for wearing with dresses and skirts.

Cruises have one to two formal nights on the ship, so bring a pair of neutral heels you can wear with both of your formal dresses. I brought this pair, but here’s a more affordable version.


Must have #3: A Small Bag

an easy bag to carry all around Europe |

My husband brought a backpack with us, which was great as our carry on for our flight (we packed our pajamas (just basketball shorts for him and leggings for me), clean underwear, and a small toiletries kit so we could sleep on the flight and then freshen up before we arrived and hit the ground running). But we didn’t want to drag that around every day as we traveled around. Basically, all we needed was our wallets, ship cards, our phones, and a water bottle, so I brought a small zip up crossbody bag.

Everyone warns you about pickpocketing, so having one small bag that’s easy to zip up is a great solution. I brought one larger bag but never used it because it was just too big to tote around all day.


Must have #4: Beauty Essentials

my five beauty essentials for traveling |

I shared my daily makeup products a few weeks ago in this post, and I brought all of those, but there was one essential I could not have lived without on this trip: Tula’s Exfoliating Face Mask. I like to bring face masks with me when I travel because the climate change always makes my skin freak out, so keeping it extra hydrated is a must. But this one was so perfect because my skin got really dry a couple of times about half way through the trip and started peeling like crazy by the end of the day. This face mask has exfoliating beads in it, so I gently scrubbed my face with it every night and it left my skin flake-free and extra soft.

Vaseline was another essential for me. I use Lipids on my face as my moisturizer and love it for everyday, but sometimes I need something super crazy hydrating, and when my face was really dry I just smeared this all around my lips and nose, and my face stayed so soft and moisturized. Also, climate change always makes my lips dry, so this was an essential for them. I like the little tin containers to carry around in my bag!

This isn’t exactly a beauty essential, per se, but when we arrived in Barcelona, we stopped by a drugstore and bought some vitamin C tablets – the kind that dissolves in water. We each took one every morning and every night to keep us from getting sick. And we both stayed healthy the entire trip!!

Of course, I always have to bring my Suave Dry Shampoo so I only had to wash my hair once on the trip, and my St. Tropez self tanner to keep a glowy tan.

Oh, also cruise ships don’t have irons in the room and they charge you to press any of your clothing. A little tip I learned from a friend is to use your hair straightener! I also heard you can buy a hand held steamer and use that.


Must Have #5: Jewelry Essentials

delicate jewelry and a comfortable watch are the best for traveling |

We didn’t buy phone coverage while we were traveling internationally, so we just put our phones on airplane mode for the entire trip and then they only worked when we were connected to the wi-fi. However, they picked up the local time, so we always knew what time it was locally. Since the time difference back home was so large, I kept my watch on California time so we could keep track of when to call the boys. This was so simple, but it made a big difference for me to know where the boys were and what they were doing right then. So a watch was definitely an essential for me.

Besides that, I kept my jewelry very minimal. A few simple, comfortable bracelets, some delicate gold necklaces, and one pair of statement earrings to wear on formal night. You’ll want things that are comfortable and won’t get in the way or get tangled as you walk or ride around all day.


Must have #6: Small iPhone Battery Charger

Since our phones didn’t work, we weren’t burning up much battery during the day, but it was really nice to have a charger just in case.

I was taking tons of photos and insta story videos (which wouldn’t post cause I wasn’t connected to the internet, but I just saved them to my phone as I went and then uploaded them back on the ship each night), so that did use a decent amount of battery, and we ended up using the charger almost every day. We brought two battery chargers – one for me and one for Philip.


Must have #7: Straw Hat

My favorite Brixton Straw hat was an essential for our travel through the French Riviera and Amalfi Coast |

I brought a baseball cap, but I only wore it on the plane ride home. The hat I wore almost every day was my straw hat from Brixton. I had some questions about how to pack it, and it’s super easy: just stuff rolled up swimsuits or socks into your hat to help it keep its shape, then place it in the suitcase with the brim flat against the suitcase. Place it in first and then pack the rest of your clothing around it so the brim is packed down and the crown of the hat is supported all around. Easy!

This hat was a perfect accessory to keep my face out of the sun and add a little something to my outfit. Personally, I think straw hats are best for the smaller towns and coastal areas, not in the bigger cities. I wore it in Florence and it felt a little out of place, and I left it back on the ship while we were in Rome.

Ok, there are my packing essentials. But here’s my entire list!

all of the essentials for packing for a European Cruise


  1. Paige Cassandra Flamm says:

    Such a great packing list! I loved living through your trip on instastories!


    • merrickwhite says:

      Thanks for following along, Paige!

      • DEnial says:

        When it comes to cruises, I prefer to go light. So I like your advice on Luggage. This year I’m planning a great trip to the us States, I’ve even entered all the destinations in distance between cities to calculate fuel costs and calculate road time. I think it will be a great trip! Thank you for inspiring me!

  2. Diana Heinrichs says:

    Loved it all! Thanks for posting ♡♡♡

  3. Janssen says:

    I never thought I’d enjoy reading a packing list so much – this was such a fun post!

  4. alana says:

    I realize your bag is no longer available, but I’m so curious to know where it is from 🙂 Thank you!

  5. Sonia Makosso says:

    I really love your looks, so feminine, comfy and stylish ! perfect choice for Europe !

  6. Lindsay Sutherland says:

    Love your effortless yet elegant and put together looks 🙂 Great packing list!

  7. annie says:

    Where is that cozy looking light grey cardigan from that you were wearing on the boat during the trip? Thanks!

  8. Brianna Soloski says:

    This is so helpful. I’m going on a cruise in less than two months and this gives me a good idea of how to pack.

  9. Ashlee says:

    What formals did you pack? I don’t have any and am going on a cruise in a few months… Just trying to decide if I should make something:)

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