Mediterranean climate is typically warm and sunny, which is part of its appeal as a cruise destination. Summer highs reach the 80s and even the 90s during heat waves, with no rain to speak of. Rainfall increases significantly in the wintertime, with daytime highs dropping into the 50s and 60s. Those visiting the area on a cruise ship need to dress for both the weather and the social guidelines of the ship itself.
During the summertime, Mediterranean clothing needs to be comfortable. Look for lightweight fabrics such as cotton, which allow your skin to breathe. T-shirts, shorts, bathing suits and open-toed sandals are also appropriate. Bring a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to keep off the rays, and women should take a sarong or similar covering to the beaches with them. Temperature may drop in the evening and winter months can be cooler, so take a jacket or sweatshirt in case you want to go out in the open air at night.
Off-shore excursions require distinct clothes, specifically a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Ruins and other historic sites often lie a short distance from the nearest town, which means a hike if you don’t intend to take a cab. If you plan to eat lunch at a sit-down restaurant, bring stylish semi-casual clothes, such as Dockers, sun dresses and polo shirts. They’re appropriate for most Mediterranean restaurants and still provide some comfort.
Most cruise lines have dress codes that they ask guests to adhere to while onboard, usually a “dress casual” style stressing slacks, collared polo shirts, skirts and blouses. Most such outfits are in keeping with Mediterranean climate, so you can wear them without sacrificing comfort. Most cruise lines also have a formal night or two during their cruises, which means a suit and tie, tuxedo or cocktail dress. Check with your cruise line before departing to know what it expects as far as dress codes go.
With any cruise ship, your space is limited, with just a suitcase or two to carry all your clothes. Look for outfits that you can mix and match, allowing you to combine looks without feeling like you’re wearing the same outfit over and over again. Jewelry, belts and other accouterments can help vary your look, although you should take care when wearing jewelry off the ship; thieves and pickpockets can be a problem in Mediterranean tourist towns.
If you intend to purchase local clothing at Mediterranean ports, include extra space in your suitcase to accommodate them. (Luckily, most local Mediterranean styles use lightweight fabrics, so it won’t take up a huge amount of space.) Large Ziploc bags let you store wet clothes, such as swimsuits, when you’re onshore, allowing you to change into dining clothes without getting anything wet. Finally, wrinkle-free clothes tend to be more durable than delicates, letting you wear them and re-wear them throughout your Mediterranean cruise.