Viking River Cruise Packing List

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When it comes to packing for a river cruise, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. With the right items in your suitcase, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy your adventures along the rivers of Europe.

Our Complete Viking River Cruise Packing List

Your footwear choices are important, from comfortable walking shoes for exploring picturesque villages to dressier shoes for elegant nights onboard. Be sure to pack travel documents, including your passport and any necessary visas.

It’s also wise to bring a travel umbrella for any changeable weather conditions. Remember to wear comfortable clothing items, such as lightweight layers for the summer months and clothing appropriate for visits to religious sites. This complete list will prepare you for an unforgettable river cruise experience.

Pack Your Cruise Carry-On Bag Wisely

Packing your cruise carry-on bag wisely ensures a smooth and hassle-free beginning to your trip. By including essential items in your carry-on, you can be prepared for any situation that may arise during travel.

First and foremost, it’s important to include a change of clothes in your carry-on. This is particularly essential in case your checked luggage is delayed or misplaced. A fresh set of clothes can provide comfort and peace of mind.

Remember to pack toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and any other personal care items you may need. Bringing any necessary medications in your carry-on bag is also a good idea. This will ensure that you have access to them throughout your journey.

Of course, essential documents such as your passport, travel insurance, and cruise reservation details should also be kept in your carry-on bag. These documents are essential for check-in and should be easily accessible.

Consider investing in wheeled under-seat luggage to make transporting your carry-on bag easier. These compact luggage options are ideal for carrying your essentials and can fit neatly under the seat before you, providing easy access throughout your journey.

Storage on Board a Viking River Long Ship

Regarding storage options on board a river cruise vessel, you’ll find ample drawer and cupboard space in the cabins to keep your belongings organized. Despite the limited space in the cabins, cruise ship designers have ensured enough storage to minimize clutter and ensure a comfortable living space.

The drawers in the cabin allow for easy storage of clothing items, accessories, and personal belongings. You can neatly stow away your folded clothes, undergarments, and even small electronics in these drawers, keeping them easily accessible and out of sight.

In addition to the drawers, there are cupboards in the cabin where you can hang your formal attire or other garments that must be kept wrinkle-free. These cupboards provide a convenient space to store your clothing items, giving you easy access whenever you need to dress up for formal nights or special occasions.

To further optimize storage space, you can slide empty suitcases or bags under the beds. This prevents them from taking up unnecessary space in the cabin and allows you to keep them safely stored during your river cruise. I also regularly place any dirty laundry back into one of my suitcases to help keep the cabin clean and uncluttered during the cruise.

Consider Your Cruise Itinerary

When packing for your Viking River cruise, it’s essential to consider your cruise itinerary. The destinations you’ll be visiting and the activities you’ll be participating in will determine what items you must bring along. Please pack the appropriate attire, such as dresses or suits, if your itinerary includes visits to religious sites or formal events. If you are exploring larger cities or participating in outdoor activities, comfortable walking shoes and clothing suitable for changeable conditions are a must. I want you to know that being mindful of your itinerary will help ensure you have all the necessary clothing and accessories to enjoy your Viking River cruise fully.

How Long is Your Cruise

When planning for your Viking River Cruise, it is essential to consider the length of your trip. Most river cruises range from 7 to 15 days, and it is crucial to plan accordingly for the duration of your cruise.

Knowing the length of your cruise is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it helps you determine the number of clothing items and accessories you will need to pack. For a shorter cruise, you may be able to get by with a few versatile clothing pieces, while a longer trip may require more variety.

Additionally, the length of your cruise affects the number of travel documents and essential items you should bring. For example, if your cruise itinerary takes you to multiple countries, you may need to bring different currencies or travel adapters for electrical outlets.

Understanding the length of your river cruise also allows you to plan for any on-board amenities or services you may need. For instance, longer cruises may require you to use laundry or dry cleaning services, while shorter trips may not require these services.

Are there Laundry Facilities on Board?

While Viking River Cruises does not offer self-service laundry facilities on most of their river cruise ships, they provide an onboard laundry service to cater to guests’ laundry needs. This convenient service allows you to wash your clothing items, dry and pressed, saving you the hassle of finding a laundromat during your cruise.

You do have the option to use self-service launderettes available on board ships sailing Mississippi itineraries. These self-service launderettes include irons and ironing boards and are free of charge, with detergent available for your use at no additional cost.

The prices for the laundry service on Viking River Cruises vary depending on the clothing item. For example, as of 2023, washing and pressing a shirt costs $8, while washing and pressing a blouse costs $8.50. Similar prices apply to other garments, such as underwear, nightgowns, and polo shirts.

The turnaround time for the laundry service is typically within 24 hours, ensuring that you receive your freshly cleaned clothes in a timely manner. This allows you to have clean and wrinkle-free garments throughout your cruise, whether exploring fascinating destinations or enjoying the onboard amenities.

Please keep in mind that prices and turnaround times are subject to change, so it’s always recommended to consult Viking River Cruises’s latest information regarding their laundry service.

So, while self-service laundry facilities may not be available on board Viking River cruises, their convenient onboard laundry service ensures you can easily care for your laundry needs during your river cruise vacation.

Review the Shore Excursions

When you embark on a Viking River cruise, you can look forward to various exciting shore excursions that showcase the best of each destination. From optional easy hikes to cultural evening excursions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

For those interested in cultural experiences, Viking River Cruises offers a variety of evening excursions. These excursions often include visits to iconic landmarks or historic sites, where you can learn about each destination’s rich history and local traditions.

What to Wear on a River Cruise

When packing for a river cruise, it’s important to consider the activities and destinations you’ll be exploring. While river ships tend to have a relaxed atmosphere, a few occasions may call for slightly dressier attire.

Although Viking doesn’t have any designated Formal nights, guests can dress up and enjoy special evenings onboard. However, comfortable and casual clothing is recommended for most of your cruise.

Be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes for exploring the ports of call and a dressier pair for any evening events. You can choose to pack light and use the onboard laundry services available.

Pack with Mix and Match in Mind

When packing for a river cruise, it’s important to pack with mix and match in mind to maximize your outfit options while keeping your luggage light and compact. Here are five tips to help you pack smartly for your river cruise:

1. Consider a predominantly neutral color scheme: Choose clothing items in versatile neutral colors like black, white, navy, and khaki. This will make it easier to mix and match different pieces together.

2. Pack versatile travel pants: Invest in comfortable and wrinkle-resistant travel pants that can be dressed up or down. Look for pants made from lightweight and quick-drying fabrics for maximum comfort during your cruise.

3. Add accessories for pops of color: To add variety and personality to your outfits, pack a brightly colored scarf, shawl, or jacket. These accessories instantly transform a basic outfit into a stylish and eye-catching ensemble.

4. Don’t forget a dressier outfit: While river cruises are generally casual, there may be occasions or dining events that call for dressier attire. Pack a versatile dress or pair of dress pants, a blouse, or a dress shirt for these special occasions.

5. Mix and match outfits: Before packing, plan your outfits by mixing and matching different tops, bottoms, and accessories. This will help you pack more efficiently and ensure that you have various outfit options for different occasions throughout your cruise.

Following these tips and packing with mix and match in mind, you can create a versatile and compact wardrobe for your river cruise that will keep you stylish and comfortable throughout your journey.

Layer Your Outfits

When packing for a river cruise, it’s essential to consider layering outfits to accommodate changes in temperature and different occasions. Here are some key clothing items to include for effective outfit layering:

Tops: Opt for versatile tops that can be easily layered. Pack a mix of short-sleeve and long-sleeve tops in neutral colors like black, white, or navy. When the temperature drops, these can be worn alone on warmer days or paired with jackets or scarves.

Jackets: Bring lightweight jackets that can easily be layered over your tops. Consider a denim jacket or a lightweight cardigan that can be worn indoors and outdoors, adding warmth and style to your outfits.

Scarves and Shawls: These accessories provide an extra layer of warmth and add a pop of color and style to your outfits. Pack a couple of scarves or shawls in different patterns and colors to mix and match with your tops and jackets.

Remember to choose versatile pieces that can be easily layered and removed as needed. This will ensure you stay comfortable and adaptable to changing weather conditions and activities during your river cruise. With these layering options, you’ll be ready for any occasion while maintaining a stylish and practical wardrobe.

Viking River Cruise Day Wear

Regarding cruise day wear on a river cruise, comfort is key. Opt for comfortable, casual attire that allows for easy movement and enjoyment of the various activities onboard. Lightweight trousers or jeans paired with breathable, lightweight tops are a great choice. Choose tops in neutral colors that can be easily mixed and matched with different bottoms.

Comfortable walking shoes are a must for exploring the various ports of call. Pack a pair of sturdy, comfortable shoes that withstand long walks and uneven terrain. A lightweight jacket or sweater is also a good addition to your cruise day attire, especially for cooler weather or air-conditioned areas onboard.

In addition to the basics, consider bringing a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun while enjoying the outdoor areas of the cruise. A lightweight travel scarf can also be a versatile accessory, providing extra warmth when needed or adding a pop of color to your outfit. Remember to pack clothing items that you feel comfortable and confident in, as you’ll spend ample time exploring and socializing onboard the river ship.

Viking River Cruise Evening Wear

While there are no formal nights on a Viking River cruise, passengers can dress up for the evening if they wish. The dress code for cruise evenings is generally elegant casual, allowing you to be stylish and comfortable at the same time.

A dress, skirt, or even a nice pair of pants paired with a blouse or sweater would be appropriate for women. You can also mix and match different pieces to create multiple outfits throughout your trip. Adding accessories like statement necklaces or scarves can elevate your look even more.

Men can opt for trousers paired with collared shirts. A blazer or sports coat can add a touch of sophistication to the outfit.

The key is to feel confident and put together while still being comfortable. Remember, the evenings on a river cruise are more about relaxation and enjoying the company of fellow passengers rather than adhering to a strict dress code. So, feel free to express your personal style and have fun with your evening attire.

Pack for the Conditions

When packing for a river cruise, preparing for various weather conditions is essential. Whether cruising through cold and wet climates or enjoying sunny and hot destinations, having the right items can make all the difference in your comfort and enjoyment.

For colder and wetter weather, you must pack lightweight gloves and a hat to keep you warm. Layering is also essential, so bring a variety of long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, and a waterproof jacket. Comfortable walking shoes with good traction are a must-have to navigate slippery decks and cobblestone streets.

On the other hand, protecting yourself from the sun’s rays is essential when cruising in sunnier and hotter destinations. Pack plenty of sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and lightweight, breathable clothing. Comfortable walking shoes are still important, as you’ll likely explore ports of call during your cruise.

Regardless of the weather conditions, comfortable walking shoes are a necessary item to pack for a river cruise. With the amount of walking and exploring you’ll be doing, it’s important to have shoes that provide support and cushioning. Consider packing a pair that can be dressed up for formal nights and a more casual pair for daytime activities.

Best Shoes for a Viking River Cruise

When it comes to choosing the best shoes for a river cruise, comfort and practicality should be your top priorities. Given the amount of walking and potential uneven surfaces you may encounter, it’s crucial to pack comfortable walking shoes with good grip. This will ensure that you can easily navigate slippery decks and cobblestone streets, reducing the risk of slips and falls. Look for shoes with solid traction to provide stability, especially during wet weather.

In addition to a sturdy pair of walking shoes, bringing a second pair of day shoes to wear around the ship is also advisable. These can be more relaxed, offering support and comfort as you explore the ship’s various amenities. For evening excursions, it’s worth considering packing one pair of dressier shoes to complement your attire for formal nights or when visiting more upscale establishments.

Consider wearing compression socks during long-haul flights to keep your feet feeling their best. These socks can help prevent swelling and improve circulation, ensuring you arrive at your river cruise destination with happy and comfortable feet ready for exploration.

Personal Items, Adapters & Chargers

Viking River ships are equipped with North American and European power outlets so that you can charge your devices without worry. However, bringing a universal adapter to ensure compatibility with any outlets you encounter during your travels is always a good idea. This will allow you to charge your phone, camera, or any other electronic device conveniently, keeping you connected and capturing precious memories throughout your European river cruise.

While Viking provides a selection of toiletries in each cabin, you may still prefer to bring specific personal products you are accustomed to. This could include shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, or any other toiletries you require for your daily routine.

Furthermore, Viking River cruise cabins are usually equipped with USB ports, making it even easier to charge your devices. You can leave those bulky chargers at home and bring your USB cables for quicker and more convenient charging.

Travel Documents

When preparing for a Viking River cruise, one of the most crucial aspects is having all the necessary travel documents in order. These documents ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey, allowing guests to relax and enjoy their river cruise experience.

First and foremost, guests should have their passports readily accessible. Passports are required for international travel and serve as proof of identity. Ensuring your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your return date is essential. Additionally, some countries may require a visa for entry. It is vital to research and obtain any necessary visas before your trip.

In some instances, some river cruise itineraries may require guests to have specific vaccination records. This is particularly important for destinations where certain diseases are prevalent. To avoid complications, check with your healthcare provider or visit a travel clinic to receive the necessary vaccinations and obtain the corresponding records.

Bring a Day Bag

When embarking on a river cruise, having a well-equipped day bag is important to make the most of your port stops and excursions. A smaller bag is recommended for convenience and easy carrying during your day trips.

Here are some essential items to include in your day bag for a river cruise:

1. Travel documents: Securely keep your identification and necessary visas in your day bag.

2. Money and credit cards: Ensure you have enough cash and credit cards to cover expenses during your day trips.

3. Bottled water and snacks: Stay hydrated and energized throughout the day with a refillable water bottle and some nutritious snacks.

4. Sunscreen and hat: Protect yourself from the sun’s rays by packing sunscreen and a hat to shield your face from the heat.

5. Raincoat or umbrella: Be prepared for changeable conditions with a lightweight raincoat or a compact, collapsible umbrella.

6. Comfortable walking shoes: Choose sturdy, comfortable shoes for walking during your shore excursions.

7. Camera or smartphone: Capture extraordinary moments and scenic views with a camera or smartphone to document your river cruise experience.

8. Map or guidebook: Carry a map or guidebook of the destinations you will visit to help you navigate and learn about the history and culture.

What to Leave at Home

When packing for a river cruise, it’s essential to consider what items you can leave at home to avoid unnecessary clutter in your suitcase. Most river cruise ships provide standard amenities and services, making items redundant. Here are some things you can confidently leave behind:

1. Computers: River cruise ships typically offer Wi-Fi and onboard computers for guest use, so there’s no need to bring your laptop or tablet.

2. Hairdryers: River ships usually provide hairdryers in cabin bathrooms, so you can save space by not packing your own.

3. Excess clothing: River cruises tend to have a relaxed atmosphere, so there’s no need to pack fancy formal wear or multiple outfits for every day. Stick to comfortable, casual clothing that can be mixed and matched.

Remember to pack essentials like travel documents, comfortable walking shoes, and a camera to capture precious memories. By leaving unnecessary items behind, you’ll have a lighter load and more room for those souvenirs you will surely pick up along the way. Happy cruising!

Check the Weather Forecast

When preparing for your Viking River Cruise, it’s important to check the weather forecast for the cities and destinations you plan to visit. Here are the steps to ensure you are well-prepared:

1. Research the destinations: List the cities and ports of call along your river cruise itinerary. This will help you narrow down the areas you need to check the weather.

2. Use reputable weather websites or apps: Check weather forecast websites or reliable weather apps for up-to-date information. Some popular options include AccuWeather,, and the Weather Channel app.

3. Enter the specific location: Enter the name of each city or destination you’ll be visiting to retrieve accurate weather information. Please pay attention to hourly and daily forecasts to fully understand the expected conditions.

4. Consider the river breeze: During the summer, river cruises can experience cool breezes. Pack a lightweight jacket or sweater to layer up in case the evenings or early mornings are chilly.

5. Be prepared for changeable conditions: Weather can be unpredictable, so it’s wise to pack clothing that can be layered to adapt to different conditions. This way, you’ll be ready for both warm and cooler temperatures.

Follow the Dress Code & Pack Accordingly

When preparing for a river cruise, it’s essential to consider the dress code and pack accordingly carefully. Here are key points to keep in mind:

1. Check the dress code: Viking’s river cruise dress codes states the following in 2024

During the day, dress is casual including shorts (if the season is warm), slacks or jeans and comfortable shoes for walking tours. There are no “formal nights” in the evening; recommended evening dress is “elegant casual.” For ladies, this may include a dress, skirt or slacks with a sweater or blouse; and for gentlemen, trousers and a collared shirt. A tie and jacket are optional. 

Some shore excursions visit religious sites that require modesty of dress. To avoid being denied entry, we recommend men wear long pants and refrain from sleeveless shirts; and for women, clothing that covers the knees and tops that are not sleeveless or too revealing.

Reviewing this will ensure you pack the appropriate attire and, more importantly, feel comfortable among your fellow passengers during your cruise.

Review the River Cruise Itinerary

When preparing for a river cruise, it is crucial to review the itinerary to understand better the excursions and unique outings offered at each port. This information will help you plan your activities and determine additional items to pack.

The river cruise itinerary provides a detailed schedule of the ports you will visit and the activities available at each stop. From historic landmarks to charming villages, each destination offers its own set of experiences. By looking over the itinerary, you can prioritize the excursions that interest you the most and make arrangements if you need them.

For example, if the itinerary includes visits to historic sites or religious landmarks, it is essential to pack appropriate clothing items that cover the shoulders and knees. On the other hand, if you plan to embark on outdoor adventures like hiking or biking tours, pack appropriate attire and footwear.

The river cruise itinerary will outline any unique outings or activities, such as wine tastings, culinary experiences, or cultural performances. Knowing these details in advance allows you to pack any necessary items, such as formal attire for special events or comfortable attire for more relaxed outings.

Keep It Simple

When it comes to packing for a Viking River Cruise, keeping it simple can make your journey all the more enjoyable. You can create multiple outfit combinations without overloading your suitcase by adopting a simple color scheme for your clothing items and packing mix-and-match options.

Comfort is key on a river cruise, so opt for comfortable and wrinkle-resistant clothing. Viking recommends comfortable walking shoes for exploring each port of call and a dressier pair for formal nights or special events.

Due to changeable conditions along the rivers, it’s wise to pack a lightweight jacket or sweater to layer up and adjust to the weather. Remember essentials like sunglasses and a sun hat to shield yourself from the sun’s rays during those leisurely days on deck.

While most river cruise ships provide umbrellas, it’s always a good idea to have a collapsible one in your bag in case of unexpected showers during excursions. This will ensure you stay dry while exploring.

Plan Your Trip?

Need help planning a trip? Check out these helpful links:

Viking Packing Tips FAQ

What should I pack for a European river cruise?

When packing for a European river cruise, consider the weather and excursions you’ll be taking. Essentials include comfortable walking shoes and layers for changing weather.

What are some tips for packing for a river cruise?

Consider packing versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched and packing cubes to stay organized. It’s also helpful to check the dress code for formal dinners or events onboard.

What should I wear on a European river cruise?

For a European river cruise, it’s best to pack comfortable and casual clothing for exploring towns and cities along the river. Also, bring a few dressier outfits for any special onboard events or dinners.

What kind of luggage is best for a European river cruise?

Opt for a suitcase or travel bag with wheels for easy transport on and off the ship. Additionally, consider a day pack or small bag for carrying essentials during shore excursions.

What should I pack for a winter river cruise in Europe?

Pack warm layers for a winter river cruise in Europe, including a waterproof jacket, thermal clothing, and sturdy footwear suitable for walking on potentially icy or snowy terrain.

What are some recommended packing tips for a river cruise?

Some recommended packing tips for a river cruise include packing light, packing cubes to maximize space, and bringing comfortable walking shoes for onshore excursions.

What should I bring for cruise excursions on a river cruise?

Consider bringing a small day bag or backpack for cruise excursions to carry essentials such as water, sunscreen, a camera, and any necessary medications. Comfortable walking shoes are also a must.

What are some essential items to pack for a river cruise in Europe?

Essential items to pack for a river cruise in Europe include comfortable walking shoes, versatile clothing for layering, and a swimsuit if you plan to use onboard amenities like a pool or hot tub.

What about packing for a European river cruise in shoulder seasons?

When packing for a European river cruise in shoulder seasons, it’s important to bring layers to accommodate changing temperatures and potential rain. Also, consider packing casual and dressier clothing for onboard and onshore activities.

Should I pack a fanny pack for a river cruise in Europe?

While it’s a matter of personal preference, a fanny pack can be a convenient accessory for carrying essentials during onshore excursions on a river cruise in Europe. Just be mindful of security and pickpocketing concerns in crowded areas.

John Shallo
John Shallo
John Shallo is the founder and editor of Cruise Addicts. Since 1999 it has been a leading destination for cruise travelers and self professed Cruise Addicts looking for the latest news, ship reviews and travel tips.

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