How to Pack for a River Cruise


It’s no secret that river cruising is one of the biggest trends these days, with more and more Canadians discovering the intimate charm and convenience of visiting several countries on one trip – while unpacking just once!

Speaking of unpacking, just how do you prepare for a river cruise?  Is it any different from an ocean cruise when it comes to clothing and accessories? Here are some great insights from Avalon Waterways.

Firstly, it’s all about comfort. While some ocean cruises are very specific about “formal nights”, with Avalon there are one or two (depending on the duration of the cruise) dressier nights, when the ladies can break out the sparkles and gents are requested to wear a dress shirt with jacket or blazer. Otherwise, dinners are as dressy or dress-down as you wish, though no jeans please unless you are dining in the super-casual Panorama Bistro. Many ladies find it convenient to pack separates in one colour such as black or navy and dress them up with scarves, statement jewelry and other accessories.

When it comes to daytime, the needs may be more varied.  That’s because with Avalon, the shore excursions – which are included in your cruise price – range from city walking tours to escorted canoeing trips, from fun painting classes to meetings with a local wine producer.  As you needn’t decide which excursion you’ll take until that morning, you can do whatever you feel like.

It’s best to take a combination of clothing, starting with a super-comfortable pair of walking shoes. (They can be a bit bulky to pack, so why not wear them on the flight to Europe?) Add jeans or hiking pants, a good jacket and lots of tops as layering is the success of any trip, especially in the spring and fall, which are two of Avalon’s most popular cruise times. A day pack is always helpful for souvenirs or, if you take Avalon up on their offer, a picnic to go (for free!)

Just like Canada, the weather can be changeable and a hat or headband along with a pair of gloves may come in handy. In summer, substitute a cap or sunhat. While Avalon has a good supply of loaner umbrellas, you might want to bring along a mini, folding one to tuck into your day pack. If you are a keen walker, it’s nice to know that Avalon also has walking poles you can borrow from the on-board Adventure Center (which also has bikes if you like to explore independently, also free of charge).

Many passengers like to bring along a pair of binoculars to admire the passing view, which often includes vineyards and castles. A re-useable water bottle from home can easily be filled at the on-board water stations.

And just like the big ships, Avalon has laundry service if needed!

Find out more about Avalon Waterways at; call 800-268-3636; or see your travel agent.