Packing for a cruise can be difficult. Should you pack for the warm Mediterranean sun or assume it will be cold at sea? What should you pack to wear for dinner? A 12 day cruise makes the decisions a bit harder--with more days, there's more to pack for. Relax, plan ahead for what you need to bring and you'll be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery and wonderful ports of call that the Mediterranean has to offer.
Determine the dinner attire requirements well in advance. Many cruise lines hold formal dinners several times during the trip. On a 12 day cruise, it's not unusual to have three formal dinners. Check with your cruise line to see what the requirements are. Formal wear may include a tuxedo or suit for a man and a cocktail dress or evening gown for a woman. Even if it's not a formal night, most cruise lines still have dress requirements for the dining rooms: no T-shirts, shorts, swimming costumes (even with a cover-up) or flip-flops are allowed.
Make a list of what you'll need as you plan your trip, including the cruise and any shore excursions, and keep it in a place where you won't lose it. Double check the list right before you leave. Plan to dress in layers no matter what time of year it is. Aside from casual clothes, bring two swimming costumes so you can wear one while the other dries, a swimming costume cover-up for walking to and from the pool, comfortable walking shoes, sunglasses and a hat. Bring sunscreen no matter what time of year you're travelling. A raincoat or poncho also is a good idea.
Weigh your options. Packing for 12 days can mean bringing a significant amount of clothing. If your budget allows it, you may want to pack lighter and take advantage of the ship's laundry services. Cruise ships have tuxedos and gowns available for rent, and your formal wear is one less thing you'll have to pack.
Pack your carry-on carefully. Make sure all of your essentials are with you when you board; especially your passport and boarding pass. Take any prescription medications in your carry-on as well so you will not be separated from them. Other things that you'll want to have with you are your glasses and contact lens supplies, sunglasses and your camera. If you have room, pack one of your swimming costumes in your carry-on so you can hit the sundeck or pool soon after you board. You also might want to squeeze a change on clothes into your carry on, just in case you need it.
Some cruise ships now have Wi-Fi available, so pack your laptop if you want to but be warned; it's not inexpensive. You'll most likely be charged a set-up fee and may also be charged per minute.
Make sure your walking shoes are broken in. Don't buy them right before you leave and then try to break them in on your cruise. You'll be doing a lot of walking on the ship and on shore excursions, so you'll need comfortable shoes.