What should I pack for an expedition cruise?

What’s the dress code on board the ship?

Expedition cruises are primarily concerned with what happens outside the ship, so dress codes are relaxed. There are no formalities at mealtimes. At breakfast and lunch, you wear the clothes you are going outside in (minus the outer gear). 

On board the ship, you will want to put on something casual and comfortable - trousers, jeans or smart sportswear, long-sleeve tops and thin jumpers plus a bodywarmer and/or other layers. It will be warm and comfortable inside, and some find short-sleeve polo shirts are sufficient. If you want to rush out on deck when something is spotted, have an extra layer to hand.

Keep footwear to a minimum. A pair of trainers, boat shoes or lightweight backstrap clogs (useful for when trying on gear for size) will suffice, while slippers should be worn in your cabin only.

What do you wear on shore excursions?

Dressing for shore excursions is all about having the right layers. 

Pack thermal baselayers for the upper and lower body (leggings and thermal vests), as well as long-sleeve tops, wicking-style sports T-shirts (for an additional layer), and polar fleece, Good ski gloves (mittens retain more heat) and glove liners (plus a spare pair), and a warm, windproof hat are essential, while neck gaiters are more effective and less cumbersome than scarves. 

For excursions, you will be provided with muck boots (wellington boots that you can borrow). 

For walking take comfortable, wind and waterproof outer trousers that will fit over thermals or an insulated underlayer or ski trousers. Skiers swear by silk lining socks. For outer socks go for quality and material (merino wool, nylon, organic fibres) over thickness. 

If you feel you need, you could always bring along some heat-activated hand and foot warmers (remembering to take any plastic packaging home).

Additionally, it is essential to bring sunglasses (the wraparound type made of plastic not metal – especially if you are planning on activities), sun cream (mountain versions are good) with a high UVA and UVB rating for the face, plus lip and hand moisturiser. 

We provide:

  • A polar jacket with hood (yours to take home)
  • Muck boots 
  • Mandatory life jacket for trips ashore
  • A refillable water bottle

Other packing items:

  • Swimwear for the spa and hot tubs and possibly a swim cap for the polar plunge
  • A daypack for trips ashore
  • Binoculars
  • Wildlife identification guides (you will also find these on board)
  • Camera chargers, spare batteries, storage device and memory cards/stick for sharing photos
  • Laptop and/or tablet for note-taking and uploading photos
  • Adapters, computer/mobile phone cables
  • A drybag/waterproof pouch for protecting equipment during active excursions
  • Leave behind your kettle and iron as they will be removed before you board