The Ultimate Viking Ocean Cruise Packing List

Packing for a Viking Ocean cruise

Creating a Viking Ocean Cruise Packing List involves knowing what to bring as well as what not to bring

In a previous post, I offered tips on what NOT to pack. This post focuses on what to pack.

Developing your Viking Ocean cruise packing list 

It’s always helpful to start packing for a Viking Ocean Cruise by creating a list.

Starting on the list at least a couple of weeks before your voyage will help you remember and keep track of everything you want to take. It will also alert you to see if you need to purchase anything that you don’t already have. I keep it at my bedside so it’s always handy.

When I begin to pack for a Viking Ocean Cruise, I divide my packing list into four categories:

  • Evening wear, 
  • Clothes for shore excursions, 
  • Attire to wear onboard the ship, and
  • Extras (like medicines, toiletries (solid toiletries for travel are always a great option because they don’t leak or drip), electronics, etc.) 

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Before you begin: Think about a packing strategy

Packing List for a Viking Ocean Cruise: No need to overpack (credit: Jerome Levine)
No need to overpack (credit: Jerome Levine)

Because of airline baggage weight limitations, limit your packing to the essentials. Try to bring lightweight items that don’t add bulk or heft to your suitcase.

Even in the largest hotel suite or cabin on a ship, having too much stuff is always a hassle. Overpacking is only likely to interfere with—rather than enhance—your journey. Remember that you’ll be storing your suitcases in your cabin. Hopefully, they’ll fit under your bed.

Think seasonally and closely examine your itinerary and the weather predictions. Your voyage may be headed to warm climates, cooler ones, or some mix of the two. 

Opt for layers. Weather forecasts can change on a dime, even during the course of a single day. Layering your outfits lets you put on or remove a top layer so you always feel comfortable.

Choose a color theme to mix and match outfits. It will help reduce the number of items you need to bring. Call me boring (or bland), but I usually opt for neutrals: a black, white, and tan palette.

Keep in mind that the Viking Ocean Cruise dress code is casual, on the ship and ashore. Most passengers aim for comfort rather than show.

If you are worrying about packing too little, remember you can always do laundry on board the ship. Viking Ocean Cruises offer complimentary, self-service launderettes with detergent, irons, and ironing boards on Decks 3-6.

Some staterooms on Viking Ocean cruises even include complimentary dry cleaning (check the specific page for your ship to find out about the availability of dry cleaning and other amenities).

TIP: I often pack a handful of Bounce fabric softener sheets in my suitcase. Even if I don’t use them at the launderette, they make my suitcase smell fresh and can be used to reduce static on a clingy skirt or dress.

I can’t stress this enough. After you’ve completed making the list; read it over and try to “prune it” to eliminate excess.

The Ultimate Viking Ocean Cruise Packing List

Free Printable for Download – VIKING OCEAN CRUISE PACKING LIST

Packing evening wear for a Viking Ocean cruise

Having no formal nights eliminates the burden of packing fancy cocktail wear or accessories you’ll only wear once or twice.

Women will feel comfortable wearing a few simple dresses, skirts, or slacks for dinner. (The Viking dress code says no jeans but I’ve seen some women wearing stylish ones, not the types that are washed out or torn over the knees:-).

Yes, you can wear jeans on a Viking Ocean Cruise. I usually take a pair of jeans and black, white and khaki slacks.

Take about four different tops that complement your slacks. Making at least one of them a sweater is a good idea. One of my favorites sweaters is this Vineyard Vines Ribbed Cashmere Stripe Sweater.

VIneyard Vines Cashmere Ribbed Sweater
VIneyard Vines Cashmere Ribbed Sweater

It’s perfect for a coolish evening or in dining rooms which are typically air-conditioned to excess. It offers a polished nautical look, and I can either wear it by itself or with a shell underneath for extra warmth. If you are headed for a Caribbean cruise, this lightweight comfortable sweater comes in pastel pink and white.

You can accessorize the look of your evening attire by bringing along one or two colorful scarves that are almost weightless suitcase additions.

TIP: If you’ve had a long day and don’t feel like changing clothes for dinner, head to the World Cafe, where the dress code is casual, even after 6 PM.

Leave your diamonds and precious jewels at home. Although your stateroom has a safe, why bring jewelry that you’ll have to worry about possibly losing or misplacing? Instead, take along a few playful pieces of travel jewelry that make you feel happy.

I recently fell in love with a $16.99 pair of fake diamond studs at TJ Maxx that are larger than any real ones I could ever afford to buy.

Pack a pretty shawl to wear at dinner or to an evening lecture or entertainment. Most public spaces on cruise ships tend to be chilly. 

A pair of black or tan flats or ballet slippers can be worn with just about any outfit. This helps avoid the need for multiple dress shoes. I always travel with a pair of Rothy’s ballet flats because they are so lightweight and comfortable.  The nautical blue ones are also a great choice for cruisers.

Rothy's Ballet Flats
Rothy’s Ballet Flats

Don’t forget your lingerie. One nightgown or pair of pajamas should be sufficient (I’ve forgotten to bring sleepwear more than once). And bring along a sufficient number of (but not too many) bras, panties, and socks.

Evening wear for men

For men, the dress code is even simpler. All he needs is a couple of collared shirts.

Ties and jackets are optional, not required.

My husband always feels good with a Ralph Lauren black polo shirt and a pair of chinos or slacks. On another evening, he may wear a collared long-sleeve shirt (we love the look of gingham checks) with the other pair of slacks. 

Polo Ralph Lauren Classic Fit Soft Cotton Polo
Polo Ralph Lauren Classic Fit Soft Cotton Polo


Another excellent choice is this nautical blue Vineyard Vines polo shirt, which is uber-comfortable and looks crisp for evening wear.

Vineyard Vines Nnutical blue polo
Vineyard Vines nautical blue polo

He usually doesn’t bring a sports jacket, although some men like to wear them for warmth or to look sharp. Even fewer men wear ties so leave them at home as well. 

Instead, my husband usually brings a nice sweater, both for warmth and a finished look. One of his favorites is this Vineyard Vines lightweight cashmere v-neck. It comes in five different colors; the hull blue one is shown. It can be worn during the day if the weather turns chilly.

Vineyard Vines light cashmere v-neck sweater

Men aren’t required to wear blazers of sports jackets for any of the restaurants on board.

Packing clothes for Viking Ocean cruise shore excursions

An excursion group in Cartagena, Spain
An excursion group in Cartagena, Spain

Keeping the weather in mind, take a couple of pairs of slacks, jeans, or leggings for most destinations. You might also want to pack a pair or two of straight-leg capris or wide-leg cropped pants for warmer days.

Some women wear Bermuda shorts when touring, but most times, they aren’t flattering. Wearing them also visually flags you as a tourist. The only exception: If you are headed to a warm-weather Caribbean destination.

One of my favorite pairs of leggings, available in white and black

Hue Ultra-Soft High Waist Denim Leggings in White

Bring tops that coordinate with your bottoms. A mix of sleeveless, short-sleeve, and long-sleeve tops will serve you well. A nice look is a tank top with a matching shirt on top. 

A mid-length sundress with a cap or flutter sleeve is also a nice look for the daytime.

TIP: Some churches ask that women not wear anything too revealing and to cover their shoulders. You can either bring a cardigan in your tote or tuck a folded shawl in it, in case it is required.

Especially if you are traveling to Europe, adding a well-tied scarf to your outfit adds a bit of elegance and protects your neck from getting chilled. 

Comfortable walking shoes are essential. You may be getting on and off tenders, walking over cobblestone streets, and doing more walking than you usually do at home. Bringing two pairs of walking shoes will allow you to alternate between them. Don’t risk falling by wearing flip-flops or heels outdoors, although they can be perfect in your cabin.

These Vionic slip-on walking shoes are supportive and come in a variety of widths, including extra-wide. They have orthotic insoles for arch support.

Vionic Zeliya Slip-on Walking Shoe
Vionic Zeliya Slip-on Walking Shoe


No one thinks about rainy days when they are fantasizing about their next vacation, but rain can happen any time, any place. So pack a lightweight rain jacket or poncho, just in case.

TIP: Water-resistant footwear will keep your feet dry in inclement weather. 

Shore excursion wear for men:

packing for a Viking Ocean cruise: "Vested" in Cartagena, Spain
“Vested” in Cartagena, Spain (credit: Irene S. Levine)

Men can wear collared or uncollared shirts during the day. To my eye, however, a collared shirt (even a colored polo) always looks neater. For a 7- or 10-day journey, three or four shirts of different colors should do the trick. 

A lightweight sweater or sweatshirt is useful for chilly mornings or evenings (even on the ship). He can layer the sweatshirt or sweater under his jacket if the weather gets exceptionally cold.

In terms of outerwear, we prefer packable down jackets because they can squish into a suitcase without wrinkling, taking up space, or adding weight. (This lightweight, water-resistant puffer jacket weighs less than 2 ounces.

You’ll never lose him in the crowd if he opts for red, and he’ll match your Viking luggage tag, but it comes in many different colors.

Packable Puffer Jacket
Packable Puffer Jacket


Ever since my husband first began wearing travel vests on our trips, he’s been addicted to them. They are so handy for keeping valuables in your pockets as you go through airport security.

All you have to do is zip the pockets and put the best on the security conveyer built. On shore excursions, he’ll have a place to stow his phone, keycard, etc.

Scottevest Men's Travel Vest
Scottevest Men’s Travel Vest


Recently, we met friends for dinner, and my friend’s husband was wearing this vest. We fell in love with it and ordered one from Amazon (delivered the next day). This vest is far less expensive than the Scottevest (probably because it doesn’t have as many pockets), but it’s extremely attractive, comfortable, and durable. Directions call for hand washing, but I threw the vest in the washing machine with no problem.

It’s lightweight and has two side pockets with zippers, a top pocket outside with a zipper, and an unzipped interior pocket. What attracted us was the all-season khaki color, but it also comes in navy, black, and army green.

Gihuo vest in khaki


Men also need two pairs of comfortable walking shoes. Easy-on, easy-off sneakers are nice for travel.

Packing attire to wear onboard the ship 

Bear in mind that most passengers on Viking Ocean cruises aren’t clothes horses who change attire several times a day. The dress code is largely relaxed, casual, and comfortable. 

Most of the daywear women and men wear for shore excursions is also worn onboard the ship. 

Bring exercise wear if you plan to work out in the fitness center or the sports deck. Usually lightweight and easy to pack, it’s also the perfect attire for a morning walk on the deck.

Women should pack a bathing suit and, for men, bathing trunks. You’ll need them for swimming in the heated pool or during the time you spend in the Nordic Sauna or Snow Grotto.

Don’t make the mistake I did, thinking I would buy one if I needed one. We arrived at the port in Marseille and I found a department store. Finding the right size was challenging and the costs were more expensive than at home. It also was a big waste of time! 

Figure-flattering Miraclesuits are a favorite of mine. I especially love the two-piece models with tankini tops. On a cruise, you can wash the bottom with each wear but wear the top several times.

Miraclesuit Swimwear Scoop Neck Tankini Top
Miraclesuit Swimwear Scoop Neck Tankini Top


After walking all day, it’s nice to have a comfy flip-flop, slide, or another open-style shoe to relax on the ship, especially when you’re in your stateroom or balcony. If you want to look stylish, these comfy Aerosol sandals are great.

I like to bring a pair of flip-flops with me. They weigh almost nothing, so they are easy to pack in the space at the side of your suitcase. 

After a day on your feet, you’ll appreciate an open shoe in the hotel room. Be cautious about wearing flip-flops outside your cabin, but if you’re inside your stateroom, you won’t have to step on carpets that have been stepped on by countless other travelers.

Havianas are the classic flip-flops that were created in Brazil in the 60s. They come in a wide range of colors and prints (actually 85 different ones). I prefer these gold ones. 

Haviana Flip-Flops
Haviana Flip-Flops


TIP: Many passengers enjoy relaxing at The Spa on sea days or on the deck in warm-weather climates.

I also recommend bringing a pair of comfortable rubber-soled (deck) shoes to wear around the ship.  

Packing the extras (accessories)

Two separate posts on More Time To Travel list the Best Travel Accessories for Men and Best Travel Accessories for Women.

Be sure to look at these comprehensive lists to determine what you need—and find other things that suit your fancy.

In addition to your medications, toiletries, and other essentials on these lists, remember to bring a sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Even if you aren’t headed to the Caribbean, the sun often reflects off the water when you’re sailing.

If, like many of us, you are prone to “cruise hair,” isn’t this sun hat the cutest (and an easy conversation starter)?

Cruise Hair Sun Hat
Cruise Hair Sun Hat

One of my best friends is a hair stylist. She always suggests that I use a hair product that will help combat humidity. One of my favorites is Olaplex #6.

I never travel without a small, lightweight, foldable tote bag to take on shore excursions. The bag can also be a lifesaver if you purchase anything (e.g., a snack or souvenir) that you want to carry back to the ship.

The one shown below with a still-life design weighs two ounces and can hold up to 44 pounds. (It can be rolled up with its strap or folded into its zip pocket.) It comes in a wide range of colors and designs.Loqi Still Life Shopping Bag

Loqi Still Life Shopping Bag


TIP: Bottled water is included at no extra charge on Viking Cruises and you’ll probably want to carry a bottle of water with you on shore excursions.

With the risks of COVID and norovirus from touchable surfaces, hand sanitizing wipes (and masks if you like) are certainly a good idea when you are immersed in seas of people at many ports.

Be sure to check out the free Viking Ocean Cruise Packing List (in red) above.

Some travelers find a pre-printed packing list to be a helpful tool. This 60-page Packing List offers a checklist of last-minute reminders to trigger your memory. The blank lines (and the back of the page) allow you to add anything that isn’t already on the list. You can check items off as you place them in your suitcase.

A pre-printed packing list
A pre-printed packing list


The list also makes a great little gift for any of your friends embarking on a cruise.

Will my luggage be searched on a Viking cruise?

When you board your ship, carry-on and checked luggage are examined with an X-ray machine. Your carry-on will be placed on a X-ray conveyer when you board. Inspection of checked luggage takes place after it arrives on the ship.

Your luggage will be searched only if the crew spots any dangerous or prohibited items. I

Restricted items on Viking Ocean Cruises

Viking publishes a detailed Viking list of prohibited items that cannot be brought on board to assure your safety and that of other passengers. These include firearms, illegal drugs, coffee makers, heating pads, and more. Be sure to check the list before you close your luggage.

Guests are allowed to bring alcoholic beverages on board and purchase them ashore during excursions.

Also, see the FAQs on the official Viking website.


Packing List for a Viking Ocean Cruise pin

Packing List for a Viking Ocean Cruise - pin


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