By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: I am a senior who is a first time cruiser. Four of us will be taking a seven day Mediterranean cruise in mid October, visiting Venice, Rome, Sicily, Nice, Malta and Barcelona. What kind of weather can we expect and what kind of clothing would we need on such a trip? Also, is it safe to carry a small backpack on excursions?

A: Spring and fall are considered the best months for cruising the Mediterranean. Fall temperatures can vary from cool to hot. So your best bet is to pack clothes that can be layered. I usually wear a light jacket with a big sweater. An umbrella and a rain jacket should also be included in your line-up of items to take.

For those daytime excursions, casual attire and a pair of sensible shoes are always a good bet. During the evening on the ship, there is nightly entertainment set up Las Vegas style. Lots of performers ranging from dancers, singers to even jugglers. Expect at least two formal evening dinners. These evenings are often referred to as the "Captain's Welcome," and the "Captain's Farewell."

Once you've made port you'll be travelling in a small group with a guide, visiting a range of historical landmarks and shopping districts. For such items like a water bottle, an extra sweater, a local map, using a small backpack is generally fine.

Avoid packing your change purse, identification and any other items you perceive as valuables in the backpack. Money belts are always a good resort. Outfits from Tilley Endurables are great because they have many concealed pockets with zippers that are actually apart of the garment. As always use common sense when visiting unknown places.


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