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For the most part, normal travel insurance does not cover a cruise holiday as well as specialist cruise cover, if it covers cruises at all (some policies don't). Find out how normal travel insurance falls short when it comes to cruise holidays which have their own set of challenges like being far from a hospital. Generally speaking, we recommend specialist cruise cover for the best holiday protection.
- How Does Normal Travel Insurance Treat Cruises?
- What Features are Important for Cruise Cover?
- Where Can I Buy Cruise Cover?
Does Normal Travel Insurance Cover Cruises?
Normal travel insurance doesn't necessarily cover a cruise. To get cover for cruise-specific events like cabin confinement, emergency airlift to hospital, missed port and unused excursions you'll typically need to buy specialist cruise cover. While some regular travel insurance plans might cover some aspects of a cruise holiday under normal terms (Emergency Medical, Baggage and Cancellation) they don't include cabin confinement, airlift to hospital, etc. And some normal plans won't won't provide any cover at all for a holiday that involves a cruise—not even medical emergency, cancellation or baggage.
Travel insurance plans generally fall into one of three categories when it comes to covering cruises:
- Exclude cruises: Some travel insurance plans specifically state that they don't cover your trip if it includes a cruise
- Include cruises under normal terms and conditions: You may still be protected under normal terms for Emergency Medical, Baggage and Cancellation, but there's no cover for cruise-specific situations like cabin confinement or missed port
- Comprehensive, cruise-specific cover: Cover for Emergency Medical, Baggage and Cancellation, plus cruise-specific scenarios like cabin confinement, emergency airlift to hospital, missed port and unused excursion
We think the last category (i.e., comprehensive, cruise-specific cover) is the best type to go for if you're heading on a cruise. Cruises have their own set of challenges if something were to go wrong. For instance, if you have a heart attack and need to get to a hospital, cruise-specific cover could pay for an emergency airlift to hospital if necessary. Or if strong winds prevent your ship from docking somewhere you could make a claim on a cruise-specific policy with missed port benefit.
Is Cruise Cover Worth it?
While claims for cabin confinement, missed port and unused excursions may be worth only a few hundred quid should you need to claim, a medical emergency requiring airlift to hospital could cost you thousands of pounds. For this reason alone we think cruise cover is worth it for most people, but this is an individual decision that depends on your budget and situation.
We did some research and found that the average cost of cruise-specialist travel insurance starts from £11 for cheap cover and £21 for premium cover (that is, policies offering at least £5,000 of cancellation cover). While costs clearly rise with age and change with destination, a 75-year-old holidaymaker can even secure cruise insurance with Worldwide cover starting from just £100. These prices seem well worth it when you consider what's at stake in event of a holiday mishap.
Important Cruise Cover Tips
When buying travel insurance for a cruise holiday there are a few specialist benefits you should look for in a policy (in addition to other features like emergency medical, cancellation and baggage, of course). These features will give you more comprehensive cover to protect against mishaps that are unique to a cruise holiday. These features are typically not included on normal travel insurance plans.
|Important Features for Cruise Cover|
|Cruise-Specific Features to Look For|
|Cabin confinement: If the ship's medical officer has said you have to stay in your cabin due to illness (e.g., so as not to spread the illness to other passengers).|
|Emergency airlift to hospital: Including emergency helicopter transfers if necessary.|
|Missed port: If a planned destination on the itinerary is cancelled due to bad weather (e.g., high winds making it dangerous to dock) or timetabling; This is a way to get some money back if you don't get to visit somewhere on your trip.|
|Unused excursion: If you miss an excursion due to an accident, injury or illness (it might only apply to excursions made with the original cruise booking, not excursions made once on board).|
|Missed Departure: Not available in all cases, this provides for extra accommodation and travel costs to reach your destination if you arrive at the final point of international departure too late to board the cruise ship due to certain reasons outside your control (e.g. failure of public transport, connecting flight delays, overbooking of a flight, etc.).|
|Normal Travel Insurance Features You Should Also Get|
|Emergency Medical: Medical fees and help to get you back to the UK if you can't use your original ticket.|
|Cancellation: If your trip is cancelled or cut short due to a valid reason (e.g., unexpected illness)|
|Baggage: If your luggage is lost or stolen|
Good Place to Buy Cruise Cover
In our opinion, a reliable source to compare prices of travel insurance with cruise cover is Compare Cover because they will only quote products providing cruise-specific cover including cabin confinement, emergency airlift to hospital, missed port and unused excursions. (You just need to tick the "cruise" box when filling out the quote form to see cruise-specialist products.) As a result we have partnered with them since we think comprehensive travel insurance with these extra features is so important for cruise holidays.