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Cruise Travel Insurance

Before sailing off into the sunset, consider taking out cruise travel insurance for protection.

What is cruise travel insurance?

Cruise insurance is much the same as travel insurance but with extra protection against potential problems that could arise because of your cruise. You may have the option to buy a dedicated cruise policy or add additional cruise cover to an existing comprehensive travel insurance policy for an additional premium.

What does it cover?

  • You sustain an injury or become sick. Treatment on board cruise ships can be hugely pricey, and medical facilities tend to be limited. If you became ill or suffered an injury during your cruise, it could result in you requiring an airlift to the nearest hospital on land. With cruise travel insurance, you would be protected against costly medical expenses throughout your cruise.
  • Your cruise departs but you don’t. Cruise travel insurance will cover you for additional expenses if you miss the ship prior to departure, due to reasons such as a delayed flight or a car accident on the way to the port.
  • You need to return home early. If you were two weeks into a six-week cruise but suddenly had to return home for an emergency, cruise insurance could reimburse the cost of the lost four weeks.
  • Cancelled shore excursions. If your cruise ship cancels planned visits on shore, for example due to extreme weather conditions, you could be compensated and reimbursed any related fees.
  • You’re confined to your cabin. If you’re sick and confined to your cabin for medical reasons, you may receive a daily allowance for room service and other unforeseen expenses.
  • You face delays. If through no fault of your own, your journey is delayed either on the way out or on the way back, you could get compensation for any additional costs incurred.
  • You cancel your trip. If the unexpected happens and you are forced to cancel your cruise before you even depart, cruise travel insurance can cover your non-refundable trip costs so that you’re not left out of pocket.
  • Lost luggage. Luggage does get lost from time to time. If an airline loses or misplaces your suitcases, cruise travel insurance should cover the cost of flying your belongings to the next port, as well as offer reimbursement for the cost of any essentials you’d need to buy whilst waiting for your bags to arrive. It could even cover the cost of your luggage if they’re gone for good.
  • Your formal cruise attire is lost or damaged. You could be reimbursed for replacing or hiring costs if any of your formal wear is stolen, damaged or lost.
  • Your cruise ship goes bankrupt. This is often missing from cruise insurance sold directly from cruise liners. It’s therefore important to check the fine print of policies from other providers to make sure it’s included.
  • Emergency evacuation to a hospital on land. Traditional travel insurance policies may only cover the cost of repatriation to Ireland, whereas cruise travel insurance may cover you for emergency evacuation from the ship to the nearest hospital on land, as well as medical transport back to Ireland when required.
  • Interruptions to your voyage. You’ll be protected if unpredictable situations arise such as unexpected detours, unwanted delays or even if the entire voyage is cut short.

Is it worth it?

You’ve already forked out a tidy sum for the cruise of a lifetime, so is the extra expense of insurance really necessary? For the majority of people, the answer is a resounding yes. Here’s why:

  • The future is unpredictable. No one can see into the future and unfortunately, delays in flights, extreme weather conditions, lost luggage and accidents can and do happen. Whilst it’s easy to think “it won’t happen to me” cruise insurance is a convenient way to guarantee that if something does go wrong, you won’t be left out of pocket.
  • It provides peace of mind. No matter what mishaps or accidents may occur during your holiday, having the correct cover in place means you won’t have to worry about anything.

What to look for in a cruise insurance policy

As you’d expect with any ordinary travel insurance policy, your cruise cover should include a range of key benefits, including cover for:

  • Overseas medical expenses. You’ll be protected for any medical and hospital expenses you incur overseas, as well as for repatriation back to Ireland if necessary.
  • Amendment and cancellation costs. If for any reason you need to cut short or cancel your trip due to circumstances beyond your control travel insurance will cover your cancellation fees, lost deposits and any additional transport costs.
  • Luggage and personal belongings. You’ll be covered if your luggage or personal items are lost, theft and damage.
  • Luggage delay. If a travel provider temporarily loses or misdirects your bags, you’ll receive a benefit to help you purchase emergency items such as toiletries and a change of clothes.
  • Travel delays. If your pre-booked transport is delayed by circumstances such as industrial action or severe weather conditions, your cruise insurance covers your additional meal and accommodation costs.
  • Rental vehicle insurance excess. This ensures that if your rental car is involved in an accident, stolen or damaged, the insurance excess charged by the hire company could be massively reduced or eliminated altogether.
  • Personal liability. If you’re required to pay compensation for injuring someone else or damaging their property, travel insurance provides personal liability cover.
  • Ship-to-shore evacuation. If you take ill or suffer an injury during your cruise and require transportation to a hospital on land for emergency medical treatment, cruise insurance will cover the cost.
  • Cabin confinement. This provides an ongoing daily allowance for every day of your cruise that you are confined to your cabin due to illness or injury.
  • Missed shore excursions. If you’re confined to your cabin or the cruise vessel’s hospital and can’t participate in any pre-paid shore excursions, your policy will cover any cancellation fees or lost deposits.
  • Lost, stolen or damaged formal cruise attire. If your formal cruise clothing is lost, stolen or accidentally damaged, your insurance provider can cover its repair or replacement.
  • Marine rescue diversion. In the event that your cruise ship is diverted to participate in a marine rescue operation, your cruise policy will offer a continuous daily benefit.

What is not covered under cruise insurance?

Cruise travel insurance, like most insurance, doesn’t cover every conceivable event or scenario that could potentially wreak havoc with your travel plans; instead, it’s designed to cover those unforeseen problems and worst-case scenarios that arise out of nowhere and turn your holiday upside down.

With that said, you’ll need to make sure you read the fine print closely before purchasing a policy to find out what is and isn’t included in your cover. The majority of policies won’t cover you if:

  • You’re drunk or on drugs. If you lose your bag during a shore excursion after a few pints, your insurance won’t pay a benefit.
  • You like to walk on the wild side. Planning on taking part in any high-risk adventure activities on-board the ship or during a shore excursion? Read the fine print carefully to make sure you’ll be covered by your insurer.
  • The weather’s a bit disappointing. If you were expecting glorious sunshine but all you get is overcast skies and drizzle, unfortunately your policy won’t cover you if the weather was a bit of a let-down.
  • You travel against medical advice. If your doctor advises you not to travel but you decide to board the cruise anyway, your insurer won’t pay out in the event that you require medical assistance.
  • You break the law. If you start a fight in a bar, take drugs or participate in any other illegal activity that results in you making a claim, you’re unlikely to get any support from your insurer.
  • You don’t take care of your belongings. If you leave your bag unattended in a public place and it’s stolen, your insurer won’t pay your claim as it will be considered to have been caused by your negligence.
  • You forget to purchase cruise cover. The vast majority of insurers only cover cruise journeys when you purchase additional cruise cover with your travel insurance policy. Don’t forget this fact when buying a policy.

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

Similarly to taking out standard travel insurance, you need to let your insurer know about any pre-existing conditions you have when applying for cruise cover. Depending on the insurer and the policy, if you have a medical condition it may:

  • Be automatically covered at no extra cost. Check your insurer’s policy documents for a list of conditions that are automatically covered.
  • Require you to provide additional information. You may need to complete a medical declaration providing full details of the condition, its history and the treatment you have received. The insurer may agree to cover your condition, usually for an additional fee.
  • Be excluded from your policy. Some conditions are simply not covered. You can still purchase a cruise insurance policy if this is the case, but any claims that arise due to your pre-existing condition won’t be covered.

Cruise cover for seniors

If you’re over the age of 65 and planning an exotic cruise, you can enjoy all the benefits of cruise cover with a seniors travel insurance policy. While policy age limits differ between insurers, there are some providers who will cover travellers up to 80, 90 or even 100 years of age. However, there are a few key factors you should be aware of when picking a policy:

  • Cover is generally more expensive for seniors. Once you reach 65 years of age, insurance costs will start to rise on travel insurance. Generally, the older you are, the more cover will cost you.
  • Check the age limits. Some insurers simply refuse to cover anyone over the age of 65, while some set their upper age limit anywhere between 65 or 100 (or even higher in some rare cases). Check which insurers are willing to offer you cover before you start comparing policies and prices.
  • Not all pre-existing conditions will be covered. There are generally increased restrictions on pre-existing conditions for older travellers. For example, some insurers will automatically cover asthma for travellers under the age of 60, but this condition could be excluded from the policy for anyone above this age limit.


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