Cruise Travel Insurance: Do You Need It?

a crusie ship on the ocean

Fancy seeing the world in style? A voyage by cruise is the most decadent way to travel of all. You know you need to pack your best outfit, but what about cruise travel insurance? In this guide, we’ll show you the ropes so you’re not left high and dry. We’ll look at travel insurance with cruise cover and how it’s possible to get cover for medical conditions. If you’re wondering if you can get cruise travel insurance for over 65s, yes you can, and we’ll tell you how. We got all hands on deck to cover all of this and more, so read on...

Why do you need cruise travel insurance?

cruise ship

They say life is about the journey, not the destination. This couldn’t be truer for travel and what better way to enjoy your entire trip than by cruising on a floating city of luxury! Forget the usual flying hassles of checking in, delays, and tiny seats. A cruise is a once in a lifetime experience, just don’t forget to take your cruise travel insurance on board with you.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Cruise Review industry report shows that in 2018 there were 28.5 million people globally who took a cruise. What was once out of reach for most of us is now more attainable thanks to the rapid growth of the industry and greater choice. There are also around 1,200 ports to choose from so you can be sure to find a destination that floats your boat.

Like we mentioned earlier, a cruise really is about the journey. From the time you board that majestic ship you will be transported into a world of opulence, relaxation, fun, and excitement. You have restaurants, entertainment, pools, and shops, all within walking distance of your room. It doesn’t get any better (or easier) than that! Plus, rather than deal with airports you can simply nap, read your novel, take a dip, graze at the buffet, then arrive fresh in a new country. Great work you!

Before you get swept away with the romanticism of it all though, let’s talk about why travel insurance with cruise cover is a good idea. There are certain benefits you can get with cruise travel insurance that are specific to cruises. These can include:

  1. Higher cancellation costs - a cruise can cost a lot more than a regular holiday and some insurers are willing to offer you higher limits to cover you.

  2. Higher medical limits and repatriation cover - a standard policy won’t usually cover you for repatriation from a cruise. Think of the costs associated with sending a helicopter out if someone needs medical attention on land, let alone in the ocean. There are onboard doctors of course, but sometimes specialist care is needed elsewhere.

  3. Missed departure - you’ve been anticipating this trip for months, or even years. Imagine your heartache if you miss the boat (quite literally) and it was not your fault. Some policies will cover a flight so you can meet the boat at the next port.

  4. Cabin confinement - if you fall ill and spend your holiday in bed (or the bathroom) you can get compensated as that’s no fun for anyone. If you have an infectious illness, you may have no choice but to be confined to your room.

  5. Itinerary change - occasionally, cruise lines need to change the itinerary and you could get compensation through insurance for each port you miss.

  6. Missed shore activities - if you have pre-booked excursions you have paid for and miss them, you can claim these.

No matter which cruise travel insurance you purchase, all insurers offer different cover. This includes different levels of cover and benefits offered, so be sure to read your policy documents or pick up the phone and ask providers any questions.

Does normal travel insurance cover cruises?

man with a thumbs up

Does normal travel insurance cover cruises” is a very common question (and a good one we might add). Cruise travel insurance can be included in a normal policy, but not always. This is generally because the cost of a medical emergency can be exorbitant. Some insurers either offer cruise cover as an optional extra (for an additional fee) or they might include it in their higher-level policies.

As we mentioned earlier, there are additional benefits that you get with cruise insurance too. Two examples of these are pre-booked shore activities and missed departure. These simply aren’t needed on many holidays so are not written into a standard policy.

Finding the details in the policy wording can be laborious but you can always call a supplier and ask them the question directly.

Potential hazards of travel insurance with cruise cover

There are some simple steps you can take to keep your travel insurance with cruise cover valid.

Our first tip is to plan to arrive at the port earlier than you need, otherwise, you could find yourself in deep water. Cruises usually require passengers to arrive at least two hours before. If you’re flying to meet your boat, give yourself extra time. Why not spend a night or two in the city where you set sail from, and stay as close to the port as possible! Trust us, you’ll want to beat the crowds and check out your room and all the ship has to offer early. Then pick your spot and sit back and relax.

If you miss your ship’s departure and it’s your fault (i.e. haven’t left enough time), you probably won’t be covered. Be careful to read your policy wording well before you depart so you know what to look out for. This will help you later if you need to make a claim. Why not read our guide on making a successful claim? It has great tips for making sure that your claim isn’t denied.

We want you to have fun, but if you’re “three sheets to the wind” (or even “one”) your insurance probably won’t cover you if you have an accident. Fun fact: a “sheet” in old sailors’ language was a rope. If three sheets weren’t attached to the sails, the boat would roll around in a drunken fashion. Tipsy was “one sheet”, whereas drunk was “three sheets”! Check your policy carefully before ordering another round.

Cruise travel insurance with medical conditions

As with all travel insurance, pre-existing medical conditions must be declared with cruise travel insurance. If you don’t, you will likely not receive a payout in the event of a claim, even if it’s not related to your condition. The good news is that it's easy to declare medical conditions when you get a quote, and many insurers will add a medical condition to cruise travel insurance. In the next section, we’ll compare some quotes, including pre-existing medical conditions.

How much is travel insurance for cruises?

pile of coins and notes

If you’ve already booked your cruise, you will appreciate how every factor (balcony, room size, all-inclusive) changes the price drastically. The same goes for insurance. There is never a one size fits all cruise travel insurance policy. Depending on your age, length of trip, valuables you wish to insure and a plethora of other variables, you may feel like you’re swimming against the current when deciding. Don’t despair, we’re about to compare some crucial factors for you.

We will compare single trip policies for a single female traveller going on a two-week cruise to Spain and Italy, against annual travel insurance with cruise cover. We will also look at both options in relation to declaring pre-existing medical conditions.

We chose the insurers at random and purely to demonstrate how different providers charge different amounts for the same cover. With more choice than ever on the market, it’s important to compare policies from different providers. Always make sure you enter your details correctly and declare any medical conditions. That way, the quotes you receive will be correct and you will be covered properly when you start your voyage.

35 Years Old Two Weeks (Spain, Italy)
35 Years Old Annual (Europe)
35 Years Old Two Weeks (Spain, Italy) Pre-existing Condition (Asthma)
35 Years Old Annual (Europe) Pre-existing Condition (Asthma)
Insure and Go (Light Economy)
Cedar Tree (Lite)

Prices are correct as of August 2019.

As you can see from the above figures, Insure and Go is cheaper than the other examples for both two-week and annual multi-trips, if no pre-existing conditions are declared. Whereas, Cedar Tree is the cheaper option if declaring a medical condition. Price shouldn’t be the only factor you consider though and we will look at important benefits a bit later. We will say though, it pays to compare providers, as the most expensive policy doesn’t necessarily have the highest limits.

These days, cruises tend to offer a mix of old-world tradition and modern luxury. As a result, the type of holiday goers enjoying cruises is a real mixed bag. They include babies, baby boomers and everyone in between. Globally, the average passenger age is going down and while it’s difficult to get exact figures, the UK average is around 55 years old. Therefore, we also ran quotes for a 55-year-old (and 65-year-old in the next section).

55 Years Old Two Weeks (Spain, Italy)
55 Years Old Annual (Europe)
55 Years Old Two Weeks (Spain, Italy) Pre-existing Condition (Asthma)
55 Years Old Annual (Europe) Pre-existing Condition (Asthma)
Insure and Go (Light Economy)
Cedar Tree (Lite)

Prices are correct as of August 2019.

If we are looking at just price, Admiral is the cheaper option of the three for a 55-year-old on an annual trip policy with no pre-existing conditions and also for a two-week trip with pre-existing conditions. It just goes to show how quotes vary wildly, especially based on age. Before we look at other crucial considerations, such as medical limits, we have dedicated a special section for cruise travel insurance for over 65’s.

Cruise travel insurance for over 65’s

Batten down the hatches because we’re going to tackle a very common question about cruise travel insurance for over 65’s. Unfortunately, being over 65 does tend to make cruise travel insurancea bit more expensive, but as you will see below it pays to shop around! We will show you quotes based on a 65-year-old single, female traveller.

65 Years Old Two Weeks (Spain, Italy)
65 Years Old Annual (Europe)
65 Years Old Two Weeks (Spain, Italy) Pre-existing Condition (Asthma)
65 Years Old Annual (Europe) Pre-existing Condition (Asthma)
Insure and Go (Light Economy)
Cedar Tree (Lite)

Prices are correct as of August 2019.

As you can see, even between just three insurers, prices vary depending on the length of your trip and if you need to declare a medical condition. Where Insure and Go is cheaper for a short trip, Cedar Tree and Admiral are cheaper for annual policies, depending on if you declare a medical condition or not. The next step, and the most important, is choosing your policy limits.

Good to know: a 99-year-old also had plenty of policies available when we ran a quote, even when we added asthma as a pre-existing medical condition.

Cruise travel insurance policy limits

As we said earlier, limits do vary vastly between insurers. Not only that, but most insurers offer two or more different policy levels! The benefit of buying travel insurance with cruise cover is that limits can be much higher than a standard policy. Here is an example of some of the different limits we came across for cruise cover:

  • Cancellation - £750 up to £25,000
  • Medical - £1 million to £20 million
  • Baggage - £300 to £5,000

Remember to choose your policy based on your circumstances and what cover is essential to you.

Whether you are planning a cruise to the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, or the fjords of Norway, we want to wish you bon voyage!

We hope this guide has been useful and given you plenty to think about. If you aren’t quite sure what type of travel insurance you need, why not read our handy guide on choosing general travel insurance too?

Data and information correct as of August 2019.

All material on this page and the website is for information purposes only and does not constitute any form of financial advice. is not responsible for any consequences that might arise from your use of the information provided.

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