Travel Insurance for Cruise Travellers: A Guide

By Camille Poire | BLOG

Aug 17
Travel Insurance For Cruise Travellers Guide

Every holiday is planned with positive thoughts and excitement for the upcoming experience. And while one should plan and expect to have the best time, they should also be prepared for the worst. Travel insurance is the most important component of planning a safe and pleasant trip. Moreover, when preparing to travel abroad, one should consider travel insurance wisely and choose an appropriate package that covers many aspects of possible “troubles” that can occur while traveling. 


When looking forward to a group or solo cruise experience, solid travel insurance protects you and your family in case something goes wrong, like getting ill or injured while sailing. When cruising, having appropriate insurance can be critical for your wellbeing as well as for your wallet. In fact, medical bills for holidaymakers can be huge. But more importantly, certain countries where most of the attractive cruise lines sail have poor medical services and might not be able to help if serious injuries or maladies occur. Additionally, the cost is most likely to increase significantly if you are cruising and therefore need to be airlifted from the middle of the ocean.

Whether you are interested in Indonesian cruises or looking forward to watching the Northern Lights on a Norway cruise, you should find the appropriate travel insurance packages that will help you enjoy your trip with the peace of mind that if anything goes wrong, you’ll be protected and financially covered. Some cruisers tend to underestimate the importance of being covered against any unfortunate events. For this reason, we have listed all the reasons why you should definitely opt for solid travel insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones.

cruise ship

What Should My Travel Insurance Cover?

Most standard travel policies cover the following:

  • Cancellation and delay, including missed departures and trip curtailment. These may be due to illnesses of the traveler or death of a family member. If you are traveling with children, buying travel insurance that can cover you against sudden illnesses, including colds and fevers, is essential.
  • Medical expenses, especially if you are traveling to areas of the world where you are not covered by the local public health (for example, outside the European Union or the EEA area).
  • Personal liability, which refers to damages caused to your possessions, or possible damage that you or a family member of yours may cause to someone else during the trip.
  • Emergency assistance, evacuation and repatriation, in case of injury or other circumstances.
  • Lost, stolen, or damaged luggage and possession, which will save your trip (and your life!) if you lose your passport or another travel document.

What Doesn’t a Travel Insurance Cover?

When you buy travel insurance, you should always read the description of coverage. If you wish to customize your insurance to meet particular personal needs or criteria, you should call your insurer to double-check and look for the option that can suit you best.

As a general rule, standard travel insurances do not cover the following:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Extreme sports
  • Terrorism-related issues
  • Natural disasters and outbreaks of illness and disease

Should I Buy Cruise-Specific Insurance?

Policies are available for any type of travel, including travel insurance for cruise travellers. In fact, insurance companies have designed particular insurance policies that are specifically targeted to those who are going to spend some time onboard.

Buying travel insurance is not mandatory, although it is warmly recommended. On the other hand, you do not need to book cruise-specific insurance. To help you decide if these policies can suit your needs, this is a brief list of what these usually cover:

  • Missed port departure, if your flight is delayed and the ship has sailed without you. In the majority of cases, this includes the cost of travel to the next port on the itinerary.

  • Itinerary change, in case of adverse weather or technical problems.

  • Increased baggage and personal belongings cover if you are required to bring additional pieces of clothing with you, for formal dining or other activities on board.

  • Missed excursion cover, either due to illness or to a change of itinerary.

travel insurance for cruise travellers tips

Are All Travel Insurance Policies the Same?

It may not be easy to find your way throughout the myriad of travel insurance policies. When buying insurance, you will be asked to choose one of the following types of plans:

  • Single trip - for those who are leaving for one single trip.

  • Annual multi-trip - a comprehensive policy for those who travel frequently and go on several vacations, abroad and onboard within one year. The total number of trips covered by this policy may vary depending on the terms and conditions.

  • Family travel insurance - which is the cheaper option for those who are traveling with kids and relatives. These policies usually include free cover for children under the age of 18.

  • Group travel insurance - for groups who are not members of the same family. These policies may feature free coverage for children, as well.

When and Where Do I Buy Travel Insurance?

You can either buy your travel insurance when booking your cruise or days before departure. It’s advisable to take your time and check for the best travel insurance packages available. Some policies are even available until 24 hours before the time of your departure. If you have never bought travel insurance before, or if you prefer to make this operation quick and easy, you can do it through your cruise line operator.

Nevertheless, you can also buy travel insurance through a travel agent or a specific insurance provider. Experienced travelers can complete this process independently since the Internet offers plenty of travel insurance providers. Usually, online insurance aggregators are free and easy to use, and let users filter search results to include cruise covers and policies that meet their needs.

Bank accounts, credit cards, high-street stores and even the Post Office may offer their own policies, which often include incentives such as extra points added to their loyalty programs. However, you may first need to check if those policies suit your personal requirements and needs.

Final thoughts

Although travel insurance is not always mandatory, we heartily recommend getting coverage for your cruise. Having to receive treatment at sea can turn out challenging and expensive without reliable assistance. You can look into a generic travel insurance or a more specific travel insurance for cruise travellers.

Do you have a cruise planned? Any insurance provider to suggest to fellow cruisers? Leave a comment below!

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About the Author

Hey, I'm Camille! I'm a 30-something "ex-French" girl turned world explorer. In 2013, I quit my life to travel the world - and I haven’t stopped since! I have lived in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, and Colombia, and have visited 50+ countries as a location-independent travel writer and affiliate marketer. I like sleeping in hammocks, riding scooters, eating all the foods, and scaring my mother trying adventure sports! I now share this journey with my nomadic boyfriend Mr B, with whom I recently bought a home base in the mountains of Bansko, Bulgaria.

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