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 Correct as of December 2023.
What is cruise insurance?
Specialist cruise travel insurance is specifically designed to cover problems that could arise while you’re on a cruise – such as missed port departures or transport to a hospital if you fall ill while at sea.
Going on a cruise is a great way to holiday. Many people love the idea of waking up in a different place every day and enjoying life at sea. That makes it even more important to take out a cruise-specific travel insurance policy so you can head off on your adventure with the peace of mind that you have cover. And it’s not just a good idea to have it – it’s often mandatory. Most cruise operators will insist you have cover in place before they'll let you board.
You can buy cruise travel insurance as an add-on to standard travel insurance, or buy a specialist policy. Here's what to consider when you compare cover.
What’s covered with cruise holiday insurance?
Policies vary from provider to provider, but cruise cover typically includes:
- Cruise cancellation or curtailment – useful if your trip is cancelled or cut short because of unforeseen circumstances, for example the death of a close relative or redundancy.
- Missed departure – if your car breaks down, your train gets cancelled or strikes or industrial action mean you can’t make your departure, insurance can make sure you’re covered financially.
- Cruise interruption – if you fall ill and need medical treatment on dry land, you can claim for the travel expenses incurred to reach the next port and re-join the cruise.
- Cabin confinement – to stop everyone on board getting sick, you may need to stay in your cabin if you become ill. Cover means you can claim a payment if you’re confined to your cabin by the ship’s medical officer due to illness.
- Unused excursions protection – this should pay out if you miss an excursion because of an accident, injury or illness. It might apply only to excursions you choose at the point of booking your cruise, not any booked since being on board.
- Missed port cover – protects you if a planned destination visit is cancelled because of bad weather or timetabling. In other words, if you miss out on an island or city that you were looking forward to visiting, you’ll get some money back.
- Personal baggage – cover if your baggage or its contents are lost or stolen. You may be away for a while on a cruise and need to bring more luggage including expensive evening wear - so check the personal baggage limits are sufficient.
- Emergency medical treatment costs – make sure this includes emergency helicopter transfers, hospital and ambulance fees, and cover to get home if you can’t use your original ticket.
- Cover for the cost of a friend or relative staying with you while you’re treated or flying out from home to support you if needed.
|Some cruise lines insist on minimum levels of insurance and medical cover, so it’s a good idea to check what’s required before you compare policies.
Will cruise insurance cover COVID-19?
Some cruise lines insist on minimum levels of insurance and medical cover, including cover relating to COVID-19.
Check the type and level of coronavirus cover you are offered. Ask yourself:
- Cancellation – will you be covered if you or one of your travelling companions get COVID-19 or have to self-isolate just before departure?
- Curtailment – what happens if a relative at home becomes seriously ill or dies because of the virus and you need to cut your cruise short?
- Medical and repatriation costs – what happens if you become ill with coronavirus while you are away and need medical care?
|When you compare with us, you can select the level of COVID-19 cover you want. Then click ‘more details’ to see what each policy offers.
Customers with pre-existing medical conditions
If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.
If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.
Get the right cover for the right price
Make sure your insurance provides full cover for:
- The whole length of the trip
- All the places you’re visiting – if in doubt, choose worldwide cover
- The activities you’ll be taking part in
With cruise cover you get all the things you’d expect from travel insurance, including baggage and cancellation cover, as well as additional protection for some of the things associated with a cruise holiday. So you can relax and enjoy your trip, whether you’re cruising the Caribbean, port hopping in the Med or being amazed by the icebergs of Antarctica.
To get the right cover at the right price here’s some things to consider when comparing cover…
The countries you’re visiting
This could well impact the price of your cruise travel insurance.
For example, the following countries all have a high level of private health care, so it costs more to receive medical treatment there. As a result, you might find it’s more expensive to get cover if you’re visiting them:
- North and Central America (including the USA)
- China and Hong Kong
- EU countries such as Greece, Malta, Spain and Cyprus.
What you’re taking with you
If you’re not flying to or from your cruise, you might want to take more luggage than you would on a plane. Think about how much baggage cover you need – particularly if you’re taking glamorous eveningwear. Likewise, if you’re taking valuable gadgets with you, make sure you’ve got enough cover should they be damaged, lost or stolen.
What you’re planning to do
Excursions might offer the opportunity to experience different activities including water sports and extreme sports. Check your cruise policy to see which activities are covered as standard and whether you’ll need to add any extra cover.
What are the top three tips when choosing travel insurance for a cruise holiday?
Before picking your cruise travel insurance policy, bear the following three top tips in mind:
- Check cabin confinement daily amounts – if you can’t leave your cabin, you could be able to get £50-1,200 a day, but it’s important to be aware of the overall cabin confinement cover limit. Often this is between £500 and £2,000. Some providers cover the cost of missed excursions too.
- Find the right cancellation refund – make sure you choose a policy that covers the cost of your cruise, as pay-outs can range from £3,000 to £20,000.
- Choose the right cover limits – bear in mind that some cruise providers insist that you have at least £2 million in medical cover to sail with them.
What our expert says...
"With all the activities on board, cruises can be a perfect holiday for a family, not just older holidaymakers. They can also be a good choice for solo travellers, with lots of opportunities to meet other people. If you’re taking a cruise don’t assume that the most expensive policies offer the most comprehensive cover. Be sure to compare what cover is on offer or you might end up paying more than you need to."
- Helen Phipps, Insurance expert
Frequently asked questions
Can I add insurance after booking a cruise?
Yes, you can wait until after you’ve booked your cruise to arrange your cruise insurance. In fact, it’s a good idea to wait until you’ve booked, as your cruise provider may have specific travel insurance requirements, for example, having a certain amount of medical and COVID-19 cover.
Once you’ve booked your trip, it’s wise to get your insurance arranged as soon as possible. That way you’ll be covered for anything you’ve paid up front if you need to cancel for one of the reasons specified in your policy.
How close to a cruise can I buy travel insurance?
You may be able to find cruise cover in the weeks or even days before you travel, but your options may be limited. Book your travel insurance as soon as possible to make sure you can benefit from cancellation cover. There may also be deadlines in place for buying your cruise insurance if you want to be covered for pre-existing medical conditions.
Bear in mind that many cruise providers require you to have appropriate cruise cover in place and will ask to check your policy documents before you board.
What’s a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)?
If you need medical treatment while cruising in an EU country or Switzerland, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) means you can get medical treatment (on dry land) at the same cost as the locals. It’s the successor to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
The GHIC/EHIC isn’t a substitute for cruise travel insurance though - it won’t pay for getting you home or cover other costs linked to a medical emergency. That being said, some providers make it a condition of the policy that you have and use a GHIC where possible. If you need a new card, you can get a GHIC free through the NHS website.
Can I get cruise travel insurance for the rest of my party?
You can get cruise travel insurance:
If you’re including other people in your cruise insurance, you’ll need their dates of birth and details of any pre-existing medical conditions they might have to get an accurate quote.
Bear in mind too, that a group premium will be affected by the ages and health of other participants, so if one person is over 80, for example, it may work out cheaper to get that person an individual policy.
Can I go on a cruise with a pre-existing medical condition?
Yes, but as with any type of travel insurance, It’s important that you list any pre-existing medical conditions when you take out cruise cover and give insurance providers all the information they need. Otherwise, you might be charged more by your provider or find out later that you’re not covered.
If your insurance provider discovers that the medical emergency on your trip was linked to a condition you already had, they could refuse to pay your bills or add a cost.
Make sure you mention any conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes in your quote - you could be risking thousands of pounds if you don’t.
Where can I compare cruise travel insurance quotes?
Let us help you find the right cruise travel cover policy for you. Simply compare cruise travel insurance and get a quote in minutes.