Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please check the latest government travel advice that sets out what you need to do, if anything, before you travel abroad and before you return home. You should also check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. Travel rules can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.
Should I consider specialist cruise travel insurance?
Specialist cruise travel insurance is a type of cover that is geared towards the things that might happen while you’re on a cruise - such as missed port stops or transport to a hospital if you take 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 a cruise-specific travel insurance policy so that you can head off on your adventure with the peace of mind that you have cover.
Our guide to cruise travel insurance should help to answer any questions you might have.
Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions
If you have a serious health condition, the price you pay for travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. However, there are still many providers out there and you should be able to find affordable cover. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to lie to an insurance provider, because if you do and then need to make a claim, it could be rejected.
When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions.
MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.
What’s covered with cruise insurance?
Policies vary from provider to provider, but most include:
- 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 in order to 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, 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?
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 cancellation and baggage 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 think about:
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.
Falling ill at sea can result in extra costs if you need to be picked up by helicopter and taken to hospital.
To give you an idea of the costs of medical care and repatriation, when a UK traveller recently suffered a stroke in the USA, £768,000 was paid to cover the medical costs, including £60,000 for an air ambulance back home. Even from Spain, an air ambulance could set you back more than £25,000.
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. So 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 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."
- Josh Daniels, Travel insurance expert
Frequently asked questions
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 at the same cost as the locals.
If you still have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – the GHIC’s predecessor – you’ll be able to continue using it until its expiry date. If you need a new card, you can get a GHIC free through the NHS website. You can apply for a new GHIC card up to 6 months before your current card expires.
The GHIC/EHIC isn’t a substitute for travel cover though - it won’t pay for getting you home or other costs linked to a medical emergency. Some providers make it a condition of the policy that you have to have and use a GHIC where possible.
Be aware that it’s valid in many but not all European countries. However, if you’re going on a cruise outside of the EU, there’s no EHIC/GHIC so it can be expensive to get medical support.
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.
What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?
It’s important that you list any pre-existing medical conditions and give insurance providers all the information they need. Otherwise you might be charged more by your provider or not be 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.
What are the top three tips when choosing cruise travel insurance?
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 £15-£1,000 a day. 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 £250-£25,000.
- Choose the right cover limits – to cover all eventualities, we recommend the minimum amount of medical cover you should choose is £1 million for Europe and £2 million for the rest of the world.
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.