Cruise vacations give a unique vacation experience and offer a combination of amazing entertainment, wonderful activities, and an opportunity to visit some of the fascinating destinations around the world. These vacations are able to fit a range of budgets, from those all-inclusive mega-liners on a world tour, to a two-day cruise to the Bahamas. And in view of the resurgence of these vacations its often possible to save time and money on locating a competitive cruise travel insurance plan that caters especially for a cruise vacation.
Cruise insurance is available to accommodate cruises of all shapes and sizes. Some of the features of a dedicated travel plan include medical expenses, cancellation & curtailment, personal effects & baggage, missed departure, legal expenses, and holiday abandonment. Before signing up to a cruise insurance scheme be certain to review the coverage on offer to ensure that its able to fit the travel needs in mind.
There are a multitude of options to search out a cheap cruise travel insurance plan – either use the services of a tour operator, direct with the cruise line, a insurance agent or broker, or insure through the company that provides the household and auto insurance. Obtain a quotation from several sources and comparison shop to locate the most competitive premium and cover plan. And its always wise to opt for a travel insurance plan that’s especially created for a cruise excursion.
A cruise can offer a trip of a lifetime, but if involved in an accident or taken ill during a voyage its crucial to have in place adequate cover to assist in an emergency medical evacuation that could otherwise run into thousands of dollars.
Cruise travelers are tempted to buy cheap or even worse – opt out completely – on their Cruise Travel Insurance. This temptation is understandable. By saving here, you’ll be able to spend more elsewhere – on something much more enjoyable – like zip lining!
After all, cruise traveling is one of the safest forms of public transport available. Actually claiming on your travel insurance is remote, right?
Tell that to the travelers in Japan when the Tsunami broke, in March 2011. Or when the volcano erupted again in Iceland – May 2011. When will we humans learn that we really don’t control risk – and that we should be prepared for it?
Whether you’re young or old, healthy or ill – before you board that big, beautiful ship – have the best travel insurance in place. Here are 7 universal steps to reduce your travel insurance risk:
1. Book your cruise wisely. This can be done online, directly through the cruise line or through a travel agent. I suggest the latter. This is the first step to avoid massive travel headaches.
2. Read the fine print on your cruise agreement as well as your travel insurance policy. If you don’t know where to look – ask! And if you don’t understand what a certain phrase means – ask! (Your travel agent is the best person to ask.)
3. Prepare for the safety requirements at airports and seaports. Have all your documents – including visas and passports – in place.
4. Assess the impact of seasons before you book. Hurricane season… Flu season… Noro virus season. On a cruise ship, you can’t hide and will be exposed to any one of them. Decide whether you’re going to risk it, or sit it out until the next “safe” season. Luckily, these days, online resources are available to track and plan accordingly. (Involuntary confinement to your cabin to prevent the spread of disease is typically not popularized in cruise travel magazines. Have a look at the fine print in your cruise agreement though – it’s all in there… somewhere.)
5. Understand what is classed as acceptable behavior on board. Avoiding the mandatory safety briefing before departure, for example, will be classified as unacceptable. Picking fights with guests, crew and security personnel, is just as unacceptable at sea, as it is online. (At sea, though, these incidents are investigated by the FBI – not your local friendly sheriff)
6. Chronic medications are one of those things easily forgotten in the excitement of going on holiday. Packing it in your hold luggage – and losing it through no fault of your own – is another common calamity. Whatever you do, arrive with your chronic meds on board. Keeping it in your hand luggage is the way to go. Cruise ship infirmaries have a limited range of medications, and you’ll be billed for the visit and the replacements. Ouch!
7. Alcohol and cruise ship holidays go together. Remember though, inebriation leads to seasickness. It also leads to unplanned spending and antisocial behavior. As they say, use it…don’t use it – it’s really all up to you.
Cruises are no longer just about grand dinners and white-glove service. There are a number of exciting activities being added to the cutting edge cruise liners. Imagine being able to take a surfboard to a breaker while still on board the boat! This new feature, called Flowrider – a machine that generates artificial waves – has been installed in some of the latest cruise ships. So you may want to pack your surfboard as well as your sun cream and travel insurance for the cruise.
The liner companies have embarked upon a competition of one-upmanship with the modernization of their ships. The traditional romantic cruise has a lot more to it now than shuffleboard and dinner at the captain’s table. You can now enjoy mini golf and shopping arcades on cruise liners, and the experience is not exclusively for couples.
Children are increasingly joining family cruise holidays, making use of the video games, basket ball courts and nightclubs for young people that the liner companies are installing on their boats. With your children running wild on kids’ club scavenger hunts, it would be prudent to include them in your cruise travel insurance. Some policies include children for free as part of your cruise insurance. There are even Disney liners to tempt the kids onto the ocean, and some industry insiders have joked that a roller coaster will be the next fun thing to try on the rolling sea.
As well as safe and sedate entertainment like wine cellars and trivia quizzes, you can now try out rock-climbing walls, ice skating rinks, and trampolines on a cruise ship. Such activities are fun because of their innate element of risk, and because of this you should check your cruise insurance will cover extra sports. Even though liners will likely have a doctor or some kind of medical provision on board, if an injury or illness requires hospitalization, it becomes a difficult and expensive business. Without cruise travel insurance you could end up paying for a helicopter airlift to shore.
New Destinations & Old Problems
Caribbean tours remain the most popular cruise routes, followed by routes touring ports in the Mediterranean and European. However, there are more adventurous destinations available, too. Alaska is growing in popularity, offering spectacular coastal landscapes of icebergs and glaciers as well as whale watching opportunities. The Galapagos Islands is a longstanding destination for cruises embarking from Peru and Ecuador, where passengers can enjoy an island-hopping visit to the mysterious islands and the unusual wildlife there.
Liner companies are also changing their approach to the on-shore excursions. As well as visits to the local sightseeing hot spots, they are arranging experiences such as sports car racing and excursions to nearby golf courses. If this appeals to you, you should check that your cruise insurance will cover scenarios like a scratched Ferrari and lost golf clubs.
Despite innovations, it seems cruise travel can’t escape old questions about safety, as the recent pirate problems off the coast of Africa have demonstrated. More mundane problems like illness are still prevalent on cruises. In 2006, the U.S. investigated 34 reports of norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships. Such alarming data serves as a reminder that the security and assurance that comes with cruise travel insurance is essential for enjoying your time at sea.
A cruise holiday may seem like one of the safest ways to travel. After all, you are on a large, purpose built liner surrounded only by fellow holidaymakers, and it may be tempting to skip on getting cruise travel insurance. But this would be a grave mistake – there is plenty that can go wrong on a cruise holiday, and in some cases (such as medical emergencies) it is no exaggeration to say that cruise insurance can mean the difference between life and death. Here are five reasons to get insured before you go…
You have a medical emergency…
Bear in mind that the medical facilities on most cruise ships are extremely limited – the onboard doctor will be able to provide some basic medication and medical attention, but that will be it. More serious medical problems will require medical evacuation to a hospital, usually by helicopter. If you don’t have cruise travel insurance, you’ll be facing a bill for several thousand pounds – even worse, if you are uninsured you could be forced to take your chances with the medical facilities in the nearest port. If you are on a cruise in a Third World area, this could be disastrous – cruise travel insurance is essential for you to be covered in the event of a medical emergency.
Your cruise is disrupted by bad weather…
There’s nothing that can ruin a cruise quite like a sudden batch of bad weather. Cruise insurance won’t offer you any compensation for a little rough sea or a few days of rain, but sometimes the weather can be much worse than that – cruises can be delayed, disrupted or even cancelled if a storm or hurricane descends on your destination. If the weather severely disrupts your journey, you can claim compensation through your cruise travel insurance.
You are a victim of theft…
People often assume that they are safe from crime while onboard a cruise ship, but petty theft is as much a danger on a cruise as it is anywhere else; unlocked cabins and valuables that are left unguarded are open invitations to thieves. You should always take precautions with your valuables and use the ship’s safe where possible, but if you do fall victim to theft your cruise insurance will cover the cost of the stolen items.
You have to cancel your holiday…
When you are first planning your cruise holiday, it may seem like there is no possible reason you would cancel your dream trip. But you may be injured in an accident, a relative may fall ill, you could be made redundant or even called up for jury service – in all these cases and more, cruise travel insurance will compensate you. Otherwise, you’ll be left to foot the substantial bill yourself.
You take part in extra activities…
On many cruises you’ll be given the option of taking part in a wide range of activities, both on and off the ship, ranging from scuba diving to rock climbing. But this is one area where, even if you have cruise insurance, you really need to check the small print – depending on the level of cover, it may not protect you. If you are going to take part in these kinds of potentially hazardous extra activities, make sure your cruise travel insurance will protect you if something goes wrong.