Although it may not be the most exciting thing to think about, cruise insurance is definitely one of the most important considerations when booking your trip.

Many operators will actually need to see proof of proper insurance before allowing you onboard, especially when it comes to expedition cruises to remote regions like Antarctica or the Arctic.  

All the amazing experiences and sights will be forgotten if something goes wrong and you don't have the proper cover. We constantly get questions from readers asking if their standard travel insurance policy will cover them on their cruise trip. The answer is NO.

Although it sounds surprising, only 35% of single-trip policies and 40% of annual travel insurance policies cover cruises! Thats not all - of the policies that do cover cruises, you'll only get basic cover. For example, your cruise costs $4,000 and then you have to cancel suddenly - you'll only get $1,000 covered by your basic policy.

Because of this, its vital to get the right cruise travel insurance policy. Below we have laid out all the things you'll need to consider such as cancelation, delays, baggage loss, extra activities, small print tricks, and emergency medical assistance and evacuation. 

Please DO NOT rely on your standard policy that came with your credit card or bank etc. 99% of the time these policies will not cover cruises. If they do cover cruises, they will not cover everything you require or to the amount you require. 

Important Note

Please note: Expedition Cruise are not insurance experts. The insurance considerations given below are based upon our personal experience and information gathered via research and fellow passengers. This information should not be relied upon or construed as a insurance opinion or insurance advice. Always consult with a registered insurance provider for the most accurate information regarding any insurance policies.  

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If you would like an exact insurance quote from our recommended specialist click Get a Quote.

Cruise Travel Insurance

The Basics

Cancellation and Interruptions

80% of cruise travel insurance claims come from last-minute cancellations. For example, if you book a fantastic (and expensive) cruise, then suddenly a member of your family falls ill and you need to cancel, you'll want to get your money back. Most policies won't cover you much over $500 which is not going to cut it. Make sure your policy covers you for at least the entire cruise cost in the event of cancelation. 

If you're cruising in a region where the weather can be unpredictable, you'll also want  to be covered for cruise interruptions and delays. Bad weather frequently delays cruises and itineraries can be interrupted, extended, or even cancelled. If you find you can't stay the extra time, you may have to cancel your trip. Make sure you're covered for cruise interruptions to the value of your cruise if possible. If this is not possible, aim for $10,000 cover.   

Baggage Loss and Theft

Pretty much every cruise travel insurance policy will cover you for lost or stolen baggage. However, you will need to read the fine print to find out how much you will be covered for. 

Most standard policies will cover your luggage up to $1,000. Whilst this is enough for many cruise passengers, some of us like to bring expensive camera gear! If this is the case, make sure you are covered for at least the amount of the equipment. 

Always read the fine print when it comes to camera gear as you will often find that baggage cover excludes 'optical equipment'. This includes all camera gear and binoculars. Once again, make sure your covered prior to purchasing. World Nomads will cover your camera gear up to $3,000 with an 'Explorer' policy. If you have more expensive gear you should probably purchase camera insurance. 

Policy Excess Note

Policy excess prices are a major factor when it comes to driving insurance quote prices down. Just bear in mind though that if anything should go wrong, you'll have to pay the excess.

Emergency Cover

Emergency Evacuation
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Because you'll often be cruising open ocean or in remote regions, having the necessary emergency evacuation cover is vital. Many operators won't let you onboard without it. 

Air lift evacuation is probably the most important element here. For example, most airlift evacuations from remote regions like Greenland, Russia, or the Canadian Arctic will cost in excess of $100,000! 

Even evacuations in the Mediterranean or Alaska, where help is relatively nearby, cost tens of thousands. 

Once again, its paramount to rad the policy in detail when it comes to emergency evacuation. Many policies claim they cover up to 10 million or more for emergency evacuation. However, this rarely covers sea evacuation or remote regions like the Arctic or Antarctica. 

We recommend purchasing a policy, such as the World Nomads Explore policy, that covers you for remote evacuation and sea evacuation. 

Repatriation and Medical Expenses
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Repatriation costs can vary significantly from country to country. The standard cost last year for repatriation was just over $5,000. 

For repatriation from remote regions though, you will be looking at more than double this figure. For example, repatriation from South America costs at least $30,000.

This means you'll need to purchase a policy for at least this amount, if not more to be on the safe side, particularly if cruising somewhere remote. 

Another cost element is medical expenses. Although you wouldn't think it, a simple operation such as having your appendix removed, will coat in excess of $10,000 abroad.

Medical costs are also not covered aboard your ship. You'll have to pay for the doctor and any medication they prescribe. You'll also want cover if the doctor prescribes bed rest for.  You'll be resting in your cabin for days, all the while missing half your cruise. Purchase a policy that covers you for this. 

Get a Cruise Insurance Quote!

If you would like an exact insurance quote from our recommended specialist click Get a Quote.

The Small Print

Below is a rundown of the most commonly missed detailed when it comes to insurance policies. ALWAYS READ THE FINE PRINT. We really can't stress this enough. Cruise travel insurance policies, like all insurance policies, are rife with clauses. 

Booking In Advance

Because a cruise is often a big investment, its not uncommon for people to book 1 or 2 years in advance. A standard cruise policy will normally not provide cancellation periods greater than one year. this really doesn't help if you've booked your cruise 18 months in advance. Make sure you're covered for cancelation up to the period of your departure. 

Off-shore and On-shore Cover

As ridiculous as it sounds, some cruise insurance policies only cover you whilst your onboard the ship. As soon as you step foot on shore for a trip around town, or a hike into the hills, you're not covered. Although not common, always check for this and read the fine print. The same can be said in reverse also. Many policies stop covering you as soon as you step foot on any kind of boat. 

Additional Activities 

Additional activities is one of the main considerations when purchasing cruise insurance. If you plan on doing any activities such as kayaking, snorkelling, diving, zip-lining, climbing etc.. you'll need to make sure you're covered. For instance, most policies will not even cover snorkelling, let alone climbing or jet skiing. You will generally need to add these on to your chosen policy. World Nomads are very good when it comes to this and have a long list of activities that you can pick from depending on what you plan to do.  

Age Limit

Sadly, many policies will not cover you past a certain age. It's easy to see why as the chances of something happening increase with age. However, from the point of view of someone over the age of 70, it can be very frustrating. Check with your policy provider regarding their age limit criteria. 

Camera Gear

As mentioned above, many cruise insurance policies will not cover you for optical gear. Frustratingly, it gets worse than that - most policies will also not cover you for optical gear purchased second-hand. For eBay lovers ,this could be an issue! In all honesty, the best advise is to purchase separate insurance for your camera gear. This really is the only way to do it if you have expensive gear. 

Maximum Value Limit

Pretty much all standard insurance policies have a maximum value limit when it comes to trip cancelations. For example, the policy you have has a limit of $1,000. This means that if you have to cancel your $3,000 cruise due to unforeseen circumstances, you'll only get $1,000 back. Therefore, its vital to make sure the maximum value limit of the policy exceeds the cost of your cruise. 

Pre-Exisiting Medical Conditions

Most standard policies will not cover you for pre-existing medical conditions. This is something to be vary aware of. Saying this, there are a number of policies that will cover you for pre-existing conditions, as long as you up front and honest about them prior to purchasing. Be warned though, if the pre-existing condition is serious, your insurance policy price will no doubt reflect this. 

Multi-country Stops

Many people overlook the fact that they may be visiting multiple countries on, or before their cruise begins. For example, most cruises to Greenland or Svalbard begin in Iceland or Norway. This means you would need travel insurance that covers you in each country. 

World Nomads Insurance Calculator

Below we have provided a quick insurance calculator by World Nomads. These guys are particularly good when it comes to cruise insurance and aded activities.

The initial quote will be their 'standard' policy. We generally recommend purchasing their 'Explorer' policy though as this provides a much deeper cover. For basic cruises, the standard policy may do just fine. 


If you have any queries or questions regarding cruise travel insurance, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.

Thank you and happy travels!

Expedtion Cruise Team

Tags: cruise travel insurance, travel insurance for cruises, expedition cruise insurance

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