Note: Cruzely.com is an affiliate of Travelex, linked below. We receive a small commission if you purchase travel insurance through the links included in this article at no cost to you.
First things first — the chances of something going wrong on your cruise are small. Millions and millions of passengers have their trips go off without a hitch every year.
But despite that, it can still be risky to cruise without some sort of travel insurance. Not because something is likely to go wrong, but because if it does, it can be extremely expensive to recover from — potentially costing thousands of dollars. That’s because cruise travel has several unique features that you don’t find in a traditional vacation.
Why Cruise Travel Carries Unique Risks
First, cruise ships are are on set schedules that they must stick to as they sail from port to port. With as many as six thousand passengers on board, a cruise ship can’t just wait because a couple of passengers are running late. So if you miss a flight, are delayed, or otherwise miss the ship before it sails away, then you could be out of luck for the rest of your vacation. Not to mention that you’d have to pay out of your own pocket to get back home.
What’s also unique about cruise ships is that they travel far off the beaten path. In fact, at any given time in the middle of the water you can be hundreds of miles from the nearest land. If you happen to get sick or injured out here, it can take major resources to get you to the nearest medical facilities. While ships do have doctors on board, they simply can’t handle every sort of illness or injury like a land-based hospital can do.
Finally, there’s the ever-present risk of weather. Sure, think of cruising and you might think of hurricanes. Truth is, hurricanes may cause a cruise ship to change ports or take a different route, but it’s actually pretty rare for them to cancel a trip or even for the ships to get anywhere near the storm. What’s unique to cruising, however, is bad weather on your way to travel to the cruise port. Have a flight cancelled due to a snowstorm, for instance, and you could miss your entire vacation when the ship leaves without you.
Big Events That Could Cost a Lot of Money (Unless You’re Covered)
As we covered, there are some specific ways that cruise travel is unlike other vacations. That also means that some situations — which might be minor inconveniences on other types of holidays — can wreak major havoc on your trip.
Missing a Flight
If you are headed to a Caribbean resort and miss your flight, it’s a pain, but likely not a big deal. You can simply hop on the next available flight, although you might miss a day of your vacation. Miss a flight before your cruise (say because you get in an accident on the way to the airport), however, and you could miss your whole vacation.
That’s one reason why we always suggest flying into your port city the day before your cruise. It provides more time in case something goes wrong. As well, having insurance for your cruise can also help reimburse you if things get delayed for a reason out of your control and you miss the ship.
Getting Sick or Hurt on the Ship
With thousands of people on a ship, it’s a good chance someone is going to get an illness or have an injury like a sprained ankle. For most of these, you simply need to grin and bear it until you are back home. But if you have a major medical emergency in the middle of the ocean, the ship could have to head directly to the nearest port to get you to a hospital. In some cases passengers are even airlifted off the ship.
As you might guess, dealing with a medical emergency at sea is no laughing matter… nor is it cheap. There are many stories of people not being able to leave foreign hospitals until they pay their bill in full.
Weather Causes Your Delay
Just like missing a flight, weather can wreak havoc on your travel plans. Things like hurricanes are well-known, but even in the winter snowstorms can cause major delays.
The good news? If there is a well-known weather system affecting the path of the cruise ship, then the cruise line can normally avoid it. But the problem arises when you have to travel from your home to the port. If you miss the ship due to weather, there aren’t refunds readily available unless your trip is insured.
Travel Insurance Can Be a Lifesaver
The good news in all of this is that you don’t have to stress about your cruise. As we said, millions of people have great times on their cruise without a hitch. But even then, travel insurance is designed to give you peace of mind while you are on vacation.
Travel insurance for your cruise covers any number of items, from delays or interruption to your trip to medical bills if you get hurt or sick to even paying if your luggage is lost or stolen. It won’t cover every possibility, but will cover many of the most common occurrences.
The best news is that insurance for your cruise is also relatively affordable. We’ve found that it costs around 3-7% of the total value of your trip, but can save you thousands should something go awry.
If you’re still not sure if cruise travel insurance is for you, be sure to check out our step-by-step guide here to learn more.
Get a Free Quote Right Now in 60 Seconds
For cruise travel insurance, there are a number of providers you can choose from. We’ve partnered with Travelex because we’ve found the premiums are reasonable and the insurance covers many of the common issues that can come up on a cruise. (We also like that you can get “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage as an upgrade, which makes things much more flexible should you need to cancel your trip.)
You can get a free quote here, see how much coverage might cost, and see everything it covers. There is also a 15-day “free look” period where you can read through the plan and decide if it’s right for you. If not, cancel and you can get your money back. Get a quote here.