The simplicity of a cruising holiday is part of its attractiveness.
No long flights in cramped seats. No wondering where your next meal is coming from. And absolutely no lugging suitcases from place to place.
You just rock up to the ship, wander on at your leisure and start enjoying the facilities. Jump straight in the pool if you like, or have lunch at a table with an ocean view. Why not work off some of the kids’ excited energy by exploring the ship. And you only have to unpack once!
But, while cruising makes many aspects of travelling easier, it also involves some unique risks for which you need to be prepared. That’s where travel insurance for cruising comes in.
Why you need travel insurance for cruising
1. Using the medical facilities on board
Accidents and illness happen at sea, just as they do on land, so what do you do then?
The medical facilities on cruise ships are well equipped with fully qualified staff. For instance, Royal Caribbean has two doctors and three nurses on board every ship.
Medicare is generally not applicable on a cruise ship, even if all your ports are in Australia. So, firstly check that your travel insurance covers cruising, and secondly, that it has AMPLE (unlimited is even better!) medical cover. Find more information about cruise travel insurance here.
Seasickness is a common concern about cruising. We have never had a moment of it during our two cruises, but have a chat with your doctor before you go.
Check out our drinks to see the worst movement we got on board Voyager of the Seas –
2. Emergency evacuation
I don’t know about you, but I seem to be getting older by the day. And who knows what disasters the kids are capable of getting themselves into! There is always the risk of something completely unexpected happening, like a heart attack, stroke or serious injury that requires urgent hospitalisation.
This is when you just can’t afford to be without travel insurance. Emergency evacuation (eg a helicopter collecting you from the ship and taking you to the nearest hospital) can cost upwards of $50,000. Why risk a bill like that when you can let your travel insurance cover it?
If the worst does happen and emergency evacuation is on the cards, then contact your travel insurer. They will hold your hand through what must surely be a terrifying experience.
3. Adventure sports
Many cruise ships pride themselves on the myriad of activities that they have on board. For example, Voyager of the Seas has –
- FlowRider – an awesome surfing/boogie boarding simulator
- Rock-climbing – an epic and challenging wall for 6 years plus
- Ice-skating – an adorable rink perfect for some family bonding time
When they’re both free and freely available, a cruise is an ideal time to try something new. But, while the vast majority of passengers will participate with no incident, make sure that your travel insurance policy covers any activities that you might do, just in case.
4. Pre-existing medical conditions
If a family member has a pre-existing medical condition (eg asthma) and given the extra complications of accessing a hospital from sea, you need to make sure that your travel insurance policy will cover your particular condition.
It is best to ring and talk to the travel insurer about your specific circumstances. There’s all kinds of online-only and budget travel insurance available, but unless you are super diligent in reading their entire Product Disclosure Statements (PDS), then please ring and talk to them in person.
5. The limitations of credit card travel insurance
Please be wary of relying on the travel insurance that may be included for free with your credit card. These are typically very basic policies, which may have limitations that make them entirely unsuitable for your cruising holiday.
For instance, a free credit card policy may cover asthma if it hasn’t required any medical treatment in the last 12 months. Not even a visit to your local GP. As opposed to a comprehensive travel insurance policy which may cover asthma if you haven’t been hospitalised in the last 24 months.
That’s a big difference.
Reading 80 page PDS’s is not fun. No really, it’s not. But grabbing a few quick online quotes and choosing the cheapest one is not sensible. And, when it comes to your health and your money, sensible is sexy.
From the moment you outlay any money on your holiday, bite the bullet and lock in your cruise travel insurance.
Feel free to get a quote online and give their PDS a scan too, but then think up a couple of questions and give them a ring. If you don’t find them helpful when you’re looking at buying their policy, then I wouldn’t hold out much hope of help if the worst happens during your holiday.
Then you’ll be ready to leave real life at home, and relax and enjoy your cruise.
Get an online quote, lots more useful cruising info, as well as the details of their comprehensive cruise pack at Westpac Travel Insurance.
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