The number of global passengers taking a cruise in 2013 is around 20.9 million, out of which 17.6 million departed from North America. For many travelers, a cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is usually one of the most expensive trips a traveler can take, but it can get far more expensive if any mishaps happen, while you are away from the mainland at sea. As with anything else, there are risks and being prepared to handle those risks is where a travel insurance plan comes into play.
A Word of Caution: Avoid Buying Cruise Line Insurance
Do not be tempted to buy the cruise line’s brand of insurance as these products are, generally, heavily weighted in favor of the cruise line. They may provide very little coverage and never pay cash benefits no matter what the circumstances. They also may not cover your medical, evacuation, or pharmacy drug costs, but a travel insurance plan will.
Medical Emergencies Can’t Always Be Handled Onboard a Cruise
Modern cruise ships have medical facilities and staff on board, but their facilities are limited to treating the common ailments and injuries. If you have a serious medical need, they will expect you to seek medical care on shore. In addition, your expenses at the onboard medical facility will be added to the credit card you gave the cruise line when you boarded. No one regulates these medical charges, so they can be astronomically high and there’s nothing you can do but pay them.
No Local Hospitals Means an Emergency Evacuation
The onboard medical facilities are not designed or equipped to handle serious injuries or illnesses. If you have a heart attack or stroke, you will need an emergency medical evacuation. The cruise line is not responsible for coordinating or paying for these emergency evacuations. Without adequate travel insurance coverage, you could be facing a medical bill you can’t avoid and won’t be able to pay for many years. A good cruise travel insurance plan will coordinate, pay for, and transport you with a medically equipped helicopter and arrange for you to return home when you are well again.
Come Home Happy, Not Broke and Missing Your Identity
Theft on a cruise ship is pretty easy. After all, you don’t need cash on the ship and you may forget to lock your wallet, credit cards, passport, or other valuables in your safe. The override key to every safe is well known by the staff because guests often forget their codes. If your wallet, driver’s license, and credit cards are stolen, you’re not only facing a big financial problem you could be facing identity theft. The cruise line is not responsible for theft onboard (don’t believe us? Read the cruise line terms you agreed to), but a travel insurance plan can help you replace your passport, pay for lost items, and help you recover from identity theft.
What if You Have to Cancel or Interrupt Your Cruise?
Not all cancellations occur prior to leaving home, sometimes you have to cancel a trip in the middle – for example: your child needs medical attention or you are needed at home. A trip cancellation or interruption can mean the loss of thousands of dollars without a travel insurance plan with benefits for cancelling or interrupting your cruise.