What is cruise insurance?
Cruise insurance is a specific type of travel insurance policy that covers accidents, injuries and other potential mishaps that could occur during a cruise holiday.
It's designed around the activities that you're likely to take part in during your cruise and also offers cover for additional accommodation and travel expenses under certain circumstances.
If you're looking to go on a cruise, read Which?'s reviews of the major cruise lines.
What does cruise insurance cover?
Most cruise insurance policies cover the following areas:
If you fall ill during your cruise, you may be ordered by the ship's medical officer to stay confined to your cabin until the illness passes. This is to stop your condition from spreading to other passengers or crew members.
The cabin confinement clause in cruise insurance allows you to receive compensation for every 24-hour period that you have to stay in your cabin.
Most cruise insurance companies will cover the cost of any pre-booked excursions that you're unable to use because you've been confined to your cabin due to illness or injury.
Sometimes, your cruise operator may have to change the itinerary of your trip due to adverse weather or timetable restrictions.
For example, if you signed up to an eight-stop cruise but due to a faulty engine, you could only stop at six. If a significant proportion of the services on your cruise cannot be provided, you should be entitled to compensation from the cruise operator too.
Missed port departure
Missed port departure covers the cost of accommodation and travel expenses if you miss your cruise leaving and need to catch it at another port. This could be due to a number of reasons including:
- Public transport delays
- Accident or breakdown in the vehicle you're travelling in
- An accident or breakdown ahead on the motorway that causes delays
- Strike, industrial action or adverse weather
Cancellation and curtailment
Cruise holidays can be expensive and are often booked far in advance of the travel date. Cancellation cover allows you to claim back the cost cancelling your trip before you take off. This includes things such as flights, hotel books and travel to and from airports.
Curtailment covers the cost of your cruise if it's cut short and you return home early unexpectedly.
Cruise interruption covers the cost of you needing hospital treatment during the course of your cruise. This includes medical bills as well as expenses required for you to rejoin your cruise where possible.
Medical expenses cover costs that arise due to you falling ill or getting injured during your trip. This includes the cost of medical treatment, procedures, and daily hospital room fees where they apply.
Medical expenses also cover the cost of having to fly you back to the UK via air ambulance so that you can be treated. Some policies will also pay for accommodation for your travel companions if you require extensive treatment.
Baggage and belongings
Most cruise insurance policies will cover the cost of your baggage or belongings being lost, stolen or delayed during your trip. The level of cover that you're likely to get may vary depending on your policy so be sure to check the terms and conditions before taking one out.
The majority of cruise insurance policies will cover the cost of your travel money being lost or stolen. The sum you're allowed to claim for will vary among insurers so it's important to make sure that you have the right level of cover.
Who offers the best cruise travel insurance?
We know it can be difficult to find the right insurance policy, so Which? has done the hard work for you.
We've analysed the insurance policies of more than a dozen cruise insurance providers to help you identify the right one to fit your needs.
And we've combined this with ratings of the companies themselves, from thousands of real customers who have bought policies from the insurers.
The table below shows our customer satisfaction and policy ratings. Use the drop down to see how we rate each individual element of the cruise insurance policies.
How we calculate the scores
The customer score is based on a survey of 4,471 general public respondents from March 2019. Each score is worked out using a combination of overall satisfaction and likelihood of recommending the provider.
If two or more brands achieve the same overall score, they are ranked to the next decimal place. Providers must receive a minimum sample size of 30 to be included.
We calculate the policy scores by rating the most important elements of the policy including medical expenses cover limit, cancellation/curtailment limit, baggage and belongings limit and money limit.
The total score combines both the customer score and policy score.
Who are the top-rated cruise insurers?
We put insurance companies through rigorous testing to identify whether or not they offer high-quality policies.
As well as offering good quality policies, they must also provide great customer service that ensures existing and new customers get the help they need to resolve their queries.
Are cruises covered by regular travel insurance?
Cruises aren't covered by standard travel insurance policies.
This is because most cruises tend to last longer than a normal holiday with some lasting months or even a full calendar year at sea.
If you don't buy a cruise insurance policy you won't be covered for any cancellations or mishaps that could occur during your trip.
Cruise insurance is primarily bought as an add-on to a standard travel insurance policy
Does cruise insurance have an age limit?
Some policies limit cover cruise insurance cover to people aged 65 years. Generally speaking, however, age limits tend to vary depending on the insurance company.
Travel insurance premiums tend to be higher for older travellers, as they are seen as higher-risk and more likely to make a claim.
Can I get cruise insurance if I have a pre-existing condition?
Similarly to standard travel insurance, it may be possible for you to get cruise insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
Where insurers may be able to offer you cover, the policy is likely to be much more expensive, due to the higher-risk of you needing to claim for medical assistance.
Find out more about how to get the best cover for in our guide to medical conditions travel insurance.
Should you take your Ehic on a cruise?
An Ehic is a free medical card, which can be used throughout the EU and in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It entitles you to treatment in state hospitals at the same price as residents of the country you're visiting.
It's advisable that you take your Ehic with you if your itinerary includes stops in any of those regions, as it could allow you to access state healthcare.
Medical facilities onboard a cruise are usually operated by private, non-state funded, healthcare companies. As a result, your Ehic is unlikely to be accepted as a way of getting medical treatment.
You can find out more about how this work in our guide to the Ehic.