Ahoy me maties! While ordinarily us Broke Backpackers are land-lubbers, from time to time we do like to dip our toes into the waters and take a trip upon the high seas.

And moreover, while us Broke Backpackers are usually, erm, broke, sometimes some of us do manage to cobble together the bucks for a high end luxurious experience; and there are few experiences more luxurious and magical than taking a cruise!

If you’re daydreaming about feeling the ocean breeze in your hair while sipping on a (free) pina colada as you sail from one paradise island to the next, then a cruise may be just what you need.

But wait—before you dive into that pool deck or try your luck at onboard casinos, let’s talk about something less sexy but incredibly vital: Cruise Travel Insurance.  Trust me, when you’re out at sea or gallivanting through multiple ports, the last thing you want is to be caught without adequate coverage.

In this post we will examine why regular travel insurance may not be quite suitable for cruises and we will instead show you some excellent cruise travel insurance providers.

Large cruise ship blending into to the skyline at Rotterdam port.
Cruise ship or skyline?
Photo: @Lauramcblonde

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5 Best Cruise Travel Insurers

Product
Description

Faye

  • > User friendly app based interface
  • > Good level of cover on trip interruption and medical evacuation

World Nomads

  • > Wide range of activities covered
  • > Can buy after a trip has started

SafetyWing

  • > Flexible cover – no end date and no itinerary needed.
  • > Decent medical cover for emergency and non-emergencies

HeyMondo

  • > Fast reimbursement
  • > Good medical and trip interruption coverage

Visitors Coverage

  • > Bespoke cruise cover
  • > Excellent medical and evacuation cover

What Makes Cruise Travel Different?

All aboard! Now, you probably know that Cruises really aren’t quite like your typical two-week beach holiday or weekend city escape. In some ways, there are more akin to backpacking trips in that travellers are hopping from country to country but really, that’s where the similarity ends.

Remember that on a cruise, you spend a lot of time in international waters where law and regulation can be as blurry as your vision after that third margarita and are often visiting a new country every single morning.

Cruises are also, of course, notoriously expensive. Seriously now, it’s not particularly unusual to pay upwards of $10k for a two-week Caribbean cruise and while that generally does include all food and drink on board, it usually doesn’t cover excursions and organised trips to shore which can sometimes sting passengers for another few G’s. 

For these reasons and many more besides, you need to make sure that you are properly prepared and fully covered and insured when you go a-cruising.

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    Is Regular Travel Insurance Suitable For Cruises?

    Because of the unique nature of cruise travel, regular backpacker insurance may often not be appropriate cover.

    Perhaps you already have some form of travel insurance policy in place, or maybe you are thinking of using the travel insurance company you used for your last vacation. While regular or more conventional travel insurance might be suitable for your cruise, it might not be. 

    Cruise ship Montego Bay
    Sunsets, salt water, and cruising!

    In order to help you work out whether “normal” travel insurance is suitable for a cruise, let’s look at some of the major considerations;

    • Visiting Different Countries: Most regular policies focus on one country whereas on a cruise, you will be visiting many different ones and spending a lot of time in international waters. If your normal insurer does not cover just one of the countries you visit during the cruise, then you are not sufficiently covered.
    • Missing the Boat: A standard “trip interruption” policy may not help if you miss the boat and need transport to meet it again. A cruise-specific plan covers you if you get stuck in one of the ports because you lost track of time or got lost.
    • Medical Emergency Support: Having to get airlifted off a cruise liner from the middle of the ocean will prove massively, seriously, weepingly expensive. Normal travel insurance policies may therefore simply not cover it.
    • Trip Interruption: With cruises sailing away from a different port in a country every night, the risk of missing the boat increases exponentially and normal travel insurance policies may not cover this.
    • Cancellation Policies: If you get sick or have a family emergency a week before your cruise and can’t go, you probably want that $10k back. As such, you need a cruise travel insurance policy that offers the best possible cancellation cover.
    • Onboard Treatment: Sprained ankle from onboard salsa dancing? You’ll want that covered too.

    Basically, while your regular, go-to travel insurance may be OK, relying on your standard policy could prove to be riskier than a late-night bet at the cruise casino. As such, we think it is worth looking for specialist cruise travel insurers, or at least travel insurance providers who offer a cruise cover package.

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    Things To Look For in Cruise Travel Insurance

    Let’s recap just what an ocean-bound traveller needs to look for when selecting travel insurance for a cruise;

    • All Destinations Covered: Firstly you need to make sure that all countries you will visit on the cruise are covered. You need to be careful and pay close attention here. This is especially critical if you’re stopping at a U.S. territory as many policies do not cover the US or require an additional premium.
    • International Waters Covered: You also need to ensure that the policy covers international waters and maritime law.
    • Medical Coverage: To be fair, you can get ill on sea or on land. Therefore only consideration here is that you may end up being sent to a hospital in any number of different countries and need to ensure that they are all covered.
    • Emergency Evacuation: Evacuations at sea don’t come cheap. There are other aspects of safety involved in travel out on the ocean that are covered by special insurance.
    • Trip Cancellation and Interruption: If you need to miss the cruise, then it’s a LOT of money down the pan. As such, check that your policy offers robust trip cancellation coverage and covers the full value of your trip.
    • Trip Interruption: The big risk here is that you miss the boat at a particular port and need to fly to the next one to catch up with it. Regular insurance policies may not cover this so find one that specifically confirms that it does.
    • Onboard Incidentals: Some policies offer quirky but essential features like a “missed port” trip interruption coverage coverage.
    • Lost or Stolen Items: Phones and wallets can fall into the ocean, by being stolen from your cabin or pick-pocketed from your person at port (and note that thieves ad gangs specifically target cruise passengers in every single port on earth) As such, make sure that the lost and stolen items cover is adequate.
    • Duration of Coverage: Are you a one-cruise wonder or a serial cruiser? Choose accordingly and make sure that the policy covers your whole  trip, including flights to and from home.

    Top 5 Best Cruise Travel Insurance Companies

    Even though travel insurance for cruises is a niche and ‘non-standard’ financial product, there are nevertheless rather a lot of different policies on offer from a wide range of providers.

    In fact, there are different travel insurance options out there that choosing between them can prove to be nothing short of overwhelming. However the good news is that we have looked at a LOT of these policies and can wholeheartedly recommend that you start your enquiries by checking out the ones below.

    These are our top personal picks for the cruise travel insurance;

    Faye

    Faye

    Faye is a US based, fin-tech-travel-insurer whose industry leading innovative platform was created to be efficient and user friendly placing an emphasis on resolving claims fast. Users can buy and manage their Faye policy without the need for any paperwork whatsoever by downloading the Faye app.

    The app allows them to interact with Faye in real time, and successful claims are paid out almost instantly to travellers’ e-wallets.

    While Faye do not offer a specific cruise travel insurance package, their policy does offer the following;

    • Medical emergency evacuation and repatriation up to $500k
    • Emergency medical expenses up to $250k (Int’l)
    • Up to 100% of non-refundable trip costs for trip cancellation
    • Up to 150% of  non-refundable trip costs for trip interruption
    • Up to $300/day (subject to a max of $4,500 per trip) for trip delays
    Pros

    User friendly app based interface

    Good level of cover on trip interruption and medical evacuation

    Cons

    Only available to citizens

    Specialised “cruise cover” not available

    World Nomads

    World Nomads

    We’ll go ahead and save you some precious time and energy: World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, with coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.

    World Nomads travel insurance is provided in over 100 countries. And if you leave home without travel insurance or your policy runs out, you can easily buy or extend while on the road – that’s a big bonus!

    World Nomads keeps it pretty simple. There are two plans to choose from: the Standard Plan and the Explorer Plan. Depending on your country of residence, age, and travel destination(s), the prices will vary accordingly.

    Check out the full list of what is covered under each insurance plan.

    Pros

    Wide range of activities covered

    Can buy after a trip has started

    Cons

    Not the cheapest

    Currently not available in the EU

    SafetyWing

    SafetyWing

    SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance offers a flexible and comprehensive insurance option that may be suitable for cruisers. This plan covers a range of on-board activities, including athletic events, and does not require travellers to follow a fixed travel itinerary.

    Additionally, it is applicable to a multitude of cruise destinations worldwide (with some country exclusions) and allows individuals to easily sign up even if they are already embarked on a cruise.

    While the medical cover and flexibility SafetyWing offers are great, the downsides are that they do not offer the best trip interruption and cancellation insurance. If you end up missing the boat or have to cancel the whole trip, then you could end up out of pocket. Oh, and SafetyWing does not cover anybody over the age of 74.

    Pros

    Flexible cover – no end date and no itinerary needed.

    Decent medical cover for emergency and non-emergencies

    Cons

    Very limited trip interruption and cancellation cover.

    HeyMondo

    HeyMondo

    HeyMondo provides whole-trip travel coverage and care that brings out the best in each journey with industry-leading technology that enables smarter and smoother assistance with faster claims resolutions.

    Their app-based travel insurance covers your health, your trip and your gear all via an app that provides real-time proactive solutions, quick reimbursements and 24/7 customer support.

    HeyMundo are a great option for cruise guests as they offer medical evacuation of up to $500k as well as excellent trip delay and trip interruption coverage that we will set out below;

    • American Citizens:

    Trip Cancellation or Interruption: Up to $10,000.

    Trip Delay: Up to $3000

    Missed- Connection: Up to $750

    • The rest of travellers:

    Trip Cancellation or Interruption: Up to €7000.

    Trip Delay: Up to 1500€

    Miss Connection: Up to 1000€

    Pros

    Fast reimbursement

    Good medical and trip interruption coverage

    Cons

    Not a cruise cover specialist

    Not suitable for seniors

    Visitors Coverage

    Visitors Coverage

    VisitorsCoverage is an insurtech company primarily known for providing travel insurance solutions for international travelers. Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Santa Clara, California, the company offers a broad range of travel insurance policies catering to various needs, from trip cancellation to medical emergencies.

    What makes Visitors Coverage a cracking great choice is that they offer a Safe Cruise policy which is custom-made for cruise travellers. 

    All of the major benefits like trip interruption, medical evac and missed connection are there as well as a pretty good Covid-19 coverage.

    However, note that this cover is only available to citizens of the US.

    Pros

    Bespoke cruise cover

    Excellent medical and evacuation cover

    Cons

    Missed connection limited to $2k

    Only available for US citizens

    FAQs About Cruise Cover

    Let’s keep the ball rolling. Here are some frequently asked questions about getting your cruise covered.

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      Final Thoughts on Finding The Best Cruise Travel Insurance

      Alright, sailor, by now you should be all aboard with why cruise insurance is non-negotiable. So go ahead, book that dreamy Mediterranean or Caribbean adventure, but do it with the peace of mind that only the right kind of insurance can provide.

      And remember, the cruise travel insurers we showed you here are just a few of the providers out there. While they are our personal favourites others are out there and if you feel we missed anybody, please let us know in the comments below.

      Bon Voyage, or as they say on the high seas, fair winds and following seas!

      Rear view of a boat with views of mountains in the background
      Let time become a little more relative.
      Photo: @Lauramcblonde

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