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The Complete Guide to Cruise Travel Insurance

The average cruise voyage ranges from five to 14 nights, but the planning process alone can take months — or even years — depending on your desired destination and individual itinerary. After countless nights mapping out your dream vacation, you deserve the peace of mind that your upcoming travel plans are well-protected. Enter the role of cruise travel insurance. 

Travel insurance for cruises safeguards passengers from unexpected complications that extend far beyond mishaps on the ship, such as medical emergencies or lost baggage. Cruise travel insurance protects passengers from an extensive list of unforeseen issues, whether it’s flight delays that force travelers to miss the ship’s departure or itinerary changes that ruin previous plans.

No matter if you’re a first-time cruiser or a member of a few Captain’s Clubs, here’s what to know about purchasing cruise travel insurance before setting sail, including the best insurance for a cruise trip.

Understanding Cruise Travel Insurance

After booking their next vacation, passengers often ask, “Do I need special travel insurance for a cruise?” The answer is yes — especially if you want to be fully protected. While a general travel insurance plan comes with various protections, travel insurance for cruises has been designed for the complexities of traveling by sea and has very specific benefits.

Cruise travel insurance kicks in before passengers even step on board the vessel. So, if a cruise passenger has an unanticipated but unavoidable flight disruption the night before the ship sets sail, their cruise travel insurance can coordinate a solution in real-time. Once passengers are onboard, cruise insurance can safeguard them from sky-high expenses related to emergency medical care.  

To better understand cruise travel insurance, compare the Go Ready Cruise Plan by Aegis to the more general Go Ready Choice Plan. While both offer passenger protections, only the Go Ready Cruise Plan includes built-in itinerary change benefits and higher limits on key benefits like emergency medical coverage, so travelers don’t lose money on non-refundable, prepaid expenses in the case of surprise mishaps, itinerary updates, and unexpected accidents. 

Benefits of Cruise Travel Insurance

So, what does travel insurance cover for cruises? Generally speaking, cruise ship travel insurance applies to unforeseen issues that could delay, interrupt, or cancel the travel plans you secured when booking the cruise itinerary. Though many consider peace of mind the significant benefit of cruise travel insurance, six primary protections safeguard cruise passengers from the unknown. 

1. Trip Cancellation Protection

As the name might suggest, trip cancellation benefits protect the costs of cruise vacations that never began due to cancellations. If passengers need to cancel a cruise due to events listed under their plan’s Description of Coverage, such as the sudden sickness or injury of themselves or their traveling companion, trip cancellation protection covers 100% of all prepaid non-refundable expenses. Such expenses typically include flights, hotel reservations, and prepaid cruise fares. 

2. Trip Interruption Coverage

Trip interruption coverage protects prepaid expenses for cruises that have been interrupted after the ship has left port. This type of cruise travel insurance applies in the event of flight delays or cancellations, sickness or death, natural disasters or severe weather conditions, and terrorism or political unrest, just to name a few. The Go Ready Cruise Plan by Aegis General provides 150% reimbursement of the insured trip cost and typically helps cover additional transportation fees. 

3. Travel Delay Benefits

Travel delay benefits take effect on the scheduled date of departure and extend through the passenger’s date of return to shield travelers from unexpected expenses due to unavoidable trip delays. In most plans, travel delays must be caused by adverse weather conditions, flight complications, loss of travel documents, or similar unforeseen issues. The Go Ready Cruise Plan features a $250 per person daily limit to account for additional lodging, transportation, and meal fees that can arise due to travel delays, both on the way to and from the cruise ship.

4. Cruise Itinerary Changes

As you might have guessed, cruise itinerary protections apply to non-refundable prepaid events or activity expenses for instances where a cruise line alters the ship’s itinerary, and passengers can no longer attend what they’ve paid in advance. Cruise itinerary changes are common in periods of severe weather as well as times of political turmoil. The Go Ready Cruise Plan by Aegis General offers an itinerary change benefit of $250 per insured passenger to account for unexpected updates. 

5. Emergency Medical Assistance

Accidents can happen, even on vacation. Unfortunately, receiving medical attention on a cruise ship can be costly, especially because many health insurance providers will not extend coverage beyond the U.S., and because it may be necessary to travel from the ship to the nearest land-based facility by helicopter.  Emergency medical assistance helps protect passengers from expensive medical bills on the ship and in the port. The Go Ready Cruise Plan is equipped with high limits for medical assistance, including $250,000 for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation (returning to the U.S.).

6. Baggage Coverage

Baggage coverage is a type of cruise travel insurance that provides protections for passenger’s belongings and personal effects if they are damaged, lost, or stolen during the cruise. Most cruise ship travel insurance will also include baggage delay coverage, which provides compensation up to the stated amount for clothing, toiletries, and other personal effects if passenger luggage is delayed for a specified period. The Go Ready Cruise Plan takes effect after a 24-hour baggage delay and includes one of the industry’s highest limits of $750 per person with no daily cap. 

How to Choose Cruise Travel Insurance

With all the time and effort spent selecting the right cruise, you deserve optimal cruise travel insurance. Surprisingly, the best travel insurance for cruises is not sold by the cruise line you’re sailing. When comparing Royal Caribbean’s Trip Insurance to Aegis Insurance, for instance, you’ll find that cruise lines like Royal Caribbean offer significantly less emergency medical coverage.

Another area where cruise-sponsored travel insurance and third-party travel insurance differ is coverage for pre-existing medical conditions or injuries. Third-party providers like Aegis offer a Pre-Existing Condition Waiver that ensures passengers are covered for pre-existing issues that could flare up while on a cruise ship — such as asthma or diabetes — and cover the costs associated with medical treatment up until the plan’s limits, while most cruise lines do not. Pre-existing condition coverage from Aegis will also help should you need to cancel or interrupt your trip for those same injuries or illnesses. 

When selecting third-party travel insurance providers, be sure to explore each plan’s listed coverage types. If you’re aware of a pre-existing condition, it’s wise to seek a plan with a waiver to avoid being responsible for unexpected out-of-pocket medical costs. Likewise, be sure to read recent reviews specifically for cruises, such as cruise travel insurance for seniors or cruise insurance for families. 

Cruise Travel Insurance Cost

Is it a good idea to buy cruise travel insurance? Is cruise insurance worth it? Yes, it is, 100%! 

Though sometimes regarded as an additional expense, cruise ship travel insurance protects your vacation from elements out of your control, ensuring that your hard-earned money is not wasted due to unforeseen complications. You can expect cruise travel insurance costs to vary based on:

  • Cost and Duration — Cruise travel insurance costs are ​​typically between 5% and 10% of your total trip cost, as determined by each traveler’s prepaid, non-refundable expenses and the age of the traveler. Longer cruises typically incur more upfront costs, which can drive up the cost of travel insurance.  
  • Coverage and Limits — Insurance for cruise travel includes pre-set benefits and policy limits. Cruise travel insurance plans with higher coverage limits often cost more money.
  • Optional Coverage — You can incorporate additional benefits into your cruise travel insurance, such as Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) insurance, which increases the total cost. 

Buying Aegis Cruise Travel Insurance

Your trip is booked, and you’re preparing to set sail… but are you really prepared without cruise travel insurance? Without a reputable insurance provider, you risk losing money on prepaid expenses due to travel delays and itinerary changes and putting yourself in danger of excessive medical bills in the event that you’re injured on the ship or while out exploring the port. 

When it’s time to hit the high seas, you deserve to do so with confidence. Whether you opt for the Go Ready Cruise Plan or want to compare Aegis cruise travel insurance plans, we’ve got you covered.

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