Travel Insurance for Cruises: What You Need to Know


Ru Chen

- Updated June 18, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Cruise insurance can cover trip cancellations, medical expenses, travel assistance, and lost baggage
  • Some plans cover adventure sports, cruise inconveniences, and lodging expenses
  • Read the cruise insurance exclusions carefully to know what is covered
Travel Insurance for Cruises: What You Need to Know

From breathtaking scenery to fun amenities, cruises offer exhilarating experiences. However, it’s important to be ready for common travel mishaps. Travel insurance for cruises can cover medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and more. Even if you miss a port of call or run into local trouble, travel insurance can offer translation and legal services.

Cruise insurance helps protect your trip investment. Let’s go over the features of cruise travel insurance, common exclusions, and other essentials you should know.


Why Travel Insurance is Essential for Cruises

Cruise travel insurance offers insurance benefits and additional services to help mitigate cruise-related risks. If a covered reason results in losses, you can file an insurance claim to receive financial compensation.

Complex Itineraries

Unlike traveling alone, going on a cruise involves complex itineraries. When arriving at multiple destinations and ports of call, you need to follow the cruise’s schedule and requirements.

The risk of itinerary changes, cancellations, and other issues makes cruises a potential headache and financial problem for travelers. Travel insurance may offer financial compensation for trip diversions or useful services to smooth out issues encountered during a cruise.

Medical Emergencies

Cruises often have limited medical facilities on board. This means that in case of a medical emergency, you might need to be evacuated for treatment elsewhere. Medical evacuations, such as air ambulances, are costly, especially if you are traveling or on a cruise ship.

Travel health coverage for cruises can also cover the treatment costs for sudden injuries and illnesses during the cruise. Medical expenses can be expensive and your domestic health insurance policy may not cover them when you’re traveling abroad.

Note that travel health insurance usually does not provide full dental care coverage or emergency pet care.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption

If you miss a cruise departure or an unforeseen event interrupts your trip, you can lose a significant amount of your trip’s non-refundable, prepaid costs.

Travel insurance can help cover missed cruise embarkations if you miss them due to covered reasons.

Lost or Delayed Baggage

Your baggage includes essential belongings, such as clothes and electronics. If your luggage gets lost or delayed, this can result in financial loss and frustration. It’s hard to fully enjoy a cruise when you know you just lost precious possessions.

Travel insurance can provide helpful compensation for lost or delayed baggage. For cruises, baggage protection can compensate you up to your lost baggage limit.

Key Features of Cruise Travel Insurance

Cruise insurance is a specific type of travel insurance that is designed to protect you for your planned cruise. You can purchase cruise insurance either as its individual policy or as a part of a general travel insurance policy.

Comprehensive Coverage

Cruise travel insurance policies can provide a wide range of coverage that is useful for cruises. These policies include coverage and add-ons, such as:

  • Medical and dental coverage
  • Emergency evacuation and repatriation
  • Missed ship embarkations
  • Travel inconvenience benefit
  • Re-entry requirements and lodging expenses
  • Adventure sports coverage
  • Lost baggage

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance

If your trip gets canceled for a covered reason, you can be reimbursed for a portion or the entirety of your nonrefundable, prepaid trip expenses. Expenses include airfare, cruise tickets, hotel reservations, and tour bookings.

Financial compensation for a missed cruise can be extremely helpful for cruise travelers. Covered trip cancellation reasons include:

  • Illness and hospitalization
  • Family emergencies
  • Legal obligations (e.g. jury duty)

Baggage Protection

Cruise travel insurance can provide reimbursements for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage.

Baggage protection usually comes with a coverage limit, restricting how much you can receive in financial compensation if you lose your baggage. Choosing a policy with a higher coverage limit can be a good idea if you’re carrying expensive personal belongings with you onto the cruise ship. Most baggage protection plans for cruises cap at $3000.

Travel Delay Coverage

Delays are fairly common when going on cruises. Unfortunately, this often means you will need to pay additional expenses due to the delays. Missed connections and extended stays can result in hundreds of dollars in extra expenses that may exceed your budget.

Trip delay coverage can cover extra travel expenses such as cruise catch-up, rebooking, missed flights, food, and missed flights. This type of coverage is typically sold in a bundle with trip cancellation and interruption insurance. It also appears in comprehensive cruise travel insurance policies.

Here are some reasons usually covered by travel delay insurance:

  • Missed connections (due to the common carrier’s delays)
  • Delays due to extreme weather events

There may be time period limitations surrounding travel delay coverage.

24/7 Assistance Services

Many travel insurance providers offer hotlines and emergency support services. Having quick access to emergency assistance can relieve a lot of stress in the event of a cruise-related incident.

Depending on your insurance provider, these 24/7 hotlines and assistance services can help you with various needs, such as:

  • Rebooking cruises
  • Finding alternative arrangements
  • Translation services
  • Finding legal assistance

Specific Considerations for Cruise Travel Insurance

Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

If you have a pre-existing condition, it’s critical to declare it when purchasing any travel medical insurance. Pre-existing conditions are excluded from coverage unless you go through the process of getting them approved for coverage. What is considered a pre-existing health condition will vary depending on your travel insurance provider.

Adventure and Shore Excursions

Are you planning on engaging in high-risk activities? Cruise enjoyers may not consider these activities to be dangerous since they’re so popular, but the standard travel insurance typically excludes anything they consider to be high risk.

Adventure sports, as classified by cruise travel insurance providers, include:

  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkeling
  • White water rafting

Getting coverage for adventurous activities and shore excursions can help you ensure that high-risk activities are included under your insurance policy.

Itinerary Changes and Missed Ports

Be careful when purchasing travel insurance for itinerary changes or missed ports. In general, cruise insurance does not provide financial compensation if you miss a cruise port. This is because cruise lines have terms and conditions, reserving the right to change itineraries at any time.

If you want assistance and compensation for itinerary changes leading to missed ports of call, it will depend on several factors:

  • The cancellation reason
  • How much of the cruise was canceled by the cruise line
  • How much itinerary you pre-booked has been altered

Cost and Value of Insurance

Travel insurance costs as low as $14 and as expensive as over $800. Your coverage, destination, cruise itinerary, insurance benefits, extra services, and numerous other factors determine your cost.

Evaluate the value of a comprehensive coverage plan for cruises to see whether it aligns with your needs while fitting your budget. Compare policy costs and see whether the policy benefits seem worth it for you.

Generally, your travel insurance should be around 10% of your trip expenses. This allocation lets you enjoy your cruise while still obtaining solid coverage.

How to Choose the Right Cruise Travel Insurance

Assessing Your Needs

Before committing to a cruise travel insurance policy, make sure to assess your individual and/or family needs. Evaluate your personal health and travel plans. Do you have any pre-existing conditions that may require extra coverage? Are you carrying along expensive belongings, such as laptops? Are you planning on enjoying any high-risk activities when the cruise ship docs?

Determining the level of coverage required can help you purchase the right amount of travel insurance for you.

Comparing Policies

Researching different insurance providers allows you to compare competitive quotes and policies. When weighing the pros and cons of each insurance provider, here are important factors to consider.

Deductible: For travel health insurance and other coverage types, you may need to first pay up to the deductible in out-of-pocket expenses before insurance coverage kicks in. A higher deductible allows for lower travel insurance costs, while still covering more catastrophic incidents.

Exclusions: Travel insurance often comes with exclusions. Decide whether these exclusions are tolerable for you, or if you need a different policy to suit your purposes. Common exclusions for cruise travel insurance include: scuba diving, jet skiing, terrorist activity, and cruises bought with rewards points. Other exclusions include pet emergencies, civil unrest at cruise ports, and dental care.

Costs: Cruise insurance usually costs between 5% to 10% of your total trip cost. The cruise destination, ports of call, cruise length, and other factors can influence your travel insurance cost. It’s a good idea to budget for travel insurance when going on a cruise to ensure you are adequately protected.

Coverage type: Even travel insurance specifically for cruises can vary in coverage. Choose your desired coverage carefully so that you are satisfied with the amount of insurance you receive.

Reading the Fine Print

Many travelers are surprised when a claim gets rejected. This usually happens because a term and condition in the policy was missed or the claim was not filed in time.

As with all insurance, read the policy terms and conditions before purchasing any insurance product. Make sure you understand the requirements and exclusions, as well as any deadlines associated with filing claims. If you have any doubts, clarify them with an insurance agent.

Seeking Recommendations and Reviews

Experienced cruisers know which insurance companies are the best depending on coverage needs and cruise lines. You can seek advice from other cruisers by asking online, reading reviews, and browsing testimonials. Reviews can give you a better idea of whether an insurance provider is reliable and has good customer service.

An insurance broker or agent can also recommend you specific insurance plans that suit your specific cruise needs.

Real-World Examples and Scenarios

1. Case Study: Medical Emergency on Board

John, an elderly cruise traveler, was enjoying the warm Caribbean sun when he had a sudden medical emergency on board. It required immediate medical evacuation, which cost over $20,000. Fortunately, medevac expenses were covered by his cruise insurance policy.

After recovering in the hospital, John filed a claim for the medical evacuation bill with his cruise insurance provider. Insurance helped cover the costs, significantly reducing how much he had to pay out-of-pocket.

2. Case Study: Trip Interruption Due to Weather

Mary’s trip was interrupted due to a hurricane, forcing her to stay at a port stop for an extra week. This meant she would need to pay for hotel costs, food, and other expenses until she could return home.

Fortunately, her trip interruption and delay insurance covered this extended stay. She filed a claim with her cruise insurance provider and managed to get most of her extended stay expenses reimbursed. This saved her thousands of dollars.

3. Case Study: Lost Baggage

A traveler’s baggage was stolen on the cruise. It contained a monetary value of $600. To make things better, she had baggage protection, allowing her to file a claim and receive compensation for the entire lost baggage. This allowed her to afford the replacements for her essential items that had been stolen.



Cruise travel insurance mitigates the risk of going on a cruise with complex itineraries and multiple ports of call. From lost luggage to air ambulance evacuations, cruise insurance can potentially save you thousands of dollars. Cruise travel insurance notably covers:

  • Medical evacuations and emergency medical expenses
  • Cruise diversion compensation
  • Trip cancellations and delays

With add-ons and tailored cruise insurance, you can also obtain coverage for adventure sports, pre-existing medical conditions, and more.

Anyone preparing to go on a cruise should consider investing in comprehensive cruise travel insurance. The right protection can save you a lot of money and headache.

Travel with peace of mind today. Check out our top insurance providers here.

About The Author

Ru Chen

Ru Chen

Content Writer

Ru Chen is a content writer with several years of experience in creating engaging and well-researched articles. She mostly writes about insurance, business, digital marketing, and law. In her free time, she can be found watching horror movies and playing board games with her partner in Brooklyn.

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