Travel Insurance for Cruise Holidays: The Extra Cover You Need


A cruise holiday is like a platter of the world’s finest experiences, served on a floating luxury hotel that takes you from one exotic destination to another. You get to visit incredible places, eat tasty food and make memories that will last a lifetime – wherever you choose to visit in the world.

For those looking to escape the unpredictable UK weather and set sail for somewhere a little warmer (or colder, if you’re brave), having travel insurance for your cruise holiday is a must.

If something goes wrong, having cruise insurance will make sure you don’t lose your money or get stung with an unexpected bill. It’s there to help you relax and enjoy your trip, knowing your cover in all instances.

Let’s be honest, cruise holidays aren’t cheap, and neither are the medical bills if paying abroad, so having travel insurance for your holiday is exactly what you need and want.

In this blog, we will delve into exactly what cruise holiday insurance is and the additional cover you can get by adding it onto a travel insurance policy.

Why do I need travel insurance for my cruise holiday?

First things first. You have your standard travel insurance policy in place – this is a good start, but it isn’t sufficient if you’re going on a cruise holiday.

There are many gaps in cover that you could be left vulnerable to unless you get cruise holiday insurance added onto your policy too. We’ll get into the ins and outs of the additional cover you get in a moment, but first, imagine this:

You have a standard travel insurance policy. You’re a few days into your two-week cruise around the Mediterranean, and you’re currently onshore for the day exploring the beautiful city of Venice. You’ve explored the city, enjoyed Italian cuisine and now you’re heading back to your cruise ship.

You soon find out that due to issues at the port, the cruise ship has been forced to depart to the next stop in Dubrovnik in Croatia. As you don’t have cruise-specific cover, you now have to book a flight to Dubrovnik which works out at £150. But to make matters worse, the next flight is at 1pm the following day; so you book a nearby hotel for the night which costs £80, and you’ve just worked out it will also be £20 for a taxi from the airport to return to the cruise at the port.

The cruise company may offer compensation of their own, but if not, without cruise cover you would be liable to pay these costs out of your own pocket. With cruise cover, you would be compensated for the cruise leaving without you.

Cruise holiday insurance steps in to protect your investment in your holiday, covering you for things such as your trip being cut short or confined in some way outside of your control. It’s about making sure that if the unexpected happens, you’re not left out of pocket, and you are compensated for any disruption.

A luxury cruise out at sea, viewed from a Caribbean beach with palm trees in the foreground.

What additional cover do I get with cruise holiday insurance?

Cruise holiday insurance is designed to offer you peace of mind, covering a variety of scenarios that could disrupt your travel plans. It’s essentially an add-on to a standard travel insurance policy but with cruise-specific and increased cover limits.

With an annual travel insurance policy, you get standard benefits such as being covered at the time of booking your holiday, for travelling in the UK, cover for your personal belongings, travel cancellations or delays and medical expenses to name a few. But there are additional benefits you get with cruise cover. Here’s how it helps keep your holiday smooth sailing:

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Cruise cancellation and trip interruption

Life is unpredictable, and unforeseen events like illness, injury or family emergencies can derail your cruise holiday plans. You would be covered for these instances, reimbursing non-refundable expenses if you need to cancel your cruise before departure due to unforeseen circumstances.

If your cruise holiday is cut short and you need to return home for these reasons, this cruise cover helps manage the costs associated with trip interruption, ensuring you’re not out of pocket for the portion of the trip you miss.


Emergency medical expenses

Cruise ships do have medical facilities, but you need to pay for them…and that isn’t cheap, nor are cruise ships equipped to the level that hospitals are.

If you fall ill or suffer an injury during your cruise holiday, this cover takes care of your medical expenses. More importantly, if your condition requires special treatment which isn’t available on board, emergency medical cover includes the cost of medical evacuation to the nearest hospital. This ensures you receive the care you need, without facing a daunting bill.

Not a single person wishes to be needing specialist care in the middle of the ocean without appropriate cover for medical costs. By having specific travel insurance for your cruise holiday, you can get cover for hospital stays, medical evacuation if you need to be transported to a better facility, or in more serious situations, flown back to your home in the UK via an air ambulance so that you can be treated.

To put into perspective how costly having medical treatment abroad can be, it costs $3,000 (around £2,375) per day on average for a hospital stay in the USA – although this can vary depending on the hospital and region. This is why having travel insurance for your cruise holiday is important so that you’re covered for any potential treatment you may require on your travels.


Holidaymakers boarding a big, luxury cruise ship at a port.


Increased cover for baggage

You get this cover in a standard travel insurance policy, but by having cruise cover you will have increased limits, meaning you’re better protected.

It’s not uncommon to face issues like lost, stolen or damaged baggage during your cruise holiday, as these holidays involve multiple stages of handling your luggage. Bags may be handled frequently by crew members and port staff, or moved around in the hold during rough seas, which can lead to increased risk of damage to your belongings.

Cruise holiday insurance offers cover for these situations, compensating you for the repair or replacement of items that have been lost, stolen or damaged during your holiday. You can also get increased baggage cover by taking out additional cruise cover, including increased cover limits for single articles, and we can adjust this to your needs.

If you have high value personal belongings such as an expensive Rolex, or your baggage is full of designer clothing, you may want to consider adding specified high-risk cover as an extension to your Home Insurance policy. This way, all of your personal belongings would be covered away from your home – whatever the value. Please note this is policy dependent and you should check your cover too.


Missed port departure or delays

Whether it’s a flight delay that causes you to miss your ship’s departure, or your cruise gets delayed and you miss a connecting journey, cruise holiday insurance will cover any unforeseen travel expenses and additional accommodation.

This way, you can catch up to your cruise at the next port or make your way back home without extra financial stress.

Without this cover, you would be liable to cover the cost of transport to the next port which could mean a costly flight; that flight might also be the following day so you may have to pay for accommodation. These expenses can soon add up, so having this cover can help with potential costs.


Cabin confinement

Should you fall ill during your cruise and be required by the cruise medical team to stay confined in your cabin for health reasons, cruise holiday insurance can compensate you for the days you’re unable to enjoy onboard activities or excursions. This cover ensures that you don’t lose out financially if illness impacts your cruise experience.

From entertainment shows to shore excursions, cruises are filled with activities. Therefore, knowing you can be compensated for missed activities is a significant benefit.


A person scuba diving at the bottom of the sea with small fish swimming around.


High risk, adventurous activities

Some cruise holidays include thrilling activities like snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, jet skiing and ziplining. While these add excitement to your holiday, they also carry risks.

In most cases, standard policies do not cover high-risk activities. If you know that you will be partaking in activities that might be deemed as higher risk, you should let your insurer know so that your cruise holiday insurance covers you. It’s important to check your policy to see which activities are included and consider upgrading if your planned adventures aren’t covered. We can do this for you here at Norton Insurance Brokers by working with our range of insurers.


Unused excursions

Excursions are often a highlight of cruise holidays. If you’ve already paid for specific excursions or activities that become unusable due to issues such as extreme weather, medical emergencies or other insurable events, your cruise holiday insurance will reimburse the costs if it’s not refundable from the organisers.

In the event that you are confined to your cabin for medical reasons and you’re unable to attend your excursion as a result of it, you would be covered for both instances.


Itinerary changes

Cruises are meticulously planned, but sometimes cruise ships need to change itineraries due to weather conditions, issues at the ports, timetable restrictions or medical emergencies. When this happens and it results in missed ports or changed destinations, your travel insurance for cruise holidays should offer compensation.

Itinerary changes can be disappointing, especially if you were looking forward to specific destinations or experiences. It could be made worse by not having compensation for missing them, but that’s how having cruise holiday insurance will help.

It can help offset the disappointment and potential loss of value when the places you were most looking forward to visiting are no longer part of your cruise holiday.


Cover for pre-existing medical conditions

This is important for standard travel insurance policies too. For those with existing health issues, it’s vital to have cover that accounts for any potential issues with pre-existing medical conditions while at sea.

Cruise holiday insurance can offer this protection, but you need to disclose any condition/s to the insurance company at the time of purchasing your policy. This ensures that if you need treatment for a pre-existing medical condition while on your cruise, the associated medical costs are covered, providing peace of mind and security.

An Aussie tourist unfortunately found this out in the worst possible way on her three-week cruise to Hawaii. She came down with ‘severe pneumonia’ but wasn’t covered by her insurance after not stating her pre-existing medical condition. As a result, her family set up a GoFundMe to cover her medical bills and flight home to Australia.

Other things to consider when taking out insurance for a cruise holiday

Do I need to declare all of the places I’ll visit on a cruise to my insurer?

Yes, you should declare all of the destinations you plan on visiting when purchasing insurance for your cruise holiday. Different destinations may carry different levels of risk, and your insurer needs a full picture to provide appropriate cover.

You might be planning to cruise across Europe, South America or anywhere else in the world – you should always declare the places you will be visiting.

If an issue arises in a destination you did not disclose, your insurer might not cover any related claims, leaving you to handle unexpected costs on your own.

Choosing the right travel insurance for your cruise holiday

Selecting the right cruise travel insurance policy can be daunting. You could be asking yourself questions such as:

  • Do I have appropriate cover for missed port departures?
  • How much am I covered for if my personal belongings are damaged?
  • Would I be covered for my planned quad biking excursion?

By insuring with us, we will ask the questions you may not think of, to make sure that you’re appropriately covered in all circumstances.

Get a Cruise Holiday Insurance quote

If you’re thinking about your next holiday and you want to speak to Cruise Insurance specialists, you’re in the right place. Fill in your details below and one of our Personal Client Managers will be in touch shortly.