Travel insurance may seem like an extravagant and often unnecessary additional expense for a holiday, but travelling overseas without it has been proven time and time again to be a risk not worth taking. New figures from ABI (the Association of British Insurers) show that 153,000 people had to claim for medical treatment while on holiday in 2018 and a total of £400 million was paid out in claims.

Cruise travel insurance, cruise holiday

One recent example is Mrs Carter, who went on a week-long Caribbean cruise. After travelling a few days at sea, the cruise ship docked at Barbados and she found her leg had swollen up considerably. Realising this was no normal swelling, she decided to go to hospital, and it turned out she had deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Unfortunately, Mrs Carter was unable to fly home until the doctor said she was fit enough to travel, and even then she would have to be flown back to the UK with a medical escort. The medical bills, additional accommodation costs and return flight costs came to more than £7,000, but thankfully Mrs Carter had the right travel insurance which meant she was completely covered.

Travel insurance can subsequently save you thousands of pounds if something goes wrong when you’re on holiday. It should be your number one priority as soon as you’ve booked your holiday, so that you are also covered for cancellation.

There are certain mishaps unique to cruising that won’t fall under standard travel insurance policies, from missed port departure to cabin confinement. Therefore, it makes sense to take out insurance that is specific to cruise holidays and will therefore cover you for any of the following:

1. Missed port departure
There are a number of cruises that require you to take a flight to the port where the ship is docked before it sets sail. If the flight gets delayed, you may end up missing the boat (quite literally) and you will need to go to the next port to pick up the cruise. Missed port departure will pay for the additional travel expense of having to go to the next stopover.

Cruise ship docked in port, cruise travel insurance

2. Cabin confinement
At the start of this year, Royal Caribbean made headlines when it was reported that 277 passengers and crew had been struck down with norovirus on board Oasis of the Seas and the cruise had to be cut short. To avoid illness on board affecting the whole ship, the ship’s medical officer may insist that unwell passengers confine themselves to cabins. If this happens and you miss part of your holiday, cruise travel insurance will cover a compensation payment.

3. Unused excursions
If you’ve had to miss out on booked trips due to falling ill and being confined to your cabin, fortunately you can claim back the money spent on tickets.

4. Itinerary changes
Unforeseen circumstances, such as bad weather or timetable restrictions, may result in a port being missed on your cruise itinerary. Depending on the policy, you may receive some compensation for the money spent on the shore excursion.

5. Cruise interruption
If you do fall ill or injure yourself on a cruise and need to go to hospital, but it isn’t severe and the hospital confirms you are fit to rejoin the ship, the right insurance will cover the additional travel expenses incurred.

6. Additional baggage cover
With cruises being typically longer than your average holiday (world cruises can be up to a year long), you don’t want to have to scrimp on your baggage allowance. Make sure you ask about increased baggage cover so you can pack everything you need for the trip.

7. Increased emergency medical expenses
As highlighted by the case of Mrs Carter, there can be many unforeseen costs on top of medical bills when cruise passengers fall ill, from accommodation to flights home, which is why having travel insurance is important.

8. No age limit
While travel insurance can be quite reasonable for passengers who are young and fit, it becomes increasingly more expensive and difficult to acquire as you get older. There are now travel insurance companies which offer schemes that do not restrict you because of your age.

9. 24-hour medical assistance
Medical emergencies don’t just happen between 9am and 6pm, so always check that your policy has a 24-hour medical assistance line.

Cruise ship sailing into sunset

There are many travel insurance policies to choose from, but Just Travel Cover allows you to compare lots of schemes, including AIG and Infinity from Lloyds of London, both of which offer these specific cruise benefits. The award-winning insurance provider, which specialises in cover for the over 50s and those with pre-existing medical conditions, makes it easy to compare prices and get the right insurance for your next cruise.

You can choose from bronze, silver or gold schemes, and cruise-specific benefits are also included as standard on most policies. It’s also worth looking out for cover limits, too. Just Travel Cover offers up to £15,000,000 medical cover (should you need medical treatment overseas or repatriating home) and £12,500 per person for cancellation (should you not be able to go on your cruise) on some of its gold policies.

It can also offer up to £50,000 per person cancellation cover should your holiday be costing more than that, although this is subject to an additional premium.

The provider offers single trip as well as annual multi-trip travel insurance, ideal for those of who you enjoy taking cruises all-year round.

For more information and to save 10 per cent on your policy use the code CRUISE10 when you purchase travel insurance at justtravelcover.com/cruise.