US travellers do not feel that cruise lines can handle serious medical emergencies, with 55.5 per cent of travellers having no confidence in cruise lines to treat these. This is according to a survey carried out by Allianz Global Assistance, which found a significant decrease in cruisers’ trust in cruise-lines, with a 15 per cent decrease in the belief that serious medical conditions could be handled on-board.
Respondents did not, however, know the cost of getting help elsewhere, with many greatly underestimating the cost of an air ambulance evacuation to the US from Mexico or the Caribbean. Around one-quarter of respondents believed that an evacuation would cost between $0 and $10,000, whilst a further quarter believed it would cost between $10,001 and £20,000. However, 38 per cent believed that purchasing travel insurance for a cruise holiday was more important than on any other type of holiday.
“While cruising has become an increasingly popular vacation choice among Americans, consumers are wary of cruise lines’ ability to care for them during a medical emergency,” said Daniel Durazo, Director of Communications for Allianz Global Assistance USA. “Our wave season survey shows that cruisers have become more sophisticated and understand that most ships will disembark seriously ill or injured passengers in the closest port, regardless of whether the closest medical facilities can provide an appropriate level of care. Smart cruisers are covering themselves with travel insurance in the event that they must be medically evacuated to a facility that is properly equipped to treat them.”
Cruisers are increasingly looking to spend less time on cruise ships, with 68.2 per cent preferring to spend all or most of their time exploring their destination, a slight increase on last year. However, 35.7 per cent still cite safety concerns as a reason for staying aboard their ship. River cruises are also gaining in popularity, with 74.2 per cent expressing interest in embarking on one.