Comparison website GoCompare has warned consumers planning on taking a cruise holiday to pay careful attention to their travel insurance policies, as not all standard coverage will include cruises.
According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), almost two million UK holidaymakers took a cruise last year, a record number, and travel industry figures cited by GoCompare suggest that 14 per cent of holidaymakers have a cruise planned over the next 12 months.
However, the comparison site has warned travellers that only 59 per cent of annual travel policies and 55 per cent of single-trip policies provide specific cruise holiday cover as standard. Cruises are naturally a unique beast when it comes to holidays, often taking much longer and involving travel through multiple jurisdictions, so standard coverage will rarely cut it in the event of a mishap. And even those policies that do cover cruises will vary dramatically in terms of how much financial assistance they offer.
“Cruising is undergoing a resurgence, with operators offering holidays to suit all types of people and budgets,” said GoCompare Travel Insurance spokesperson Martyn John. “Part of the appeal is that cruises give passengers the opportunity to see and experience a wide range of destinations and activities – all rolled into one holiday. If you're embarking on a cruise it's important to have the right travel insurance in place – one that's tailored towards being on a ship and covers all the destinations on your itinerary, even if you're only leaving the ship for a few hours. If you're planning to participate in any activities, like snorkelling or golf, you'll need to check the activities section of the policy wording to make sure you are fully covered.
John said that travellers should ensure they read policy documents carefully to familiarise themselves with any exclusions and conditions applied to the policy. “For example, if you've independently booked an on-shore excursion and you're late returning to the ship and it sails without you, your insurance may not cover you,” he said. “Another common policy exclusion is for medical treatment required following excessive alcohol consumption.”