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Smooth Sailing Ahead: Your Guide to Cruise Travel Insurance [2024]

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Jessica Merritt
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Jessica Merritt

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A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
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Chris is a freelance writer and editor with a focus on timely travel trends, points and miles, hot new hotels, and all things that go (he’s a proud aviation geek and transit nerd). Formerly full time ...
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Taking a cruise is one of the easiest ways to travel, but cruising isn’t immune to unexpected hiccups. Sudden illness, travel delays, or other unforeseen events could cancel or interrupt your cruising plans — you might even need medical coverage. 

With cruise insurance, you’re covered for unexpected issues that can interfere with your travel plans. Read on to learn what cruise insurance is, how to get it, and how to find the best cruise insurance policies, whether you’re buying directly from the cruise line or a third-party insurance company.

The 5 Best Cruise Travel Insurance Policies

The right cruise insurance policy offers the coverage you need at a good price, but policies aren’t one-size-fits-all. We’ve run quotes for various coverage scenarios — from seniors to adventure tours — to find the best cruise insurance policies

Consider these travel insurance policies for your next cruise:

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Cruise Insurance Plan

Best For

Sample Cost

Seven Corners Trip Protection Basic

Seniors

$89 for a 70-year-old

battleface Discovery Plan

COVID-19 Coverage

$36.54 for a 35-year-old

Aegis Go Ready Choice

Young Travelers

$30.27 for a 22-year-old

IMG iTravelInsured Travel Lite

Adventure Tours

$58.87 for a 40-year-old

John Hancock Insurance Agency Silver

Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR)

$100.50 for a 55-year-old

Best Cruise Travel Insurance for Seniors: Seven Corners

Seniors cruising the world can get comprehensive coverage from Seven Corners Travel Insurance. We were quoted $89 for a 70-year-old cruising Mexico. The Seven Corners Trip Protection Basic policy offers trip cancellation and interruption, medical coverage, and medical evacuation, along with COVID-19 cancellation and medical coverage.

Hot Tip:

Comprehensive travel insurance, regardless of your age, is widely available and relatively affordable. Check out our complete guide to travel insurance for seniors.

Best Cruise Travel Insurance With COVID-19 Coverage: battleface

If you’re concerned about COVID-19 derailing your cruise travel plans, getting cruise travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage is essential. The battleface Discovery Plan covers COVID-19 cancellation and medical expenses, along with regular trip cancellation, medical evacuation, and medical emergency coverage. We were quoted $36.54 for a 35-year-old cruising Italy on this plan.

Best Cruise Travel Insurance for Young Travelers: Aegis

Young travelers often have the lowest-priced travel insurance policies. We got a quote for just $30.27 from Aegis for a 22-year-old cruising the Bahamas. The Aegis Go Ready Choice policy covers COVID-19 medical and cancellation, trip cancellation and interruption, medical evacuation, and medical expenses.

Best Cruise Travel Insurance for Adventure Tours: IMG

Are you planning adventurous excursions on your cruise? IMG’s iTravelInsured Travel Lite, with options for winter, adventure, and extreme sports, can give you the coverage you need. We were quoted $58.87 for a 40-year-old traveler cruising to Costa Rica with plans to zipline. It covers trip cancellation and interruption, medical expenses, medical evacuation, and adventure sports with some exclusions, such as diving and adventure races.

Hot Tip:

Your travel insurance might not cover everything you want to do — particularly if you plan on adventure activities. Here’s our complete guide to adventure and extreme sports travel insurance.

Best Cruise Travel Insurance, Cancel for Any Reason Coverage: John Hancock Insurance Agency

If you’re especially concerned you may need to cancel your cruise, Cancel for Any Reason coverage allows you to cancel your trip and receive partial reimbursement for nonrefundable trip expenses, even if you cancel for reasons not normally covered by trip cancellation coverage. We were quoted $100.50 for a 55-year-old cruising Alaska for John Hancock Insurance Agency’s Silver plan, which reimburses up to 75% of your trip cost under Cancel for Any Reason coverage. It also offers coverage for COVID-19 medical and cancellation, trip cancellation and interruption, and medical expenses and evacuation with primary coverage.

What Is Cruise Insurance?

Cruise insurance is travel insurance that covers cruises. It can help you manage all the what-ifs on your cruise. What if you need to cancel your booking? What if your flight is late? What if you get sick or hurt? Travel insurance for cruises can cover you for all of these things. 

Many travel insurance policies cover cruises, but cruise insurance may be tailored to the risks of cruises, covering transportation, accommodations, and activities. Getting travel insurance for cruises can offer peace of mind if you’re concerned about losing nonrefundable trip payments, travel delays, or covering emergency medical care.

Is Cruise Insurance Worth It?

Holland America Cruise ship in Alaska
Miss your connection, and you may be out of luck if the boat leaves without you — unless you have travel insurance. Image Credit: Katie Seemann

Cruise bookings can be unforgiving, and cruise insurance can help you minimize your risk of losing the money you’ve paid for your trip. Travel insurance coverage is often a good idea if you’re concerned about losing nonrefundable prepaid travel expenses or covering emergency medical expenses

Because cruises are often less flexible than other types of travel, it’s generally a good idea to get cruise travel insurance. For example, you might be able to rebook a flight or hotel room, but if you cancel your cruise, you could lose your deposit or more. Often, cruise lines won’t offer any refunds if you cancel within a certain period before your cruise, such as 14 or 30 days.

Additionally, you shouldn’t expect your U.S.-based health insurance plan to cover you on your cruise, especially if you’re on an international cruise. And it’s exceptionally expensive if you need to be evacuated for a medical condition.

While everyone hopes for smooth sailing, the reality is a lot of unexpected issues could pop up on your cruise. Your flight to the cruise port could be delayed, you might get sick or injured on your cruise, or you might have to cancel the whole thing if illness or obligations prevent you from going on your cruise. A hurricane could interfere with cruising in storm hotspots such as the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. 

Cruise insurance can offer financial support for many unexpected problems you might experience with a cruise. And with a 24-hour travel assistance hotline, you can get knowledgeable help whether you need to find a local pharmacy or coordinate the replacement of lost travel documents such as your passport.

That said, you might have travel insurance coverage available with a credit card. Some credit cards offer travel insurance benefits such as trip cancellation and interruption, emergency medical treatment and evacuation, and travel delay coverage. Still, you should check the details of your credit card’s coverage to ensure it’s enough for your needs. 

Hot Tip:

Looking for a credit card with travel protections? Read our guide to the best credit cards for travel insurance coverage and protection.

Cruise Insurance Costs

Generally, expect cruise insurance to cost between 5% to 10% of the total cost of your cruise. For a $3,000 cruise, you’ll typically pay between $150 to $300 for comprehensive travel insurance coverage. But keep in mind several factors influence the cost of cruise insurance, including:

  • Add-ons, such as CFAR 
  • Coverage options 
  • Cruise cost 
  • Deductibles and limits 
  • Destination 
  • Group policies 
  • Traveler age 
  • Trip duration
Hot Tip:

Learn more about travel insurance costs in our guide to the average cost of travel insurance.

What Cruise Insurance Covers

Each travel insurance policy is unique, but travel insurance for cruise coverage typically includes:

  • 24/7 Assistance: You can get 24/7 support for itinerary changes, rebooking, medical emergencies, and more.
  • Baggage Protection: Your luggage is covered for loss, theft, or damage on your flight or during your cruise.
  • Cabin Confinement: You may get reimbursement if you have to stay in your cabin during your cruise, such as a required quarantine due to COVID-19.
  • Cancel for Any Reason: Usually available as an add-on, CFAR travel insurance allows you to cancel your cruise for any reason and receive a partial reimbursement of your nonrefundable travel expenses.
  • Itinerary Changes: You can get covered for changes in your cruise’s itinerary, missed port calls, or extended delays beyond your control.
  • Missed Connections: If you miss your cruise departure due to a flight delay or other covered reason, you can get reimbursed for your nonrefundable travel expenses.
  • Medical Emergencies: Cruise insurance can cover medical treatment on the cruise and may offer coverage for medical evacuation.
  • Trip Cancellation or Interruption: You can get reimbursed for your nonrefundable travel expenses if you cancel your cruise or end your trip early due to covered reasons such as illness or injury. You’re typically covered if the cruise line cancels due to mechanical issues, weather, or other unforeseen events.

Cruise-specific travel insurance may also offer reimbursement if your cruise ship is disabled. And if you want to cover shore excursions, be sure to include the cost of excursions in your total travel cost when you get quotes for cruise insurance.

While these coverage types are common among cruise insurance policies, checking the terms and conditions to confirm all coverage areas is a good idea.

Types of Cruise Insurance

There are many options for travel insurance, and you can generally choose as little or as much coverage as you’d like. You can opt for a comprehensive travel insurance policy, which may offer Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage, or you might prefer to limit your costs and choose just the coverage you need. For example, you might choose standalone trip cancellation insurance or a travel medical insurance policy but decide you don’t need coverage for missed connections or baggage.

What To Look for in a Cruise Travel Insurance Policy

Consider these factors as you compare the best cruise travel insurance policies:

  • Cancellation Window: Understand how many days before your cruise departure you must cancel to qualify for reimbursement.
  • Coverage Availability: Travel insurance policies typically offer cruise coverage, but it’s best to confirm that a policy specifically covers cruises before you purchase it. Also, consider availability for coverages that may be important to you, such as CFAR or adventure sports. 
  • Customer Reviews and Reputation: You can get insight into the insurance provider and how claims and customer service work by reading customer reviews and ratings.
  • Eligibility Criteria: Cruise insurance policies may have eligibility criteria such as limits on age or trip duration and preexisting conditions. For example, some travel insurance policies max out at 90 days.
  • Exclusions and Limitations: Read the policy to understand what’s excluded or limited specifically to cruise-related coverage, such as reimbursements for port closures, itinerary changes, or medical incidents on the cruise.
  • Policy Cost: Get multiple quotes and compare each cost and coverage value to ensure you get a good value for your cruise insurance policy.
  • Purchase Timeline: You’ll usually need to purchase your cruise insurance within a certain period of booking your trip, so be sure you’re buying your policy within that timeframe.
  • Reimbursement Structure: Review the cruise insurance policy to confirm how much you can be reimbursed for under qualifying circumstances, such as if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip.

How To Get Cruise Insurance

Woman booking cruise travel with laptop 1
Cruise lines typically offer cruise insurance at booking, or you can purchase cruise travel insurance from a third-party travel insurance company. Image Credit: daviles via Adobe Stock

You can buy cruise insurance from the cruise line when you book, or a travel agent may offer cruise insurance plans. You also have the option to purchase cruise trip insurance independently. It’s a good idea to get multiple quotes to compare your costs and coverage and get the best deal on cruise insurance.

You should buy cruise insurance when you make your first deposit so you’re immediately covered for trip cancellation. Here are some of the options and coverages if you purchase cruise insurance directly from the cruise line:

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Cruise Line Insurance

Cruise Insurance Plan

What’s Covered

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Vacation Protection

Trip cancellation and interruption, baggage protection, medical coverage, emergency evacuation, and 24/7 worldwide travel assistance

Celebrity Cruise Line

CruiseCare Travel Protection

Trip cancellation and interruption, baggage loss and delay, medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation, 24/7 emergency assistance

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line Vacation Protection Plan

Cancel for Any Reason, trip cancellation and interruption, trip delay, accident or sickness medical, baggage loss or delay, emergency medical evacuation or repatriation, 24/7 global assistance

Norwegian Cruise Line

Booksafe Travel Protection Plan

Trip cancellation, interruption and delay, lost luggage, medical expenses and transportation, emergency evacuation, 24/7 global assistance

Princess Cruises

Princess Vacation Protection

Cancel for Any Reason, trip interruption or delay, medical expenses, medical evacuation, personal belongings, 24/7 worldwide assistance

Royal Caribbean Cruises

Royal Caribbean Travel Protection

Cancel for Any Reason, travel delay, medical protection, luggage protection, 24/7 support

Viking Cruises

Travel Protection Plan

Cancel for Any Reason, trip interruption or cancellation, accident or sickness and medical repatriation, baggage and personal items
Hot Tip:

Before you purchase cruise insurance from a cruise line, compare your third-party options. You can get quotes from multiple travel insurance companies at once using a travel insurance aggregator such as Squaremouth.

Final Thoughts

Even a meticulously planned cruise can run into unforeseen disruptions — and cruise insurance can come in handy for the unexpected.

Cruise insurance covers you for sudden illnesses, travel delays, and more, offering financial protection so you’re safeguarded against uncertainties. Whether you get cruise insurance from the cruise line or third–party insurance providers, understand your coverage and how it protects your investment in cruise travel.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my health insurance cover me on a cruise?

Some health insurance policies offer limited coverage on cruises, but coverage often depends on where you’re cruising and your planned activities. Check with your insurance provider about coverage before you depart on your cruise. Find out if supplemental cruise insurance is available if you want to use your existing health insurance coverage.

Are cruises covered under travel insurance?

Cruises are typically covered under travel insurance, so you don’t necessarily have to buy specialized cruise insurance, such as coverage from the cruise line. Travel insurance can cover trip cancellations and interruptions, medical emergencies, lost luggage, and more on your cruise trip.

Can you buy cruise insurance after booking?

You can buy cruise insurance after booking. It’s generally best to purchase cruise insurance as soon as possible after making your initial trip deposit — when you have money on the line. The sooner you purchase cruise insurance, the sooner you’re covered for trip cancellations.

Can you buy medical insurance for a cruise?

You can buy medical travel insurance to cover your medical expenses on a cruise, offering coverage such as medical emergencies, illnesses, and injuries.

How do I add travel insurance to my cruise?

You can add travel insurance to your cruise when you book with the cruise line or a travel agent. Alternatively, you can purchase travel insurance directly from travel insurance agencies.

Jessica Merritt's image

About Jessica Merritt

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little cash as possible.

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