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Cruise Travel Insurance & What You Should Know Before Booking It

life ring representing cruise travel insurance

The video below shows a woman having a meltdown at the American Airline’s counter at LaGuardia Airport, in New York. If you watch the clip, you’ll hear the woman accuse airline staff of ruining her vacation, and demanding that they pay for her missed Disney Cruise. Considering the expense of a Disney Cruise, and the fact that it was 2 AM and her flight was supposed to depart at 9 PM, the meltdown is somewhat understandable. The flight ultimately didn’t leave until 8:50 AM the next morning or nearly 12 hours behind schedule.

This is an example of why we tell cruisers that they need to plan to fly in the day before their cruise departs. If she followed that advice, and not thrown a tantrum that likely saw her barred from flying, then she would have probably still made her cruise. However, there are times when the weather doesn’t let up, and the flight isn’t just delayed for 12 hours, but canceled entirely. What do you do under these circumstances? Cruise travel insurance.

We’ve given you an overview of travel insurance before. Talking about the types of coverage cruisers want, and why they would want to spend the extra money on it. The answers to the first question being trip cancellation coverage, and the all-important rider “for any reason”. The answer to the second question is: because your health insurance doesn’t apply overseas, and if something goes wrong you’ll want—and likely desperately need—some of the money you spent back. Now that we’ve established why you would want to buy travel insurance, what is the best place to buy a plan to protect your vacation? There are more types of travelers than just cruisers, and most travel plans aren’t made for cruisers. This can make it a little difficult to find a policy that covers the trouble that you’re most likely to run into on a cruise, or just trying to get to your cruise.

The first—and easiest—place to buy a plan is with the cruise lines. All of the lines sailing out of Port Canaveral offer some sort of vacation protection plan to cover you if you have to cancel.

Cruise Line Insurance

young happy family with little girl on cruise

Travel insurance is called a Vacation Protection Plan within the insurance industry, and the plans are listed that way on the cruise line’s website. These are insurance plans underwritten by a major company, and whether you receive money for a vacation you are forced to cancel is going to be determined by a claims adjuster, and not the cruise line. They are also all backed by the same insurance company: Transamerica Casualty Insurance. It is a reputable company that is financially solid. In fact, what is very close to the same exact policy sells for wildly different rates depending on the cruise line, and the cruise you book still counts as a major black mark. You’ll see what we mean in the breakdown below.

Carnival Cruise Funnel

Carnival Cruise Lines

Starts at $49

Underwritten by: Transamerica Casualty Insurance Company

Includes: Cancel for any reason

Compensation: Waiver of Cancellation Fee, Cash refund of the value of the unused portion of the cruise.

Caveat: Doesn’t cover certain cancellation causes, exchanges cash for a cruise credit worth 75 percent of your cruise’s value if terms aren’t met.

Complete description available here.

Royal Caribbean Funnel

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

No pricing was confirmed.

Underwritten by: Transamerica Casualty Insurance Company

Includes: Cancel for any reason

Compensation: Waiver of Cancellation Fee, Cash value of the unused portion of the cruise.

Caveat: Doesn’t cover certain cancellation causes, exchanges cash for a cruise credit worth 75 percent of your cruise’s value if terms aren’t met.

Complete description available here.

Disney Cruise Funnel Logo

Disney Cruise Line

Starts at 8% of the per person voyage fare. Minimum of $29 and maximum of $399

Underwritten by: Transamerica Casualty Insurance Company

Includes: Cancel for any reason

Compensation: Waiver of Cancellation Fee, Cash value of the unused portion of the cruise.

Caveat: Doesn’t cover certain cancellation causes, exchanges cash for a cruise credit worth 75 percent of your cruise’s value if terms aren’t met.

More information available here.

Norwegian Cruise Funnel Logo

Norwegian Cruise Line

Starts at $29 of the per person fare

Underwritten by: Transamerica Casualty Insurance Company

Includes: Cancel for any reason

Compensation: Waiver of Cancellation Fee, Cash value of the unused portion of the cruise.

Caveat: Doesn’t cover certain cancellation causes, changes cash for a cruise credit worth 75 percent of your cruise’s value if terms aren’t met.

Complete description available here.


As you can see, they are all very nearly the same policy no matter what line you’ve booked. They’re all underwritten by the same insurance company too. While it is convenient to be able to book all of your needs through the cruise line at the same time you book your cruise, it isn’t your best option.  If you follow the links above and thoroughly review the exceptions, you’ll see more than a few situations where you can be left not with a cash refund, but with a cruise credit for only 75 percent of the value of your cruise. That isn’t for the value of your cruise vacation, that is only the value of what it cost to book your stateroom. You only have a year following the cancellation to use it as well. Given that many of the reasons for a cancellation can cause great financial and emotional distress, re-booking a year later might not be an option. Causing you to take a total loss on your travel.

The coverage of trip delays is a measly $500 bucks too. Not enough to cover the costs of booking some last minute plane tickets. Medical and evacuation insurance is enough to defray the cost of hospitalization and evacuation, but not nearly enough to cover you in all circumstances. A helicopter evacuation from a cruise ship is staggeringly expensive.

There are better policies that will repay more of the value of your complete cruise vacation, as well as pay for the costs of emergency hospitalization if it occurs. The trick is finding them, and not paying more than the coverage is actually worth.

happy woman on the phone with cruise travel insurance company

The first thing that occurs to most people is to go to their usual insurance company. Unfortunately, cruise travel insurance doesn’t seem to be offered by many insurance companies. State Farm doesn’t seem to have travel protection plans at all. Allstate’s sole nod to travel insurance is to remind customers that their policy already covers emergencies within the United States. Not that helpful when planning a cruise that sails to foreign countries. The only major insurance company that offers travel insurance is Nationwide, and it is thorough. The Nationwide plan offers coverage for up to 125 percent of lost trip costs for a trip interruption, the plan also covers you when a flight delay, or other problem, forces you to change your travel plans. This coverage will pay for more than your vacation originally cost in new flights and transport. It is also the only travel insurance we’ve seen that covers emergency dental care. It is, however, rather expensive, starting at over $250.

What that leaves most people with is smaller insurance companies that specialize in travel insurance, and these come in a range of prices. Usually, they start at around $120 dollars and go as high as $350 for a cruise of approximately $3,000 dollars. They do have the benefit of offering much more coverage with less exacting standards than the plans offered by the cruise lines: $500,000 for medical evacuation versus $30,000 for the cruise lines standard plan. Some plans will cover a million-dollar evacuation bill.

As to where you can find these plans? Well, we like squaremouth.com. It is the best travel insurance plan site we’ve yet found, and it has the easiest comparison tools. It is probably the best place to get inclusive vacation coverage for a reasonable rate.

Is it Worth It?

If you look at many travel sites, they’ll be very quick to remind you that travel insurance isn’t worth it most of the time. They are correct, but only when it comes to domestic travel inside the United States. When they warn about duplicate coverage, they’re considering pre-existing health insurance, which doesn’t apply when you’re overseas in foreign ports, or in international waters aboard the ship.

While we don’t know your health insurance plan and what it covers. We suggest that you check with your insurance company rather than just assuming everything is taken care of.

When it comes to deciding to buy if you aren’t covered, only you can decide if the peace of mind is worth the added cost. However, our rough guideline would be that if it’s a 3 or 4-day Bahama cruise for just you and one other person, and you’re in reasonably good health, then you’re probably safe just planning to arrive a day early, and taking care of your accommodations with a Snooze Cruise Package. On the other hand, if you’re departing for a 7-day or more cruise with your entire family on a premium line, like the woman in the video above, then you’ll want to have the most thorough coverage you can.
Port Canaveral Fly Snooze Cruise

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