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Cruise Travel Insurance - Why you must purchase Trip Insurance for your next Cruise Tour

July 7th, 2006

Cruise Travel Insurance - Why you must purchase Trip Insurance for your next Cruise Tour

Carnival Cruise Ship

Many travelers do not purchase cancellation and emergency medical coverage when they book their travel.  Their usual excuse is that they will travel no matter what happens or that they are already covered by their credit cards. 

As the owner of Cruise Holidays of Vancouver and AlaskaCruiseExperts.com, one of the largest cruise-only agencies in Canada, I have seen many of our guests purchase this coverage (sometimes grudgingly!) and then coming back to us with relief that they did buy the coverage as something had gone wrong before or during their vacation.


Several of our guests do not purchase this important coverage as they feel that they have spent enough on their vacation and do not want to over extend their budgets.  At the same time those same guests will purchase collision damage coverage to protect their investment on their new automobile in case of an accident.  Why will they not then extend that train of thought and purchase cancellation and excess medical coverage to protect their hard earned vacation?  A seven night cruise for two to the Caribbean in a balcony cabin with airfare from your home city could set you back over $5,000.  Why would you not protect this investment?

You may or may not get into an automobile accident and you may or may not get ill and have to cancel your cruise.  However, for only 5 to 8 percent of your vacation investment, you can protect your vacation dollars from unexpected illness, death of an immediate Family member, certain types of job loss and even natural disasters to your home (think Katrina!) by purchasing cancellation and trip interruption coverage.  Unless you are willing to write off your vacation investment, a premium of about $125 per person is not much to pay for the peace of mind this coverage brings to you.


We have seen our clients take ill onboard cruise ships and have to be disembarked in foreign ports of call.  Emergency evacuation by private plane or helicopter can cost over $10,000 per event.  Medical fees in some countries like the US can cost over a hundred thousand dollars if the illness is serious and the treatment is lengthy.  For a few dollars per day, you can protect yourself from this potential financial catastrophe by purchasing a good emergency medical policy.

When a guest takes ill and is disembarked in a foreign county, the last thing on their mind should be the worry of paying for their hospital bill and if they are admitted to a high quality care facility.  With a good medical policy in place, all it takes is a phone call to the 24 hour emergency hot line maintained by all the best insurers and their personnel will oversee your recovery and pay your bills and then assist you with your flight back home.  All for a few dollars a day!

Many of our clients also advise us that they are covered for cancellation, trip interruption and even emergency medical coverage on their credit cards. What they do not know is that most credit card companies are slowly withdrawing these once common privileges and not widely advertising the fact.  Coverage could also be limited to a fixed amount that is less than the actual vacation cost.  Many credit card coverage policies are only applicable if the entire cost of the vacation is paid by that card.  Travelers should call their credit card providers for all the details before assuming that they have full coverage.

My advice to all travelers is to purchase cancellation and emergency medical protection from a reputable insurer.  Ask your travel agent for recommendations and read the terms of policies of each insurer as they do vary between insurers.  Saving that extra $200 on that dream vacation could be a false saving should you take ill!

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Tawnya Sutherland and Denis Lim

Denis Lim is the President of Cruise Holidays of Vancouver and Alaska Cruise Experts, http://www.alaskacruiseexperts.com , a cruise-only agency based in Vancouver, B.C., the preferred port of departure for Alaska Cruises.

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