Setting Sail? Don’t forget your Cruise Travel Insurance…
Finding the right cruise travel insurance can be an arduous task. Some insurers advertise specialist cruise insurance on their websites, others rarely seem to mention it until you begin a basic quote and others don’t offer it at all. I’ve been on more than 50 cruises, so I know a thing or two about finding the right cruise cover and today, I’m going to give you some hints and tips on what to look out for and why I chose AVANTI as my travel insurance provider for my upcoming 108-night cruise around the world with Fred Olsen Cruise Lines.
One thing that always appeals to me is the ease of which I can find the cruise cover option on an insurers’ website. If I must scroll through various pages before I reach it, I’ll automatically click off the website. With AVANTI, I found it right there on the home page – I was already impressed.
Obviously, you don’t get to see everything that is covered until you begin the individual quote process, but what I do like about AVANTI is that they offer a list of key features that are offered on every cruise cover policy and they include: emergency formal wear hire, unused shore excursions, cruise itinerary change and even cabin confinement cover. So, I’d found the important cruise info and I began the quote process. I tailor made my policy with great ease, also adding gadget cover – I need to make sure my laptop and mobile phone are covered as that’s my livelihood – and within minutes I had my quote. It was easy, straightforward and I didn’t need to click through what felt like a million pages to reach my end goal. I was insured within minutes.
I know there are a lot of people out there that don’t give travel insurance a second thought, but I really can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure you have it before you travel, especially if you are going on a cruise. A normal holiday abroad would see you find medical care on land at a reduced cost or for free upon showing a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but it’s a little different where cruise ships are involved.
If you find yourself feeling unwell on board, you’ll likely have to pay a visit to the ships medical centre and see the doctor, but treatment at sea is NOT covered by your EHIC card and the cost of the care and any prescribed medications is automatically added to your on board account – this is when it becomes crucial to have good cruise travel insurance.
Usually, people will only have a minor complaint, but even the simplest of things can become expensive at sea, trust me, I know. I had to see the doctor on board during a Caribbean cruise because I had something stuck to the inside of my right eyelid. It was incredibly uncomfortable and I couldn’t open my eye at all. I made my way to reception and asked if they could page the doctor. It was out of normal hours (they tend to have an open surgery for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon and the cost to see the doctor is lower during these times), so before I got to see a medical professional, I had already added £100 to my cabin bill. It took less than 15 minutes for me to see the nurse, see the doctor, for them to both work together to remove the grit from my eye and then clean the area, and the cost was almost £300. If that’s the cost to treat something relatively simple, you can imagine that someone needing to have x-rays, medications or to even stay in the medical bay overnight could be facing a bill of several thousand pounds.
I’ll also point out that if any medication is prescribed, you’ll also find that the cost of it is greatly inflated. What might be £8.60 on prescription from your doctor at home could cost you £25 on board, so if you need to go back for more, well, you see where I am heading. Always make sure while packing for your cruise that you leave the medications you need to take with you in direct sight, so you don’t forget to pick them up before you leave – never pack them in your luggage. You wouldn’t believe how many people head to the medical centre on day one of a cruise and have to shell out hundreds of pounds, all because they forgot to pick up their bag of medications before leaving home.
I’ve never travelled without insurance and I certainly wouldn’t embark on a world cruise without it. What I am seeing, however, are more cruise lines making travel insurance mandatory and I think this is a great move as it protects everyone. Once you book your cruise, you will not have important documents made available until you add a valid insurance policy to your booking. If you can’t get your travel ticket, then you won’t be going anywhere.
So, before you hit the high seas, make sure you get the cruise cover that works for you – I recommend AVANTI!