Cruise ship holidays are growing in popularity as more people than ever take to the seas and rivers of the world. There are cruises to match every budget – but if you’re not careful you could end up spending a lot more than you bargained for, no matter how much the original price. An expert has revealed one mistake you should never make on a cruise holiday.
Rebecca Kingsley, brand manager of consumer awareness initiative, Travel Insurance Explained, revealed many holidaymakers don’t understand the costs of onboard doctors.
By getting the wrong travel insurance ahead of a cruise you could end up with a very large bill.
“Cruises are expensive and travellers often believe that the onboard medical facilities are included or free to passengers,” Kingsley said.
“Sadly this is not the case. When onboard a cruise, doctors will be private practitioners and this could mean that the cost of medical investigation, treatment and prescriptions are fairly high.
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Cruise: Many holidaymakers don’t understand the costs of onboard doctors
Cruise: “Travellers often believe that the onboard medical facilities are included or free”
“Make sure your policy covers any reimbursements for medications or medical bills you might incur on the cruise.”
If you have any medical conditions it’s vital you inform your insurer or risk a hefty payout.
“Medical care abroad is expensive, and without the correct travel insurance cover you could be left to pay the bill yourself – as well as any repatriation/air ambulance costs,” explained Kingsley.
“Ensuring you have declared any existing medical conditions is essential as failure to declare them is likely to invalidate a claim related to that condition.
“It is also worth noting, most cruise companies will not allow you to board your cruise if your existing medical conditions have been excluded from the policy.”
Kingsley went on to share advice about getting the correct insurance cover for a cruise holiday.
It’s important you think about where in the world you are travelling to.
“Before you even leave the dock, most cruise operators require that you have purchased either a specialist cruise policy or a cruise extension due to the unique circumstances of being out at sea.
Cruise: “Ensuring you have declared any existing medical conditions is essential”
“If a passenger falls ill and is unable to be treated onboard, the cruise will have to be re-directed to the nearest port or request an air ambulance to take them to the nearest hospital.
“This means you may be taken to a country that is not on your itinerary, particularly if you are travelling in the Mediterranean; Africa may be closer than mainland Europe.
“This could leave you in a vulnerable situation and could be burdened with expensive medical bills if you do not have the right travel insurance cover.
“Ensuring you have the right geographical location and cover for existing medical conditions are a priority when taking out travel insurance for a cruise.”
Another mistake some traveller make is to bring valuables with them on a cruise – but this could be an error.
“Sitting at the Captain’s Table is one of the highlights of any cruise so people want to look their best,” said Kingsley.
“However, carrying all your favourite jewellery onto the cruise may not be the best option as theft is a common occurrence. All travel insurance policies will offer cover for personal possessions, however, be wary of single article limits. For example, your personal possession cover may be up to £2,000 but the total you can claim for valuables may be £500.
“If you are planning to take your jewellery with you, it is worth checking to see if you cover these under your home insurance. While on-board the cruise, make sure you keep all valuables locked away in a safe – those left lying around unattended will not be covered if they are lost or stolen.”