Protection Before Departure

Travel insurance can offer peace of mind heading into a cruise vacation, and protect against unforeseen events that may prevent you from reaching your port of call. This may include cancellations, trip delays, and missed connections that occur as you reach your ship.

Most cruisers choose to insure the entire cost of their cruise, which can include any prepaid, nonrefundable expenses. For most travelers, this will consist of cruise tickets, meal packages, excursions, flights, and any other expenses related to their trip.

The Trip Cancellation benefit, which can provide reimbursement if a covered event prevents them from traveling as planned, is the most popular pre-departure benefit among cruisers. With that said, comprehensive policies typically include a handful of other benefits such as Travel Delay, Baggage Delay and Missed Connection coverage.

Protection at Sea

Receiving medical care while cruising can be an especially high expense that many travelers are unaware of. In the event an evacuation is needed, either from the cruise ship or a port on their itinerary, these costs can quickly escalate.

Because many health insurance providers do not extend coverage outside of the United States, cruisers often opt for a cruise travel insurance policy with Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation benefits. Certain policies can also include coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions.

Comprehensive policies can also offer additional related benefits that may be valuable to cruisers. Trip Interruption coverage, for example, may provide reimbursement to travelers that need to end their cruise early for a covered reason. Another benefit, Baggage and Personal Item Loss, may reimburse travelers if their luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged at any point during their cruise.

Cruise Insurance Before Boarding

Cruise Cancellation Coverage

Cruise policies with Trip Cancellation coverage can protect a traveler’s investment if they are unable to travel for one of the policy’s listed reasons. Most cruise insurance policies will cover cancellations due to serious injury or illness, as well as other reasons like severe weather or significant common carrier delays, among others. Travelers buying insurance for a cruise can insure all expenses associated with the trip.

Travel Coverage Reaching the Port

A comprehensive travel insurance policy for cruises can include benefits that can help travelers who are inconvenienced on the way to their port of departure. Travel Delay and Missed Connection benefits can provide reimbursement if a traveler’s flight is delayed en route to their port, as well as reimbursement to catch them up to their cruise if the delay causes them to miss a leg of their trip.

Cancel for Any Reason

Cruisers may want the ability to cancel their trip for reasons not covered by a standard policy, such as a poor weather forecast or a change to the cruise’s itinerary. Cruise insurance policies with Cancel For Any Reason coverage, or CFAR for short, can offer the most flexibility, allowing the traveler to cancel their cruise for any uncovered reason and receive up to 75% reimbursement of their prepaid expenses. This upgrade is time sensitive and may increase the premium by around 40%.

Cruise Hurricane Insurance

Caribbean countries are popular cruise destinations, especially during the summer hurricane season. Most insurance policies can provide cancellation coverage if inclement weather impacts a trip. Specifically, the traveler must be prevented from reaching the cruise port, it is uninhabitable, or they are delayed en route. Canceling due to a change of itinerary related to weather is not a covered event on most plans.

Cruise Travel Insurance While At Sea

Medical Coverage for Cruisers

Most primary health insurance plans do not provide coverage abroad. Receiving medical care on a cruise can be an expensive unplanned cost, especially if it requires an evacuation from the ship or port. Cruise travel insurance plans with Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation benefits can cover illnesses or injuries that occur during the trip. When buying travel insurance for a cruise, Squaremouth recommends at least $100,000 in Emergency Medical coverage and $250,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage.

Cruise Insurance for Interrupted Trips

Unplanned illnesses, injuries or weather can interrupt a cruise, causing a traveler to forgo all or some of their trip expenses. Trip Interruption coverage is a post-departure benefit that provides reimbursement once the cruise or trip has started. This can include reimbursement for the cost of the cruise if weather prevents its departure, or the cost of excursions if the cruiser is ill and unable to attend, among other reasons.

Baggage Coverage for Cruisers

Comprehensive cruise travel insurance can include reimbursement for luggage that is lost by the cruise line, or an airline taken en route to the port. Baggage Loss and Baggage Delay benefits can provide reimbursement, up to the policy limit, to replace the cost of the lost items, or to purchase necessary items until the baggage is returned to the cruiser. Most policies have a specific max that can be claimed per item.

Coverage For Cruise Excursions

Some cruisers plan to partake in adventurous excursions, including snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, and other water activities. Some travel insurance plans provide specific coverage for these types of activities, most notably, medical benefits if the traveler is hurt. These plans may also reimburse the traveler if related equipment is lost or damaged. Travelers can search for a cruise insurance policy that covers sports here.

Top Selling Cruise Insurance Providers

Squaremouth ranks the 10 best travel insurance companies for cruisers based on policies sold

If you already have a policy and have any questions for your travel insurance provider or would like to file a claim, please contact your provider directly. Click here to find your provider's contact information.

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Travelers can insure their prepaid and non-refundable expenses related to the cruise, including food and beverage packages, excursions, on-ship entertainment, as well as any related transportation and lodging costs.
Medical expenses can escalate quickly for cruisers. The Emergency Medical benefit provides coverage for illnesses or injuries that occur aboard the cruise, at a destination, during an excursion, or any other time during your trip.
Cruises, especially to the Caribbean, tend to be especially vulnerable to hurricane season. Cancellation coverage can provide reimbursement if inclement weather at your residence, port of departure, or destination, prevents your trip.
Cruise insurance policies can include pre-departure benefits, including coverage if your airline is delayed, or if you miss a leg of your trip. These can reimburse expenses during the delay, as well as additional transportation costs to reach the port.
Cruisers often partake in adventurous sports and excursions aboard the ship or at a destination. The best cruise insurance policies include coverage for these types of activities, such as snorkeling or surfing, that may be excluded from standard travel insurance policies.
Cruise insurance often includes protection for delayed or lost luggage protection. Baggage Delay can reimburse cruisers for essential items if they’re bags are delayed. Baggage and Personal Item Loss can cover luggage that’s lost, stolen, or damaged at any time during their trip.
Compare policies to find the best cruise insurance.

Cruise Insurance Tips and Information

Squaremouth shares their tips and recommendations based on the most
frequently asked questions from passengers.

How do I select the best cruise insurance?

Selecting the best cruise insurance plan can mean saving thousands of dollars. The best policies will have comprehensive coverage for the most common cruise-related concerns, including benefits for cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, missed connections, and luggage, among others. Select policies may also offer cruise specific benefits, such as Itinerary Change coverage.

When should I buy insurance for the cruise?

Travelers can buy travel insurance up until the day before they leave for their cruise. However, Squaremouth recommends buying a policy directly after making your first trip payment. This can be a flight, cruise ticket, or other type of trip deposit. This approach offers the most coverage, and allows you to purchase time-sensitive benefits and add-ons like CFAR and Pre-Existing Condition coverage. Purchasing cruise travel insurance early does not necessarily impact your premium.

How much does cruise insurance cost?

In 2023, the average cost of a cruise insurance policy was about 7% of the cruiser's total trip's cost. However, the price of cruise travel insurance varies based on a variety of factors, including the total trip cost, the length of the trip, the age of the travelers, and the coverage amounts. Costs and coverage limits can vary significantly from one policy to the next, so it's best to compare plans before making a purchase decision.

Where should I buy my cruise travel insurance policy?

While cruise lines typically offer insurance, these policies are often limited, and only cover expenses purchased directly through the cruise line. For this reason, Squaremouth recommends that travelers get a quote from multiple sources to find the most comprehensive coverage for the lowest possible price. This can include a comparison site like, a travel insurance provider, or directly from the cruise line.

What does cruise insurance cover?

Cruise insurance provides financial protection for travelers if their travel plans are impacted before or during their cruise. Travel insurance policies for cruises can cover a wide range of events, including cruise cancellations and delays, medical emergencies while at sea, and lost bags. Insurance exclusions can be found within the policy details.

Do you need cruise travel insurance?

Cruise insurance is recommended to all cruisers as it protects them from unforeseen events that may impact their trip and allows them to be reimbursed for nonrefundable prepaid expenses, such as excursions, meal plans, and more. Most cruise insurance policies are comprehensive, and also cover cruisers in the event of delays, medical emergencies, severe weather, and more.

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