CruiseCare. Vacation Protection. Cancellation Penalty Waiver. Every cruise line pushes some kind of cruise insurance on its passengers. Are these plans worth the money?
Cruise lines are right when they say it's important to buy cruise travel insurance. The nature of cruising means that small travel mishaps, such as a missed flight or lost bag, can become big problems. And if you have to cancel your trip last-minute, you probably won't get any money back.
Cruise lines' insurance plans, however, typically offer modest benefits and more restrictions compared to a third-party insurance provider like Allianz Global Assistance. "Generally the third-party insurance policies are better and here's why: They tend to be more comprehensive," USA Today reports.1
What should you look for in a cruise insurance plan?
Let's compare some popular cruise insurance plans.
|Allianz Global Assistance Insurance (Classic Plan)||Carnival Cruise Insurance3||Celebrity Cruise Insurance4||Disney Cruise Insurance5||Princess Cruise Insurance6||Royal Caribbean Cruise Insurance 7|
|Emergency Medical||Up to $25,000||Up to $10,000||Up to $10,000||Up to $10,000||Up to $10,000||Up to $10,000|
|Emergency Medical Transportation||Up to $500,000||Up to $30,000||Up to $25,000||Up to $30,000||Up to $25,000||Up to $25,000|
|Trip Cancellation||Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs||Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs||Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs||Up to 100% of trip cost ($10,000 limit)||Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs||Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs|
|Trip Interruption||Up to 150% of nonrefundable costs||Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs||Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs/ up to 150% of air travel costs||Up to 100% of trip cost ($10,000 limit)||Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs||Up to 100% of nonrefundable costs|
|Trip Delay||Up to $800||Up to $500||Up to $500||Up to $500||$500 pre-cruise/$1,500 post-cruise||Up to $500 per person|
|Missed Connection||Up to $800||Included in trip delay||Included in trip delay||Included in trip interruption||Included in trip delay||Included in trip delay|
|Change Fee||Up to $250||No||No||No||No||No|
|Lost Luggage||Up to $1,000||Up to $1,500||Up to $1,500||Up to $3,000||Up to $1,500||Up to $1,500|
|Delayed Luggage||Up to $300||Up to $500||Up to $500||Up to $500||Up to $500||Up to $500|
Carnival calls its cruise insurance product Cruise Vacation Protection. This plan refunds the money for the unused portion of your prepaid cruise if you cancel for a covered reason. Carnival's plan excludes some important covered reasons that Allianz includes, such as the birth of an immediate family member, cessation of carrier service for 24 hours, foreign or domestic terrorism and legal separation or divorce. If you need to cancel for any reason, Carnival says you may be eligible for cruise credits equaling up to 75 percent of your nonrefundable costs.8 Carnival's plan does cover independently booked air travel, unlike some other cruise line insurance plans.
Also, Carnival cruise insurance's medical expense coverage is secondary insurance, which means it only pays for expenses not covered by your primary health insurance. Pre-existing conditions are excluded.9
Celebrity cruise insurance, called CruiseCare, promises to refund all non-refundable, prepaid cruise expenses — but only if you cancel for a covered reason. And Celebrity's list of reasons is pretty short:
So if a volcano erupts in your back yard, you're covered. If you cancel for any other reason, Celebrity cruise insurance gives you credits toward a future cruise, equal to 75 percent of your nonrefundable costs. You must use the credits within one year11. And like Carnival cruise insurance, Celebrity cruise insurance's medical expense coverage is secondary insurance and pre-existing conditions are excluded.12
Disney cruise insurance has several restrictions in the fine print that you should be aware of. First, the trip cancellation plan only covers flights booked through Disney Cruise Line. If you make your own flight arrangements, you're not covered.13 Second, if you must cancel for a reason that's not covered, all you get is a Disney cruise credit equal to 75 percent of the cancellation fees imposed.
Princess Cruise insurance is a tiered program, with higher benefits for some cruisers. Members of the Platinum Captain's Circle get a free upgrade to the Platinum cruise insurance plan, which includes higher dollar limits and credits for 100 percent of your non-refundable cancellation fees.
Travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance includes coverage for almost anything that can happen while you're cruising. Beyond the essential coverage, Allianz Global Assistance offers other perks, like change fee coverage, loyalty plan coverage and 24-hour free travel assistance. As always, carefully read your coverage documents before setting sail. Bon voyage!