Cruise Travel Medical Insurance for Emergencies

Expense-wise, cruise vacations typically involve an airline ticket to the port, cruise charges, and the charges for excursions and other tours. For many people, it also makes sense to purchase cruise travel insurance that provides trip cancellation coverage before the cruise, as well as protection at sea, including emergency medical coverage.

However, some people are looking for cruise medical insurance only. Cruise travel medical insurance provides coverage for medical emergencies, emergency medical evacuation, and other travel-related benefits, but does not cover trip cancellation.

While on a cruise, you typically spend most of your time on at sea, far away from the medical facilities available on land. Cruise liners simply do not have the facilities, tools, or doctors necessary to treat most major medical conditions.

If you were to get sick or injured while on a cruise, medical attendants would try their best to do what they could and then make arrangements to get you admitted to a hospital at the nearest port. However, many people go on cruise vacations where most of the ports are small islands or cities that may or may not have adequate medical facilities to properly treat your specific medical condition.

That is why, as part of travel medical insurance, you also get emergency medical evacuation coverage, which provides transportation to the nearest place where adequate care can be given. It is determined by the insurance company and the attending physician when and where you should be transported.

Domestic Health Insurance vs. Cruise Travel Medical Insurance

Many people already have health insurance within their home country. Domestic health insurance may not provide any medical coverage outside the home country. If it does provide any coverage at all, it may be limited under a lot of specific circumstances, and it may come with a much larger deductible, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket medical expenses—leaving you to pay thousands of dollars out of your pocket.

Even if your domestic health insurance provides good medical coverage outside your home country, it most likely will not provide emergency medical evacuation, and the domestic insurance provider would not have experience dealing with medical emergencies abroad. Therefore, it is highly advisable to purchase travel medical insurance for your cruise trip.

Cruise Travel Medical Insurance Considerations

Many people on cruise vacations take part in shore excursions that involve hazardous sports activities such as ziplining, water skiing, jet skiing, parasailing, and so on. Basic cruise travel medical insurance may or may not cover medical emergencies that occur from such sports activities. Therefore, it is best to check the certificate wording to make sure such activities are covered. Even if you don’t think you will want to participate in such activities, you may change your mind at the port when you see so many other people having fun. Therefore, it is better to be prepared in advance.

Cruise travel medical insurance typically may not provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, except in cases of the acute onset of pre-existing conditions, in some plans, up to a certain policy maximum, and up to a certain age. Therefore, please read the certificate wording carefully to make sure you are purchasing the insurance that is most suitable for you.

Unlike travel insurance with trip cancellation coverage, the options for cruise medical insurance typically only allow you to select your medical policy maximum and deductible amounts. Therefore, carefully choose the one that fits your needs. 


While everyone hopes that their cruise vacation is smooth sailing without any t medical issues, there are some things that are simply unavoidable. If the worst should happen, the best cruise travel insurance with emergency medical evacuation can be very helpful to relieve you of anxiety and prevent you from getting stuck at a hospital in a foreign country without enough funds to pay the bill.

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