Cruise lines generally ask customers if they want travel insurance or, another phrase, travel protection, when they book direct. Is cruise line insurance a good deal? Read through the whole article.
That depends on the terms and conditions of the policy and the insurance carrier that the cruise line books through. Our travel insurance advisors at Key Traveler have carefully selected policies for our clients that offer a variety of benefits from some of the most highly rated trip insurers with excellent reputations for customer care service.
Do you really need travel insurance? Do you have a crystal ball that warns you of unforeseen circumstances? Is life unpredictable in an unpredictable world?
Generally, direct cruise line insurance is not a bargain since the insurance coverages have many loopholes that the average traveler is not aware of, and, more often than not, it is overpriced for what you get.
One example was an article posted in The Philadelphia Inquirer today.
Question: We were recently scheduled to sail on a seven-day Carnival cruise to Mexico. A few minutes after we boarded in Long Beach, CA, I had horrible kidney pains. I couldn’t walk and felt I was going to pass out.
My husband immediately took me to the doctor on board. He performed an ultrasound and I asked for something for the pain. All of a sudden, he said I needed to get off the ship because I had a kidney infection. Within two minutes, we had three Carnival employees rushing us to get our bags and they escorted us off the ship.
All the while I could barely walk. One of the employees told me not to worry, that I could cruise at a “later date.” Everything happened so fast, I was never given a choice of whether to stay aboard.
We did not even unpack our bags in the room. We used none of the ship’s amenities. We had friends on board who said that within a few hours, Carnival had upgraded another couple into our room, which had a balcony.
When I called the customer service number, they said I would not be getting any money back and I’m not able to take my cruise at a later date. I was shocked. I paid $2,000 for the cruise. I really just want to take the cruise I paid for at a later date, or get a refund.
Answer: I’m glad you’re feeling better. Carnival was correct to take you off the ship and seek medical treatment. Trust me, you wouldn’t have wanted to take your chances in a Mexican hospital, which may not have the same level of care as an American medical facility.
But Carnival could have been clearer about your right to retake your cruise at a later date. Under its ticket contract, the legal agreement between you and the cruise line, it could deny you boarding and refuse to offer you a refund on your cruise fare (it would, however, need to refund any port taxes it collected).
How about insurance? Well, you booked this cruise directly through Carnival, and when you called, you weren’t offered insurance. But even if you had been offered insurance, I’m not convinced you would have been covered. An insurance adjuster might have argued that your kidney pains were a preexisting condition and denied your claim. Don’t laugh; I’ve seen it before.
It’s highly unusual for a passenger to be shown the door at the start of a cruise in this way. Obviously this isn’t something you can control and if you could, you would choose to stay healthy and enjoy your vacation.
I spoke with Carnival about your case. A representative suggested insurance might have been helpful but stopped short of saying your claim would have been honored. I think the fact that you were not advised of insurance when you booked your cruise directly helped your case. Carnival offered you a do-over cruise.