As the $5.3 billion global cruise industry has continually pushed the parameters of superior experiences and facilities, and coveted destinations, new data reveals that our love of cruise travel has overtaken our love of land travel.
A survey of 2700 Aussie travellers conducted by the world’s largest online travel insurer, InsureandGo (insureandgo.com.au), revealed that 54 per cent would rather go on a cruise than travel on land. This preference for cruises is strongest amongst over-55 travellers.
Cruise Lines International Association’s 2016-17 report, which reveals the industry’s contribution to the Australian economy, supports this trend. Its data shows that the number of Australian cruise passengers has quadrupled since 2008. A new record was set in 2017, with 1.3 million Australian passengers taking an ocean cruise.
The survey also revealed how fearful people were of six potential negative events that could occur in relation to cruising. The strongest fears were an on-board medical emergency such as needing hospital care, along with seasickness and gastro – both at 72 per cent. Onshore incident followed this as a negative event respondents feared, at 69 per cent. At 60 per cent, travellers were equally fearful of lost or stolen baggage and mechanical failures on a ship. Missing ports was the event respondents least feared, at 45 per cent.
InsureandGo Managing Director Raphael Bandeira says: “Travellers have realised that cruises give them more time for rest and relaxation, and enable them to travel to multiple destinations without repacking and booking into a new hotel each time. Cruise ships also offer travellers everything they need in one place – whether it’s different restaurant experiences across various cuisines; games and fitness facilities; spa and shopping experiences; entertainment; and kids’ areas as well as adult-only areas.
“For cruises, it’s important that travellers purchase tailored cruise insurance to ensure they receive cover for potential incidents that are specific to cruising. InsureandGo was the first online travel insurer to provide a cruise-specific policy, which starts from as little as $31. This includes cover for missed ports, cabin confinement, baggage before boarding, and pre-paid excursions. To get maximum benefits in the case of cancellation – such as 24/7 emergency assistance from more than 2000 multilingual operations – I recommend that travellers purchase this insurance at insureandgo.com.au at the time of booking their cruise.”
InsureandGo’s essential tips to getting covered for cruise-related incidents.
- Purchase a cruise-specific insurance, rather than a generic travel policy. A general travel insurance policy may not cover you for cruise-specific incidents such as missed ports. In its cruise policy, InsureandGo even covers travellers for cabin confinement, for instance, if they fall sick and are unable to take part in activities and tours. Policies start from as little as $31.
- Disclose the medical conditions of anyone you are travelling with. To ensure any claim you make is valid once you’ve purchases travel insurance, ensure that you not only disclose any pre-existing medical condition that you might have – but also the pre-existing conditions that people in your group might have. Why? Pre-existing medical conditions change the level of risk of your holiday, as there is potential for your trip to be cut short if anyone in your group experiences a medical emergency. These conditions must be disclosed and accepted by your travel insurer prior to embarking. With Insureandgo, declare any pre-existing medical conditions can be done online.
- Get the necessary vaccinations. Get any necessary immunisations and vaccinations for the destinations you are visiting. If a claim arises as a result of you, or your travel partner, cancelling or altering your travel plans because you contracted a disease specific to your travel region, that you could have been immunised against, you lose your cover.
- Reveal any changes in your circumstances. Ensure you tell your insurer about any change in your circumstances that happens after your policy has been issued and before you travel. Your insurer has the right to change the conditions of your policy in line with the change of risk.
- Give yourself adequate time to obtain travel documents. Ensure you prepare your passport and necessary visas ahead of time. If you have to cancel or postpone your trip due to failure to obtain documents in time, you won’t be covered for any out-of-pocket expenses.