7 Best Cruise Travel Insurance Plans for US Citizens in 2022

Updated on by Matthew H. Nash – Licensed Insurance Agent

Whether exploring the Caribbean, South America, the Mediterranean, or beyond, cruising is one of the most fun ways to reach new domestic and international destinations. So much that cruise lines draw tens of millions of bookings every year. However, with the world of travel constantly changing, the risks of trip delays and cancellations, as the potential for luggage issues and medical emergencies, have increased dramatically. Buying the best cruise travel insurance policy can shield you financially against these unfortunate possibilities. Below, I explain the level of coverage you may need, along with the differences between the top plans and their costs. Read more about our unbiased ranking methodology and advertiser disclosure.

4.9
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to Cruise travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE CRUISE

$107.39

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
 WEBSITE
FOR

Comparing Policies

  • Compare dozens of the best Cruise travel insurance policies from all the major providers in one place
  • Easily filter for the features you want and get support from their award-winning customer service team
  • Founded in 2013, TravelInsurance.com has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers find affordable insurance coverage
4.8
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE CRUISE

$145.41

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
POLICY
FOR

Travelers Aged 55+

  • Pre-existing medical conditions are covered for a reasonable fee and they offer “cancel for any reason” as an add-on
  • $2,000 COVID quarantine coverage available w/ Safe Travels Voyager plan
  • Founded in 1998 and underwritten by Nationwide and GBG Insurance
squaremouth
4.8
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE CRUISE

$76.44

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
WEBSITE
FOR

Filtering Plans

  • This comparison website has the most comprehensive filters especially for Covid-19 which helps you search for the specific benefits you need
  • They have “Zero Complaint Guarantee” which promises a fair claims process
  • Established in 2003, Squaremouth has consistently been recognized for it’s exceptional customer service
4.7
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE CRUISE

$88.00

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
POLICY
FROM

An Established Brand

  • Well rounded, inexpensive travel insurance plans from an established and top rated global insurance company
  • AXA has plans that cover pre-existing conditions and their “Platinum” plan covers “cancel for any reason” with an optional add-on. They also offer helpful 24/7 Worldwide Travel Assistance Services
  • Founded in 1959 and underwritten by Nationwide
4.7
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE CRUISE

$142.91

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

No

BEST
POLICY
FOR

Adventure Travel

  • Covers almost all adventure activities for a reasonable price for U.S. residents up to age 70 (worldwide up to age 65)
  • Can insure up to 9 people in one family and the signup process is super easy
  • Founded in 2002 and underwritten for U.S. travelers by Nationwide Insurance
4.2
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE CRUISE

$139.00

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

Yes

BEST
POLICY
FOR

Family Travel

  • Their “Trip Interruption for any Reason” feature allows you to get a 75% reimbursement for any additional expenses if you decide to go home early from your trip
  • They have a variety of insurance products to suit any travel needs
  • Founded in 1993 and underwritten by Nationwide Insurance
3.6
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE CRUISE

$22.50

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON? 

No

BEST
POLICY
FOR

Long-term Travel

  • Ideal for digital nomads and long-term travel, available to anyone anywhere
  • Scored lower because short-term travel coverage isn’t as robust as competitors
  • Founded in 2018 and is underwritten by Lloyds of London

travel insurance
4.9
  • SwiftScore
      Our SwiftScore is a unique and proprietary insurance ranking system objectively comparing key metrics which are most important to travelers. Learn more at the end of this page.

STARTING PRICE
FOR 2-WEEK TRIP TO THE CRUISE

$107.39

CAN YOU CANCEL YOUR TRIP FOR ANY REASON?

Yes

BEST
WEBSITE
FOR

Comparing Policies

  • Compare dozens of travel insurance policies from all the major providers in one place
  • Easily filter for the features you want and get support from their award-winning customer service team
  • Founded in 2013, TravelInsurance.com has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers find affordable insurance coverage

Cruise travel insurance FAQs

Is it beneficial to purchase cruise travel insurance?

While taking a cruise can be one of the most fun and easy ways to see the world, you still face many of the same risks as you would if you took a typical vacation abroad. In addition to potentially missing your cruise departure, you may have delayed or canceled flights, medical emergencies and evacuations, lost or stolen luggage, and trip interruptions. Travel insurance protects you financially against such unforeseen events and even offers “Cancel for Any Reason” packages that you can add to your standard policy for added protection.

All cruise ships have medical teams on board, but sometimes there are instances in which hospitalization is a must. The great news is that many trip insurance providers also offer logistical support in emergencies by arranging for you to be transported and treated at a US-quality medical facility. In my experience, having the best travel insurance plan for cruises can put you at ease, knowing that you’ll be taken care of no matter what happens on the ship or during your shore excursions. Most travelers appreciate the affordability of travel insurance plans, with costs typically ranging from 2-3% of the overall trip cost.

What are some things I should consider when buying cruise travel insurance?

You will need to consider several things when deciding which cruise travel insurance plan to purchase. The first is to look for a plan with Missed Connection coverage, which will protect you if a flight or train delay causes you to miss your cruise departure. On such an occasion, you will miss part of the cruise and have to catch up to it. Getting to the next port of call will most likely be pricey, causing you to shell out more money on transportation and possibly even accommodation.

Another factor to consider is each plan’s level of medical and emergency evacuation coverage. If you are cruising around wealthy countries or very remote parts of the world, consider getting a Cruise travel insurance plan with the highest benefit amounts. Also, consider your biggest concerns about what could go wrong on your cruise. Will the policy you want to buy protect you in such instances? If not, do they at least offer optional upgrade packages you can buy that will?

You’ll also need to ensure that your policy includes all of your cruise’s destinations (countries) in its coverage and that it is effective from the date you leave home through your return date. Furthermore, you must decide if you will participate in any adventure activities or extreme sports during your shore excursions. If so, I recommend using a comparison site like Squaremouth.com to filter for policies that cover your preferred activities.

Moreover, if you or any of your travel companions that you intend to insure have pre-existing medical conditions, you will want to get a Pre-Existing Condition upgrade package. It will cover any care or treatment that you or your other insured travel companions may require because of said condition. Lastly, review the full details of each plan’s approved reasons that would make you eligible for trip cancellation benefits. If you prefer broader coverage, consider getting a “Cancel for Any Reason” upgrade.

What does a “Cancel For Any Reason” travel insurance upgrade entail?

“Cancel for Any Reason” (CFAR) travel insurance plans are optional upgrade packages that allow you to cancel your trip, regardless of the reason or the exclusions stated in your standard policy. By getting a CFAR plan, you can expect to be reimbursed for 75% of the nonrefundable trip costs that your basic policy does not cover.

Is it worth getting “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage if I’m going on a cruise?

Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) upgrades are beneficial for those who want more flexibility when traveling and to minimize their financial risks. For example, your standard policy will not reimburse you if you cancel your cruise because of changes in your cruise’s itinerary, CDC or State Department advisories, or concerns regarding potential natural disasters, which is why even cruisers find CFAR advantageous.

If I’m hospitalized on a cruise will travel insurance cover the bills?

While all cruise ships have medical teams on board, there are inevitably instances when cruisers may need to undergo procedures or receive more advanced care. Cruisers also risk getting ill or injured during their shore excursions, requiring them to be transported to the nearest hospital. In each case, trip insurance would help you receive the best possible care, irrespective of the cost.

If I am healthy and in good shape, why do I need travel insurance?

Regardless of how fit and healthy you may be, unforeseen events can ruin your travel plans and cause you to lose a significant amount of money. Travel insurance would shield you financially from injuries, trip delays and interruptions, illnesses, trip cancellations, and lost, damaged or stolen property. So, even if you’re in great shape and take care of your health, cruise travel insurance offers you peace of mind that your investment in your vacation will not go to waste and that you will have access to the best medical care available.

How do travel insurance companies define “total trip cost”?

When applying for a trip insurance plan, you must enter the correct amount for the “total trip cost.” Keep in mind that your total trip cost determines Trip Interruption and Trip Cancellation coverage. Therefore, you must calculate and submit an accurate amount. Your “total trip cost” includes all your trip’s prepaid, non-refundable expenses such as airfare, cruise fare, transportation, any shore excursions (if you have to prepay them), etc. Be sure to include all that you have prepaid and all that would not be eligible for a 100% refund should you have to cancel your cruise. Also, include all penalties you would need to pay should you cancel, regardless of whether you had to prepay any of it.

How do I go about filing a claim with my cruise travel insurance provider?

You can usually file a claim on your travel insurance provider’s website or via mail. To file online, look for a link in the site’s footer that says “Make a Claim” or “Claims,” and it will guide you through the process. Contact your travel insurance company for information on how to file a claim by mail.

Common problems tourists experience on Cruises and how to steer clear:

Illnesses

Food poisoning is one of the most common illnesses people come down with while on cruises. Although cruise lines do their utmost to ensure hygiene and high sanitation standards, accidents happen and certain foods may not agree with some people’s stomachs. Another frequent issue cruisers experience is seasickness, especially if they are staying on the lower decks. Many cruises sell motion sickness medicine onboard, but it’s always a good idea to bring your own in case onboard supplies run low.

One more thing to watch out for is drinking too much alcohol. With all-inclusive packages, consuming more than one usually would is relatively easy. Combined with turbulent waters, many find themselves feeling dehydrated, nauseous, and unwell. Limit yourself to one or two drinks, especially if your cabin is on a lower deck, and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

It is also important to mention that you can contract Legionnaires’ Disease (LD) on cruise ships. LD is a severe bacterial illness whose symptoms mimic those of pneumonia. LD often develops due to pools and hot tubs not being appropriately heated or frequently drained and cleaned. Symptoms of Legionnaires’ include but are not limited to muscle pain, headaches, shortness of breath, fever, coughing up mucus and/or blood, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and feeling disoriented. Seek help from your cruise ship’s medical team immediately if you begin experiencing any of these symptoms or a combination.

The flu and other viral illnesses, including Covid, can spread rampantly on cruise ships. If you get sick while on a cruise, notify the ship’s medical team immediately. Isolating yourself, having your meals delivered to your cabin, staying hydrated, and getting fresh air on the least crowded of decks during low-traffic times will minimize the risk of spreading germs. To reduce your chances of getting sick, wash your hands regularly, get regular sleep, exercise daily, drink at least 8 glasses of water, and eat a balanced diet while on your cruise.

Accidents

The most common accident on a cruise ship is tripping and falling, resulting in broken bones, welts, bruises, and open wounds. Whether it’s wet or slippery floors, luggage in the way or cruisers not paying attention to where they are going, tripping and falling are bound to be frequent on most cruise ships. A second less frequent but undoubtedly devastating accident on cruise ships is drowning. While all ships have lifeguards onboard, it is still vital that cruisers know their limits. If you are not a strong swimmer, stick to the shallow end and remember to enter and exit the pool cautiously. Life vests are also available for all passengers who want to enjoy the ship’s pools without having to deal with the fear of drowning. If you don’t see any, ask the nearest lifeguard. That said, many of the accidents cruisers end up having happen during their shore excursions. Remember to wear the proper footwear for all tours and follow your guide’s instructions and advice to avoid getting injured.

Muggings

Crime rates on cruise ships, especially when it comes to petty theft, are not the norm and are low by everyday standards. That said, it still happens, so keep valuables locked in your cabin and do not leave anything valuable unattended while out and about on the ship. The most significant risk of petty theft is usually on land, depending on how you spend your days ashore. Before leaving home for your cruise, it’s wise to research the places your ship will be docking so that you have an idea of what crime is like. Nevertheless, keep your possessions close to your body and within your line of vision. Also, refrain from making your cash visible beyond what you need to pay for a specific item or service at any given time.

Emergency resources for Cruises

Phone numbers

For emergencies onboard, you will need to alert a cruise staff member. I recommend looking up the emergency numbers for the port towns/cities that your cruise will be docking at before you leave home on vacation, especially since internet service on cruise ships can be fairly expensive. Keep those numbers on hand during your days ashore.

US embassy or consulate details

As with the emergency phone numbers above, I suggest looking up the various embassy and consulate details for each port of call before you leave for your trip. Doing so will save you time and money on the slow and expensive internet connections onboard. You will want to store that information in your phone or keep it handy on a piece of paper.

Additional information to help travelers have better experience on Cruises:

Arrivals

For those new to cruising, this is probably the most crucial travel tip anyone will give you: always arrive at your cruise’s port of departure a day early, so you have plenty of flexibility should your flight get delayed or canceled. If you’re on an extremely tight schedule, travel insurance will help cover the steep costs of making the last-minute travel plans required to catch up with the cruise ship at the next port of call should you miss the departure.

Currency

The good news for US travelers is that the most commonly used currency onboard cruise lines is the US dollar (USD). Of course, there are some cruises where euros or British Pounds are accepted. For example, Mediterranean cruises primarily operate in euros, as do Eastern Caribbean, Northern Europe, United Arab Emirates and Canary Island cruises. Transatlantic cruises leaving the US will operate in dollars, and the same goes for other Caribbean, South African and South American cruises. Whichever cruise line you book your vacation with, ask them to clarify which currency they use on the ship.

Days Ashore

Once you book your cruise, you must think about how you want to spend your days ashore. Most cruise operators offer “shore excursions” for which you can sign up in advance. Often, these activities fill up fast, so you may want to jump at them as quickly as possible. The other option is to explore the city around the port at your leisure. If that’s your preference, I recommend researching at least one or two things you’d like to see or do during your days ashore to make the most of the short time you have in each destination. Just don’t try to squeeze in too much or you’ll risk exhausting yourself and not having as much fun as you hope––a real pitfall for both seasoned and unseasoned cruisers alike.

Language

It depends on which cruise operator you book your vacation with, but you can count on much of the staff you’ll need to interact with being able to speak English. Of course, on many international cruises, announcements will most likely be made in several languages, and many staff will speak more than one language.

Tipping

Most cruise lines make tipping extremely easy. Many add a flat daily rate to each cruiser’s account to cover tips. The rate charged to your account varies based on which type of cabin you’ve booked, so the more expensive the cabin, the higher the rate for tips. These rates generally range anywhere from $10-20 per day per passenger, though no tips are charged for children of various ages. Other cruise lines will let you prepay tips for a certain number of days, but this is becoming less common. Be aware that additional gratuities of 15-18% are typically charged on alcohol and spa services. Should you wish to adjust your daily tip rate, you can usually do so at the purser’s office. Also, if a staff member delivers outstanding service, you are welcome to give them an additional cash tip.

Packing advice for Cruises

Apart from Travel Insurance, we recommend you bring the following items for maximum health, safety and enjoyment of your cruise.

A final note about travel insurance for the Cruise

I have spent dozens of hours researching travel insurance, including getting quotes and comparing coverage from all the most popular brands. Regardless of where you’re going, I am confident that you will also find that TravelInsurance.com offers the best way to compare policies with the ideal combo of coverage and price.

I wish you and yours an incredible journey.

SwiftScore Ranking Methodology

  • Average price for a 2-week vacation based on a 35-year-old California resident traveling to the Cruise with a $3,500 trip cost
  • Coronavirus coverage
  • Cancel for any reason (CFAR)
  • AM Best rating of the underwriter
  • Key policy details including cancellation, interruption, emergency medical evacuation, and baggage & personal effects
  • Ease of sign up
  • Policy language clarity
  • User reviews