f you are lucky enough to be heading off on a Mediterranean, Caribbean, or even an around-the-world cruise, getting the right travel insurance to cover your time away is vital.
However, because a cruise is very different from most other types of holiday, it may not be covered under a standard travel insurance policy.
Why is it important to get cruise insurance?
A cruise is likely to last a lot longer than a typical fortnight's holiday. In fact, with some more far-flung cruises, you could be at sea for months at a time, or even for a full calendar year in some cases.
However, most single-trip travel insurance policies come with time limits for the duration of each holiday, typically of between 30 and 60 days.
Even an annual travel insurance policy may not fit the bill as, while you can take as many trips as you like under this cover for a period of 12 months, each individual trip carries a maximum duration, typically of around 56 days.
The very nature of a cruise means you will be visiting a whole host of countries. Your travel insurance policy will therefore have to be worldwide and - even then - you will need to check the small print to ensure every country you visit is covered.
It is common for insurers to add an exclusion around countries in a state of political unrest, so do your research before travelling to make sure you will be covered for the destinations on your cruise itinerary.
Traditionally, cruise-lovers also tend to be older travellers - although this type of holiday is now becoming popular with families of all ages. For most standard holiday insurance policies, whether single trip or multi-trip (which is the same as annual cover), premiums will rocket for applicants over a certain age, typically 65, and some applicants will simply be refused cover by some insurers.
In turn, older people are also more likely to have pre-existing medical conditions - something that could also see them refused under a standard travel insurance policy.
Finally, cruises tend to incorporate the chance to partake in sports and activities, such as jungle trekking, scuba diving and kayaking, when making your different ports-of-call. It may be the case that not all of these are covered under a regular holiday insurance deal.
However, some travel insurers will permit applicants to 'bolt on' cruise travel and other extras to a standard policy, so look what's detailed in the terms and conditions and make sure it matches with your trip.
Other benefits of cruise insurance
In most cases, comparing deals from insurers that specialise solely in cruises will be the best option.
One of the main benefits of specialist cruise insurance is that it offers extended cover for older people - for example up to 365 days for travellers of up to 89 years old, and up to 180 days for travellers who are aged 90 or over. All pre-existing conditions will also usually be considered, but do check the small print.
Specialist insurance for cruises will also offer full cancellation cover if the cruise is postponed or cancelled due to bad weather, and may also provide an option to insure against catastrophes such as natural disasters.
Less dramatic events, such as your luggage being lost or delayed, will also be covered and a comprehensive cruise insurance policy will usually include, theft, public liability and emergency repatriation cover along with a substantial medical cover element - usually around £2-4million.
Cruising with your EHIC
If your cruise is within the European Economic Area (the free trade zone between the countries in the European Union which also includes Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein), apply for your European Health Insurance Card and pack it in your case.
The EHIC (which replaces the old E111 paper) will give you access to free or reduced cost emergency medical care and treatment in the countries listed above.
However, only a certain level of care will be offered with the card and it won't provide cover for other unforeseen events such as cancellations, lost luggage or emergency repatriation in the event of a serious accident.
As such, the EHIC is no replacement for fully comprehensive cruise holiday insurance but should instead be used to compliment it.
To compare cruise travel insurance and find a great deal, please click on the link below or use the 'Get a quote now button' above.