Is Travel Insurance for Cruise Ships Mandatory?

Is Travel Insurance for Cruise Ships Mandatory?

Please note: The information that follows is accurate as of February 2024. For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 and other requirements, please contact your cruise line of choice directly.

Vacations are a significant investment, so purchasing travel insurance for cruise ships is something many travelers consider. Though not always required, travel insurance for cruises can provide protection and peace of mind.

Travelers often ask the following questions:

  • Should you buy cruise insurance?
  • What does cruise insurance cover?
  • Is travel insurance worth it for a cruise?
  • The benefits of travel insurance for cruise trips
  • Which cruise lines recommend cruise insurance?
  • Which countries require cruise insurance?

In this article, we answer those questions, exploring the value of cruise insurance. Safeguarding your cruise vacation begins here.

Should You Buy Cruise Insurance?

While cruise insurance isn’t always mandatory for certain travel itineraries, it is highly recommended to have for your own protection. 

Cruise insurance can offer short-term coverage for trip issues as well as medical coverage in the event of an unexpected injury or illness while on board.

Things to consider when deciding whether or not you need travel insurance for cruise ships include:

  • Travel agency or cruise line requirements, which may require passengers to book travel insurance for their cruise as part of their booking terms and conditions.
  • One or more of your cruise destinations may require travelers to have travel insurance as a condition of entry or in order to obtain a visa. So it’s important to check visa and entry requirements for any destination ports.
  • If you are participating in high-risk activities during your cruise, such as scuba diving, cruise insurance may be required or highly recommended. Additionally, some cruise lines may strongly recommend or even require passengers to have travel insurance for destinations known for natural disasters, political instability, and other risks.

What Does Cruise Insurance Cover?

Here are the five key coverages travel insurance for cruise ships offer:

  • Medical expense coverage: Cruise insurance can cover medical costs if you get sick or injured on your trip, protecting you from potentially enormous bills.
  • Trip delay, cancellation reimbursement: If you must cancel your cruise unexpectedly, insurance can refund you for non-refundable expenses like the cruise fare, airfare, hotels, etc.
  • Delay coverage: If your cruise is delayed due to weather or mechanical issues, insurance can reimburse additional costs like hotels, meals, and transportation.
  • Lost/damaged baggage: If your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged, insurance can reimburse you for necessities and personal belongings.
  • Emergency transportation/evacuation: Insurance can cover the substantial cost of emergency medical evacuation or transport back home for health reasons.

Is Travel Insurance Worth It for a Cruise? 

Yes! Generally, cruisers describe their vacations as smooth sailing. But if something were to happen unexpectedly, things could quickly take a turn. 

Because of this, purchasing cruise insurance is just as important as packing your camera, passport, or phone charger. Even if cruise insurance isn’t required, it requires a small upfront investment that can prove to be a lifesaver if you experience an unexpected trip interruption.

The Benefits of Travel Insurance for Cruise Trips: An Overview

Let’s put things into perspective. Depending on your needs and circumstances, there are specific benefits worth consideration. Here are some highlights that further speak to the value travel insurance can offer during your cruise trip. 

  • Mitigates potentially high medical bills. Your regular health insurance may not provide coverage during the cruise. If any illness, injury, or other health issue occurs on board or during the trip, it may not be covered, resulting in high medical expenses for those involved. Alternatively, although cruises may have medical staff on board, these resources are generally limited. Staff on board may only be versed in general medical care and not specialized treatment. Even if they are able to treat you, the cost involved can be very high, and this isn’t usually included in the price of your cruise.
  • Offers peace of mind. Instead of worrying about the what-ifs when it comes to your health and safety, you can sit back and stay fully immersed in what you paid for—an exciting and satisfying getaway.
  • Obtain the best of both worlds—health AND travel-related coverage. Travel insurance provides you and your loved ones the opportunity to receive reimbursement for urgent medical and travel-related expenses. The latter generally covers prepaid, non-refundable expenses if you need to cancel all or a part of your trip. This might be due to weather/natural disaster or an unforeseen interruption during your trip. Travel insurance ultimately protects you from these inevitabilities. 

Is travel insurance worth it for a cruise? View the cruise insurance plans we offer to see the value for yourself.

Which Cruise Lines Recommend Cruise Insurance?

While cruise insurance is not mandatory for all cruise lines, many highly recommend it to their passengers. Let’s take a look at a few cruise lines that encourage travelers to purchase cruise insurance:

  • Royal Caribbean: Royal Caribbean often recommends travelers consider cruise insurance for added peace of mind.
  • Carnival: Carnival encourages passengers to explore cruise insurance options to protect their investment in case of unforeseen events.
  • Disney Cruise Line: Purchasing travel insurance is not required to book a cruise package with Disney Cruise Lines.
  • Princess Cruises: Princess advises buying travel insurance for cruise ships for medical/evacuation coverage.
  • Celebrity Cruises: They strongly encourage insurance for medical emergencies and cancellations.

While these are just a few examples, it’s always a good idea to check with your specific cruise line to determine if they recommend or require travel insurance.

Which Countries Require Cruise Insurance?

In addition to checking with your cruise line, it’s important to consider the requirements of the countries you’ll be visiting during your cruise. Some countries may require visitors to carry health insurance, which may be included in your cruise insurance policy. 

Here are a few popular cruise destinations and their requirements:

  • Cayman Islands: There are no longer any restrictions for anyone traveling to or within the Cayman Islands.
  • Mexico: Rules for travel insurance vary depending on where in Mexico you’re traveling. Be sure to do your research to determine if the specific cities you’re visiting require insurance.
  • Bermuda: A valid passport and the completed Bermuda Arrival Card, available online, are the only requirements for entry into Bermuda. Travel insurance is no longer mandatory.
  • Cuba: Visitors must carry non-US medical insurance, which may be included with your cruise fare or is purchasable at the port.
  • Galapagos Islands: Most healthcare providers only accept cash. The country doesn’t require specific travel or health insurance, but it’s recommended.
  • Myanmar: COVID-19 medical insurance documentation is required for foreign travelers, but cruise insurance isn’t needed.
  • Qatar: To enter Qatar, all international visitors must possess a recognized and approved medical insurance policy that remains effective throughout their stay.
  • Saudi Arabia: A medical insurance fee is included in the eVisa cost for American visitors.
  • Schengen Visa countries (26 in Europe): Travel insurance is required for stays beyond 90 days, covering emergency medical care, repatriation, and death-related expenses. These countries include Italy, Spain, Greece, and others.
This list of countries that require travel insurance is not comprehensive. Information is current as of January 2024. Some countries have additional travel requirements, such as pre-registration, proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, proof of vaccination, and/or a mandatory quarantine period.

Protect Your Vacation with Travel Insurance for Cruise Ships

While not universally mandatory, opting for cruise insurance is strongly advised to safeguard your investment and ensure a worry-free cruise vacation.

With travel insurance for cruise ships in place, you can enjoy your vacation with confidence, knowing that unforeseen events are covered. Wishing you safe travels and smooth sailing!

Frequently Asked Questions


What’s the deadline for buying cruise insurance?

Certain companies may stipulate that you must purchase cruise insurance within two weeks of placing the initial deposit, especially if you seek pre-existing medical coverage. Delaying the purchase of cruise insurance may increase the overall cost.


Can you add cruise insurance after booking?

You can acquire travel insurance after booking your trip, but it’s generally advisable to secure insurance as early as possible. Delaying the purchase may lead to missing out on certain benefits.


What is not covered by travel insurance?

Natural disasters that begin before you buy insurance, some last-minute changes, and bad weather are not covered by travel insurance. Fear of flying, change of mind, or other foreseeable reasons are also not covered. However, you can often add an optional “cancel for any reason” coverage under certain conditions to your insurance policy. This “cancel for any reason” does need to be purchased at a specific time after the initial trip deposit date.


Does annual travel insurance cover cruises?

Many standard travel insurance policies also cover cruises. For example, at VisitorsCoverage, the Cruise insurance plan options can also be found under the Trip insurance plans. Again, we encourage you to speak with your cruise line and destination to ensure your insurance option will be valid for your upcoming trip.