Luxury is a funny old word. One that means different things to different people.
But one thing is for sure: there are few more luxurious ways of seeing than the world than a cruise.
Maybe thatís why more and more travel-lovers are grabbing their glad rags and taking to the water. More than 660 cruises will set sail from the UK this year. And initial estimates suggest a 17% increase on British embarkations compared to 2011.
The figures show that luxury cruising is undeniably making waves. Rightly so! But if you want to make sure your cruise is plain sailing, thereís a thing or two you need to know about cruise travel insurance. Here are a few bits of information to consider before you leave the harbour.
1. Cruise travel insurance is a must
Naturally, your finest frocks and smartest shoes are a given when youíre heading off on a luxury cruise. But thereís something thatís even more important to take on your voyage: travel insurance. Most cruise lines will insist that you have a good policy to cover your travels before you step foot on board.
In the vast majority of cases, good cruise travel insurance will cost a fraction of the price of your cruise. And it will keep you financially protected against all kinds of unexpected mishaps. The key is to spend a little time finding the policy thatís right for you, your holiday and your budget.
For example, if youíre travelling with a medical condition you may want to take out a policy with medical specialists. Or if your cruise was extremely expensive (as most are), you may prefer a provider with a bulletproof cancellation policy. Shop around and youíre sure to find what you need.
2. Protect yourself against cancellation
Cruises are expensive. So it makes sense to have financial protection in place in case you are unexpectedly forced to cancel your cruise at the last minute. Otherwise you could lose a fortune on unrecoverable costs.
Good cancellation cover keeps you protected. Some policies allow you to claim if you have to cut your holiday short too. Make sure your insurerís maximum cancellation payout gives you the cover you need and be wary of high policy excesses (the fee you have to pay to claim).
3. Stay safe with medical cover
The most important part of any travel insurance policy is the medical cover. And itís no different when youíre at sea. Cruise ships will have basic medical facilities and trained medical professionals onboard. But if you become seriously unwell you will be asked to disembark at the next port and get proper medical attention. You may even need to be airlifted from your cruise liner.
The trouble is that foreign medical care can be extremely expensive. But with good medical cover youíre protected for anything from £1 million to £10 million worth of medical costs. Some policies will cover the cost of replacing lost or stolen medication too. Itís the one part of your policy you definitely donít want to scrimp on. And remember to check the exclusion section of your policy. Knowing what youíre not covered for is as important as knowing what you are covered for.
Take your time choosing cruise travel insurance and youíll get the peace of mind you need to enjoy the trip of a lifetime.
Martin Rothwell is Managing Partner at World First Travel Insurance.