Princess Cruise ship leaving port

Travel Insurance for Princess Cruise Trips

Heading off on a cruise trip with Princess Cruise Lines? Make sure you pack your travel insurance.

Princess Cruises is one of the world’s premiere cruise lines, carrying more than 1.7 million passengers every year to a range of exotic and spectacular destinations. With an 18-ship fleet and cruises ranging in duration from three to 114 days, Princess Cruises takes travellers to destinations in the USA, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Asia, South America and the South Pacific.

But if you’re planning a cruise holiday with Princess, make sure you take out cruise travel insurance before you embark on your trip - Princess Cruises even advises that travel insurance is an essential part of your holiday plans. This is because if you require medical treatment while on board a cruise, you will not be covered by Medicare or the New Zealand Accident Compensation Corporation. Similarly, your private health insurance policy won’t provide any cover for your cruising medical expenses, which is why cruise travel insurance with medical cover is critically important.

Travel insurance can also provide cover for a range of other travel mishaps, from lost luggage to trip interruptions caused by severe weather, so read on to find out how to choose the right policy for your Princess Cruises holiday.

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Why do I need travel insurance for my Princess Cruise?

While many are aware that Medicare and private health insurance don’t offer any cover for medical expenses incurred overseas, most people automatically assume their medical costs will be covered if they’re injured or fall ill while cruising in Australian waters. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Neither Medicare or a private health fund will offer any cover for the cost of offshore medical events in Australian waters. And when you consider that on-board hospital bills can add up to $5,000 a day, not to mention the fact that you may need to be evacuated from the ship to an appropriate medical facility on land, it quickly becomes apparent that you need to have some sort of protection against potential medical expenses.

While some cruise lines offer travel insurance policies to their customers, Princess Cruises does not - but it does strongly recommend that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance before going on a cruise. With comprehensive travel insurance cover in place, you’ll be covered for any emergency medical and hospital expenses you incur during your cruise.

Will Princess reimburse me if I have to cancel my cruise?

If you’ve already booked a Princess cruise and unforeseen circumstances beyond your control force you to cancel your trip, for example if your father is struck down by a serious illness, the cancellation fee you will need to pay varies depending on how long remains until your cruise is due to depart.

For cruises of less than 30 nights:

  • If you cancel 181 days or more prior to departure, you will receive a full refund.
  • If you cancel between 180 and 75 days before departure, you will forfeit your deposit amount.
  • If you cancel 74-43 days before departure, the cancellation fee will equal 25 per cent of your total fare.
  • If you cancel 42-15 days before departure, the cancellation fee is 50 per cent of your total fare.
  • If you cancel 14 days or less before your cruise is due to depart, you forfeit the total fare.

For cruises of 30 nights or more:

  • If you cancel 181 days or more prior to departure, you will receive a full refund.
  • If you cancel 180-90 days before departure, you will forfeit the deposit amount.
  • If you cancel 89-64 days before departure, the cancellation fee will equal 50 per cent of your total fare.
  • If you cancel 63-43 days before departure, the cancellation fee is 75% of your total fare.
  • If you cancel 42 days or less before your cruise is due to depart, you forfeit your total fare.

So if you cancel your pre-booked cruise holiday and you don’t have any travel insurance cover in place, it could end up costing you a whole lot of money.

Where do I stand if my cruise itinerary is changed?

Although Princess Cruises will always take reasonable steps to ensure that your cruise itinerary proceeds as advertised, certain circumstances may dictate that changes to the itinerary must be made without notice. For example, extreme weather conditions may make certain destinations unreachable, mechanical breakdowns may force ports to be skipped, while political unrest at a particular port may make it unsafe for your ship to dock.

If you read the terms and conditions of your booking, however, you’ll see that cruise lines do not guarantee their cruise itineraries. So if unforeseen circumstances mean your cruise itinerary is changed or you can’t visit a particular port, you won’t be able to obtain any reimbursement from your cruise line.

But if you have cruise travel insurance cover in place, you’ll receive the financial protection you need in these circumstances. Read the section below for details of the cover available under a cruise travel insurance policy.

So what can cruise travel insurance cover me for?

  • Onboard and land-based medical expenses. If you become sick or are injured during your cruise, you’ll receive cover for the medical treatment and care you receive on the ship or at a medical facility on-land.
  • Medical evacuation off your cruise. If it’s medically necessary that you be transported to an appropriate medical facility on land to receive treatment or care, cruise travel insurance covers the resulting transport costs.
  • If you miss your cruise. If you miss the departure of your cruise due to circumstances beyond your control, for example a delayed flight, cruise travel insurance provides cover for the additional expenses you incur.
  • If your shore excursion is cancelled. If the cruise line cancels your pre-booked shore excursions due to unforeseen circumstances, you’ll be reimbursed for any deposits or booking fees you have paid.
  • Your trip is delayed. If your outward or return journey is delayed by unforeseen circumstances, for example mechanical difficulties with the cruise ship, travel insurance offers cover.
  • Cabin confinement for medical reasons. You’ll receive a daily cash allowance if you are confined to your cabin for medical or quarantine reasons during your cruise.
  • Your trips interrupted. If circumstances beyond your control cause your trip to be cut short, for example mechanical difficulties with the ship, travel insurance covers the additional expenses you incur.
  • Your trip is cancelled. When unforeseen circumstances force you to cancel your trip before you depart, such as if a relative dies or falls seriously ill, you’ll receive cover for any cancellation fees and lost deposits.
  • Something happens to your baggage and personal belongings. This benefit ensures that you are covered if your luggage or personal items are lost, stolen or damaged during your trip.
  • Protection for your formal attire. Cruise travel insurance also offers cover for replacement or hire costs if your formal cruise wear is lost or stolen.

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William Eve

Will is a personal finance writer for finder.com.au specialising in content on insurance. While he cannot give personal advice to clients, Will enjoys explaining the intricacies of different types of protective cover to help individuals and businesses find affordable cover that won't leave them underinsured.

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