By Staff Writer
As the $5.3 billion Australian and international cruise industry continually pushes the boundaries of superior experiences and coveted destinations, new data reveals that our love of cruising has overtaken our love of land travel.
A survey of 2,700 Australian travellers conducted by the world’s largest online travel insurer, InsureandGo, revealed that 54 per cent would rather go on a cruise than travel on land. This preference for cruises is strongest among travellers aged 55 and over.
Cruise Lines International Association’s latest report, which reveals the industry’s contribution to the local economy, supports this trend. Its data shows that the number of Australian cruise passengers has quadrupled since 20008, and new record was set in 2017 with 1.3 million Australian passengers taking an ocean cruise.
InsureandGo’s survey also revealed how fearful people are of six potential negative events that could occur in relation to cruising. The strongest fears are an on-board medical emergency such as needing hospital care, along with seasickness and gastro issues – both at 72 per cent.
Onshore incidents followed at 69 per cent, and 60 per cent of travellers said they also worried about lost or stolen baggage and mechanical failures on a ship. Fear of missing ports came in at 45 per cent.
“Travellers realise that cruises give them more time for rest and relaxation, and enable them to travel to multiple destinations without repacking and booking into a new hotel each time,” says InsureandGo’s Managing Director Raphael Bandeira.
“Cruise ships also offer travellers everything they need in one place –different restaurant experiences across various cuisines; games and fitness facilities; spa and shopping experiences; entertainment; and kids’ areas as well as adult-only areas,” he adds. “For cruises, it’s important that travellers purchase tailored cruise insurance to ensure they receive cover for potential incidents that are specific to cruising.”
InsureandGo was the first online travel insurer to provide a cruise-specific policy, which starts from as little as $31, including cover for missed ports, cabin confinement, baggage before boarding and pre-paid excursions.
“To get maximum benefits in the case of cancellation – such as 24/7 emergency assistance from more than 2,000 multilingual operations – I recommend travellers purchase this insurance at insureandgo.com.au at the time of booking their cruise,” says Bandeira.
Top tips for getting cover for cruise-related incidents
1. Purchase a cruise-specific, rather than a generic travel policy
A general travel insurance policy may not cover you for cruise-specific incidents such as missed ports.
2. Disclose the medical conditions of anyone you are travelling with
To ensure any claim you make is valid once you’ve purchases travel insurance, ensure that you not only disclose any pre-existing medical condition that you might have – but also the pre-existing conditions that people in your group might have. Why? Pre-existing medical conditions change the level of risk of your holiday, as there is potential for your trip to be cut short if anyone in your group experiences a medical emergency. These conditions must be disclosed and accepted by your travel insurer prior to embarking. With InsureandGo, declare any pre-existing medical conditions can be done online.
3. Get the necessary vaccinations
Get any necessary immunisations and vaccinations for the destinations you are visiting. If a claim arises as a result of you, or your travel partner, cancelling or altering your travel plans because you contracted a disease specific to your travel region, that you could have been immunised against, you will lose your cover.
4. Reveal any changes in your circumstances
Make sure you tell your insurer about any change in your circumstances that happens after your policy has been issued and before you travel. Your insurer has the right to change the conditions of your policy in line with the change of risk.
5. Give yourself adequate time to obtain travel documents
Ensure you prepare your passport and necessary visas ahead of time. If you have to cancel or postpone your trip due to failure to obtain documents in time, you won’t be covered for any out-of-pocket expenses.