Will i need travel insurance for a domestic cruise?

Your upcoming cruise may be just a sampler, a cruise-to-nowhere, an ‘out to sea and back again’ or little more than an extended weekend getaway visiting a couple of ports just up or down the coast, so you might think you’ll be fine and that travel insurance for such a short period at sea is unnecessary. What could happen, right? Think again.

However, especially for short or domestic sailings, a number of subtle considerations come into play that you may not have given any thought to, especially when it comes to cruising, but which could potentially come back to bite if inadequate precautions are taken.

For example, did you know that even if you won’t be visiting another country on your cruise, the ship will most still venture into international waters to get there? A good way to know whether this has happened is whether the duty-free boutique outlets or the onboard casino opens for business. If they’re open, you’re in international waters and this means you aren’t covered by the Medicare public health system if you need it.

On top of that, even if a ship is based in Australia year-round or belongs to an Australian cruise line, there’s an excellent chance it is registered in a foreign land far away, such as the Bahamas, Malta, London or elsewhere. This in turn means that once you’re onboard, you’re no longer protected by your private health insurance or Medicare, so if you have an accident onboard, fall ill, miss your ship due to a late-running shore tour, you need to be evacuated due to a medical emergency or any other possibility or if your luggage gets lost or stolen, you’ll need the very specific coverage which only comes with travel insurance.

Carnival Spirit arrives in Sydney after a domestic cruise.
Carnival Spirit arrives back in Sydney after a domestic cruise to Tasmania.

If an incident more serious than a cold or tummy bug occurs (such as if you slip and break a bone requiring slightly hospital grade treatment), cruise ship infirmaries charge the same as private hospitals, which can be in the area of $5,000 per day. Most cruise travellers either don’t have that sort of money lying around, much less available to spend on medical treatment, so your travel insurance will come in very handy.

Aside from the obvious commercial transaction, most travel insurance providers will recommend coverage is taken out for a domestic cruise. Due to how popular domestic cruises have become in recent years, many insurers now offer a specific policy to suit a trip of this type, such as a Cruise Pack Add-On to a normal domestic travel insurance product.

Each travel insurance website is loaded with information on how to ensure you select the right options for your policy, so take your time to ensure you tick every box you need.