As cruise passenger continues to be inundated with stories of struggling cruisers facing mountain-high insurance premiums, experts predict this problem isn’t going away anytime soon.

Compare the Market’s travel expert Warren Duke says even as COVID cases fall into a decline, premiums won’t necessarily be heading in the same direction. In fact, they could even continue to rise.

““It’s very difficult to say at this time. What we do know is that different travel insurance providers can and do set their own prices, so it’s possible to pay less for the same type of cover.

“As insurers develop more claims experience in the post-pandemic world, premiums will change – they may increase or they may fall, depending on their claims and other costs.”

Mr Duke also continues that the reality of cruising, particularly as an older traveller makes it difficult to see premiums lowering in the near future.

“Insurers are aware that there’s a higher likelihood of mishaps related to cruising, such as cancellation fees, sickness, slips and fall injuries. For this reason, most insurers require customers to purchase additional cover when going on a cruise.

We know that for cruising specifically, Medicare and private health insurance won’t cover any illness or injury once a person sets foot on a boat – regardless of whether they’re entering international waters or not.”

Wayne Collins, a Cruise Passenger reader’s story echos the sentiment that this issue isn’t just one that will make cruising harder, but impossible for many.

“The situation is that my wife and I will be 80 this year. We have a cruise booked for October and it looks like it will be our last cruise. This is simply because of insurance – availability and cost thereof and the cost of making use of available medical services on the ship.”

“If the situation was different, then we would be taking at least one cruise per year. It now looks like we will be taking all future holiday within Australia.”

Nib Travel Insurance

Cruise Passenger has assembled a list of the insurance on offer – and the big questions our readers are asking.

The important questions

Should you get insurance for a domestic cruise?

Michelle Levins, owner of My Cruise Concierge echos this sentiment.

“Yes, you are cruising, you need to be covered for evacuation, and repatriation. Shipboard medical treatment if often very expensive and this is not covered by your health fund or Medicare.

All of our clients do take policies that cover cruising when travelling domestically. We recommend it to everyone getting on a ship.”

Ms Goldie says often international insurance is actually required even for domestic cruising.

“The things you want to be looking for are the same domestically to internationally. Even though the ports are domestic, the cruise lines are still international.

When you are purchasing travel insurance you need to make sure you are looking at the policy wording, for instance, some providers if it is an international cruise line like let’s say Royal Caribbean. It’s an international ship, it’s internationally registered, it’s essentially an international location and the doctors on board are international.”

What should you be covered for?

Quarantine cover and COVID cancellation come first, says Ms Goldie.

“As far as travel insurance goes, the most important things to ask are: does the insurer cover you if you’re put into quarantine, do they cover you if you contract COVID before you leave and you need to change or cancel your holiday plans? And post-pandemic, try and look at an insurer who covers for provider insolvency.”

Ms Levins says medical cover and repatriation is most important, but to always carefully read what is and isn’t covered in your policy.

“Repatriation, evacuation and medical treatments on board as these are the areas that will run up the largest amounts.  Travellers should also be looking at Covid cover- what does it include, does it cover a cancellation of a cruise up to 100% of the value?  

Note that many insurance companies require you to take out a South Pacific policy to cover for domestic cruising.  Most domestic policies will not cover for domestic cruise.”

Should you buy insurance directly through a cruise line?

Ms Levins says insurance purchased through the line is simply not comprehensive enough.

“Australian cruise passengers cannot purchase a comprehensive policy via their cruise line, some cruise lines do offer a cancellation cover or a deposit cover.

Keep in mind that not all policies cover all things, in all countries, in all situations. You need to make sure you choose a travel insurance policy that suits your needs covering medical including COVID, cancellation, personal liability, luggage and many other ares of cover that may be relevant to your trip.”


Can you get cover through your credit card company?

Cruise Passenger recently published the story of Steve Snell, who after relentless searching found a credit card loophole through his Citibank card and was able to find reasonably priced insurance.

However, many insurance experts warn that credit card coverage is generally not as thorough as what is provided by the big travel insurers and a quick word with a Citibank representative showed that this fairytale wouldn’t always be able to repeat itself.

“As an overall rule we state there is no explicit cruise cover under the Citi Complimentary insurance policy such as what you get when you purchase a retail travel insurance policy and they ask if you are taking a cruise where you need to add on a cruise pack.

“There are certain provisions for cruises as part of the Citi Complimentary insurance policy under its international insurance policy, but it must be looked at in conjunction with the eligibility criteria, terms, conditions, limits and exclusions that may apply, so it is not a broad yes there is cruise cover.

“Also to be clear, there is no COVID cover.”

travel insurance

Who are the standout insurers?

Ms Goldie says she’s using NIB and Go Insurance, and has had particularly good experiences with Go Insurance.

“Insurance providers I’m using at the moment is NIB and Go Insurance. I’ve had to do a few claims with clients through Go Insurance and they’ve been fantastic. 

One client of mine was actually quarantined on a ship, they thought she made of had COVID she didn’t, but she ended up with a nasty respiratory infection and just 24 hours in the medical centre cost $5000USD. And Go Insurance were very easy, the claims process was very easy and the client got their money back in about a week.”

Ms Levins also sells Go Insurance.

“Our clients are using Go Insurance, and our clients are very happy with their cover. We sell this insurance and can provide quotes and details for you.”

Can you go to an agent for insurance only?

While you might not always want to use a travel agent for all details of your booking, if you’re struggling with insurance you can go to an agent for help solely with navigating insurance.

Insurance can sometimes be more difficult when not purchased through an agent. For example, insurers such as GoInsurance have age caps when booking directly, but bookings through travel agents are not subject to these.

Ms Goldie says this a common occurence.

“So I have a lot of clients that actually book online, direct through the cruise line or through a third-party, but they come to me or other agents they’ve been told have knowledge of the international comprehensive insurance.”

Who’s offering what?

1 Cover 

  • Pre Paid Shore Excursions Cancellation – $1,000 
  • Missed Cruise Departure – $2,500
  • Cabin Confinement/Loss of Enjoyment – $1,500
  • Missed Port Cover – $750
  • Formal Attire Cover – $1,500  
  • Formal Attire Delay Allowance – $250
  • Unlimited medical cover and emergency assistance (on-board and while docked) 
  • Weather delays or natural disasters.
  • COVID cover


  • Unlimited Medical Cover while cruising
  • Unlimited Evacuation Cover – Ship to Shore
  • Cabin Confinement – up to $5001
  • Pre-paid Shore Excursion Cancellations- up to $1,000
  • Formal Cruise Attire Lost or Damaged – up to $1,000
  • Formal Attire Delayed – up to $250
  • Marine Rescue Diversion – up to $500
  • COVID cover extends to cruise

Australian Unity

  • Medical cover while cruising – unlimited
  • Evacuation Cover – Ship to Shore
  • Cabin Confinement – $500
  • Pre-paid Shore Excursion Cancellation – $1000
  • Formal Wear – Cruise – $1000
  • Formal Wear Delay Expenses – $250
  • Marine Rescue Diversion – $500

 Boomers Travel Insurance 

  • Medical cover while Cruising – unlimited
  • Emergency Dental Expenses – $1000
  • Evacuation Cover – Ship to Shore – Unlimited
  • Cabin confinement – $500 
  • Pre-paid Shore Excursion Cancellation – $1000 
  • Formal Cruise Attire Lost or Damaged – $1000 
  • Formal Cruise Attire Delayed – $250
  • Marine Rescue Diversion $500


  • Medical cover while cruising – unlimited
  • Evacuation Cover – Ship to Shore
  • Cabin Confinement – $500
  • Pre-paid Shore Excursion Cancellation – $1000
  • Formal Wear – Cruise – $1000
  • Formal Wear Delay Expenses – $250
  • Marine Rescue Diversion – $500


  • Cruise cancellation changes on policy 
  • Onboard medical and dental cover – unlimited 
  • Ship to shore medical cover – unlimited
  • Sea sickness cover – unlimited 
  • Cabin confinement – up to a maximum of $1500 
  • Missed port (embarkation) – $1000 
  • Missed shore excursions – $1000


  • Medical cover while cruising – unlimited
  • Evacuation Cover – Ship to Shore
  • Cabin Confinement – $500
  • Pre-paid Shore Excursion Cancellation – $1000
  • Formal Wear – Cruise – $1000
  • Formal Wear Delay Expenses – $250
  • Marine Rescue Diversion – $500

Insure and Go 

  • Not currently offering Cruise insurance 

Go Insurance 

  • Pre-paid excursions cover 
  • Missed shore visit – $100 per missed shore visit up to $500
  • Missed port connection cover 
  • Cabin confinement up to $2500 
  • Emergency formal attire cover 
  • COVID cover extends to cruise with unlimited medical and up to $20,000 for abandonment of trip


  • No extra add on required for domestic cruising
  • Unlimited onboard medical and dental cover
  • Unlimited sea sickness cover 
  • Unlimited ship to shore medical cover
  • Missed port cover 
  • Cabin confinement up to $100 per day
  • Missed shore excursions 
  • Covid cover extends to cruise with unlimited medical and up to $2500 for cancellation and amendment fees 

NIB Insurance

  • If you’re booking a domestic cruise you will need to take out an international policy to be covered for cruise 
  • Cruise is automatically covered in international policies
  • Will cover costs if you get sick onboard, COVID included
  • Will not cover cancellation of cruise due to epidemic or pandemic

Travel Insurance Direct 

  • You will need an international plan to get cruise cover 
  • Medical evacuation and repatriation 
  • Cancellation or holiday deferment costs
  • Luggage and personal effects
  • COVID cover extends to cruise 


  • Any loss related to COVID on a multi-night cruise is excluded 


  • Medical cover while cruising – unlimited
  • Evacuation Cover – Ship to Shore
  • Cabin Confinement – $500
  • Pre-paid Shore Excursion Cancellation – $1000
  • Formal Wear – Cruise – $1000
  • Formal Wear Delay Expenses – $250
  • Marine Rescue Diversion – $500

Zoom insurance 

  • All medical treatment on board
  • Helicopter evacuation

Nib Travel Insurance