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Mrs MJ and I have been planning to travel on a 10-night Mediterranean cruise aboard Celebrity Beyond for over a year. We were looking forward to sailing aboard Celebrity’s newest class of ships with their elegant design and of course, the famous Captain Kate! The itinerary was fabulous, and included some new ports for us such as Corfu, Greece and Kotor, Montenegro. Not to mention, we were spending several days in Rome beforehand, a city we haven’t visited for nearly a decade.
Booking the Cruise and the Age Old Insurance Question
Our wonderful travel agent, Meg, at ecruisenet.com handled our booking arrangements. As usual, I declined to insure the trip. In fact, I can only recall purchasing travel insurance for one cruise, perhaps ironically, another lengthy Mediterranean cruise with an above average price tag. That cruise several years ago still stands as the most expensive we’ve sailed, which is why I purchased insurance for it. I’m often asked whether prospective cruisers should purchase travel insurance and my answer is always, it depends. On what you ask?
Well, the price of the trip for sure, but there are other factors that one should think about. Most importantly to me, medical evacuation. That’s big money. Do I think it’s likely I need to be flown from a foreign locale to the USA via specialized medical transport? No. Is it possible? Yes. My The Platinum Card® from American Express offers a level of medical evacuation coverage that I am comfortable with. Just be sure you arrange the medical evacuation through them. What about coverage for medical care outside of the USA? That’s a good reason for most people to consider travel insurance that covers it. For me, my personal health insurance covers me outside of the USA, a feature that I admit is not part of every insurance plan. Consider your own circumstances on that. Between this and the other travel interruption coverage from my Platinum Card and my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, I nearly always decline other travel insurance for my cruises. The tie breaker after these considerations for me is price of the cruise. For whatever reason, I decided that the second most expensive cruise I’ve ever booked did not rise to the level of needing travel insurance coverage. Then life happened.
Travel Insurance – It’s About More than the $$$ and What Might Happen to You
I won’t go into a lot of personal details here, but for background, Mrs MJ’s mother was diagnosed with a serious illness in late June, just a few weeks after we’d made final payment for our cruise. Things were progressing well enough it seemed, until they weren’t. Sadly, her mother passed just 2 weeks before we were scheduled to leave for Rome and our cruise. The logistics of the days that followed aren’t relevant, but suffice it to say that we just could not depart on an 18-day vacation after being away from work and other responsibilities for so many days.
Were we about to lose several thousand dollars because we were well beyond the final payment window and thus, eligibility for a refund? Celebrity would have been within their rights to tell us they were sorry for our loss, here’s the port taxes back, but that’s it. The right kind of travel insurance would’ve covered our losses for sure. Would the insurance that’s included with the Chase Sapphire Preferred make us whole? I think the terms are too vague to say for sure, but maybe, at least partially. In any event, I won’t have to find out because we pursued another option. Our travel agent suggested that we request a future cruise credit. There would be no promises and no guarantee that Celebrity would say yes. She made the call on our behalf and handled the follow up, which included providing a copy of a death certificate. While I highly recommend using a trusted travel agent for your cruise bookings, you could make this kind of call yourself if you booked directly.
In the end, Celebrity provided us with a 100 percent future cruise credit due to the death and our Elite status with the cruise line. I was more than pleased with that, and we’ve already identified some potential itineraries for next year.
Think About Travel Insurance
While I’m still not certain I’d insure every cruise, this experience has me thinking about the subject a little more than I was before. I still think the coverages provided by certain credit cards would suffice for us, especially because The Platinum Card® from American Express includes medical evacuation, a potentially significant expense. But I’m seriously thinking about an annual travel insurance policy option now, maybe like what René has had for years.
I’m grateful to Celebrity Cruises for taking care of us and to our travel agent for advocating on our behalf. -MJ
Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. FrequentFloaters and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities
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