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Cruise Insurance: Why You Need It + 4 Best Options for 2024

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance

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Travelex Insurance Services »

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AXA Assistance USA »

Berkshire hathaway travel protection ».

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U.S. News evaluates ratings, data and scores of more than 50 travel insurance companies from comparison websites like TravelInsurance.com, Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip, plus renowned credit rating agency AM Best, in addition to reviews and recommendations from top travel industry sources and consumers to determine the Best Cruise Insurance Plans.

Table of Contents

  • Seven Corners
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Cruise vacations come with the same considerations as any other trip, including the potential for trip cancellations, trip interruptions, unforeseen medical expenses and even a need for emergency medical evacuation. Add in the potential for unruly weather during hurricane season , and it's easy to see why cruise insurance plans are so popular and recommended.

Read on to find out which cruise travel insurance plans U.S. News recommends and how they can protect the investment you made in a cruise when something goes wrong.

Frequently Asked Questions:

All cruise insurance plans are unique, and some have different coverages than others. However, most travel insurance plans for cruises cover the following:

  • Trip delays, interruptions and cancellations: This kind of coverage is essential any time of the year, but especially during hurricane season when storms can impact your travel plans. 
  • Protection for medical emergencies: This type of coverage can help pay for unexpected medical bills if you're injured on board the ship or hurt during a shore excursion. You can also choose a cruise insurance plan that covers emergency medical evacuation from the ship or to the nearest hospital.
  • Coverage for lost or delayed baggage: Coverage for baggage is important for cruises just like any other trip. This type of insurance can pay for essential items you need to buy if your bags are lost or stolen and don't make it on the ship. 

With each of these protections, a coverage limit is listed with your plan. This means you may get reimbursed for your losses or prepaid travel expenses up to this limit, but only when a covered reason applies to your claim.

One of the main reasons to buy cruise insurance is for medical emergencies. Note that, once you're on a cruise ship or visiting a destination outside the United States, your own U.S. health insurance plan will not apply. The same truth applies if you have government health coverage like Medicare.

You can purchase cruise insurance through your cruise line, but these plans are often very basic with low limits for medical expenses and other coverages. For example, cruise line travel insurance policies often come with just $25,000 in coverage for emergency medical expenses and up to $50,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation, which may not be enough.

Fortunately, you can buy cruise insurance from any travel insurance provider when planning this type of trip. By buying coverage from an independent travel insurance provider instead of your cruise line, you get to select the exact coverages and limits you need for the best protection possible.

  • Seven Corners: Best Overall
  • Travelex Insurance Services: Best for Families
  • AXA Assistance USA: Best for Medical Emergencies
  • Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection: Best Cost

Plan is cruise-specific

Get coverage for missed cruise connections and tours

Medical expense coverage is secondary if you opt for lower-tier Basic plan

  • Up to 150% in reimbursement for trip interruption
  • Up to $250 per person, per day in trip delay coverage ($2,000 maximum)
  • Up to $250 per day in missed tour or cruise connection coverage ($1,500 maximum)
  • Primary emergency medical expense coverage worth up to $500,000
  • Medical evacuation and repatriation of remains coverage worth up to $1 million
  • Political and security evacuation coverage worth up to $20,000
  • Up to $2,500 in protection for baggage and personal effects (limit per item of $250)
  • Up to $100 per day ($500 maximum) in coverage for baggage delays of six hours or more

Travel Select plan offers coverage with pricing for kids included

Customize your plan with additional medical coverage, adventure sports coverage and more

Only $1,000 in coverage for baggage and personal effects

$200 maximum coverage for baggage delays

  • Trip cancellation coverage worth up to 100% of total trip cost (maximum $50,000)
  • Trip interruption coverage worth up to 150% of trip cost (maximum $75,000)
  • $2,000 in trip delay coverage for a delay of at least five hours ($250 per day)
  • $750 in coverage for missed connections (delay of at least three hours required)
  • Emergency medical expense coverage worth up to $50,000 (dental emergency sublimit of $500 included)
  • Emergency medical evacuation coverage worth up to $500,000
  • $1,000 in protection for baggage and personal effects
  • Up to $200 in coverage for baggage delays (at least 12-hour delay required)
  • Travel assistance services

Provides comprehensive coverage for all aspects of cruising

High policy limits for medical expenses and emergency evacuation

Does not offer cruise-specific travel insurance

  • Trip cancellation coverage up to 100%
  • Trip interruption protection up to 150%
  • $1,250 in travel delay coverage ($300 per day)
  • $1,500 in protection for missed connections
  • Emergency accident and sickness coverage up to $250,000
  • Emergency medical evacuation coverage up to $1 million
  • Nonmedical emergency evacuation coverage up to $100,000
  • $50,000 in accidental death and dismemberment coverage
  • Baggage and personal item coverage up to $3,000
  • Baggage delay coverage worth up to $600

Comes with enhanced medical and luggage benefits, protections for cruise ship disablement, and more

Cruise delay coverage kicks in after five hours

Baggage delay coverage is only for $200 and doesn't kick in for 24 hours

No option to purchase CFAR coverage

  • Up to $75,000 in protection for emergency medical care
  • Emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains coverage worth up to $750,000
  • Cruise cancellation coverage for 100% of trip cost up to $25,000 per person
  • Cruise interruption coverage for 150% of trip cost up to $37,500 per person
  • Cruise delay coverage worth up to $1,000 ($200 per day for delays of five hours or more)
  • Missed connection coverage worth up to $500 (for delay of three hours or more)
  • Cruise ship disablement coverage worth up to $500
  • Up to $1,500 in coverage for baggage and personal effects

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Holly Johnson is a professional travel writer who has covered international travel, travel insurance and cruises for more than a decade. Johnson has researched and compared all the top travel insurance options for her own family for trips to more than 50 countries, some of which have included cruises all over the world. Johnson lives in Indiana with her two children and her husband, Greg – a travel agent who has been licensed to sell travel insurance in 50 states.

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Medical Evacuation Insurance: Often Overlooked, But a Potential Lifesaver

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Table of Contents

What is medical evacuation insurance?

What does medical evacuation insurance cover, how much coverage should you have, how to get medical evacuation insurance (maybe for free).

If you get injured or sick during your trip, travel insurance can come to your rescue by reimbursing the cost of prepaid travel arrangements, like a hotel room, rental car or airfare. But it won’t necessarily cover the actual costs to get medical treatment, nor will it always cover the cost of transportation to get care.

For most people, you’ll need to rely on your existing medical insurance to cover the treatment. And while some health insurers cover you anywhere in the world, not all do, so check your policy before traveling.

Even if your plan covers treatment abroad, it may not cover transportation to get there, like an ambulance ride or perhaps even a helicopter. For that, you’ll need medical evacuation insurance.

Medical evacuation insurance is typically included in travel insurance policies. It’s also commonly sold in tandem with travel medical expense insurance, which covers emergency medical treatment during your trip.

The exact terms of medical evacuation insurance vary by policy, but generally speaking, this type of insurance covers medical transportation, such as an ambulance ride or air evacuation services, to the nearest adequate medical facility. If you need to head back home for treatment, some plans may also cover the cost to change your flight or book new travel arrangements so you can return sooner.

Again, exact coverage varies by policy, but it generally encompasses:

Emergency transportation to the nearest adequate treatment center

Most policies promise transportation to what’s generally referred to as an “adequate” treatment center. But “adequate” can be a relative term, and a medical facility not up to your personal standards might still be deemed adequate by your insurer. And not all policies will pay for a flight back home to visit the doctor you already know.

However, if local doctors can’t help, medical evacuation usually covers transportation home. Those doctors would have to provide documentation that your condition is either untreatable locally or severe enough that a flight home is necessary.

A medical escort or travel companion’s travel

Some policies cover not just your transportation, but also the cost of someone else to accompany you. In some cases, that might need to be a medical professional who can support you throughout the journey, such as by administering oxygen. In other cases, it might be a trusted family member or friend.

Some policies cover only economy-class airfare, while others might cover business class, but only with a doctor’s order.

Repatriation of remains

Should you die during the trip, repatriation can transport your remains home. Typically this service also covers the costs of embalming, local cremation or a casket to transport remains by air.

If going to the doctor for a sprained ankle at home seems expensive even if you’re insured and visiting an in-network doctor, then getting coverage for an emergency abroad might be even costlier.

Most medical evacuation insurance coverage starts at $100,000 per year, but even that might not be enough. The national average for an emergency helicopter ride is about $40,000, according to medical travel service Flying Angels. That’s just an average, so flights to remote places could easily be more expensive.

Plus, it’s unlikely your existing insurance will cover an air ambulance. About two-thirds of medical flights in 2017 for people with private insurance are still out-of-network, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office, meaning you’re on the hook for most or all of that bill, unless you have medical evacuation insurance.

Throw in the actual cost of treatment, plus last-minute flights for you, a travel companion and a medical escort, and $100,000 might not go that far. Then again, some policies cover as much as $1 million or $2 million per person.

While accidents can happen anywhere, you’re less likely to need medical insurance for a winter trip that entails building snowmen and drinking cocoa in the cabin versus going backcountry skiing on challenging runs. Understand the risk and your risk tolerance. With the former scenario, slipping on an icy sidewalk might mean a patch-up at urgent care that costs a few hundred dollars, especially if your travel companions can drive you. In contrast, a severe injury with the latter might necessitate a full rescue crew.

Read the fine print

Like any travel cost, it’s always wise to read the fine print of your specific policy. Some have additional limits, require specific paperwork or exclude certain circumstances. Though this list is far from comprehensive, here are some common things to look out for:

Whether you have primary or secondary coverage: If your medical evacuation coverage is considered secondary coverage, that means it kicks in after your primary health insurance plan.

Trip length requirements: Some policies won’t cover trips longer than a certain period (60 days is common).

Distance from home: Many policies exclude accidents occurring within 100 miles of your home.

Documentation required: You typically can’t just twist your ankle, rebook an early flight home and expect to successfully file a claim, even if your ankle is puffy and painful. Most policies require extensive documentation, like approvals from a legally licensed physician that emergency evacuation is warranted. Save every receipt and get documentation of everything.

Medical evacuation insurance coverage is sometimes included with comprehensive travel insurance policies , alongside other forms of travel insurance like lost luggage insurance . Prices vary by the length and nature of your trip, so a long weekend at a resort would likely cost far less than a multiweek camping adventure off the grid.

However, you might already have travel insurance — and not need to pay any extra for it. That’s because many premium travel credit cards include medical evacuation insurance within their trip insurance policies, which are often a benefit for trips paid for on that credit card . If you’re considering purchasing trip insurance anyway, this benefit alone can easily offset any annual fees on the credit card.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023 , including those best for:

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee:   Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards:  Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card  

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's website

1x-10x Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

1x-5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

1x-2x Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services, and select streaming. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

50,000 Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

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Protect Yourself Abroad: Best Medical Evacuation Insurance [2024]

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Protect Yourself Abroad: Best Medical Evacuation Insurance [2024]

Best Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance for Europe: IMG

Best medical evacuation travel insurance for antarctica: aegis, best medical evacuation travel insurance for costa rica: worldtrips, best medical evacuation travel insurance for $1 million coverage: travelsafe , best medical evacuation travel insurance for cruises: seven corners, what is medical evacuation travel insurance, medical evacuation is costly, credit card travel insurance may limit medical evacuation coverage, what medical evacuation travel insurance costs, what medical evacuation travel insurance covers, types of medical evacuation travel insurance, what to look for in a medical evacuation travel insurance policy, how to get medical evacuation travel insurance, final thoughts.

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Leaving your destination in a medevac helicopter probably isn’t in your travel plans. But if you need emergency medical evacuation, it will be costly and may be difficult to coordinate without help. A medical evacuation travel insurance plan can cover some or all of the costs of emergency medical evacuation and help you get the medical care you need when it matters most.

If you’re considering a medical evacuation travel insurance policy, read this guide to learn how this type of travel insurance coverage can help you, when it’s worth it, what it costs, and how to choose the best plan for your needs.

The 5 Best Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance Plans

Many travel insurance policies offer emergency medical evacuation benefits, so you have many options to compare. We considered travel insurance plans with at least $500,000 in emergency medical evacuation benefits and coverage for emergency medical care, trip cancellation, and trip interruption.

Consider these medical evacuation travel insurance plans with a good value for the coverage provided:

With IMG’s iTravelInsured Travel SE , your medical evacuation benefits are up to $500,000 if a local attending physician and IMG’s travel assistance services provider determine your condition is acute, severe, or life-threatening and medically necessary treatment isn’t available where you are. IMG will pay to return you to your point of origin, your primary residence, or a hospital or medical facility closest to your home. 

If applicable, costs covered include air and land transportation, including an air ambulance and medical escort. IMG pays covered expenses directly to the service provider if payment is required upfront — so you don’t have to think about paying a huge bill before getting home safely. 

In addition to medical evacuation coverage, you’ll get trip cancellation and interruption insurance. The $250,000 medical benefits offer primary coverage, so you don’t have to go through regular insurance first. For this plan, we got a $53.49 quote for a 35-year-old visiting Switzerland .

The Aegis Go Ready Choice plan offers medical evacuation coverage even when traveling to far-flung Antarctica with limited services. This plan offers evacuation to the nearest adequate medical facility if you experience a medical emergency during your trip. 

It covers medically appropriate transportation and medical care en route to the nearest suitable hospital if the on-site attending physician certifies that you’re medically able to travel and there is no suitable local care available. Aegis will also fly 1 person of your choice — subject to a maximum of $3,000 — to your place of hospitalization and provide lodging and meals up to $300 per day for 15 days.

On top of medical evacuation coverage, this plan covers 100% of your costs for trip cancellation and 150% for trip interruption. Emergency medical coverage is for up to $500,000, though it’s secondary coverage, so you’ll have to exhaust other available insurance options first. This plan was quoted to us for $100.57 for a 35-year-old visiting Antarctica.

Using the WorldTrips Atlas Journey Economy plan, you’ll get up to $500,000 in medical evacuation benefits if you need a physician-ordered medical evacuation. That includes medically appropriate transportation and necessary medical care en route to the nearest suitable hospital. 

The coverage applies if you’re critically ill or injured and no suitable local care is available. It also covers non-emergency repatriation to get you to your home or hospital in the U.S. for proper care, plus transportation, hotel, meals, phone calls, and local transportation for 1 person of your choice if you’re hospitalized for 24 hours or more. 

While the medical evacuation coverage is comprehensive, emergency medical coverage is limited to only $10,000 of secondary coverage. But you also will be covered for up to 100% of your total cost with trip cancellation and interruption benefits. Our quote for a 35-year-old visiting Costa Rica came to $114.

If you need up to $1 million in medical evacuation coverage, you can get it from TravelSafe’s Classic plan. You can use this benefit to get to the nearest suitable medical facility if your condition is acute, severe, or life-threatening, and adequate medically necessary treatment isn’t available in your immediate area. It also covers medical evacuation expenses to return you to your point of origin or a medical facility closest to your primary residence.

This plan also includes up to $25,000 for non-medical evacuation, which applies if you need transportation due to natural disasters or civil or political unrest. And emergency medical coverage offers up to $100,000 per person. 

Trip cancellation covers up to 100% of your trip cost and trip interruption up to 150%. For a 35-year-old visiting Costa Rica, this plan came out to $122.

Read our Travelsafe insurance review for more information on all of their plans.

On a Seven Corners Trip Protection Choice plan, you’ll get up to $1 million in medical evacuation coverage. It applies if you have a severe, acute, or life-threatening condition and can’t get medically necessary treatment in your immediate area. It can include a medical escort who can provide medical care during transportation. You can also get transportation back to your point of origin, primary residence, or a hospital or medical facility closest to your primary residence.

If you’re traveling alone and will be hospitalized for more than 7 consecutive days or unable to travel after your evacuation, Seven Corners will pay airfare for a person of your choice to support you. Or, you can get reimbursed for a traveling companion’s expenses if you’re hospitalized for at least 3 days.

Emergency medical coverage offers up to $500,000 in primary coverage benefits with no medical deductible. Trip cancellation benefits cover up to 100% of your trip cost, and trip interruption covers up to 150%. Our quote for this plan came to $139 for a 35-year-old cruising Mexico.

Medical Evacuation Travel Medical Insurance

Medical evacuation travel insurance is a type of travel insurance that can cover the costs of medically necessary emergency evacuation . It applies if you become seriously injured or ill on your trip and there are no appropriate medical facilities where you are. 

With medical evacuation coverage, your insurance generally pays for transportation costs to get to a medical facility with adequate care, which may include land and air ambulance . It also covers the price of a medical escort and may provide coverage for a companion to help you during a hospitalization. Medical evacuation policies frequently offer repatriation benefits, which can get you home after emergency medical treatment.

Medical evacuation travel insurance is crucial if you plan to visit a remote destination or an area with limited medical facilities. With this coverage, you can travel confidently, knowing you can be transported to appropriate medical care without overwhelming costs. 

Is Medical Evacuation Travel Insurance Worth It?

Medical evacuation travel insurance could save your life, and that’s priceless. Prompt medical care from a capable medical facility could be a matter of life and death, particularly if you’ve experienced trauma and need critical care as soon as possible .

Getting medical evacuation travel insurance is often worth it compared to the out-of-pocket cost of medical evacuation. Sure, you might travel your entire life and never need an emergency medical evacuation. But if you do need medical evacuation, the costs can be catastrophic. 

Don’t overlook the value of the support offered by an insurance company’s assistance hotline. If you’re seriously injured or ill, you may struggle to coordinate care and may face language barriers or unfamiliarity with local and regional medical care. An assistance hotline to coordinate care could be crucial in getting the lifesaving medical care you need.

How much medical evacuation travel insurance is worth to you depends on your health conditions, where you plan to travel, and what you plan to do when you travel. If you travel domestically or to locations with robust healthcare facilities, medical evacuation travel insurance might not be beneficial to you. 

On the other hand, if you plan to visit remote locations or destinations with limited access to medical care, medical evacuation travel insurance is probably worth getting. It’s also a good idea if you plan to engage in activities with a high risk of accidents or injuries, such as backcountry skiing or mountaineering.

Consider these factors as you determine whether medical evacuation travel insurance is worth it for you:

  • Your destination and its medical infrastructure
  • Planned travel activities
  • Preexisting health conditions
  • Your financial ability to pay for evacuation expenses
  • How far you’re traveling from home

If you need medical evacuation, you should expect it to cost at least $20,000 just for transportation , according to Allianz Travel Insurance . That number can increase exponentially to $200,000 or more if evacuation is complicated, such as needing a medevac from a remote mountain. 

Emergency transportation can also cover the cost of getting you home once you’re stable. That might be more complicated than you’d think. You may need to ride home on a stretcher with a medical escort who can monitor your condition and administer care. This type of flight generally costs about $25,000 to $30,000, and an air ambulance may cost up to $50,000.

These costs are only for transporting you to and from the hospital , as evacuation is just part of the cost of emergency medical treatment. It’s also best to get medical evacuation coverage as part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan with emergency medical coverage. 

Don’t count on Medicare to cover medical evacuation on a cruise ship or while traveling abroad. Medicare medical evacuation coverage is limited to particular circumstances. For example, Medicare may pay when you have a medical emergency in the U.S., and a foreign hospital that can treat you is closer than any hospital in the U.S.

Credit cards with travel insurance coverage may provide medical evacuation benefits, but not all do. Check the limits on your medical evacuation benefit and understand that actual medical evacuation costs could exceed your benefits. 

For example, Chase Sapphire Reserve ® covers up to $100,000 in emergency evacuation and transportation costs . That might be enough if you’re not too far from adequate medical care, but it’s probably not enough coverage to get you out of a remote area with a severe injury.

Some credit cards offer medical evacuation coverage with no limit. The Platinum Card ® from American Express is one of the best travel cards and offers emergency evacuation with no specified limit under its Premium Global Assistance coverage. 

If your credit card’s emergency medical evacuation coverage isn’t adequate for your needs, travel insurance with medical evacuation benefits may be worth it.

Medical evacuation travel insurance is often part of a comprehensive travel insurance policy. All of the quotes we got were about $50 to $140. You should expect comprehensive travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage costs of about 5% to 10% of your trip. 

Your cost of medical evacuation travel insurance may vary depending on factors including:

  • Age: Your age is a significant factor in medical evacuation travel insurance costs, as older travelers are considered more at high risk for travel insurance coverage.
  • Health Conditions: You may pay more for your policy if you need coverage for preexisting conditions.
  • Destination: Traveling to a location with limited medical facilities, high health care costs, or travel advisories may require paying a higher premium for medical evacuation travel insurance.
  • Travel Duration: The longer you plan to travel, the greater the risk, so you’ll pay more to insure an extended travel period.
  • Activities: The activities you plan on your trip, such as adventure sports, can increase the cost of your medical evacuation travel insurance premium.
  • Policy Details: Your policy’s coverage limits, deductibles, copayments, and features, such as emergency assistance services, will influence how much you pay to carry a medical evacuation travel insurance policy.

Adventure travel insurance policies may cost more but deliver the coverage you need if risky activities are in your travel plans.

Emergency Room Visit

Your coverage with a medical evacuation travel insurance policy depends on the travel insurance company, plan, coverage selections, and other policy details. Still, you can generally expect a medical evacuation travel insurance policy to at least cover emergency medical evacuation along with medical treatment, monitoring, and coordination.

Let’s look at some of the coverages common among medical evacuation travel insurance policies:

  • Emergency Medical Evacuation: This coverage covers the cost of transportation to the nearest suitable medical facility, which could require air, land, or sea emergency transportation with ambulance services.
  • Medical Escort: Medical escort coverage provides medical care and monitoring while you’re en route to a medical facility. For example, you may be escorted and treated by doctors and nurses on a medevac helicopter to a hospital.
  • Care Coordination: Travel insurance companies generally offer an emergency assistance line and coordination that can help you find and coordinate with local healthcare providers, monitor your situation, and communicate between you, the medical staff, and your family. They may facilitate admission to hospitals with financial guarantees.
  • Support Travel: Whether you’re traveling alone and need a support person to meet you or you have a traveling companion who needs to come with you, medical evacuation travel insurance may pay for transportation and other costs for a support person so you don’t have to be hospitalized without a trusted friend or family member.
  • Repatriation: Emergency medical evacuation travel insurance may pay to get you home or to a medical facility near your home after you’re stable.

Comprehensive travel insurance plans are the most common type with emergency medical evacuation coverage. However, you may have access to specialized plans that focus mainly on emergency medical treatment and evacuation. These plans may offer higher coverage limits and more specialized services.

You can also look for specialized travel insurance policies. For example, you’d want adventure travel insurance with medical evacuation if you plan to climb a remote mountain or cruise travel insurance with medical evacuation coverage if you’re concerned you may need medical evacuation from a cruise ship. 

It’s also worth considering an annual travel insurance policy or multi-trip coverage, which can cover all your travel within a year.

Read our travel insurance introductory guide to learn more about travel insurance options, which frequently include emergency medical evacuation coverage.

As you compare emergency medical evacuation travel insurance policies, consider these factors:

  • Cost: While the price of a medical evacuation travel insurance policy may pale compared to actual evacuation costs, you still want to be mindful of how much you pay for coverage. Consider adjusting coverage levels, deductibles, and copays to get the right coverage at a reasonable price.
  • Coverage Limits: Compare how much coverage you get from one policy to another. A policy may be more expensive but offer greater coverage. You should also look at the emergency medical coverage limits of each policy.
  • Covered Benefits: The features of medical evacuation travel insurance policies vary between companies and plans. Confirm that the plans you’re considering offer the benefits you want, such as transportation for a support person to join you in the hospital.
  • Policy Limitations: Make sure your policy doesn’t place limitations that would restrict key coverage, such as not covering the region or country you’re visiting, your trip exceeding the allowed duration, or your age or preexisting conditions excluding you from receiving full benefits.
  • Additional Coverage: Medical evacuation coverage may be a major consideration, but consider the complete package when choosing a travel insurance policy. Trip interruption and cancellation, emergency hotlines, and other coverage can be valuable features for protecting your trip.
  • Customer Service and Claims: Read customer reviews to learn about the claims process, how well the company delivers on claims and services, and what you can expect if you buy a policy.

You can usually get medical evacuation travel insurance as part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan . Start by getting quotes from travel insurance companies directly, or use a travel insurance comparison website such as Squaremouth to get quotes for multiple policies simultaneously. 

Another option is looking at the coverage offered when you book travel. For example, an airline or online travel agency may allow you to add travel insurance to your booking. Read the fine print to find out if it covers medical evacuation and learn about the coverage details. It makes sense to compare policies offered at booking to the quotes you can get independently from travel insurance companies.

You may have travel protection, including medical evacuation coverage, available with your credit card. Check your benefits guide to see what’s covered, how much coverage you get, and when it applies.

Emergency medical evacuation travel insurance can be critical coverage if you experience a medical emergency while traveling. Getting a travel insurance policy with medical evacuation coverage can offer a financial safety net and the assurance of lifesaving support in case of a medical crisis. While medical evacuation insurance can add to your travel costs, the savings can be exponential if you need to use your coverage.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card ® from American Express, click here .

Frequently Asked Questions

Does insurance cover medical evacuation.

Regular health insurance and Medicare may cover medical evacuation under limited circumstances, but in most cases, your plan won’t cover it. Comprehensive travel insurance policies commonly offer medical evacuation coverage.

How much medical evacuation insurance should I get?

You should get at least $100,000 in medical evacuation insurance. If you’re traveling to a particularly remote or dangerous location, you may opt for medical evacuation insurance of up to $1 million.

How much does it cost to be medically evacuated?

Medical evacuation costs vary depending on the complexity of your evacuation but generally range from $20,000 to $200,000 just for transportation costs.

What is the difference between medical evacuation and repatriation?

Medical evacuation gets you to the closest medical facility that can treat you effectively, while repatriation brings you home. For example, you may get a medical evacuation to a regional hospital for critical care, then repatriation to a medical facility near your home once your condition is stable enough for travel.

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About Jessica Merritt

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little cash as possible.


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  • Cruise Insurance

Find the Best Cruise Travel Insurance

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  • Protection While at Sea
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What to Look for in a Cruise Travel Insurance Policy

Whether you’re on the cruise ship, the beach, or enroute to your port of call, a good travel insurance policy will offer coverage and peace of mind for the entirety of your cruise vacation.

Coverage Before Your Cruise

Travel insurance can offer peace of mind heading into a cruise vacation, and protect against unforeseen events that may prevent you from reaching your port of call. This may include cancellations, trip delays, and missed connections that occur as you reach your ship.

  • Cancellation Coverage: Offers reimbursement if you cancel your cruise for a covered reason, such as an unforeseen illness, injury, or death of a family member.
  • Hurricane & Extreme Weather Protection: Reimburses a traveler in the event they must cancel or interrupt their trip due to inclement weather or natural disasters.
  • Trip Delay Benefits: Protects against financial loss if you encounter significant delays or miss a connecting flight enroute to your port of call.
  • Baggage Delay: Can reimburse you for toiletry, clothes, and other essential items if your baggage is delayed during transit.

Travel Protection At Sea

While we all hope for smooth sailing when taking a cruise, it’s not always the case. The main reason cruisers purchase travel medical insurance coverage is to protect against unforeseen injuries, illnesses, and other events that may occur during a trip.

Make sure the plan you choose includes strong coverage for the benefits below:

  • Medical Coverage: Since most health insurance providers don’t offer coverage outside the USA, most travel insurance plans include Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation benefits to cover medical emergencies while traveling.
  • Interruption Insurance: If you are forced to end your trip early for a covered reason, you may be reimbursed your unused trip costs.
  • Baggage Loss Protection: Provides reimbursement for items that were lost, stolen, or damaged at any point during your cruise.

Due to an increase in demand for travel protection while at sea, many travel insurance providers offer plans specifically built for cruisers.

Squaremouth ranks the five best travel insurance companies for cruisers based on policies sold:

  • Seven Corners
  • Detour Insurance

Click here for a full breakdown of the top cruise insurance providers.

If you already have a policy and have any questions for your travel insurance provider or would like to file a claim, please contact your provider directly. Click here to find your provider's contact information .

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Cruise insurance tips and information.

Squaremouth shares their tips and recommendations based on the most frequently asked questions from passengers.

How Much Does Cruise Insurance Cost?

Cruisers can expect to pay between 5-10% of their insured trip costs on a comprehensive travel insurance plan. Costs and coverage limits can vary significantly from one policy to the next, so it's best to compare plans before making a purchase decision.

The cost of cruise travel insurance varies based on a variety of factors:

  • Total Trip Cost: The sum of your prepaid, non-refundable trip expenses that you plan to insure.
  • Length of Your Trip: The amount of days you will be traveling, starting from the day you leave home for your trip.
  • Traveler Age: In general, older travelers experience higher travel insurance premiums.
  • Coverage Amounts: Policies with higher coverage limits may result in more expensive premiums.

Get a quote today to see pricing for your specific cruise.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Cruise insurance provides financial protection for travelers if their travel plans are impacted before or during their cruise. Most comprehensive travel insurance policies provide coverage for common travel disruptions, including cancellations, medical emergencies, travel delays, missed connections, and personal items.

Is Cruise Travel Insurance Worth It?

For many cruisers, travel insurance is worth it for the peace of mind alone. If things don't go according to plan, travel insurance can protect you from serious financial loss. In addition to well-rounded benefits, most cruise insurance plans also include 24 Hour Travel Assistance Services to support you before and during your cruise.

Do I Need Travel Medical Insurance For My Cruise?

While medical insurance is rarely a requirement for cruises, it is almost always recommended.

Most U.S. health insurance plans won't cover medical emergencies that occur outside of the country. For cruisers especially, this can result in extremely high out of pocket expenses if an unforeseen injury or illness occurs if they don’t have a travel medical insurance policy.

For the best coverage, Squaremouth recommends comprehensive travel insurance plans that include at least $100,000 in Emergency Medical coverage and at least $250,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage. Those with pre-existing medical conditions should also consider plans that offer Pre-Existing Condition waivers .

When Should I Buy Insurance For My Cruise?

While you can buy travel insurance up until the day before you leave for their cruise, Squaremouth recommends buying a policy directly after making your initial first trip deposit. For most cruisers, their first trip payment will likely be their cruise reservation, flights, or hotel accommodations.

This approach offers the most coverage, and allows you to purchase time-sensitive benefits and add-ons like Cancel For Any Reason coverage (CFAR) coverage and Pre-Existing Condition waivers. Purchasing cruise travel insurance early does not necessarily impact your premium.

How Do I Find the Best Travel Insurance Plan?

Travelers can find cruise insurance from a wide-range of sources, including credit cards , cruise lines, travel agents, and third party travel insurance providers. To find the best travel insurance protection for your trip, we recommend taking the time to compare multiple cruise insurance plans that meet your budget and travel needs. Start by using a travel insurance comparison site like Squaremouth.

Can I Cancel My Cruise at the Last Minute?

Yes, many comprehensive travel insurance policies cover trip cancellations under specified circumstances, such as sudden illness, injury, or death of the insured or a family member, natural disasters, or unexpected work obligations. Most policies that include the Trip Cancellation benefit offer 100% reimbursement for all prepaid, non-refundable trip costs.

Does Travel Insurance Cover Excursions?

From scuba diving in the Caribbean sea to riding ATVs through the mainland, excursions offer a chance to experience destinations included in your itinerary. Travel insurance can cover these expenses through the Trip Cancellation, CFAR, or Trip Interruption benefits should you need to cancel your plans. If you plan on partaking in more extreme excursions, you will need to find a policy that explicitly includes Sports & Activities coverage.

Cruise  News Articles

January 12, 2024 — With wave season upon us, cruise lines brace themselves for a potentially record-breaking year on the high seas.  This maritime momentum has been building over the past three years. New data from Squaremouth, the nation’s leading travel insurance marketplace, reveals that the cruise industry is poised to make...

October 26, 2022 — While most travel sectors have made a strong post-pandemic recovery, cruise lines have been slower to rebound. Cruise lines have lessened restrictions in recent weeks, however many still require a negative COVID-19 test prior to embarkation. Despite the continued requirements, travel insurtech Squaremouth.com reports cruisers are now more...

July 28, 2021 — Countries and cruise lines are turning to travel insurance as a resource to regain tourism. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, 18 countries have begun requiring visitors travel with insurance for Covid-19. Recently, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Disney cruise lines announced similar requirements of non-vaccinated travelers. Travel...

Cruise travel insurance: What it covers and why you need it

Gene Sloan

What does cruise travel insurance cover? And does it pay to buy cruise travel insurance?

The answer is not always clear-cut, as we'll discuss in this guide. But consider this: It's not always smooth seas when it comes to cruising. Even the best-laid plans for a cruise vacation can sometimes be thrown off course by an unexpected event.

You might need to cancel a cruise in advance due to the sudden onset of an illness, such as COVID-19 or the flu. Or, maybe you fall ill during the cruise and need emergency medical attention. Maybe your flight to your ship gets canceled, and you miss the vessel's departure. Or your ship is late arriving in port at the end of a voyage, and you miss your flight home.

In all of these situations, you might benefit from having cruise travel insurance — keyword "might."

Cruise insurance policies vary widely, and not every policy covers every type of mishap. That's why it always pays to read the fine print in a travel insurance policy before you purchase it to know what you're getting in advance.

It's also why you should read this introduction to everything you need to know about cruise insurance. It has many details, but the next time something unexpected happens on your cruise vacation, you'll be glad to be educated and covered by a comprehensive travel insurance policy.

What does travel insurance cover when you cruise?

The typical cruise insurance policy covers a wide range of circumstances that can go wrong in conjunction with a vacation at sea — both before and during the sailing.

For starters, policies often will reimburse you for the cost of canceling a cruise due to a last-minute crisis. They will also often cover costs related to an interruption of a cruise (maybe your ship breaks down, requiring you to fly home mid-voyage ). These two elements are known as trip-cancellation and trip-interruption insurance, and they are bundled into a typical travel insurance policy.

Some policies will also cover out-of-pocket costs related to a flight delay or cancellation that results in you missing your cruise departure (for instance, the cost of catching up to the ship at its next port). Expenses related to baggage delays and loss are often covered as well.

But perhaps most importantly, many travel insurance policies will cover medical expenses you incur while on a cruise. Some will even cover the cost of evacuating from a foreign destination if you are in the midst of a medical crisis.

Travel insurance giant Allianz Global Assistance reports that 53% of all cruise-related "billing reasons" for claims are because of illness for the insured person, while 14% are for an injury. Another 8% are for the illness of a family member, 4% for the death of a family member and 4% for the illness of a traveling companion, among other reasons.

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance

Those percentages include illness and accidents that happen to cruisers just before a trip, making travel impossible. But, in many cases, such claims result from illness and injuries that occur during voyages.

"People often take risks during vacation that they might not take back home, whether riding a jet ski, zipping around on a motorized scooter in a city they don't know well or hiking unfamiliar terrain," James Page, senior vice president and chief administration officer of AIG Travel, told TPG .

Some policies also cover the financial default of a travel provider. In such cases, if your cruise line goes out of business before you sail, you could get all — or at least some — of your money back.

Cruise travel insurance policies don't cover everything. For instance, standard travel insurers generally will not reimburse you for the cost of a cruise you cancel due to worries about an outbreak of an illness. That's true even if a U.S. government agency such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues a recommendation that you don't cruise due to an illness outbreak, as it did during the COVID-19 pandemic .

If you want the ultimate flexibility to cancel for such a reason or any other, you'll want to look into a more expensive cancel for any reason travel insurance upgrade.

Related: Avoiding outbreaks isn't covered by most travel insurance policies

Where to find a cruise travel insurance policy

You can buy a travel insurance policy directly from your cruise line when booking your trip or through your travel agent (if you're using one, which often is a good idea when booking a cruise). You also can go directly to a third-party travel insurance provider or a travel-insurance aggregator site, such as InsureMyTrip or TravelInsurance . Your credit card might even give you some travel protections.

Here's what you need to know about each type of cruise travel insurance.

Third-party insurance companies

Third-party insurance companies that specialize in writing travel insurance include AIG Travel, Allianz Travel Insurance, Travelex Insurance and American Express Travel Insurance.

One reason to use a travel agent or a travel aggregator: They can help you find a policy that offers added coverage specific to cruising.

Related: The Points Guy's guide to the best travel insurance companies

"Many plans now offer benefits that will specifically appeal to cruise travelers, such as missed connection, missed port-of-call and cruise disablement coverage," Stan Sandberg, cofounder of TravelInsurance.com, said.

Missed connection coverage reimburses cruisers for a set dollar amount if they need to rebook travel to catch up with their cruise at the next port. Missed port-of-call coverage pays a benefit if the cruise ship misses a scheduled port of call due to weather, a natural disaster or a mechanical breakdown.

Cruise disablement coverage pays a benefit if the traveler is confined on a ship for more than five hours without power, food, water or restrooms.

As noted, policies vary widely. It's a good idea to compare plans and make sure the one you buy has the elements that are most important to you. One size doesn't fit all.

Credit cards with travel benefits

Some premium credit cards offer valuable travel protections comparable to what you might get from a standard travel insurance plan. For example, the travel insurance provided when you pay for travel with select cards can reimburse you for expenses if your baggage is damaged, you're stranded overnight due to a flight delay or cancellation, or you have to return home to handle a family medical emergency.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card, for example, offers trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, emergency medical coverage and even medical evacuation coverage , among other benefits. And yes, cruise lines are considered common carriers just like airlines.

If you're planning to rely on a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or The Platinum Card® from American Express * (among others) for travel insurance, just be sure to recheck your card's benefits and limits carefully against regular travel insurance. You must pay for at least part — and sometimes all — of the trip with that credit card to take advantage of its protections.

*Eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for details. Policies are underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Find out if your credit card protection includes travel accident insurance or covers preexisting medical conditions, and figure out when it will pay you back. Other questions to ask: What are the coverage limits? Will you have to pay for a foreign hospital bill upfront and then seek reimbursement later?

Cruise lines

Cruise lines often ask consumers booking a cruise to buy the line's own protection at the time of purchase. If specifics about the coverage are lacking, always ask the line for details in advance, review coverage perks and limits; then, compare those to one or two independent travel insurance policies or your credit card's insurance benefits.

Related: A beginners guide to picking a cruise line

Cruise line travel insurance policies sometimes have quirks. Many cruise companies will only offer a travel voucher or credit for future use in the event of a covered cancellation, not an outright refund.

Also, financial default may not be a covered event in a cruise line-sold policy, but it's typically covered with plans from third-party travel insurance companies.

Cruise line policies also can be more restrictive.

"Cruise line insurance seems to have become better and has more widespread coverage than in the past, but it typically won't cover air or pre- and post-travel [arrangements] unless those elements are purchased through [the line]," said Debra Kerper, a Cruise Planners travel adviser from Carrollton, Texas, who books travel and sells private insurance. "This is when private insurance coverage becomes so very important."

How much does cruise insurance cost?

Expect to pay anywhere from 4% to 8% of your total prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses for a travel insurance policy. That's a wide range, we know, but it reflects the wide range of products out there.

You'll also find some basic plans that cost even less than 4% of your trip expenses, while some super-premium plans that cover just about any conceivable issue can cost as much as 12% of your trip expenses.

Related: What's included in your cruise fare?

All reputable insurance companies will offer a "free-look period" during which you can receive a 100% refund on your premium. This allows you to review the policy you've selected and return it for any reason within the period allotted — usually for a small administration fee of less than $10.

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance

Under normal circumstances, you don't need to purchase a so-called "cancel for any reason" add-on to your cruise travel insurance policy unless you really need the flexibility. The upgrades are significantly more expensive.

You can receive a quote and purchase a policy online in minutes with any credit card. Although you may think travel insurance should code as "travel" when paid on a credit card and thus be eligible for bonus points on certain cards, that isn't always the case. Your points earnings will depend on the individual underwriter's merchant code. When in doubt, expect the purchase to fall under the insurance category for earnings.

Should I buy travel insurance for a cruise?

Whether you buy travel insurance is a personal decision that will depend on many factors. Would you be willing to absorb the loss of canceling a cruise on short notice due to an illness or accident? Could you afford an evacuation flight from a far-off port if you suddenly became seriously ill? Only you can answer those sorts of questions.

Here are some things to consider as you make that decision.

You might not be covered by regular medical insurance while cruising

If you're a U.S. citizen traveling internationally (which will be the case for most cruises), you may find that most private medical insurance plans in the U.S. won't cover you.

Additionally, Original Medicare only covers people traveling outside U.S. borders in limited circumstances.

While certain Medicare Supplement Plans do have some foreign emergency medical benefits, not all do. Be sure to talk to your Medical Supplemental Plan provider to see if you're covered, what's covered, what the limits are and how the bill is paid.

Also note that, in some countries (particularly those in Central and South America), travelers may not be discharged from a hospital until their bill is paid in full.

Related: Trip wrecked: 7 ways to prepare for any kind of travel disaster

Plus, if you have a medical incident overseas, you could find yourself stuck in a shared hospital room without air conditioning or a private bathroom. The level of care may not be what you expect.

"For people traveling internationally, it's crucial to know beforehand where to go for any treatment … and how they're going to pay for that treatment," Page said.

Getting evacuated for a medical condition is expensive

Most airlines won't accept seriously ill passengers, those carrying bulky medical equipment or those requiring a full medical team.

Even a low-cost weekend getaway on a cruise to the Bahamas out of Miami can turn costly if you suffer a serious accident or illness requiring medical treatment or an emergency medical evacuation.

Related: Do cruise ships have doctors, nurses, medical centers or hospitals?

Being flown back to the U.S. from a far-flung overseas location in a private, medically equipped aircraft, with a professional medical team on board, can run between $70,000 and $180,000, according to Mike Hallman, president and CEO of Medjet, a medical transport membership company.

"Domestic transports, which we cover as well, can cost upwards of $30,000," Hallman said.

Without proof of medical evacuation coverage, foreign providers will also want that money upfront. Hallman said that regular travel insurance will typically get you to an acceptable overseas hospital and even to a higher-level care facility if "medically necessary." Alternatively, medical evacuation coverage means you can fly home to your own hospital, doctors and family — without claim forms, cost caps on transports or surprise bills.

The tandem approach — buying both travel insurance and a separate medevac transport membership — is a good option, Hallman said.

"We always recommend travel insurance, as it covers trip interruption, which is important, as well as medical coverage for the hospital and treatment costs," he said. "We pick up where they leave off."

You can't predict the weather

Cruising is a great way to explore multiple destinations in one trip. But it's good to remember that unexpected delays, interruptions or cancellations due to weather can happen during cruises, particularly during hurricane seasons in places such as the Caribbean and Asia (where hurricanes are called typhoons).

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance

During a typical hurricane season (June 1 to Nov. 30), Allianz pays about 6,000 claims from customers whose travel plans in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and southeastern U.S. are affected by the storms, according to a spokesperson for Allianz Global Assistance USA.

If you're hoping to insure against a storm-related disaster, it's good to buy travel insurance as early as possible. Once a storm or hurricane is named, it's too late to buy travel insurance to cover it.

Of course, cruise lines will move ships away from a weather threat. When the port lineup is adjusted or the cruise shortened, the company will offer the guest an onboard credit, onboard gift or future cruise credit rather than any refund. It depends on the circumstances of that specific voyage. You won't be able to make a claim on your cruise travel insurance policy just for a minor itinerary change .

Related: Everything you need to know about cruising during hurricane season

Costs can mount quickly when things go wrong

Even if the cruise line does provide a full or partial refund or cruise credit for an itinerary change or some other interruption, travelers could have to swallow the cost of other travel elements not purchased through the line. That could include nonrefundable flights , prepaid resort or hotel nights, nonrefundable tour fees and more.

Travel insurance can cover those, plus help with flight delays or cancellations, baggage loss or theft.

If a winter storm causes you to miss your flight to where the ship is boarding , "travel insurance could help you get to the next port to join the cruise, so you don't miss your entire trip," Page said.

In fact, 13% of "billing reasons" for claims to Allianz are for common carrier delays (such as a flight delay), while weather and natural disaster-related claims account for about 3%.

The government probably won't bail you out

While cruise ships have medical facilities, they're usually not equipped to treat serious illnesses. If you experience a serious medical problem on a vessel, you may have to get off the ship in a foreign port to seek treatment at a hospital. In such a case, if you don't have medical evacuation insurance, you may then find yourself stranded in that port awaiting a medical evacuation.

Don't expect Uncle Sam to step in and help foot the bill.

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs clearly states the importance of buying travel insurance.

"The U.S. government does not provide medical insurance for U.S. citizens overseas," the bureau says on the website. "We do not pay medical bills. You should purchase insurance before you travel."

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance

You may need more assistance than you think

If you're injured or become severely ill during a cruise, especially in a foreign country, it may be difficult to access help without the assistance of trained professionals that comes with many insurance plans.

Many travel insurance companies provide around-the-clock assistance with locating overseas clinics and pharmacies, getting to a doctor or hospital, refilling lost or depleted prescriptions, assisting with up-front payments to hospitals, and arranging flight changes so you can get home.

Travel insurance companies also can arrange for an air ambulance, a nurse escort, oxygen and a lie-flat seat on a flight home if your medical condition warrants it.

You want to be careful if you have preexisting conditions

When you cruise, it's important to be fully covered, which means having comprehensive medical coverage that includes any preexisting conditions. Otherwise, if you head into a doctor's office overseas, have any tests completed, or visit an urgent care center or emergency room, you might not be covered.

Here, timing is extremely important. Cruisers seeking coverage of preexisting conditions, as well as cancel for any reason insurance, generally must book within seven to 21 days of the first payment they make for a trip. The timing varies by insurer.

Bottom line

Cruise insurance isn't for every traveler — or even for every sailing. It's not inexpensive. However, it can bring a lot of peace of mind if you're about to head out to sea. Do your homework, compare plans and always assess the risks.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • Top ways cruisers waste money
  • 12 best cruises for people who never want to grow up
  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise

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cruise ship medical evacuation insurance



cruise ship medical evacuation insurance


cruise ship medical evacuation insurance

Cruise ships offer a unique way to relax and see the world. While no one plans to get sick or injured on vacation, it can happen. With numerous passengers and limited medical access on a cruise ship, you may need to find alternate transportation home or to your hospital of choice if you experience a medical emergency.

At REVA, we offer medical transport services from cruise ships regardless of their location through our partnership with Tropic Ocean Airways . Our beneficial partnership combines 40 years of experience in seaplane aviation and medical evacuation to increase reaction times for cruise ship medical emergencies.  Request a free quote  to learn more about our air ambulance services or our partnership.

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance

Our medical professionals collectively have accumulated thousands of hours of experience in air-ambulance transport, critical care and emergency room response.

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance


REVA’s medical team is staffed by highly qualified specialists in emergency care, including flight doctors, registered nurses, critical-care paramedics and registered respiratory therapists.

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance


Intensive Care Unit, Cardiac Care Unit and Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Emergency Department Basic and Pediatric Life Support, Neonatal Resuscitation, Prehospital Trauma Life Support

“It is the sacred responsibility of every REVA medical professional to provide the finest care to our clients.”

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance


Medical Director

David A, Farcy is one of the preeminent physicians in the highly specialized field of emergency care and critical-care medicine. Dr. Farcy, who joined REVA as its medical director in 2015, is the senior editor of Critical Care Emergency Medicine, which means he has literally written the book on emergency-care.

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance


REVA’s medical staff has the knowledge and expertise to provide excellent care to every client.

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance


REVA Medical Director Dr. David A. Farcy is a distinguished physician has been recognized internationally for his contributions to the field.

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance


REVA requires its medical staff to take part in regularly scheduled training. REVA requires training and education that is ongoing on a daily basis and intensive in its approach.

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance


Director of Medical Operations

Steve Williams is an on old hand, with more than 30 years’ experience in emergency medicine. In other words, he’s seen it before, he’s done it before. He also currently holds the position of Team Commander of the FIU FAST Team, which is a disaster recovery team, and Deputy Team Commander for the federal government’s Trauma & Critical Care Team South.

Benefits of REVA's Air Ambulance From Cruise Ships

From the second you call us, our team will work to coordinate the appropriate medical response to your location. Since Tropic Ocean Airways has a full fleet of seaplanes with essential medical equipment, we can dispatch them to your ship whether it is docked or moving between ports. You can feel confident that our team has the tools to handle any medical emergency on a cruise ship.

Some additional benefits of choosing us for your cruise ship medical evacuation services are:

  • Experience:  Our medical professionals have over 1,000 hours of experience in the medical air transport field.
  • Professionals:  The REVA medical team is highly diverse and features highly-qualified specialists.
  • Certifications:  Our team holds many certifications in areas including emergency department basic and pediatric life support and cardiac care unit and advanced cardiac life support.
  • High standards of excellence:  We hold our staff to the highest standards and have the knowledge and expertise to provide exceptional care.
  • Best of the best:  Our medical director, Dr. David A. Farcy, has earned international recognition for his many contributions to the medical field.  
  • Ongoing and intensive training:  We require all medical staff to partake in regular training so they are up to date on current medical practices.

Medical Transport Services From Remote Locations

Together, REVA and Tropic Ocean Airways are forming a united front to keep travelers safer in remote locations. Our unique partnership enables us to provide cruise travelers with greater peace of mind through safe, efficient evacuation services. While other medical transport services rely on additional transportation steps, we will come directly to your cruise ship or meet you on the beach. Explore our entire  map of access points  in the Bahamas to learn more.

How Our Partnership With Tropic Ocean Airways Works

All patients need to do to benefit from our partnership with Tropic Ocean Airways is to call us at 877-621-7382. We will begin our medical coordination process. Once we learn your location and specific needs, we will contact the Tropic Ocean Airways team and dispatch a plane to provide expert medical services. REVA and Tropic Ocean Airways are on call 24/7, and we use our combined expertise and services to help all patients obtain the care they need.

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance

medical air transport

REVA provides patients with emergency medical air transport 24/7 every day of the year. With rigorous medical training and ongoing commitment to learning more, our team of medical and flight experts is uniquely qualified to provide you with medical evacuation from a cruise ship. Our staff of over 250 professionals includes dedicated nurses and physicians who will provide care during your medical air transport.

commercial medical escort

If you require a medical escort but not full air ambulance services, our commercial medical escort is for you. We have a team of professionals who can follow you on your journey from preparation to landing. Our medical escort services allow for support such as post-cardiac catheterization, oxygen and intervenous medication. We also offer support for extreme injuries and mental health.

private chartered flights

If you're looking to travel in luxury while recovering or you require little medical intervention, a comfortable private charter might be the right flight for you. We use Learjet 45XRs for our flights and provide you with a luxurious interior cabin and amenities. This option is only for those who are in stable condition and do not require immediate or ongoing medical attention.

Insurance Coverage

REVA works with  all major health insurance carriers , including TRPN, MultiPlan, zelis, First Health and Humana. We'll work to cut through the red tape so you don't have to, whether that means helping you determine what benefits you're entitled to or appealing a wrongful denial.


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  • Section 8 - Road & Traffic Safety
  • Section 8 - Motion Sickness

Cruise Ship Travel

Cdc yellow book 2024.

Author(s): Kara Tardivel, Stefanie White, Aimee Treffiletti, Amy Freeland

Cruise Ship Medical Capabilities

Illness & injury, infectious disease health risks, noninfectious health risks, travel preparation.

Cruise ship travel presents a unique combination of health concerns. Travelers from diverse regions brought together in the often crowded, semi-enclosed shipboard environment can facilitate the spread of person-to-person, foodborne, and waterborne diseases. Outbreaks on ships can be sustained over multiple voyages by crewmembers who remain onboard, or by persistent environmental contamination. Port visits can expose travelers to local diseases and, conversely, be a conduit for disease introduction into shoreside communities.

Some people (e.g., those with chronic health conditions or who are immunocompromised, older people, pregnant people) merit additional considerations when preparing for a cruise. Because travelers at sea might need to rely on a ship’s medical capabilities for an extended period, potential cruise passengers with preexisting medical needs should prepare accordingly by calling the cruise line’s customer service center to learn what type and level of health care services are (and are not) available on specific ships.

Medical facilities on cruise ships can vary widely depending on ship size, itinerary, cruise duration, and passenger demographics. Generally, shipboard medical centers can provide medical care comparable to that of ambulatory care centers; some are capable of providing hospitalization services or renal dialysis. Although no agency officially regulates medical practice aboard cruise ships, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) published consensus-based guidelines for cruise ship medical facilities in 1995, and updated the guidelines in 2013. ACEP guidelines , which most major cruise lines follow, state that cruise ship medical facilities should be able to provide quality medical care for passengers and crew; initiate appropriate stabilization, diagnostic, and therapeutic maneuvers for critically ill or medically unstable patients; and assist in the medical evacuation of patients in a timely fashion, when appropriate.

Cruise ship medical centers deal with a wide variety of illnesses and injuries; ≈10% of conditions reported to cruise ship medical centers are an emergency or require urgent care. Approximately 95% of illnesses are treated or managed onboard, with the remainder requiring evacuation and shoreside consultation for dental, medical, or surgical issues. Roughly half of all passengers seeking medical care are >65 years old.

Medical center visits are primarily the result of acute illness or injury. The most frequently reported diagnoses include respiratory illnesses (30%–40%); injuries from slips, trips, or falls (12%–18%); seasickness (10%); and gastrointestinal (GI) illness (10%); 80% of onboard deaths are due to cardiovascular events.

Infectious Disease Outbreaks

The most frequently reported cruise ship outbreaks involve GI infections (e.g., norovirus), respiratory infections (e.g., coronavirus disease 2019 [COVID-19], influenza), and other vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs), such as varicella. Although cruise ships do not have public health authority, to reduce the risk of introducing communicable diseases, some ships conduct medical screening during embarkation to identify ill passengers, prevent them from boarding, or require isolation if permission to board is given.

Before travel, to help limit the introduction and spread of communicable diseases on cruise ships, prospective cruise ship travelers and their clinicians should consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travelers’ Health website for updates on outbreaks and destination-specific travel health notices. People who become ill with a communicable disease before a voyage should consult their health care provider and delay their travel until they are no longer contagious. When booking a cruise, travelers should check the trip cancellation policies and consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance (see Sec. 6, Ch. 1, Travel Insurance, Travel Health Insurance & Medical Evacuation Insurance ).

Travelers who become ill during a voyage should seek care in the ship’s medical center; the onboard staff will provide clinical management, facilitate infection-control measures, and take responsibility for reporting potential public health events. For information on how to report travelers who become ill with suspected communicable diseases after they return home from a cruise, see Sec. 8, Ch. 8, Airplanes & Cruise Ships: Illness & Death Reporting & Public Health Interventions .

Gastrointestinal Illnesses

During 2006–2019, rates of GI illness among passengers on voyages lasting 3–21 days fell from 32.5 to 16.9 cases per 100,000 travel days. Despite the decrease, outbreaks continue to occur. CDC assists the cruise ship industry to prevent and control the introduction, transmission, and spread of GI illnesses on cruise ships. See information on cruise ship GI illnesses and updates on GI illness outbreaks involving ships with US ports of call, specifically.

On cruise ships, >90% of GI illness outbreaks with a confirmed cause are due to norovirus. Characteristics of norovirus that facilitate outbreaks include a low infective dose, easy person-to-person transmissibility, prolonged viral shedding, absence of long-term immunity, and the ability of the virus to survive routine cleaning procedures (see Sec. 5, Part 2, Ch. 16, Norovirus ). For international cruise ships porting in the United States during 2006–2019, an average of 12 norovirus outbreaks occurred each year.

Other Sources of Gastrointestinal Illness

GI outbreaks on cruise ships also have been caused by contaminated food or water; most outbreaks were associated with  Campylobacter ,  Clostridium perfringens , or enterotoxigenic  Escherichia coli .

Protective Measures

Travelers can reduce the risk of acquiring a GI illness on cruise ships by frequently washing hands with soap and water, especially before eating and after using the restroom. Travelers should call the ship’s medical center promptly, even for mild symptoms of a GI illness, and strictly follow cruise ship guidance regarding isolation and other infection-control measures.

Respiratory Illnesses

Respiratory illnesses are the most common medical complaint on cruise ships. During the pretravel visit, evaluate whether vaccines or boosters (e.g., COVID-19, influenza) are needed and emphasize the importance of practicing good respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette while onboard. As with GI illnesses, cruise ship passengers should report respiratory illness to the medical center promptly and follow isolation recommendations as instructed.

Coronavirus Disease 2019

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads more easily between people in close quarters, and multiple studies have concluded that transmission rates of SARS-CoV-2 among travelers on ships are much greater than in other settings. Cruise ship COVID-19 outbreaks can tax onboard medical and public health resources. Ship-to-shore medical evacuations to facilities capable of providing higher levels of medical care can present logistical challenges and pose additional risks to ill patients.

Cruise passengers and crewmembers who are not up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines are at increased risk for severe illness, hospitalization, medical evacuation, and death. Since cruising will always pose some risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, ensure that people planning cruise ship travel are up to date with their vaccinations, and assess their likelihood for developing severe COVID-19. For people at increased risk of severe COVID-19 regardless of their vaccination status (e.g., pregnant people, people who are immunocompromised), discuss the potential health hazards associated with cruise ship travel. CDC has developed recommendations and guidance designed to help cruise ship operators provide a safer and healthier environment for crewmembers, passengers, port personnel, and communities.

Historically, influenza has been among the most often reported VPDs occurring on cruise ships. Because passengers and crew originate from all regions of the globe, shipboard outbreaks of influenza A and B can occur year-round, with exposure to strains circulating in different parts of the world (see Sec. 5, Part 2, Ch. 12, Influenza ). Thus, anyone planning a cruise should receive the current seasonal influenza vaccine ≥2 weeks before travel if vaccine is available and no contraindications exist. For people at high risk for influenza complications, health care providers should discuss chemoprophylaxis and how and when to initiate antiviral treatment.

See additional guidance on the prevention and control of influenza on cruise ships .

Legionnaires’ Disease

Less common on cruise ships, Legionnaires’ disease is nevertheless a treatable infection that can result in severe pneumonia leading to death (see Sec. 5, Part 1, Ch. 9, Legionnaires’ Disease & Pontiac Fever ). Approximately 10%–15% of all Legionnaires’ disease cases reported to CDC occur in people who have traveled during the 10 days before symptom onset. Clusters of Legionnaires’ disease associated with hotel or cruise ship travel can be difficult to detect, because travelers often disperse from the source of infection before symptoms begin. Data reported to CDC during 2014–2015 included 25 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease associated with cruise ship exposures.

In general, Legionnaires’ disease is contracted by inhaling warm, aerosolized water containing the bacteria,  Legionella . Transmission also can sometimes occur through aspiration of  Legionella -containing water. Typically, people do not spread  Legionella  to others; a single episode of possible person-to-person transmission of Legionnaires’ disease has been reported. Contaminated hot tubs are commonly implicated as a source of shipboard  Legionella  outbreaks, although potable water supply systems also have been culpable. Improvements in ship design and standardization of water disinfection have reduced the risk for  Legionella  growth and colonization.

Diagnosis & Reporting

People with suspected Legionnaires’ disease require prompt antibiotic treatment. When evaluating cruise travelers for Legionnaires’ disease, obtain a thorough travel history of all destinations during the 10 days before symptom onset to assist in identifying potential sources of exposure, and collect urine for  Legionella  antigen testing. Most cruise ships have the capacity to perform this test, which detects  L. pneumophila  serogroup 1, the most common serogroup.

Perform culture of lower respiratory secretions on selective media to detect non– L. pneumophila  serogroup 1 species and serogroups. Culture also is used for comparing clinical isolates to environmental isolates during an outbreak investigation. Notify CDC of any travel-associated Legionnaires’ disease cases by sending an email to [email protected]. Quickly report all cases of Legionnaires’ disease to public health officials, who can determine whether a case links to previously reported cases and work to stop potential clusters and new outbreaks.

Other Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Although most cruise ship passengers come from countries with routine vaccination programs (e.g., Canada, the United States), many of the crew are from low- or middle-income countries where immunization rates can be low. Outbreaks of hepatitis A, measles, meningococcal disease, mumps, pertussis, rubella, and varicella have all been reported on cruise ships. The majority (82%) of these outbreaks occur among crewmembers; prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, varicella was the most frequently reported VPD. Other VPDs (e.g., pertussis) occur more often among passengers.

Each cruise line sets its own policies regarding vaccinations for its crew; some have limited or no requirements. Thus, all passengers should be up to date with routine vaccinations before travel, as well as any required or recommended vaccinations specific for their destinations. People of childbearing age should have documented immunity to measles, rubella, and varicella (either by vaccination or titer) before cruise ship travel.

Vectorborne Diseases

Some cruise ship ports of call include destinations where vectorborne diseases (e.g., dengue, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, yellow fever, Zika) are known to be endemic. In addition, new diseases can surface in unexpected locations; chikungunya was reported for the first time in the Caribbean in late 2013, with subsequent spread throughout the region and numerous other North, Central, and South American countries and territories. Zika was first reported in Brazil in 2015, and subsequently spread across the Caribbean and Latin America, sparking concern because of its association with microcephaly and other congenital abnormalities in the fetus. For disease-specific information, see the relevant chapters of Section 5.

For guidance on how to avoid bites from mosquitoes and other disease-transmitting arthropod vectors, both onboard and while on shore at ports of call, see Sec. 4, Ch. 6, Mosquitoes, Ticks & Other Arthropods . For specific details on yellow fever vaccination and malaria prevention, see Sec. 2, Ch. 5, Yellow Fever Vaccine & Malaria Prevention Information, by Country .

Stresses of cruise ship travel include varying weather and environmental conditions, and unaccustomed changes to diet and levels of physical activity. Despite modern stabilizer systems, seasickness is a common complaint, affecting up to 25% of travelers (see Sec. 8, Ch. 7, Motion Sickness ). Note that travel is an independent risk factor for behaviors such as alcohol and illicit drug use and misuse (see Sec. 3, Ch. 5, Substance Use & Substance Use Disorders ), and unsafe sex (see Sec. 9, Ch. 12, Sex & Travel ).

Cruise ship travelers have complex itineraries due to multiple short port visits. Although most port visits do not include overnight stays off ship, some trips offer travelers the opportunity to venture off the ship for ≥1 night. These excursions can complicate decisions about exposures and the need for specific antimicrobial prophylaxis, immunizations, and other prevention measures.  Boxes 8-04  and  8-05  summarize recommended cruise travel preparations and healthy behaviors during travel for health care providers and cruise ship travelers.

Box 8-04 Healthy cruise travel preparation: a checklist for health care providers

Risk assessment & risk communication.

☐ Discuss itinerary, including season, duration of travel, and activities at ports of call. ☐ Review the traveler’s medical and immunization history, allergies, and any additional health needs. ☐ Discuss relevant travel-specific health hazards and risk reduction. ☐ Provide travelers with documentation of their medical history, immunizations, and medications.


☐ Provide routinely recommended (age-specific), required (yellow fever), and recommended vaccines. ☐ Discuss safe food and water precautions. ☐ Discuss insect bite prevention. ☐ Provide older travelers with a baseline electrocardiogram, especially those with coronary artery disease.


☐ Consider prescribing malaria chemoprophylaxis if itinerary includes stops in malaria-endemic areas. ☐ Consider prescribing motion sickness medications for self-treatment.

Box 8-05 Healthy cruise travel preparation: a checklist for travelers

☐ Carry prescription drugs in original containers with a copy of the prescription and a physician’s letter. ☐ Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Outbreak Updates for International Cruise Ships website for gastrointestinal outbreaks. ☐ Consider purchasing additional insurance coverage for overseas health care and medical evacuation. ☐ Consult medical and dental providers before cruise travel. ☐ Consult CDC Travelers’ Health website for travel health notices . ☐ Defer travel while acutely ill. ☐ Evaluate the type and length of the planned cruise in the context of personal health requirements. ☐ Notify the cruise line of additional health needs (e.g., dialysis, supplemental oxygen, wheelchair). ☐ Pack Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)–registered insect repellent; consider treating clothes and gear with permethrin. ☐ Pack sunscreen.


☐ Avoid contact with people who are ill. ☐ Follow safe food and water precautions when eating off ship at ports of call. ☐ Maintain good fluid intake and avoid excessive alcohol consumption. ☐ Practice safe sex. ☐ Report all illnesses to ship’s medical center and follow their recommendations. ☐ Use insect bite precautions during port visits, especially in vectorborne disease–endemic areas or areas experiencing outbreaks of vectorborne diseases (e.g., Zika, yellow fever) ☐ Use sun protection. ☐ Wash hands frequently with soap and water; if soap and water are not available, use ≥60% alcohol–based hand sanitizer.


☐ See CDC’s latest post-cruise health guidance regarding coronavirus disease 2019.

Travelers with Additional Considerations

Travelers with chronic illnesses and travelers with disabilities who have additional needs (e.g., dialysis, supplemental oxygen, wheelchairs) should inform their cruise line before traveling. Highly allergic travelers and travelers with underlying medical conditions should carry a file that contains essential, pertinent health information (e.g., allergies, blood type, chest radiograph [if abnormal], chronic conditions, electrocardiogram, medication list, primary and/or specialty care provider contact information). Travelers also should bring any medications recommended by their health care provider (e.g., an epinephrine auto-injector) to help facilitate care during a medical emergency. For detailed information on preparing travelers who have additional considerations for international travel, including severe allergies, chronic illness, disabilities, or immune compromise, see Section 3.

Pregnant Travelers

Most cruise lines have policies that do not permit people to board after their 24th week of pregnancy. Contact cruise lines directly for specific guidance before booking. For additional information on preparing pregnant people for international travel, see Sec. 7, Ch. 1, Pregnant Travelers .

Insurance Coverage

All prospective cruise travelers should verify coverage with their health insurance carriers and, if not included, consider purchasing additional insurance to cover medical evacuation and health services received onboard cruise ships and in foreign countries (see Sec. 6, Ch. 1, Travel Insurance, Travel Health Insurance & Medical Evacuation Insurance ).

The following authors contributed to the previous version of this chapter: Kara Tardivel, Stefanie B. White, Krista Kornylo Duong


Hill CD. Cruise ship travel. In: Keystone JS, Kozarsky PE, Connor BA, Nothdurft HD, Mendelson M, editors. Travel medicine, 4th edition. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier; 2019. pp. 377–82. 

Jenkins KA, Vaughan GHJ, Rodriguez LO, Freeland AL. Acute gastroenteritis on cruise ships—United States, 2006–2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2021;70(6):1–19. 

Kordsmeyer A-C, Mojtahedzadeh N, Heidrich J, Militzer K, von Münster T, Belz L, et al. Systematic review on outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 on cruise, navy and cargo ships. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(10):5195. 

Millman AJ, Kornylo Duong K, Lafond K, Green NM, Lippold SA, Jhung MA. Influenza outbreaks among passengers and crew on two cruise ships: a recent account of preparedness and response to an ever-present challenge. J Travel Med. 2015;22(5):306–11. 

Mouchtouri VA, Lewis HC, Hadjichristodoulou C. A systematic review for vaccine-preventable diseases on ships: evidence for cross-border transmission and for pre-employment immunization need. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(15):2713. 

Payne DC, Smith-Jeffcoat SE, Nowak G, Chuwkwuma U, Geibe JR, Hawkins RJ, et al. SARS-CoV-2 infections and serologic responses from a Sample of U.S. Navy service members—USS Theodore Roosevelt, April 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69(23):714–21. 

Peake DE, Gray CL, Ludwig MR, Hill CD. Descriptive epidemiology of injury and illness among cruise ship passengers. Ann Emerg Med. 1999;33(1):67–72. 

Rice ME, Bannerman M, Marin M, Lopez AS, Lewis MM, Stamatakis CE, et al. Maritime varicella illness and death reporting, U.S., 2010–2015. Travel Med Infect Dis. 2018;23:27–33. 

Rocklöv J, Sjödin H, Wilder-Smith A. COVID-19 outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship: estimating the epidemic potential and effectiveness of public health countermeasures. J Travel Med. 2020;27(3):taaa030. 

Stamatakis CE, Rice ME, Washburn FM, Krohn KJ, Bannerman M, et al. Maritime illness and death reporting and public health response, United States, 2010–2014. J Travel Med Inf Dis. 2017;19:16–21.

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5 reasons why you need travel insurance for your cruise

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance

Cruise travel insurance may help if COVID-19 disrupts your travel plans

COVID-19 has posed challenges for the world of cruise travel. Travel insurance can help protect your trip for unforeseen medical circumstances related to COVID-19.

As long as there is no Level 3 or Level 4 travel advisory related to COVID-19 in effect for your destination or type of travel (i.e. cruises) on the effective date of your policy, expenses related to COVID-19 are now eligible under our standard medical plans.

COVID-19 remains a known event for Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption. Policies that include Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption benefits that were purchased on or after March 11, 2020 will not cover claims related to previous or future travel advisories from the Canadian government related to COVID-19.

For questions regarding COVID-19 and coverage for your cruise, please contact us at dummy 1-844-310-1578 . We offer various plans and assistance services to fit your travel needs.

Unexpected cancellations and trip interruptions (you or them)

No one wants to think about everything that could go wrong, before or during a vacation. Here’s where travel insurance can help.

Imagine a hurricane hits your destination, or the cruise line has to keep the ship in port for repairs. Your travel insurance may cover the cancellation of the cruise, tour, or travel package by the cruise company or tour operator. You can also protect yourself with travel medical insurance so that if you have an unforeseen health emergency you may be eligible to cancel your cruise outright and rebook for the future.

You can also protect yourself with travel medical insurance so that if you have an unforeseen health emergency during your trip, you’ll save a lot on hefty medical expenses. 

Cancellation of plans by a travel companion, the illness or death of a family member, job loss, airline delays and lost baggage are all situations where travel insurance may help.

There is always a chance you might need to leave the cruise early due to a sudden medical condition or a family emergency. This can mean an immediate need to get off the ship as soon as possible. Travel insurance may help you get home quickly and without the worry of additional costs for a new flight.

Medical evacuation and repatriation

Cruise ships have medical facilities on board, but they may not be suitable for more serious health crises. Your travel insurance may provide coverage for transport to the nearest appropriate medical facility, or back to a Canadian hospital. 

Also, be sure to always take a full supply of your medication with you! Don’t presume that pharmacists on the ship or in ports of call will be able to supplement or refill prescriptions. If you become ill because you have not been able to follow your health regimen by taking prescribed medication, your travel insurance claim may be void.

It is also important to make thoughtful decisions about activities available to you in the ports. With many travel insurance policies, injuries resulting from high-risk activities may not be covered, so it’s important to understand the specific provisions of your  chosen travel insurance policy   before  you need to access coverage.

Your travel insurance may cover the cost of repatriating your remains in the event of your death while on a trip, ensuring your family is not financially burdened by the cost. 

You miss the boat

Peace of mind.

For many, going on a cruise is a way of life. It offers the best of both worlds- a ‘home’ base and the ability to be mobile. Protecting yourself with adequate travel insurance for cruises just makes good sense and ensures your trip will be enjoyable and worry free.

View all dummy available plans   offered by Allianz Global Assistance or call us at dummy 1-844-310-1578 to get a quote or answer any questions you may have.

Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies, administered by Allianz Global Assistance, which is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc.

Related articles

  • What is medical repatriation and medical evacuation?
  • The Do’s & Don’ts When Eating Abroad
  • Why travel insurance for seniors is important

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AIG Travel Guard insurance review: What you need to know

Whether you need an annual plan or a policy for a last-minute trip, travel guard can deliver..


Travel Guard is one of CNBC Select 's picks for best travel insurance , thanks to its wide range of customizable policies. But are any of them right for you? Below, we review the provider and its offers and how they compare to the competition to help you choose the right travel insurance for your next trip.

Travel Guard review

Other insurance offered, how it compares, bottom line, travel guard® travel insurance.

The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

Policy highlights

Travel Guard offers a variety of plans to suit travel ranging from road trips to long cruises. For air travelers, Travel Guard can help assist with tracking baggage or covering lost or delayed baggage.

24/7 assistance available

  • A variety of plans are available to help cover different types of trips
  • Not all products are available for purchase online

Travel Guard® is a global travel insurance provider specializing in plans for leisure and business travelers. Its online travel insurance packages include five options, from basic and last-minute trip coverage to more comprehensive plans. This allows travelers to pick a plan that best matches their situation.

For example, budget-minded travelers might go for the Essential Plan which offers basic protections, such as trip cancellation, interruption and delay insurance, coverage for lost, damaged and delayed baggage, and medical, evacuation and death coverage.

On the other hand, the Deluxe Plan — the most comprehensive option — adds such extras as missed connection coverage, security evacuation, travel inconvenience benefits and more. It also boosts high limits for essential coverages.

Last-minute travelers can opt for the Pack N' Go Plan which only includes certain post-departure coverages. Or, if you travel often, the Annual Plan can cover your trips throughout the year.

Finally, Travel Guard offers "offline" travel insurance packages, meaning you'll have to call if you're looking for a specialty plan.

Coverage types

Depending on the plan, here are the types of protection Travel Guard can include in your package:

  • Trip cancellations
  • Trip interruption
  • Baggage coverage
  • Baggage delay
  • Travel medical expenses
  • Travel inconvenience benefits (reimbursement for such situations as runway delays, cruise diversion and other unforeseen situations)
  • Medical evacuation
  • Trip Saver (reimbursement for meals, hotels and transportation if you need to begin your trip sooner due to weather or airline changes)
  • Trip exchange (reimbursement in case you have to cancel your trip and book a new one due to covered unforeseen circumstances)
  • Security evacuation (due to a riot or civil disorder)
  • Flight guard (coverage for accidental death or dismemberment that occurs when traveling by plane)
  • Pre-existing medical conditions exclusion waiver

You can also customize your plan with add-ons, such as car rental insurance and "cancel for any reason" coverage .

Travel Guard landed on our list of the best travel insurance companies thanks to its variety of coverage. With plenty of options to choose from, both online and offline, it's easy to build a policy that meets your needs.

Travel Guard also features 24-hour concierge services that you can use to book a new flight in case of an emergency or delay.

The provider's website also offers informational resources — here, you can check travel news, read safety tips and find general travel advice. Additionally, the website lets you modify your plan, file a claim and check its status, or apply for a voucher or refund.

As of writing, Travel Guard doesn't offer any discounts. That's common for travel insurance — you're more likely to find deals when shopping for other types of insurance, such as home and auto insurance .

Travel Guard is a portfolio of travel insurance and travel-related services offered by AIG Travel, a member of American International Group (AIG). AIG also offers life insurance and a variety of business insurance products.

Travel Guard makes it easy to get a travel insurance policy customized to your needs. But before you purchase coverage, it's always a good idea to shop around.

For example, if you're going on a cruise, you might want to look at Nationwide Travel Insurance . The provider advertises cruise-specific insurance with three plan options available. This type of coverage is designed with issues unique to cruises in mind — from ship-based breakdowns to missed pre-pard excursions.

If you're planning a more active trip filled with rock climbing or sky diving, Berkshire Hathaway offers the AdrenalineCare® plan which features coverage for unforeseen costs that result from participating in extreme sports on your trip, as well as reimbursement for sporting equipment delay. Pre-existing conditions are covered under this plan (if you meet qualifying conditions).

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection has multiple plans to cover vacations from luxury travel to adventure travel. The brand's LuxuryCare offers the highest limits of travel insurance coverage offered by the company. Quotes and policies are available online.

As you can see, offerings vary by provider. It can be helpful to compare multiple companies and the plans they offer to find what works best for you. It's even better if you gather several quotes to ensure you're getting a good price for your policy.

Money matters — so make the most of it. Get expert tips, strategies, news and everything else you need to maximize your money, right to your inbox.  Sign up here .

Travel Guard offers plenty of ways to customize your policy, making it a solid choice for travel insurance. You can also access additional options by giving Travel Guard a call. However, make sure to check out other travel insurance companies too — comparison shopping is essential when picking any type of financial product.

Why trust CNBC Select?

At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every insurance review is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of insurance products . While CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics.

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of  credit cards ,  banking  and  money , and follow us on  TikTok ,  Facebook ,  Instagram  and  Twitter  to stay up to date.


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Viking Sky cruise timeline: A breakdown of what we know happened

cruise ship medical evacuation insurance

A Viking cruise ship needed to be evacuated over the weekend as engine trouble and stormy weather caused the ship to take on water and endanger the 1,373 passengers and crew aboard. What played out was a chaotic 48-hour nightmare. 

 All the important details have yet to emerge about what happened on the Viking Sky cruise ship that carried 1,373 passengers and crew, like  why the ship was traveling in dangerous weather , and Norway officials have begun investigating. We now know that low oil levels caused the engine to fail.

Accounts from passengers , a crew member and officials have provided further details as to how it all unfolded. 

Here's everything we know so far about the Viking Sky cruise incident:

What was the Viking Sky's plan?

The Viking Sky, a vessel with gross tonnage of 47,800, was on a 12-day trip that began March 14 in the western Norwegian city of Bergen, according to cruisemapper.com .

The ship was visiting the Norwegian towns and cities of Narvik, Alta, Tromso, Bodo and Stavanger before its scheduled arrival Tuesday in the London-area port of Tilbury on the River Thames.

The ship started listing dangerously

The Viking Sky sailed from the northern city of Tromso bound over the weekend for Stavanger in southern Norway when the ship began struggling with engine failure, started listing dangerously, then took in water. Norwegian media reported gusts up to 43 mph and waves over 26 feet. 

According to a crew member's account , exclusive to USA TODAY, the ship's four engines began shutting down in the midst of a storm that started late Friday. .

The crew member requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

More on our exclusive: Crew member recounts what happened on that stranded, storm-tossed Viking Sky cruise ship

The crisis began Saturday morning. As the ship drifted without power, the crew threw out anchors to keep it in place, fearing it would be smashed on treacherous offshore rocks. The crew member said the ship started to list, and the crew rushed to grab life jackets and distribute them to the passengers, some of them elderly.

Cellphone footage from the ship shows furniture sliding across rooms as the boat rocks.

"Everything was broken: plates, glasses, furniture," the crew member said. He said he saw a heavy grand piano go flying upside down inside a lounge. 

Carolyn Savikas of Pennsylvania described the terror aboard the Viking Sky to  Norway's VG newspaper , saying she heard a "terrible crash," after which the ship rocked, and water raced in.

"We were in the restaurant when a really huge wave came and shattered a door and flooded the entire restaurant," she said. "All I saw were bones, arms, water and tables. It was like the Titanic – just like the pictures you have seen from the Titanic."

Although the crew member described the crew as well-trained for emergencies, he said he called his family at one point when the Wi-Fi was working "to say goodbye. I was thinking it was going to sink when we listed."

What first reports looked like: Cruise ship off Norway issues mayday, begins evacuating 1,300 passengers and crew

Passengers took to social media and have given interviews about what they were witnessing onboard as they waited to be rescued.

Alexus Sheppard posted a video on Twitter of severe tilting due to the rough waters. "We're waiting for evacuation by helicopter," she wrote with the hashtags #VikingSky and #Mayday.

"You could feel the ship climbing the waves and then just plummeting on the other side. Waves were rocking the sides of the ship too, and it was kind of pitching back and forth as well," Jamey Kennedy, 64, of Clinton, Tennessee, said.

'This can't be real': 'This can't be real': Tennessee couple rescued from Viking Sky cruise ship in dramatic airlift

How the Viking Sky rescue mission developed

After the order to evacuate came, rescuers worked all night Saturday and into Sunday to airlift more than 400 passengers (about half the total) to shore by a fleet of five helicopters flying in the dark, slowly winching people up one-by-one from the heaving ship as the waves crashed and the winds shrieked.  

Despite the danger, the crew member said some passengers rushed to be airlifted, fearing the ship would sink before rescue.

To get to the life jackets, the crew member said employees had to open doors onto open decks and into the wind and form human chains to distribute the life jackets while the ship was leaning perilously close to the frigid water below.

Those involved in the rescue mission hadn't experienced a rescue this intense before . 

The CHC, a helicopter service, was called to assist the rescue effort at 2 p.m. local time on Saturday. The company's mission involved 12 pilots, seven rescue swimmers, six hoist operators, two ground support engineers and a system operator.

By the numbers: Five helicopters, 28 rescuers, 464 saved: Inside the Viking Sky cruise ship rescue

Its first helicopter arrived within 30 minutes after being called, and a second one later joined to assist.

"The two helicopters worked seamlessly together in a rescue pattern that ensured one aircraft was hoisting passengers at all times," according to a post on CHC's website. "During each mission, 15 to 20 passengers were hoisted and subsequently transported to safety." Two more CHC aircraft were later sent to support the evacuations, and a fifth government-contracted aircraft arrived, as well. A total of 464 passengers were lifted off the cruise ship, per CHC's latest numbers.

Ship makes it to safety

The ship, aided by tow vessels, finally limped into the Norwegian port of Molde on Sunday, freeing the remaining 436 passengers and crew of 458.

Mission complete: Cruise ship from Norway reaches port with remaining passengers after mayday, air rescues

"All passengers and crew are safe, and passengers will be flying home starting tonight," the cruise line said  in a statement  on its website Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Norwegian time. "Throughout all of this, our first priority was for the safety and well-being of our passengers and our crew. We would like to thank the Norwegian Redningssentral and the Norwegian emergency services for their support and skill displayed in managing the situation in very challenging weather conditions."

“When we got the engine running again, we realized we were going to save ourselves," Inge Lockert, a Norwegian pilot on the ship, told the Vesteraalen newspaper. 

Lockert was one of two pilots from the Norwegian Coastal Administration who boarded the ship on Saturday to help the crew take the ship into port, the Vesteraalen daily said. Only Lockert has spoken publicly.

More from the pilot: Viking Sky cruise ship woes off Norway started with engine snags, pilot says

The Viking Sky investigation begins; why the engine failed

Norwegian authorities on Monday began investigating why the cruise ship was sailing in stormy weather.

"We don't know the reason why the ship sailed, knowing such bad weather was forecast," Kurt Olsen, acting director for Norway's Accident Investigations Board, told USA TODAY. "We have a very good weather service in this country, so I would guess the crew knew everything about the forecast. How they responded will definitely be part of the investigation."

Lars Alvestad, the head of Norway's Maritime Authority, said Wednesday that low oil levels were the "direct cause" of the engine failure that stranded the Viking Sky on Saturday.

More details: Viking Sky cruise ship engines failed because of low oil levels, maritime official says

The NMA indicated in a press release that while oil in the tanks was relatively low, it was within set limits. But as the ship crossed rocky seas, movement of oil in the tanks triggered an alarm.

Olsen would not speculate why the Viking Sky captain decided to sail despite the weather warning. He said ship operations were one part of the investigation, along with a technical study of why the engines failed and a third review of how the rescue was handled.

The ultimate question: Norway wants to know why cruise ship sailed in stormy weather, forcing air evacuation

Yngve Skovly, a police inspector in the Molde region, told the  Verdens Gang  tabloid there was no suspicion of criminal behavior and the ship was too new to suspect maintenance problems. He said crucial information could be obtained from the ship's computer logs.

Torstein Hagen, chairman of ship owner Viking Ocean Cruises, said his company would conduct its own investigation and support government agencies reviewing the mishap. Police expected all passengers to be flown out of Norway by Monday night. 

"The last few days have been both dramatic and hectic for guests and crew on board Viking Sky," Hagen said in the statement. "I would like to apologize for all our guests have been through."

A total of 36 people were admitted in local hospitals and as of Tuesday, one person was in critical but stable condition in an intensive care ward. Seven others were expected to be discharged later Tuesday, hospital officials said.

Despite the Viking Sky incident, cruising is one of the safest ways to travel, according to the trade group Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Citing a 2017 study , CLIA says that although the cruise industry's capacity has grown by 48 percent, the overall number of operational incidents has declined by 38 percent.

As expected: After Viking cruise ship rescue, passengers concerned about cruising safety

Contributing: Sara Moniuszko, John Bacon, Maria Puente, Julia Thompson, Brittany Crocker (Knoxville News Sentinel) and Associated Press

cruise news

  • Cruise News

Coast Guard Airlifts Pregnant Passenger from Disney Ship

Picture of Andrea Santillan

Andrea Santillan

  • April 17, 2024

The US Coast Guard conducted a medical evacuation to assist a pregnant passenger on a Disney Cruise Line ship on Monday.


According to reports, the 35-year-old woman had been experiencing pregnancy-related complications and required more comprehensive medical care than Disney Fantasy could provide. 

The woman was airlifted to the helicopter on a stretcher, with the vessel’s physician accompanying her. She was then brought to the airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and transferred to Centro Médico, a hospital in San Juan. 


Disney Fantasy was on a seven-day Eastern Caribbean sailing when the emergency occurred. The Dream-class vessel left Port Canaveral on April 13 with scheduled stops at The Bahamas, Disney Castaway Cay, St. Thomas, and Tortola. It will return to its Florida homeport on the 20th.

#Breaking @USCG MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Borinquen medevaced a pregnant woman needing higher level of care on land from #Disney Fantasy cruise ship approx. 180 miles off Puerto Rico, Monday. #SAR Read more and imagery: https://t.co/jryXk3cEx2 pic.twitter.com/p201g8Rtx3 — USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) April 16, 2024

How well-equipped are cruise ships’ medical facilities?

Cruise ships offer 24-hour medical support through at least one doctor and two nurses. Their facilities are designed to treat minor non-urgent health issues like gastrointestinal and respiratory concerns. They are also capable of stabilizing patients who are experiencing life-threatening conditions. 

A disney cruise ship docked at a port with a clear blue sky above, and a nearly empty parking lot in the foreground.

In addition, these vessels have pharmacies and quarantine procedures to help them deal with common illnesses. 

Life-threatening injuries or conditions like heart attacks, serious falls, and pregnancy complications (as was the case for the Disney Fantasy passenger) may require medical evacuation so that necessary procedures can be administered.

While medical evacuations may require payment from passengers, a travel insurance policy can help offset unexpected expenses.

Disney Cruise Line’s pregnancy policy states women at or beyond 24 weeks of pregnancy at embarkation or during the cruise will be denied boarding for safety reasons.

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Travel Advisory September 5, 2023

Russia - level 4: do not travel.

Updated to remove COVID-specific information and the kidnapping risk indicator as well as updates to security risks.

Do not travel to Russia due to the unpredictable consequences of the  unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces , the potential for  harassment and the singling out of U.S. citizens for detention by Russian government security officials , the  arbitrary enforcement of local law ,  limited flights into and out of Russia , the  Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia , and the possibility of  terrorism .  U.S. citizens residing or travelling in Russia should depart immediately.  Exercise increased caution due to  the risk of wrongful detentions.

The U.S. government’s ability to provide routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Russia is severely limited, particularly in areas far from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, due to Russian government limitations on travel for embassy personnel and staffing, and the ongoing suspension of operations, including consular services, at U.S. consulates.

There have been numerous reports of drone attacks, explosions, and fires in areas in Western and Southern Russia, particularly near the Russian border with Ukraine, as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In the event of an emergency, U.S. citizens should follow instructions from local authorities and seek shelter immediately.

In September 2022, the Russian government mobilized citizens to the armed forces in support of its invasion of Ukraine. Russia may refuse to acknowledge dual nationals’ U.S. citizenship, deny their access to U.S. consular assistance, subject them to mobilization, prevent their departure from Russia, and/or conscript them. 

U.S. citizens should note that U.S. credit and debit cards no longer work in Russia, and options to electronically transfer funds from the United States are extremely limited due to sanctions imposed on Russian banks. There are reports of cash shortages within Russia.

Commercial flight options are extremely limited and are often unavailable on short notice. If you wish to depart Russia, you should make independent arrangements as soon as possible. The U.S. Embassy has severe limitations on its ability to assist U.S. citizens to depart the country and transportation options may suddenly become even more limited. Click  here  for Information for U.S. Citizens Seeking to Depart Russia.

U.S. Embassy personnel are generally not permitted to travel on Russian air carriers due to safety concerns.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) downgraded the air safety rating for Russia from Category 1 to Category 2 on April 21, 2022, due to Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport noncompliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) prohibiting U.S. aviation operations into, out of, within, or over those areas of the Moscow Flight Information Region (FIR), the Samara FIR (UWWW) and the Rostov-na-Donu (URRV) FIR within 160NM of the boundaries of the Dnipro (UKDV) Flight Information Regions. For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the  Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions, and Notices .

The right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are not consistently protected in Russia. U.S. citizens should avoid all political or social protests and not photograph security personnel at these events. Russian authorities have arrested U.S. citizens who have participated in demonstrations and there are numerous reports Russian nationals have been detained for social media activity. 

Country Summary:

U.S. citizens, including former and current U.S. government and military personnel and private citizens engaged in business who are visiting or residing in Russia, have been interrogated without cause and threatened by Russian officials, and may become victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion. 

Russian security services may fail to notify the U.S. Embassy of the detention of a U.S. citizen and unreasonably delay U.S. consular assistance. Russian security services are increasing the arbitrary enforcement of local laws to target foreign and international organizations they consider “undesirable.”

Russian security services have arrested U.S. citizens on spurious charges, singled out U.S. citizens in Russia for detention and harassment, denied them fair and transparent treatment, and convicted them in secret trials or without presenting credible evidence. Furthermore, Russian authorities arbitrarily enforce local laws against U.S. citizen religious workers and have opened questionable criminal investigations against U.S. citizens engaged in religious activity. U.S. citizens should avoid travel to Russia to perform work for or volunteer with non-governmental organizations or religious organizations.

There have been multiple security incidents in southwestern Russia related to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine. The Russian government declared martial law in Russia’s regions bordering Ukraine (Bryansk, Kursk, Belgorod, Voronezh, Rostov, Krasnodar) on October 20, 2022. The martial law regime allows the rapid introduction of restrictive measures such as curfew, seizure of private property, restriction of entry/exit and freedom of movement, internment of foreigners, forced relocation of local residents, and restrictions on public gatherings. U.S. citizens should avoid all travel to these areas.

Recent legislation has expanded the ability of Russian authorities to detain, question, and arrest individuals suspected of acting against Russia’s interests, including posts on personal social media accounts, engaging with foreign and international entities, discrediting the Russian state or military, as well as advocating for the rights of LGBTQI+ persons.

Terrorist groups, both transnational and local terrorist organizations, and individuals inspired by extremist ideology continue plotting possible attacks in Russia. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs and systems, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas. Travel to the North Caucasus (including Chechnya and Mt. Elbrus) is prohibited for U.S. government employees and strongly discouraged for U.S. citizens.

The international community, including the United States and Ukraine, does not recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea as well as four other Ukrainian oblasts – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya – that Russia has purported to annex more recently. There is extensive Russian Federation military presence in these areas. Russia staged its further invasion of Ukraine, in part, from occupied Crimea, and Russia is likely to take further military actions in Crimea, and the four other Ukrainian oblasts are the subject of intensive fighting. There are continuing abuses against foreigners and the local population by the occupation authorities in these regions, particularly against those who are seen as challenging Russia’s authority.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv continues to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in Crimea as well as four other Ukrainian oblasts partially occupied by Russia – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya, although the ongoing conflict severely restricts the Embassy’s ability to provide services in these areas.

Read the  country information page  for additional information on travel to Russia.

If you decide to travel to Russia:

  • Familiarize yourself with the information on  what the U.S. government can and cannot do to assist you in a crisis overseas .
  • Have a contingency plan in place that does not rely on U.S. government assistance. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist .
  • Monitor local and international media for breaking events and adjust your contingency plans based on the new information.
  • Ensure travel documents are valid and easily accessible.
  • Visit our website for  Travel to High-Risk Areas .
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Russia.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest  Travel Health Information  related to your travel.

Important Information for U.S. Citizens Seeking to Depart Russia (Updated Monthly).

Click Here for Important Information for U.S. Citizens Seeking to Depart Russia (Updated Monthly) .

Embassy Messages

View Alerts and Messages Archive

Quick Facts

Required six months beyond intended stay

2 pages per stamp

$10,000 or more must be declared

You may export up to $3,000 (or equivalent) without declaring it

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Moscow Bolshoy Deviatinsky Pereulok No. 8 Moscow 121099 Russian Federation Telephone:  +(7) (495) 728-5000 or +(7) (495) 728-5577 Emergency After-Hours Telephone:  +(7) (495) 728-5000 Fax:  +(7) (495) 728-5084 Email:   [email protected]

U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok 32 Ulitsa Pushkinskaya Vladivostok 690001 Russian Federation

Consular services at U.S. Consulate General Vladivostok remain suspended.  Contact Embassy Moscow for all consular services.

U.S. Consulate General Yekaterinburg Ulitsa Gogolya 15a, 4th floor, Yekaterinburg 620151 Russian Federation

Effective April 1, 2021, Consulate General Yekaterinburg suspended all consular services.  Contact Embassy Moscow for all consular services.

U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg

Due to the Russian government’s ordered closure of the U.S. Consulate General, as of March 31, 2018, U.S. citizen visitors and residents in St. Petersburg must contact the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for all consular services .

Destination Description

Learn about the U.S. relationship to countries around the world.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Russian authorities strictly enforce all visa and immigration laws. The Embassy of the Russian Federation website provides the most up to date information regarding visa regulations and requirements. In accordance with Russia’s Entry-Exit Law, Russian authorities may deny entry or reentry into Russia for 5 years or more and cancel the visas of foreigners who have committed two administrative violations within the past three years. Activities that are not specifically covered by the traveler’s visa may result in an administrative violation and deportation.

Under a bilateral agreement signed in 2012, qualified U.S. applicants for humanitarian, private, tourist, and business visas may request and receive multiple-entry visas with a validity of three years or a single entry, three-month validity visa. ( Please note that other types of visas are not part of the agreement and those visa holders should pay close attention to the terms of their visas.) You cannot enter Russia prior to the date on your visa, and you must exit Russia before your visa expires . The maximum period of stay is shown on the visa.

  • You must have a current U.S. passport with the appropriate visa . Russian visas in an expired or canceled passport are not valid.
  • You must obtain a valid visa for your specific purpose of travel before arriving in Russia, unless you are arriving as a cruise ship passenger (see below information for passengers of cruise ships and ferries). Do not attempt to enter Russia before the date shown on your visa. If you are staying in Russia for more than 7 days, you must register your visa and migration card with the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
  • Cruise ship passengers in St. Petersburg should seek assistance from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow for all emergency and passport services. 
  • Cruise ship passengers should be aware that loss or theft of a passport and/or migration card could result in the inability to obtain lodging. Hotels and hostels may not allow guests to check in without a passport, a migration card, or Russian visa.
  • We recommend U.S. citizens obtain a Russian visa before traveling to Russia, in case of an emergency while in the country, such as unexpected medical issues or if you are not able to return on the cruise ship for any reason.
  • Students and English teachers should be certain that their activities are in strict keeping with their visa type. Students must not teach or coach English, whether compensated or not, while traveling on a student visa as it is considered a visa violation and may subject you to detention and deportation. 
  • With the exceptions noted below, travelers will are not required to have a transit visa if they are transiting through an international airport in Russia, do not leave the Customs zone, and depart from the same airport within 24 hours.  
  • Travelers must have a Russian transit visa if they plan to transit through Russia by land en route to a third country or if they transfer to another airport.
  • Travelers must possess a Russian transit visa in addition to a Belarusian visa if their travel route either to or from Belarus goes through Russia.

Dual Nationals: Anyone entering Russia who has claim to Russian citizenship, regardless of any other citizenship held, is fully accountable to the Russian authorities for all obligations of a Russian citizen, including the required military service.

  • U.S.-Russian dual nationals and Russian citizens who are Legal Permanent residents of the United States must register their dual nationality/foreign residency. Registration forms and further information (in Russian only) can be found on the website of the General Administration for Migration Issues of the Interior Ministry of Russia.
  • U.S.-Russian dual nationals must both enter and exit on a Russian passport. You will not be permitted to depart on an expired passport. Applying for a passport can take several months. 
  • U.S.-Russian dual nationals who return to Russia on a “Repatriation Certificate” are only permitted to enter Russia and will not be permitted to depart Russia until they obtain a valid Russian passport.
  • Minors who also have Russian citizenship and are traveling alone or in the company of adults who are not their parents, must carry a Russian passport as well as their parents’ notarized consent for the trip, which can be obtained at a Russian embassy or consulate, or a U.S. notary public. A consent obtained in the United States from a U.S. notary public must be apostilled, translated into Russian, and properly affixed. Authorities will prevent such minors from entering or leaving Russia if they cannot present this consent.

Crimea: Follow the guidance in the Travel Advisory for Ukraine and do not travel to the Crimean Peninsula. 

Documentary Requirements for obtaining a Russian visa: Consult with the Embassy of the Russian Federation for detailed explanations of documentary requirements.

HIV/AIDS Entry Restrictions: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Russia. Applicants for longer-term tourist and work visas or residence permits are required to undergo an HIV/AIDS test.

Find information on dual nationality , prevention of international child abduction and customs regulations  on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Terrorist groups, transnational and local terrorist organizations, and lone actors inspired by extremist ideology and messaging continue plotting possible attacks in Russia. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas

  • Moscow and St. Petersburg have been the targets of terrorist attacks, and bomb threats against public venues are common. If you are at a location that receives a bomb threat, follow all instructions from the local police and security services.

North Caucasus Region: A risk of civil and political unrest continues throughout the North Caucasus region including Chechnya, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Stavropol, Karachayevo-Cherkessiya, and Kabardino-Balkariya. Local criminal gangs have kidnapped foreigners, including U.S. citizens, for ransom. In the Republic of Chechnya, local authorities may harbor particular hostility towards U.S. travelers.

  • Do not travel to Chechnya or any other areas in the North Caucasus region.
  • If you reside in these areas, depart immediately.
  • U.S. government travel to the region is prohibited, due to ongoing security concerns.
  • The U.S. Government has no ability to assist U.S. citizens in the North Caucasus Region.

Mt. Elbrus:

  • Do not attempt to climb Mt. Elbrus, as individuals must pass close to volatile and insecure areas of the North Caucasus region.
  • Do not travel to this Russian occupied territory of Ukraine.
  • The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Crimea. Contact the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv for questions regarding consular services.
  • U.S. government officials are prohibited from traveling to Crimea. See the Departments Travel Advisory for Ukraine .

Harassment:  Harassment of U.S.-based religious and student groups can take place in Russia, and you should be aware of the possibility of anti-U.S. sentiment or harassment. U.S. citizens, including current and former U.S. government and military personnel, maybe subject to additional scrutiny by Russian security services. Remain alert, avoid any protests or demonstrations, and use discretion when commenting publicly on political developments. You can find safety and security  Alerts on the Embassy’s website .

  • Police do not need to show probable cause in order to stop, question, or detain individuals. Please comply with the requests of local law enforcement officials.
  • Report harassment or crimes to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow or the nearest U.S. Consulate General.


  • Avoid public demonstrations. U.S. citizens who have participated in demonstrations have been arrested by the Russian authorities.

Crime: Crimes against tourists do occur at popular tourist sites and on public transportation. U.S. citizens have been victims of serious crimes when visiting Russia. Russian authorities are not always willing to impartially and thoroughly investigate crimes.

  • Be cautious and aware of your surroundings.
  • Exercise caution in the vicinity of large crowds.
  • Do not leave bags unattended. 
  • Never leave your drink unattended in a bar or club. Alcohol was a significant factor in most criminal activity reported by foreign visitors.
  • Report Credit card or ATM card theft to the credit card company or issuing bank immediately.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash . 

Cybercrime: Cybercrime is a significant problem across Russia. Russian hackers and traditional organized crime structures continue to work together, raising threats to the financial sector. The risk of infection, compromise, and theft via malware, spam e-mail, sophisticated spear phishing, and social engineering attacks is significant. U.S. citizens and companies should remain vigilant against cyber threats and actively use cyber security measures to mitigate risks.

U.S. citizens have no reasonable expectation of privacy in Russia. Telephone and electronic communications are subject to surveillance at any time and without advisory, which may compromise sensitive information. The Russian System for Operational-Investigative Activities (SORM) legally permits authorities to monitor and record all data that traverses Russia’s networks.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for additional information on scams.

Victims of Crime : U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 02 or 102, or 112 if using a mobile phone, and the U.S. Embassy at +7 495 728-5000..

Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. United States law enforcement agencies do not have jurisdiction to investigate crimes against U.S. citizens that occur on Russian territory.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
  • Support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate General for assistance.

Tourism:  The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance . 

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Arrest Notification: Russia routinely fails to meet its obligation to inform the U.S. Embassy of arrests of U.S. citizens. If you are detained, ask the police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. Your U.S. passport does not protect you from arrest or prosecution. See our webpage for further information.

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to all Russian laws. If you violate these laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, fined, imprisoned, or expelled and may be banned from re-entering Russia. 

Some crimes committed outside the United States are prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice  website.

  • You can be arrested, detained, fined, deported and banned for 5 years or more if you are found to have violated Russian immigration law.
  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Russia are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
  • You can be detained for not carrying your passport with you.
  • You can be jailed immediately for driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • It is illegal to pay for goods and services in U.S. dollars, except at authorized retail establishments.
  • You can be arrested for attempting to leave the country with antiques, even if they were legally purchased from licensed vendors. Cultural value items like artwork, icons, samovars, rugs, military medals and antiques, must have certificates indicating they do not have historical or cultural value. You may obtain certificates from the Russian Ministry of Culture . 
  • Retain all receipts for high-value items, including caviar.
  • You must have advance approval to bring in satellite telephones.
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) and other radio electronic devices, and their use, are subject to special rules and regulations in Russia. Contact the Russian Customs Service for required permissions.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers: Russian authorities have detained, fined, and in some cases deported travelers for engaging in religious activities. Russian officials have stated that Russia recognizes four historic religions: Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. The Russian government places restrictions on missionary activity and defines it broadly – travelers engaging in certain types of religious work may risk harassment, detention, fines, or deportation for administrative violations if they do not have proper authorization from a registered religious group. Russian law criminalizes proselytizing outside of a registered house of worship. The Russian government has detained U.S. citizens for religious activities that they contend are not permitted under a tourist or humanitarian visa. See the  Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report .

LGBTI Travelers: Russian law bans providing "the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" to minors. Foreign citizens face fines, up to 15 days in jail, and deportation. The law is vague as to what Russia considers propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.

  • Discrimination based on sexual orientation is widespread in Russia. Acts of violence and harassment targeting LGBTI individuals occur.
  • Government officials have made derogatory comments about LGBTI persons and violence against the LGBTI community has increased.
  • There have been credible reports of arrest, torture, and extrajudicial killing of LGBTI persons in Chechnya allegedly conducted by Chechen regional authorities.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Getting around in Russia is often difficult for persons with mobility issues. In general, public transportation is not accommodating to people with disabilities. The Moscow Metro, though extremely safe and efficient in other areas, is generally not accessible to persons with disabilities.

  • Sidewalks are narrow and uneven.
  • Mobility is usually easier in major cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.
  • Crossing streets in large cities can be difficult, since it usually requires the use of a pedestrian underpass, which includes stairs, steep ramps, and no elevators.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips .

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers .

Private medical care in major metropolitan cities and tourism centers in Russia is often equal to Western standards. However, medical care is generally below Western standards in non-metropolitan areas.

  • Private medical facilities require payment by cash or credit card before providing services (unless they are life threatening), and are unlikely to accept proof of U.S. insurance as guarantee of future payment. Payment is expected at the time of service .
  • The Embassy does not pay the medical bills of private U.S. citizens.
  • U.S. Medicare does not provide coverage outside the United States without the purchase of supplemental coverage.  
  • Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance coverage.
  • Elderly travelers and those with existing health problems are particularly at risk.

Prescription Medication:

  • Certain classes of over-the-counter cold medicines, such as those containing pseudoephedrine, are illegal in Russia. We recommend against bringing cold medication with you to Russia.
  • Carry a copy of valid U.S. prescriptions, including a notarized translation into Russian of each prescription, when entering Russia with prescription medications. 
  • Prescription medication should be in its original packaging.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Road conditions and driver safety customs differ significantly from those in the United States. In some more remote areas of Russia, roads are practically nonexistent or have poor or nonexistent shoulders.

  • Drivers are required by law to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and this is generally observed. It is dangerous to cross where there is not a crosswalk present.
  • Do not drive outside the major cities at night.
  • Construction sites and road hazards are often unmarked. 

Traffic Laws : Russian authorities have been known to consider traffic or parking infractions as “administrative violations” that provide a sufficient basis for deportation and/or denial of entry back to Russia at a later date.

  • Drivers must carry third-party liability insurance under a policy valid in Russia.
  • You may drive for 60 days using your U.S. driver’s license, with a notarized Russian translation.
  • Tourists may also use International Driving Permits issued by the American Automobile Association or the American Automobile Touring Alliance to drive in Russia.
  • Russian law requires foreigners on business or employment visas or with permanent residence status to have a Russian driver's license.
  • Driving regulations are strictly enforced and violators are subject to severe legal penalties.
  • Russia practices a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of alcohol. Authorities can detain an intoxicated driver and your driver’s license can be suspended up to two years.
  • If you are involved in an accident, do not move your vehicle from the accident site. You may be held liable if you move your car even if you are not at fault.
  • Roadside police checkpoints are commonplace. Be prepared to stop and show identity documents and proof of registration and insurance.

Public Transportation:

  • Moscow and St. Petersburg have extensive, efficient public transit systems, as do many other urban areas in Russia.
  • In metropolitan areas, well-marked taxis are generally safe and reliable Do not use unmarked taxis. Passengers have been the victims of robbery, kidnapping, extortion and theft.

See our Road Safety page for more information.

AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed that the Government of Russia's Civil Aviation Authority is not in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Russia's air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA's safety assessment page.

Maritime Travel:  Mariners should check the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration site for U.S. maritime advisories and alert s, the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website , and  NGA broadcast warnings .

The Commandant of the Coast Guard is unable to determine if effective anti-terrorism measures are in place in Russia ports as required by 46 U.S. Code § 70108.

For additional travel information

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department’s travel website  for the  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook .
  • See  traveling safely abroad  for useful travel tips.

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Russia . For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA ) report.

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U.S. Coast Guard conducts daring medical evacuation from Disney Fantasy cruise ship

Posted: April 18, 2024 | Last updated: April 20, 2024

Amid health complications, the U.S. Coast Guard orchestrates a successful medical evacuation operation from a Disney Fantasy cruise ship, located approximately 180 miles northwest of Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter aircrew swiftly evacuates a 35-year-old pregnant U.S. citizen to ensure she receives critical medical care at Centro Medico Hospital in San Juan.

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