Some great tips from my friends at Travel Guard:
With the New Year in full swing, wave season has begun, which means cruise lines are now offering their best promotions and incentives for the next three months to encourage cruisers to book 2013 travel. To help consumers better prepare for the unexpected as they plan for their next cruise, Travel Guard (www.TravelGuard.com), a leading provider of travel insurance solutions, offers the following tips:
Keep an eye on the weather: While it may be 85 degrees and sunny in the port of your destination, winter weather back home can easily disrupt your travel plans. Travel during hurricane season can also present major problems, as was evidenced during Superstorm Sandy, which affected more than 50 cruise sailings over 10 days, according to Cruise Critic. 1
If you are unable to reach your destination in time to catch your cruise due to flight delays or cancellations, a travel insurance policy may help reimburse for unused prepaid expenses and cover the cost of any additional transportation expenses required to get you to your destination or next port.
Plan for adequate time between your flight and your cruise: Whether you’re traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Fort Lauderdale, Santorini or any number of points in between, be sure to allow for adequate time between your flight and your ship’s departure, perhaps even planning to arrive a night or two in advance. In the event that weather delays or cancellations result in you missing the cruise’s departure, travel insurance may help cover the cost of and arrange flights so that you can catch up with your ship.
Carry on the necessities: Be sure to pack a carry-on bag with the necessities you don’t want to be without (change of clothes, swimsuit, essential toiletries, medications) in the event that you get on your cruise but your luggage doesn’t make it to your destination before your cruise departs. Even with the carry-on bag, inconveniences can still occur. Your travel insurance provider may assist in a number of ways, from helping fill emergency prescriptions for medications to helping find your luggage if it has been displaced. Travel insurance may help cover the cost of necessities if your luggage is delayed.
Secure important documents: Since a cruise typically involves visiting multiple destinations or countries, bringing your passport is a must and keeping it safe is a necessity. If you plan to use your driver’s license or photo I.D. as your main form of identification while in port, you can always lock your passport in the safe in your cabin. If you prefer to use your passport at all times, consider purchasing a money pouch that you can wear underneath your clothes.
It’s also a good idea to bring along a copy of your passport and multiple credit cards. If at any point during your trip you realize that your passport or credit cards have been lost or stolen, your travel insurance provider may help to coordinate obtaining emergency cash and a replacement passport.
Wash up: Falling ill on a vacation is never fun, especially if you are at sea. With the Center for Disease Control already noting the severity of the 2013 outbreak as one of the worst flu seasons in recent years 2, it’s important to take precautions to keep from getting sick. One of the most basic and effective means of doing so is washing your hands on a regular basis, both on and off the ship. Hand washing is effective in helping to avoid the flu, common cold, Norovirus and other airborne bugs.
Don’t go overboard (with food, drink or sun): While it’s easy to go back for seconds and even thirds at the midnight buffet, it’s just as easy to get sick to your stomach. Eating until the point of fullness and limiting the intake of rich foods are good ways to prevent spending your vacation regretting overindulgence. The same goes with alcohol, which, in addition to physical sickness, can often be involved in other accidents that could require medical attention. Too much sun can also hamper your cruise. Be sure to wear sunscreen, a hat and stay hydrated to stay healthy. If things do get to the point where you need help, your travel insurance provider may work with your on-board physician to assist with your case, including connecting you with a local doctor, if necessary.
Listen to your body: If you are feeling sick before leaving for your cruise or while you are sailing, don’t ignore your symptoms. See a doctor for the best advice and course of action for travel. If you get seriously ill or injured on board or in port and require emergency services off of the ship, a comprehensive travel insurance policy may include emergency assistance services. Representatives from Travel Guard are available 24/7 to make help make necessary arrangements to arrange evaluation with a local English-speaking doctor and transport you back home when medically necessary, even if this includes an emergency evacuation.
l According to CLIA’s most recent Cruise Industry Update 3, the greatest passenger growth is expected to come from families, including multigenerational families. Traveling with kids can bring unexpected circumstances. A travel insurance plan can help ease the concerns these circumstances bring. Cruisers with concerns about potential health issues that their parents may face, whether they are joining the cruise or staying at home, can rest assured that travel insurance may help should grandmom or granddad need medical help while at sea or if the entire family needs to leave the cruise early should an emergency situation arise at home.