Cruise insurance and helicopter rescue at sea. Expensive.

Insurance is always contractually required on a cruise. World ENTRY REQUIREMENTS change.

If you are a UK citizen, you now need to apply for a GHIC card when your current EHIC card expires. Below we suggest a selection of the many cruise travel insurance companies although many banks offer the best deal IF you add the cruise upgrade if there is one. We appreciate that insurance may have got a little more difficult for some, but it is still a requirement. As you can see from the helicopter rescue, tens of thousands will be the cost to change the routing of a ship and have a medical team flown out. The bill does not fly away. Below is the Facebook film for those who do not use YouTube, it is of an airlift from the SAGA Spirit of Adventure; an adult-only ship.

Apply for your GHIC Card online here

If you believe that your UK GHIC, new UK EHIC or existing EHIC has been wrongly rejected by a hospital or other healthcare provider in the country you’re visiting, you should try and resolve the issue with them.

Explain that the card entitles the holder to necessary healthcare. It may be useful to direct them to the European Commission’s EHIC webpage, which provides images of all valid UK-issued EHICs and the UK GHIC.

If you need more help, contact NHS Overseas Healthcare Services. They can give you advice on what to do. As you apply, within the one application, you can add partners and children. 

Where can you use this card? You will be surprised…



Some policies have a time away from home limit, meaning long cruises are not covered. Some only cover certain areas. As with all things, the cheapest may not be the best. The free insurance offered by some banks and others may not cover everything.

To cruise, many ships require a double vaccination and up-to-date booster.

COVID has remained a problem, long after the restrictions have been lifted. Ships use heat detectors and face recognition to discover the ill as they walk around the ship. Isolation then takes place and may also affect those who have been in close contact. If you are sent to land, things can change.

THE OLD EUROPEAN HEALTH CARD is now the GHIC card …. When you travel abroad you may be eligible to benefit from a reciprocal health agreement. Even as a cruiser, if you leave the ship, it may become more important and it is precisely these things we insure against. If you become ill while with a partner who is either transferred to the hospital or arrested hence making you land-based. Or other circumstances the likes of lawyers and insurance bodies argue over – even in French Caribbean islands…. Insurance is for the ‘anything can happen’. In many policies, it asks you to try and use the card. It can say that if you have used a reciprocal health agreement such as a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) during your trip they will waive the insurance excess. Small print…. we hate it, but getting the card is free.

The government website has up-to-date advice, and often a link to the destination country’s requirements. The rules change. The Government online page – Government advice country by country 

For example – here is the page for SPAIN

CRUISE INSURANCE OPTIONS  Cruise Insurance from Just Travel Over 70’s Insurance  Cruise Insurance from StaySure SAGA cruise insurance TUI/Marella Cruise Insurance

The Government has a travel advise website.

Government advice country by country

Carry your insurance at all times. Carry your COVID passport. Photocopy backup important documentation may be considered as it is good to have in a spare. Always have the appropriate medical card your country offers if it offers one. These often have expiry dates and need to be updated.

Ensure your EHICard (or similar) is up to date. (Yes it has a validity date on!!!)

We are still in Europe, we are not in the EU. There is the EHICard. The new UK EHICard and a UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC).

Press here for the link to take you to the government GLOBAL HEALTH page

Link the box uses is this –

I intend not to get into an argument with anyone as to the validity of any card, arguments are for barristers to do and judges to rule on. But if you are lifted off a ship, and your partner follows and stays in a foreign hotel while you are in hospital, they may need the EU or equivalent card as they are now in a foreign place. It can get complex. As you leave the hospital and travel home, you may need an EU or similar card. (Similarly, if you are put off a ship after being arrested. Fighting or shoplifting or any crime on a zero-tolerance ship).


Joyce Kettle, 74, a great grandmother from Blyth, Northumberland, has been hit with a £50,000 bill for an airlift to a hospital from the Marella Discovery 2. (according to the Telegraph 31st January 2018 but it is also widely covered). Whilst many have previously have avoided needing to use insurance or managed to get it easily, it might take longer to get this arranged. We have had one guest who still could not get cover with three days to go and had to cancel her SAGA cruise. Joyce apparently had free BANK TRAVEL INSURANCE THAT INCLUDED CRUISE – apparently, it was not enough.

Government advice country by country

Here we suggest every detail is checked. Verbally is not enough for these sums of money, get the document, read it, check you have the following at least written in your terms.

  • Ability to Cruise i.e. – specific cruise insurance
  • For the length of the cruise
  • For the place that you are going to cruise to (and maybe lifted off to) – and the Americas and sometimes the Caribbean may not be covered on general European Cruise Insurance.
  • Does the insurance require medical history?
  • Does the insurance require the double-jab (and the booster?)

It is that old saying, you get what you pay for. Buy cheap, buy twice.

I am not sure that insurance will form a future cruise crime novel of mine, but you never know. My cruise crime novels are set on real ships and deal with some real and pressing issues, as well as some new things and ideas about where cruising is going. I know they are fiction, but they are based on someone who jumps from ship to ship as a guest employee. Read a cruise while you are at home, or in luxury on the deck. I know a bit about above and below decks, so these major crimes that staff security is ill-equipped to deal with will open up a lot you don’t know about the ship.


CHAT GROUPS – ADULT ONLY – Chat is useful, but check officially

SAGA Ocean cruise chat group – over 40’s if travelling with someone over 50. Both ships SPIRIT of DISCOVER, SPIRIT of ADVENTURE