Dream of setting sail on the high seas? From cruising down the Danube on a luxury vessel to embarking on an Alaskan adventure, we’ve got you covered if your trip heads into choppy waters!
To be covered when cruising outside Australian coastal waters (more than three nautical miles off the Australian coastline), travellers need to purchase one of our international plans or our AFT plan. This includes cruises to Norfolk Island.
Cruising between domestic ports/cruising to nowhere?
Many cruises operate between domestic ports only, for example from Melbourne to Brisbane. A number of “sampler cruises” also take passengers out to sea and back without docking at an additional port of call.
Despite not having an international port of call, travellers need an international policy to be covered for medical expenses. See What you need to know about medical cover for cruising for more information.
Cruising to Norfolk Island?
Norfolk Island is outside Australian coastal waters, so travellers headed there need to buy one of our international plans.
Note that any treatment received while on Norfolk Island cannot be covered by travel insurance, because medical treatment on Norfolk Island is covered by Medicare just as it is on mainland Australia (and medical evacuations from the island are covered by the Australian Government).
However, international travel insurance will still cover any medical expenses/medical evacuations incurred on the ship, as well as other events such as lost/damaged luggage, delays, cancellations and insolvency.
Our standard cover includes cruises at no extra charge. This is true regardless of whether you’re taking a simple harbour cruise on San Francisco Bay or a three month trip on the QE2.
While some travellers think cruises are less risky than other trips, this isn't necessarily the case. Having quality cover for your cruise can mean the difference between peace of mind and out of pocket.
Here are some examples of events you’ll be glad you’re covered for if you take a cruise on your next trip:
You need overseas medical help on your trip
Your flight is delayed and you need to get to your cruise on time
Your cruise formal wear is lost, stolen or damaged
You get sick with gastro on your cruise
You’re made redundant before you embark on your cruise
Your cruise operator becomes insolvent
Your cruise departure is delayed because of mechanical problems
When there's no medical practitioner employed on board
If you’re travelling on a cruise ship (or other watercraft) which has no medical practitioner employed on board, no cover is available for any medical expenses incurred on board. There is, however, cover for medical expenses if you require treatment onshore at the next international port.
When you're in a country that has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement
There is no cover for medical expenses incurred when you're in a country that has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia. This is because the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement automatically allows Australian residents to get help with the cost of essential medical treatment in certain countries.
To learn more about how the RHCA works, click here.
When you're receiving medical treatment in Australia
By law, Australian travel insurance will not cover medical and dental costs incurred in Australia (including on Norfolk island). You are, however, entitled to claim the cost of treatment through Medicare and your private health fund.
When you're travelling on a cargo ship or freighter
There is no cover under any events in this policy when you are travelling on a cargo ship or freighter.
As mentioned above, travel insurers, by law, cannot cover medical expenses incurred within Australia. However, having an international travel insurance policy provides travellers with cover for medical expenses incurred while out at sea or while overseas.
Cruising between Australian ports only
Domestic travel insurance does not cover medical expenses, regardless of whether they're incurred in Australia or at sea. These expenses may be covered by Medicare or a private health fund, provided the treatment is given by a Medicare-registered doctor on board the ship.
However, many cruise operators employ international doctors who don’t meet this criteria. Travellers will need an international policy to be covered for treatment by an international doctor.
International travel insurance provides cover for medical expenses incurred at sea or overseas.
Cruising to Norfolk island
Norfolk Island is an Australian territory, but sits well off the coast of the mainland. Consequently, Medicare will cover treatment on Norfolk Island itself; but travellers will need an international travel insurance policy to be covered for medical expenses on the ship.
When obtaining a quote, our destination list includes a separate cruising section, which contains some of the most common cruise regions. If you're not sure which region applies, or if you can't find the cruise region you're after, just list the countries you’ll be travelling to on the cruise - or the region where the cruise spends the most of its time.
Regions for domestic cruises/cruises to nowhere
Select "Australian Waters" when:
cruising between Australian ports only
cruising out to sea and back, with no additional port of call (often called a “cruise to nowhere” or a “sampler cruise”)
cruising to Norfolk Island (selecting “Norfolk Island” only will give you a Domestic policy only with no medical cover)
Please note that selecting "Australia" as the region will result in a quote for a Domestic policy.
Selecting the "Australian Waters" region will give you the option to purchase one of our international plans which provide cover for medical expenses overseas.