Cruise passengers are flocking back to cruising, but new data is showing no chances are being taken in terms of personal protection from any COVID-19 legacy with travel insurance policies skyrocketing.
According to new data from travel insurance specialist InsureandGo, the comeback of cruising has been punctuated by a 96 percent spike in cruise insurance policies featuring coverage against COVID-19 infections contracted onboard.
The increase was recorded from policies purchased from June to December 2022, not long after Australia reopened its national borders to cruise ships in April of that year, and January to July 2023.
After taking time to learn about the proactive precautions cruise lines were taking to protect travellers and crew from the Coronavirus, cruise travel insurance policies recorded their biggest spike yet with a 336 percent jump in August 2023 compared to the same month last year.
Such measures include Princess Cruises undertaking a fleetwide upgrade of HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) systems onboard to install improved air filtration systems in passenger cabins.
Younger travellers were also showing an aversion to risk, with a 170 percent rise noticed in travellers aged between 26-40 taking out cruise travel insurance for an upcoming voyage over the past 12 months.
Despite this, the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia says the propensity of COVID-19 and other viruses to spread on a cruise can be heightened by cruising having up to four people assigned to one cabin and the overall population density onboard.
InsureandGo says the data mirrors the ongoing surge in popularity cruising is enjoying, with cruise volumes expected to hit 106 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, while spending from travellers taking cruises surpassed 2019 levels in its first full year back.
InsureandGo Chief Commercial Officer, Jonathan Etkind, said its purchase figures show the hangover the COVID-19 pandemic has left among cruise travellers.
“Cruises were significantly impacted by the pandemic, particularly because cruise ships carry additional risk for infection outbreak than other transport modes and travel choices,” Etkind said.
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