More and more of Globelink’s clients are turning to cruises, and we’re delighted to cover them under the terms of our standard travel insurance policy. In fact, 1.76 million of us are expected to take an ocean cruise holiday this year, according to the UK’s Passenger Shipping Association (PSA). That’s 2% more than last year, and more than twice as many as a decade ago.
That shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider what remarkable value cruises offer, with accommodation, meals and entertainment all included in the package. And all of that with a minimum of packing and unpacking, as yet another exciting destination sails into view.
Cruises were once seen as the preserve of mature travellers who liked to dress for dinner every night. These days, the average passenger is under 55 and there are almost as many cruise types as there are kinds of passenger. Adult-only cruises offer the ultimate in sophisticated getaways. Multi-generation cruises cater for all the family, from Playstation-mad children with energy to burn, through to granddads who want to sharpen up their putting skills, or get expert tuition on how to work their iPads.
Theme cruises have gone from strength to strength. Book one, and you’ll wonder why you bothered packing those paperbacks. Many mainstream cruises now provide classes on everything from history, antiques or painting to salsa dancing or the art of chocolate-making. Whatever your interest, you’re sure to find something that floats your boat.
That value for money extends to whatever level of cruise you opt for. If you splurge on a boutique cruise, you’ll experience a degree of luxury that many upmarket hotels would envy. Another advantage of smaller ships is that their itineraries often take in lesser-known ports that score high on charm. If you really want to leave the crowds behind, a river cruise - on the Amazon, the Mississippi, the Yangtze - offers an original alternative. Closer to home, Round-Britain cruises are an unexpected hit of recent years, proving what most of us suspected all along: that you don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to enjoy amazing heritage and coastal beauty.
Many operators offer short taster cruises which can be appealing for first-timers. But with so many cruises available, it makes good sense to speak to a specialist travel agent who can steer you through the options, and find the cruise that’s just right for you.
Even with the best planning, though, the unexpected can happen. A missed transfer, and the ship leaves without you. A cruise that has to be cut short when a close relative falls ill back home. Wise travellers take out Cruise travel insurance cover, but even they can be caught out. Unlike Globelink, some insurers exclude cruises from their standard travel insurance policies - which means you could end up paying a hefty premium for adequate coverage before you go.
Remember, if you live in Spain your travel insurance might be invalid if it does not cover the entire duration of your return trip from the date you leave Spain until the date you arrive back in Spain.