The expensive travel risk Aussies keep taking when cruising

Kristine Tarbert
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
Many of us are making a big mistake while cruising. Photo: Getty

It’s a common misconception that is costing Aussie holiday-makers thousands in unexpected expenses due to illness and injury.

Cruising has now become the quintessential modern Australian holiday with more than 1.34 million Australians taking an ocean cruise in 2017. The sector continues to grow, with the industry estimating its worth at $4.8 billion in the 2018 financial year.

But if you are one of the more than half of us not taking out travel insurance to go on a cruise, according to Smartraveller research, that say is just heading from Sydney to Brisbane, you could find yourself hugely out of pocket if you get sick or injured.

A massive 82 per cent of Australians aren[‘t actually sure about whether Medicare covers them on a domestic cruise, according to a recent poll by Compare Travel Insurance.

And the truth is, Medicare actually stops covering you as soon as the ship sets sail, even if it’s heading for another Australian port.

Medicare won't cover you one a domestic cruise. Photo: Getty

“Medicare coverage is restricted to around 20km from Australian ports, which means that once you’re out on the water; you’re on your own in terms of healthcare,” Compare Travel Insurance director Natalie Ball said.

As just one example of what you could face in an emergency without travel insurance - if you needed to be evacuated at sea, you’d be facing extra costs of $10,000 to $20,000 in Australian waters, and up to $50,000 in international waters.

“There is a widespread belief that cruise holidays are safer and less exposed to risk — this couldn’t be further from the truth. You are just as likely to fall ill, get injured or run into delays while cruising as you are when travelling overseas,” Natalie added.

So the lesson for everyone here is - always, always get travel insurance.

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