Why Cruise Passengers Should Buy Insurance

A college student’s case of acute appendicitis on a cruise underscores the importance of acquiring travel insurance when traveling abroad.

A college student’s case of acute appendicitis on a cruise underscores the importance of acquiring travel insurance when traveling abroad.

Here is the reason why you should buy travel insurance when you are going to spend thousands of dollars on a trip. This is the story of an Arkansas family’s harrowing ordeal trying to get their college age student emergency surgery in Mexico, after they hadn’t purchased travel insurance.

What the details point out is the importance of realizing that your U.S.-based health insurance coverage will not be accepted in most other countries, and that without sufficient credit card funds or bank balances, you could be refused treatment for relatively common emergencies.

Chase Kehler, a 22-year-old college student from Little Rock, Arkansas, was evacuated to a private, for-profit Cancun hospital when he was diagnosed by doctors on the Carnival Cruise Triumph as suffering with acute appendicitis. Left untreated, appendicitis can be life-threatening.

When the Kehlers arrived at the Amerimed private hospital in Cancun, they were told that admission cost $6,000, and if Chase Kehler needed surgery, that would cost $25,000, which are standard procedures at private Mexican hospitals.

Chase Kehler’s mother Janie told a local Fox television news station that when she informed the hospital that she could not pay $25,000, “they stopped all of Chase's treatment. They unhooked his IV, they gave him no more medicine,” and sent the family at 2 a.m. to another Cancun hospital. The Kehler’s eventually ended up at Hospital Victoria, a private medical facility that asked for a $6,000 deposit. Chase Kehler had surgery within the hour.

Upfront medical payments for care providers abroad are common
Reviewing Newsweek’s version of the Kehler’s story, Cory Sobczyk, vice president, business development, at Arch RoamRight, told Travel Market Report: “It's very clear to me that a travel insurance policy could have solved all of [the Kehler’s] upfront issues. Their biggest issue was not having access to enough funds or a Guarantee of Payment (GOP), which is unfortunately a common occurrence for non-insured travelers visiting foreign countries,” Sobczyk.

“Many travel insurance plans, even in the mid-tiered price range, offer $50,000 or more of travel medical coverage, which would have more than covered Chase's treatment,” said Stan Sandberg, co-founder of, an online travel insurance aggregator.

Any Arch RoamRight travel insurance policy will carry GOP through an emergency assistance provider, as part of its emergency medical and evacuation benefits, which also include access to 24/7 emergency assistance services.

“If admission to a hospital is deemed necessary by the attending physician, some companies will arrange advance payment if required, and this is contingent on the company being able to coordinate payment with the hospital,” said InsureMyTrip’s Product Expert Meghan Walch.

Then there is the issue of ensuring you are comfortable with the facility where you are going to be treated. The Kehler’s visited three hospitals in less than 12 hours, and Janie Kehler described one of them as making her feel like she was in a “third-world country.” Typically, comprehensive travel insurance plans don't restrict where an insured can go for medical treatment, as long as they are treated by a licensed physician (as defined by the policy), said InsureMyTrip’s Walch.

Still, not all travel insurance plans offer the ability for the insured to choose where they will be treated, Sobczyk said. “Some carriers don’t offer that benefit at all; others offer it as an upgrade or include it with only select plans,” he said. “Hospital of choice coverage is not standard in the industry. If having this coverage is important to a traveler, they should closely read the details of each travel insurance policy before purchase, to ensure hospital of choice coverage is included.”

Sandberg noted that hospital of choice coverage “is generally found in the more premium travel insurance plans. But for most travelers, the standard emergency medical evacuation coverage will be more than enough.”

Arch RoamRight offers hospital of choice coverage through their Pro and Pro Plus plans, which are exclusively sold through travel agents and tour operators. It is also available as an optional medical upgrade to the Elite plan available directly to travelers on This upgrade adds both hospital of choice coverage as well as increased medical limits to the travel insurance policy, Sobczyck said.

When it comes to emergency medical evacuation, Walch at InsureMyTrip said, typically an insured would need to be hospitalized, and the attending physician along with the assistance company would need to approve and coordinate transportation from the “inadequate medical facility” to one that is better capable of treating the insured. The hospital that the insured is evacuated to is usually chosen at the discretion of the company making the arrangements, and the evacuation is contingent on the insured being medically fit for transportation, she said.

“All situations are different,” Walch advised, “so it is important to read policy documents to see what services are offered when traveling outside of the U.S., and to know what is excluded from coverage.”

“With the hospital of choice benefit, it is important that travelers understand that they must still be deemed medically fit for a medical transport by an attending physician,” Sobczyck said. “For example, if a traveler's appendix is about to burst, a medical provider will more than likely not approve the traveler for transportation, as it could put the traveler at additional harm. The hospital of choice benefit simply provides you with the comfort knowing that, when you are medically cleared for transport, that you can be moved to the hospital of your choice. In most cases, you will need to be stabilized at the nearest suitable medical facility first.”

Sitting on deck of ship.jpg

Remote medical consultation services equally important
For travelers who don’t purchase a policy with hospital of choice coverage, it is equally as important to understand the type of emergency assistance available through the travel insurance provider, Sandberg sand.

“This means that an insured individual who is experiencing a medical emergency in a foreign country will have access to someone who understands the ‘ins-and-outs’ of that country's health care system and can help coordinate the insured's care as well as the financial and logistical sides of the traveler's care,” he said. “The last thing someone wants to do in the time of medical crisis is to figure out how to navigate a foreign country's medical system. “

Under the standard provisions of emergency medical evacuation coverage, if a hospital is not able to provide the necessary care or treatment, the plan will pay for the cost of transportation to the nearest medical facility that can provide the care or treatment, provided the insured's medical condition would allow them to be moved. “This is where having a regional expert as part of a plan's 24/7 global assistance becomes invaluable. They will know which hospitals can provide which kinds of treatment,” Sandberg said.

Arch RoamRight works with UnitedHealthcare Global and their network of doctors and medical centers to provide medical consultative services so travelers can assess the best place for emergency care. Since UnitedHealthcare Global does not maintain a financial interest in any of their providers, “all referrals are made on the objective basis of the best available care,” Sobczyck said.

Princess Cruise Lines "3 For Free"

Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 11.56.23 AM.png

Are you daydreaming of a favorite destination? Or yearning to go somewhere new? Wherever it is make your daydreams a reality. All destinations are on sale during Princess Cruise Lines - Cyber Event. You can receive up to $900 in savings, 3 FREE perks** or both!

For a limited time only, book a cruise for Winter 2018 through Spring 2019 or Summer 2019 through Spring 2020 enjoys these amazing offers!

Plus, on Cyber Monday only, you will delight in $1 deposits.

Cyber Event

(November 20 – December 3, 2018)

Save up to $900 Offer Details: †Save up to $900 per stateroom (up to $450 per guest) is based on a discount off applicable Launch Fares on a space-available basis at time of booking on select sailings. Launch Fares are offering fares and may not have been in effect for the past 90 days or resulted in actual sales in all categories. Intermediate discounts may have been taken and fares may remain at discounted levels after this promotion. Deposit of 10% per guest made under Cyber Event Savings Offer is non-refundable.

Enjoy 3 FREE perks Offer Details: ‡FREE Stateroom Location Upgrade applies to booking the stateroom location you wish to sail in for the price of the lowest category within that stateroom type during this promotion only. Offer is based on availability in like to like stateroom types (Interior to Interior, Oceanview to Oceanview, Balcony to Balcony). Upgrade offer excludes select categories, including but not limited to premium categories and suites. Offer does not apply to land portion of a cruise-tour.

FREE Gratuities are based on the pre-payment, by Princess Cruises, on behalf of the guest for the suggested gratuities in the U.S. dollar amounts of $13.50 per guest per day for Interior, Oceanview, and Balcony staterooms, $14.50 per guest per day for Mini-suite and Club Class staterooms and $15.50 per guest per day for Suites. This amount is paid on the behalf of all guests (up to 4) in a stateroom only. Free gratuities do not include gratuities added to bar charges, dining room wine accounts or Lotus Spa services. Gratuities are not transferable, non-refundable, have no cash value and may not be combinable with other select offers or other onboard credit.

FREE Onboard Spending Money of up to $800 per stateroom is based on voyage length and stateroom type. Offer is applicable to all guests (up to 4) in a stateroom. Guests with single occupancy will receive double the per guest credit amount. Spending money may be used on a single voyage only, is not redeemable for cash, cannot be used in the casino and expires at the end of that voyage. Offer is not transferable and may not be combinable with other select offers or other onboard credits. Onboard spending money is based on the ship's onboard currency.

How Will You Spend Your Winter Months

Fall is upon us. Soon the colorful pallet of leaves we enjoy during this time of the year will fall from their limbs and it is only a short time before the weather turns downright COLD. And we all know what is coming next.

Yes, Old Man winter is coming. Soon our sunlit morning and evening commutes will be a distant memory and icy patches will catch our unwary feet by surprise. So now you have two choices: check the status of your shovels, stock up on ice melt; or plan for how your going to escape the worst the season has to offer -- on a cruise, of course. Whether you want to get away from the cold, take advantage of low offseason pricing or visit the Southern Hemisphere during their summer, there are a number of destinations that shine during the winter months.


The Caribbean Sea offers the warm, tropical paradise you’re looking for when winter chills set in at home. Here’s just a taste of your options to help you choose winter cruise deals in the Caribbean.

1. Grand Cayman

If all you can think about is swimming in aqua seas, snorkeling with colorful marine life and lazing on the sand, a cruise to Grand Cayman delivers. Here, you’ll even have the opportunity to get up-close and personal with stingrays, dolphins and turtles. Can’t wait to hit the shops? Charming George Town is just minutes from the cruise dock, for retail therapy.

When you embark on an excursion to explore Cayman by land and sea, you’ll enter the underwater world via a luxurious, semi-submarine. Discover mysterious shipwrecks and spot pretty angelfish on coral reefs. You’ll also see the grand Governor’s House, the famous Seven Mile Beach and green sea turtles at the Cayman Turtle Center.

2. Belize

With long sunny days and balmy nights, Belize ranks up there with the best cruises in December and throughout winter. This is a destination made for thrill-seekers, with jungles for mountain biking and zip lining, rivers for tubing and kaleidoscopic coral gardens for snorkeling.

A cruise to Belize wouldn’t be complete without a trip to ancient Mayan sites. Visit the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins, located just two miles from the Guatemala border. A 40-meter high temple, El Castillo joins plazas and palaces on a backdrop of panoramic views. Back in port, Belize City offers a culture fix with colonial charm and the bustling Tourism Village for souvenir shopping.

The Bahamas

A warm winter family vacation to The Bahamas offers something for all ages. The region is a top spot for the best cruises in February, with islands basking in warm temperatures under clear blue skies.

3. Nassau

The Bahamian capital radiates Caribbean vibes, with the rhythmic beats of calypso music and fresh seafood to delight your taste buds. This picture-perfect paradise blends colonial history, private island luxury, underwater magic and dynamic adventure, all surrounded by some of the clearest waters you’re ever likely to see.

An excursion to Atlantis Resort is a must, especially if you’re cruising with children. The Aquaventure water park offers hours of fun on high-speed water slides, a river ride with rolling rapids, 20 swimming areas, and a Mayan-themed pool with mini-slides and water cannons for the little ones. Then, there’s the Atlantis marine habitat, home to more than 50,000 fish species. This is the place to swim with dolphins and play with sea lions.

4. Princess Cays

With a marina called Love Boat, you’ll have an inkling of what’s in store at the classic cruise destination of Princess Cays. The private resort is located on the island of Eleuthera, encircled by white sand beaches and calm, turquoise swimming lagoons. It really is heaven on earth if you want to feel the sand between your toes, the breeze in your hair and the silky water on your skin, all day long.

If you can tear yourself away from your private bungalow by the beach, there’s plenty to do, such as snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and biking. A Dune Buggy Heritage Adventure Tour gets you off-road to discover remote beaches at Bannerman Town Park and historical sites including The Anglican Church of the Assumption and the Packing House Ruins.


If you’re looking for the best cruises in January, Mexico is a destination that helps you bring the New Year in with excitement, fun, adventure and, of course, tequila!

5. Cozumel

Cozumel is surrounded by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System which is teeming with exotic sea life to discover, like loggerhead sea turtles and four-eye butterflyfish. The Chankanaab National Park is close to the cruise dock, with historical walking trails and a postcard-pretty, white sand beach. As for buying souvenirs, shopping is a delight along the seafront at San Miguel.

To make the most of this island paradise, a Deluxe Snorkel, Sail and Beach Party takes you sailing in style on a sleek catamaran. Explore Paradise Reef to see spotted morays and splendid toadfish – a species unique to Cozumel. Play a game of volleyball on Fury Beach, try kayaking or simply sway in a hammock to the sounds of island music.

6. Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is located between the calm waters of the Sea of Cortez and the waves of the Pacific. Therefore, you’ll find plenty of picturesque spots for swimming, fishing and sipping margaritas in the sun. Culture lovers will enjoy colonial San José del Cabo, with its mission church, art galleries and historic town square.

To delve into local highlights, a Camel and Mexican Outback Adventure takes you to an oceanside ranch to taste tequila, learn how to make tortillas and go for a camel ride on the beach. You’ll travel aboard a 4×4 Mercedes Unimog along cactus-lined streams and lush nature trails.

The best cruise destinations in winter all have one thing in common – sun-drenched beaches. Then, there’s everything from jungle zip lining in Belize to swimming with dolphins in Nassau and dune buggy adventures in Princess Cays. You’ll forget the cold even exists, on a cruise to one of these paradise locales.


Take advantage of the fabulous savings and incentives the cruise lines are currently giving to their passengers to cruise the friendly waters. Here are just a few examples.

Celebrity Cruises - Season of Savings

  • Free Classic Beverage Package (including alcohol)

  • 50% off Additional Guests

  • Unlimited WiFi

  • Prepaid Tips (valued at $15.50pp per day)

  • $150 to spend on board

Norwegian Cruise Lines - Take 5 Free

  • Unlimited Open Bar (including alcohol)

  • Two guests enjoy 3 Specialty Dining Packages

  • $50 excursion credit per port

  • Free WiFi

  • Family & Friends Sail Free

Princes Cruise Lines - 3 For Free

  • Free Stateroom Location Upgrade

  • Free Gratuities (valued at $15.50pp per day)

  • Free on board spending (up to $200pp)