Cruising to new levels

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Wake from a cruise liner

Following two years of travel restrictions, with the cruise industry being particularly impacted, people are keen to get back on cruise ships as restrictions are lifting. Many cruise companies report that bookings have been strong for 2022 and 2023 when cruise dates were released.

ABTA has carried out some research and their Travel in 2022 makes for interesting reading.  One interesting point is that domestic sailings attracted new passengers who are now keen to book again. For those already adept at cruising, the industry is seeing 16 new ocean cruise ships and 10 new river cruise ships. 2022 will see a significant number of new cruise ships due to set sail.

Main Cruising options from England

The Port of Southampton in its long maritime history has seen a number of iconic cruise ships visit its docs including the Titanic that sailed from the city in 1912. The SeaCity Museum highlights the city’s maritime history.

Nowadays the Port has expanded significantly to accommodate five passenger terminals, the most recent, the Horizon Cruise Terminal having officially opened in 2021. The choice of cruise options is impressive with Cunard Line, Celebrity Cruises, P&O and Fred Olsen offering departures from Southampton.

Last summer saw developments in Portsmouth International Port with Virgin Voyage’s Scarlet Lady making her debut voyage from the city. This summer, the sister ship Valiant Lady will complete a number of small trips from Portsmouth between March and May. The ship will then depart for her home port of Barcelona.

When talking of cruising we almost immediately think of ocean liners, however there are other options for those that don’t relish the thought of being on a ship with thousands of other holidaymakers.

River cruise ships offer exciting ways to explore inland waterways such as the Danube, Nile and Meykong. Whilst smaller, they are no less luxurious, and you can easily travel in 5 star style.

Whilst you won’t have the large swells that are often experienced in the Bay of Biscay, your holiday may be impacted by low or high rivers which mean the boats cannot navigate underneath low bridges at high water or navigate at all if the water level is too low.

If river cruising sounds too relaxing, you can always try Expedition cruising which is gaining in popularity. Following the pandemic people are deciding to spend more on experiences or book those “once in a lifetime” trips to places such as Antarctica or the Galapagos. You need to be prepared to travel onshore by means of a Zodiac, so you do need to be mobile.

For those who are concerned about the environmental impact of such trips, the International Maritime Organisation introduced the Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters, otherwise known as the Polar Code. This provides for mandatory measures regarding safety and pollution prevention.

If you’ve been injured while on a cruise from Southampton, or any other port, our international injury team can help.

Insurance points to consider when booking a cruise

  • Do you have adequate travel insurance that covers you either for a traditional cruise, a river or expedition cruise? You will need specialist insurance depending on the cruise and not all standard travel insurance covers cruise holidays.
  • Have you declared correctly all your medical conditions to your insurer? Whilst medical facilities are available on large cruise liners, they are limited and depending on the cruise you may be days away from your next port of call and full onshore medical facilities. Depending on the circumstances, emergency evacuation from the ship may be required and that comes at a price. Suitable travel insurance may also assist if you need to re-join a cruise following hospital treatment.
  • Have you checked what is included in your insurance cover? Specific cruise insurance may also provide cover if you are confined to your cabin for medical reasons by the ship’s doctor or if you miss a port departure because you are receiving medical treatment and re-join the cruise later.
  • Have you checked that your luggage is in line what your insurance policy covers? If you are on an extended cruise the value of the extra luggage may exceed the limits on a traditional insurance policy.
  • Depending on the cruise you are going on, check if there are any particular mobility requirements when embarking or disembarking the boat or taking part in excursions.
  • Is your insurance policy valid for all parts of your journey? If you are visiting multiple countries as part of your cruise make sure to check that they are all covered by your policy.

It is well worth reading the small print before you purchase an insurance policy to ensure that the levels of cover provided are suitable for your needs and the value of the cruise you have booked.

You should also ensure that your policy covers you for any activities that you might wish to partake in whilst on your cruise. Lists of excursions and activities are generally available before you travel.

It is well worth spending time checking these points as having suitable insurance is invaluable should something go wrong whilst you are on your cruise.

Accidents can happen

Unfortunately, accidents and illness can happen whilst on a cruise, and ships leaving from Southampton are no exception. Below are some examples of things that can go wrong:

  • Slipping on wet floors around the pool or in the restaurant
  • Injury due to faulty equipment, for example in the gym or a lift not stopping flush with floor level
  • Injury sustained whilst in the process of embarking or disembarking the vessel
  • Negligent medical care provided by the on-board medical team
  • Accidents on the way to, from or during a planned excursion
  • Assault by staff or other guests

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