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Cruises and insurance for missed dives

Discussion in 'Cruises' started by jonhall, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. jonhall

    jonhall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Indianapolis
    904
    382
    63
    Wasn't quite sure where to post this thread so it wound up here. Hope that other members here can provide valuable info for future cruisers/divers.

    The basic question is whether there is a travel insurance that covers the cost of prepaid dives in the event that a dive is cancelled due to 1) weather; (and the things I didn't think about) 2) cruise ship fails to arrive in time or not at all; 3) you miss the pickup.

    The following from a St. Lucia dive op's website is the reason I ask:

    Cancellation Policy for Cruise Ship Customers
    If you cancel:-
    More than 14 days before the booking start date = Full deposit refund.
    Between 14 days and 8 days from the booking start date = No deposit refund.
    7 days or less from the booking start date = Full balance payable, charged to the credit card used to pay your deposit. If we are able to resell your spaces we will refund your payment less a US$25 admin and bank charges fee.

    If your ship fails to arrive, or if you are late and miss the pick up, or only some of your party show up or you fail to produce satisfactory proof of diver certification (certified divers only), the full amount is payable and there will be no refund whatsoever.
    If we are forced to cancel for whatever reason you will receive a full refund of the unexpired portion of your booking.
    Dives/snorkeling not taken are not refundable or transferable.

    Hurricane or Named Tropical Storm Guarantee

    If your ship does not arrive in St Lucia on the scheduled day due to a Hurricane or named Tropical Storm and we have not cancelled the diving or snorkeling because the conditions here are still suitable, we will offer a 100% store credit for 12 months towards a future booking. If we cancel your tour you will receive a 100% refund to your credit card.



    I know the following:
    * DAN dive insurance (at least the Guardian and Preferred plans) will cover lost dives due to sickness and injury only.
    * DiveAssure will cover lost dives due to medical and weather. The policy is only good for traveling outside the country - domestic coverage is not available.
    * World Nomad covers lost dives due to weather - saw this in another thread and found it in the details on their website when I first looked, but can't find it it now. The SB member who posted was reimbursed $350 for a shark dive cancelled due to weather that the dive op would not reimburse.
    * Allianz's trip interruption coverage may cover lost dives if the travel carrier (cruise ship) can't get you to an original itinerary destination for various reasons including weather

    Specific questions are that come to mind are:

    1. Do you prepay for dives when going on a cruise - either before leaving on your trip or while already on the cruise?
    2. What insurance do you use and do you know that it specifically covers lost dives due to any situations mentioned above?


    As an FYI, I plan to do at least one day of diving while on a cruise that we will be on in late January. I've researched 2-3 dive ops that are either close to or pick up from the cruise ship in each port we will be in. St. Lucia, with the one op with the crazy cancellation policy, and the high taxi rates I would have to pay to get to the other rule out diving there. Wasn't high on the list anyway.
     
  2. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    1,640
    1,419
    113
    Some dive ops require a prepayment or deposit when you book the dives. However, I make it a point not to book with a dive op that will charge me if the cruise ship does not arrive at port. If I cancel the reservation inside of the free cancellation period, it would only be because I was sick or injured, in which case I expect to pay, and then file for reimbursement for non-refundable charges through the trip insurance (DAN or others). To know what the insurance covers, you have to read the policy line by line and assume nothing that is not spelled out in the Terms and Conditions. Remember, those policies are written by lawyers who are trying to help their clients avoid paying you unless your loss is specifically described in the policy. I do a lot of diving from cruise ships, and I frequently use the ship's dive op if I have used them on prior trips with good outcomes, or they have a good reputation on SB. In those situations, using the ship's op can save you a lot of hassles and headaches, especially if you get sick at the last minute or the ship does not arrive, or is late arriving at port. The ships usually have a 24 hour cancellation period prior to arriving in port or the start of the excursion, but I have never had a cruise line refused to refund my payment for cancelling a dive excursion at the last minute if I am sick, and cannot dive.
     
    jonhall likes this.
  3. jonhall

    jonhall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Indianapolis
    904
    382
    63
    Excellent info!

    Great advice!

    A couple more questions come to mind: (I'll keep the questions numerical starting from the 1st post in the thread)
    3. Do those of you who are regular cruisers find that using the ship's dive excursion provides a more than satisfactory, less than satisfactory, or as good of a dive experience compared to booking it on your own?

    4. From what I've seen so far in looking at the cancellation policies of several dive ops, there is anywhere from a 48 hour to 11 day period to cancel and get a full refund. Inside those time windows you lose anywhere from a percentage of your deposit up to 100% of the dive costs in you cancel. If planning the dives on your own do you go ahead and book in advance and not worry about it?

    5. When booking through the cruise ship, I assume they have to get with the dive op to check availability. How many of you book the cruise excursion ahead of time versus when you actually begin the cruise - let's assume a 7 day cruise.
     
  4. Altamira

    Altamira ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Canyon Lake, TX
    1,640
    1,419
    113
    3. It somewhat depends on the specific port, and what you are looking for in a dive. The ship's dive operators in Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Roatan, Bonaire, and Curacao are excellent. Cozumel dive op can be very good/good, depending which dive shop the ship has under contract. There are also many excellent off-ship dive ops in those locations, and which you choose may depend on what type of diving you are looking for. Some divers like smaller 6 pack type boats that may allow you a bit more dive time and flexibility. The ship's dive op will generally have larger boats with more divers, but they generally break the divers into groups of 6 per DM, and your dive time will be about 45 minutes per dive. A major advantage of the ship's excursion is that it is worry and hassle free. If you are late into port, or your arrival time does not align with the departure times of the off-ship vendors, you will still dive. Also, if the port time is short, you never have to worry about getting back to the ship by departure time. If the ship is at a tender port, I recommend using the ship's dive op because you may have trouble getting off the ship in a timely manner to meet an off ship dive boat departure time. The cruise ships give priority tendering to their own excursions. I have had excellent dives with off ship, as well as the ship's dive ops. If the ship's dive op is excellent or very good, I will use them because the extra 10-15 minutes of dive time is far less important to me than having to be stressed about getting back in time for departure.

    4 & 5. As soon as I book the cruise, I will also book the dives I want with the ship. I do this because I can cancel the ship excursion 24 hours prior without any penalty, and as I said in my other post, I have never been denied a refund if I got sick and could not dive, even if I cancelled at the last minute. The ship contracts the dive boat, and have X number of slots available depending on the dive op's ship capacity. If you wait until you get on the ship, you might find the dive slots are all taken, and then you have to try to find a local vendor that can accommodate you. I find it a lot better for me to book with the cruise line, and then cancel if I find a better option for me. Also, I don't know how old you are, but some dive ops that are contracted to the ships put a max age limit of 65-70 for their excursions, so you need to check the requirements on the ship's shore excursion section. It is not the ship that puts these restrictions for age limits--it is the individual dive ops. Yes it is stupid, but that is the way it is.
     
    jonhall likes this.
  5. Pat.D

    Pat.D Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    65
    70
    18
    Same here. I have a feeling the dive ops that do not have flexibility for cruise ships divers may not really want that clientèle.

    I find booking thru the cruise ship to be very hit and miss, but I've been mostly lucky. In some cases like Cozumel, Costa Maya and Nassau (yes nassau!) I've had awesome adventurous dives with very small groups of great divers. On the other hand on a few occasions in other ports I've also been on cattle boats with very poor divers. Most dives booked thru the cruise line are somewhere in between and end up being pleasurable fun recreational dives.

    The main advantage to a cruise line booked dive is that the ship will wait for you if the excursion runs late, the excursion always includes transportation to and from the dive op (important if the ship is tendering), you can cancel up to the last minute and the dive ops is vetted by the cruise line. Another advantage is that as I often cruise solo, I'll partner with someone from the ship and dive with the same person in every port (and end up with a new friend).

    The main disadvantages are that the dives are generally less adventurous as they must follow cruise line risk assessment policy, are often less flexible (often no nitrox or special requests), groups are often larger cattle boats (though some Ops will allow you to book a private DM for extra $) and your fellow divers may sometimes not be very good divers.
     
    bobroo and jonhall like this.
  6. bobroo

    bobroo Angel Fish

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago
    9
    2
    3


    For me, cruising in the Caribbean and scuba go hand-in-hand. I go through a lengthy process of choosing a cruise including (hint, hint) what diving can I do at the debarkation port if I show up a couple days early? And, creating a spreadsheet for each individual port of call. What is the estimated time we are in port? Who is the dive provider and cost for the ships excursion? A comprehensive list of every dive provider in the port area and evaluating the pro's and cons of diving with each. Finally, generally speaking at each port I'll have a favorite restaurant or bar that I will really want to stop at as well; so, that requires some consideration too. At the end of the day I can make a good choice for me and I bring the spreadsheets onboard with me in case I need a back up plan. Depending on the circumstances, sometimes the ships excursion is the best way to go.

    Insurance? I have the big DAN medical plan and the middle annual Travel plan. I have absolutely no intention of ever using either of them. It's my firm belief that all insurance companies only take in money and they do not pay out money. So, I'll let my surviving family members deal with the fist fight with the insurance company on how much money they owe. I hope my body is never recovered.

    I think you will find it will never be worth your time to fight for reimbursement for a $150 two tank dive a dive provider does not want to make good on. Or, a dive light that floods. Or a regulator that decides on the boat it doesn't want to work. Or even a lost camera, as expensive as they are; not worth the hassle. In a lot of ways all my scuba gear is only temporary. Cruise ships and dive providers are NOT trains.

    Don't fall in love.
     
  7. jonhall

    jonhall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Indianapolis
    904
    382
    63
    That sounds familiar!!! I do it to give to my traveling/diving buddy so he can look and have some input if he wants to.

    IMG_0371.jpeg
     
  8. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada Solo Diver Staff Member

    15,752
    10,029
    113
    If your body is never recovered, your family may have to wait for 7 years before you're even declared dead it could be a tremendous hardship for them.

    I'm curious as to why divers go on a cruise ship instead of some place to dive.
     
  9. Pat.D

    Pat.D Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Montreal, Canada
    65
    70
    18
    Speaking only for myself, I love cruising. I love being in a floating 5 star resort with great food, Broadway calibre shows and waking up in a new port every day. The fact I can dive in those ports is icing on the cake.
     
  10. KWS

    KWS ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SE TEXAS
    4,395
    1,033
    113

    here si a gotcha clause from the above

    The policy is only good for traveling outside the country - domestic coverage is not available.

    You need to contact the ins provider to define what is domestic and what is not. domestic does not always end upon departure from USA port. IE I talked to one insurer and the policy was IF YOU LEFT FORM THE SHIP OR BOOKED FORM THE SHIP IT WAS DOMESTIC
     

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