The cruise industry by it’s very nature is a world wide industry with cruise ships covering the world putting into ports in countries with different liability laws. Passengers come from everywhere as well making it difficult to determine a jurisdiction for any insurance claims that arise from a cruise passengers injuries suffered while on an off shore excursion.
This world wide nature of the cruise industry and its passengers make it mandatory for excursion operators to have personal injury and property loss or damage coverage with worldwide jurisdiction regardless of more relaxed liability laws of the country where they are located. Without excursion insurance tour operators are not able to have their tours listed as approved tours by the cruise lines which can significantly decrease the number of guests on a tour operator’s excursion.
"Jurisdiction means the legal environment which will apply to a contract of insurance."Tour operators contracting with cruise lines must have world wide jurisdiction insurance from a company that works with tour services in many countries since world wide jurisdiction for liability is not limited to the country where the tour service is located. World wide jurisdiction can benefit cruise line passengers who are injured or suffer losses due to negligence since they can file claims or a suit against a tour operator from anywhere in the world.
Cruise Lines Don’t Want to Be Held Liable for the Actions of Tour Operators
Cruise lines do not expect to be held responsible for any injuries, property damage or loss experienced by passengers while they are on a tour or excursion in a port. The tour operator's excursion insurance should exempt the cruise line from this responsibility. However, an injured passenger may not understand this since it's the cruise line that brought him or her to the port even though the injury occurred during a land activity such as mountain biking.
What Excursion Insurance CoversA person who is injured while on a shore excursion and is taken to a hospital will expect the tour operator to cover medical costs. The injured person probably has a spouse or travel companion who will stay with him or her if the injuries require that they miss the remainder of the cruise. This involves additional food and lodging for the concerned spouse.
The cruise line may offer the passengers a free cruise upon recovery but it's not required.
If the injured passenger must be airlifted to another hospital, the cost will be enormous. Regular airfare back to the injured party's home will also be expensive. Hopefully, the airline will work with the injured party and waive change fees in rerouting the passengers who may have flow to a departure port for the cruise ship. If the cruise line made the air reservations, its air department may take care of the rerouting.
The tour operator will be expected to cover the costs unless the injured passenger has trip cancelation and interruption insurance. Most trip insurance covers emergency airlift and has world-wide coverage. There may still be a question of responsibility with the trip insurance company and the tour operator's insurance carrier.
If the injured passenger has to pay medical expenses, the tour operator can expect a claim from the injured party for reimbursement. The injured person may now be back home in the U.S. or U.K., but he or she can file that claim from anywhere. A dependable insurance company will try to settle that claim out of court to avoid legal fees.