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Why do Cruise Lines Require Tour Operators to Have Excursion Insurance?

If you run a shore excursion, you want business from cruise lines. You want them to promote your tour to their passengers, which will yield more participants for your tours. On top of offering an extraordinary excursion, the cruise lines want you to have excursion insurance.

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What to do if your Excursion Insurance Policy is Deficient

As an excursion or tour operator, having a fun and safe tour is the first thing that you think of every day. However, if you are looking to grow your business and begin to work with cruise lines that can promote your tours to their passengers, excursion insurance is a necessity. If a tour operator's excursion insurance policy does not meet certain requirements, cruise lines might refuse to work with that tour operator and refuse to promote their excursions to passengers. As a tour operator, it's important that you're aware of any deficiencies in your excursion insurance policy so that you can take advantage of the significant increase in business that inclusion in a cruise line's itinerary or list of suggested onshore activities can bring.

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3 Things to Consider When Renewing Your Excursion Insurance Policy

Cruises are a great vacation option for many people, and as an excursion operator, it’s your job to provide fun and safe excursion opportunities for cruise line passengers. Your excursion participants are having the time of their life, and to make sure you can keep operating your business, you need excursion insurance. Excursion insurance covers you for any liabilities and also makes your excursion more accessible to cruise line passengers.

If you don’t already have excursion insurance or your policy is about to expire, there are a few important things to consider when renewing your policy:

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Is Your Shore Excursion/Tour Secure?

You trust your people. You trust your guides, your instructors, your mechanics, and your drivers. But sometimes bad things happen to the best people and businesses. Traffic accidents damage vehicles and injure sightseers, inexperienced tourists get injured on scuba dives and end up in the hospital, normally docile dolphins become inexplicably jealous and attack patrons, and zip lines that have recently been inspected break, plunging tourists into the jungle.

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3 Reasons to Have Excursion Insurance for Your Shore Excursion

As a tour operator, having adequate insurance is essential for the safety and success of your business. However, having insurance for your shore excursion is an important expense that can save you money in the long run if any unforeseen trouble arises on one of your tours. Here are 3 reasons, it should become clear that having excursion insurance is a good investment:

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Do I Have to Purchase My Cruise Excursion through the Cruise Line?

Purchasing a cruise excursion through the cruise line is the best way to see the sights at any port of call. The cruise line personnel know the guides and the services offered. They have checked vehicles and other conveyances for safety and security. An adventure cruise excursion such as ziplining or parasailing has also passed inspection.

Booking a cruise excursion in advance has the following advantages:

  1. If the activity requires certifications such as SCUBA diving, you will know in advance that you must qualify.

  2. The activity may require previous experience. This is common with mountain biking and mountain climbing excursions.

  3. The pre-booked activity will explain how much walking is required. This is important for passengers with limited mobility.

  4. The cruise line knows that the tour operators they contract with will deliver what they promise with the cruise excursion or activity.

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5 Shore Excursions to Remember

Cruise lines offer many interesting shore excursions conducted by reputable licensed and insured operators. Passengers are encouraged to check the available tours in each port and decide in advance which tours appeal to them.

There are many options and the ship usually spends only a day or two in each port. Seeing ancient ruins is part of the travel experience. Shopping is also a popular port activity along with activities such as ziplining or golf.

Here are a few of the top shore excursions preferred by cruisers:

  1. Snorkeling anywhere in the Caribbean, especially Grand Cayman, the Virgin Islands or Cozumel.

  2. Helicopter or float plane sightseeing excursions over Alaska's glaciers along with the White Pass and Yukon Railroad in Skagway.

  3. Day tours to the Mayan ruins of Tulum on the Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

  4. Whale and dolphin watching excursions in different ports.

  5. Tours of ancient ruins on Greek Island and other Mediterranean cruise ports.

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What to do when your Excursion is removed from the Tour Operator Gateway

If you are an excursion tour operator and the cruise line is not selling your tours, you should check the Tour Operator Gateway

The cruise lines will inspect your tour and your insurance. If there are any gaps in your coverage or repeated complaints about your tour services, you will be dropped from the Tour Operator Gateway list. 

North American cruisers are eager to spend money on excursions when the ship is in port. The tour operator must live up to their expectations and be able to cover any emergencies.


All cruise lines will only accept tour operators demonstrating insurance coverage in the following areas:

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How Having Excursion Insurance Increases Revenue for Tour Operators

When they say that in business you need to spend money to make money, they're not just talking about getting together the capital to get started. In many cases, in order to increase your revenue, you need to make a small investment. For example, as a tour operator, you're going to want to purchase excursion insurance-- that way, you can promote your outfit to cruise lines and resorts and see more profit.

If you're in an area where cruises frequently stop, without excursion insurance, you're likely missing out on a large chunk of your potential market. In order to attract these passengers, you need to meet the cruise lines requirements, a major part of which is assuring the cruise lines that you can protect their guests while they are no longer on the ship.

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I Have Local Insurance, Why Do I Need Excursion Insurance as Well?

As a tour or excursion operator the first step in making sure that you have the minimum insurance for operating your business is complying with local insurance requirements. This local insurance coverage can indemnify you if your tour boat hits a dock or another boat or an employee crashes the company car.

If your business is only focused on local inhabitants for the participants of your tours you might be able to get away with a simple insurance policy from a local insurance provider.  However, if you want to contract your business with cruise lines you will need to have excursion insurance with complete, comprehensive liability, vehicle and/or watercraft coverage from a known carrier with a high credit rating to be acceptable to a cruise line.

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15 Ways to Make Your Excursion Safer and More Memorable

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