I am writing this review not so much to advice of cruise but to advise of the helpfulness for the cruise line in an unfortunate condition. We booked this Cruise on the Brilliance in Sept.2011 to sail Oct 2012. It was booked as a family cruise with my mother in-law, her 3 children and their spouses. WE TOOK OUT TRAVEL INSURANCE through the cruise line. We booked it as a final cruise as mom was getting up in age and felt this would be her last trip. At the time we didn't know how real that statement was. We had to get off the ship on day 6 to place mom in the hospital in Halifax Nova Scotia, where she died 6days later.
The first issue I will address in the travel insurance coverage. When we purchased the insurance at the time of booking we did not receive any written breakdown of what is actually covered. It was only verbally that the typical stuff was confirmed. ie trip interruption, baggage loss, delayed flights.
Point # 1 This is only secondary coverage and any claim as far as medical has to be submitted to your primary insurance first and the travel insurance only covers what the primary carrier denies.
Point 2. If you buy Travel insurance for the cruise portion of the trip your independent airfare in automatically covered. I did not know this and insured the flights also which means that if you do have a claim you have to submit claim to airline first and if they don't cover it then you submit a claim to the travel insurance. So it not only did we incur an unnecessary expense it caused another step in the process which delayed reimbursement and payment.
Point 3 The travel insurance is based on 150% of the initial airfare. Which means that the maximum payment cannot exceed 1 and a half times your total original airfares.
My mother in-law became ill and we took her to the infirmary at 1 am. She couldn't get comfortable and had difficulty breathing. they treated her and put her on oxygen. took x rays and found that her lungs were filling with fluid. They advise that she would have to be removed from the ship as soon as we docked in the morning. They arranged for a ambulance to meet us on the dock for transport to hospital.
The cruise staff was very efficient in helping us to cancel all of our shore excursions and shuttles and crediting all of our accounts. We spent the rest of the night packing up all three rooms and settling accounts. Upon docking my wife was allowed to accompany her mother to the hospital in the ambulance and the ship was trying to make arrangements for the rest of use to be transported to the hospital but it was not happening fast enough. They did suggest that due to hurricane Sandy there was a possibility that the ship would stay in port to wait out the storm so we could leave all our luggage in the room until they determined what was going to happen after 2 pm. We would also know more about our mothers status at that point also. We checked back at 2 and found that the plan for the ship was sailing on and they assisted us in removing all our luggage.
Needless to say that our expenses for hotel, rental car, food, for a week and the return airfare tickets was far above the cost of 1 and a half of our initial airfare, however it did cover a lot more than the extra $100 it cost to purchase it.
We were contacted by a shore liaison for the cruise line at the hospital and giving contact numbers for assistance. Due to Hurricane Sandy the Miami and New York offices were shutdown so our contact was based out of London. The cruise line and travel insurance did everything they could to help us through this situation.
Upon the death of my mother in-law the insurance supplied the mortuary of our choice a credit card # to cover all costs in preparing the body for shipping including the casket. The mortuary handled all the transfers and handling of shipping mom home.
What did surprise us was when we canceled moms credit card we found that 5,000 was charged to it by the ship for the infirmary visit which we assumed that because we had RCCL travel insurance it was handled. We were reimbursed through her primary insurance but it was a surprise.
All in all the cruise line made all efforts to insure that we were in good hands and everything went as smooth as possible. Although all expense were not covered it was still well worth the extra bucks to take the insurance.