CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. -- part of the nation's largest cruise retailer, World Travel Holdings -- have introduced a new "CruiseAssurance" job loss insurance plan that covers the majority of cruise lines. The new policy comes on the heels of Norwegian Cruise Line's own job loss cruise insurance plan, the BookSafe Travel Protection Plan, and JetBlue's JetBlue Promise Program, which will refund airfares and waive cancellation fees if you lose your job and need to cancel a flight.
The new CruiseAssurance insurance plan is available for all cruises booked between March 1 and May 2 from any of the 1,100 agents working with CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. The insurance policy can be booked over the phone or online. The job loss insurance is available to U.S. residents, as well as customers outside the U.S.
To be eligible for a full refund should you lose your job and need to cancel your travel plans, you must have been employed at your current job for at least a year and provide a letter of termination. The insurance covers everyone in the booking, so if you get laid off, your entire family can cancel without penalty. However, the insurance does not cover non-traveling family members; if you've booked a girls' getaway and your husband gets laid off, you can't cancel without penalty under the CruiseAssurance plan.
CruiseOne and Cruises Inc.'s job loss protection is a free addition to the line's basic travel insurance policy by TravelGuard, which starts from $35. CruiseAssurance is also available at no additional cost with the more comprehensive TravelGuard plans, ranging from $39 - $199 per person, depending on trip cost. We recently learned that NCL's policy, which starts at $29 per person, also bundles job loss protection with basic insurance coverage, such as trip cancellation, baggage loss and delay, and worldwide emergency assistance.
While the two plans are quite similar, CruiseOne and Cruises Inc.'s policy does have two benefits NCL's policy lacks. While you must purchase NCL's plan prior to final payment, you can purchase CruiseAssurance at any time up until departure (or May 2, whichever comes first); however, you can't purchase the insurance after you've lost your job. And while both plans allow you to cancel at any time, even the day before your ship sets sail, the CruiseAssurance policy lets you terminate your vacation mid-cruise (if you lose your job while you're onboard) and receive a pro-rated refund for the missed days. On the other hand, NCL's policy is open-ended, while CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. are not currently scheduled to offer job loss protection after May 2.
Dwain Wall, general manager and senior vice president of CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., says that the company is keeping its options open regarding extending the insurance plan past May 2. Any extension would depend on whether the plan is successful or not. But does it work? Ralph Santisteban of CruiseOne Miami told Cruise Critic that he's had plenty of success with the offer already. He had a client who was considering a Northern Europe cruise, but was hesitant to commit because there had been layoffs at her company. But within five minutes of receiving the email announcing the job loss insurance, she called Santisteban and placed the $10,000 booking for two cabins, citing CruiseAssurance as a "dealmaker."
We'll keep you posted if any other agencies follow suit with job loss plans of their own.
--by Erica Silverstein, Associate Editor
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More Job Loss Insurance from CruiseOne and Cruises Inc.
March 2, 2009