RICHMOND, Va., March 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — A new survey* from travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance, reveals that a majority of Americans (55.5 percent) do not feel cruise ships are equipped to handle serious medical emergencies. This is a significant change (15% difference) from last year’s results, which found 60 percent (59.2 percent) of Americans believed cruise ships could handle medical emergencies. The survey was conducted during the height of Wave Season, which is a three-month period from January to March, when cruise lines and travel agents book a large number of cruise cabins.
When asked for their estimate of the cost of an air ambulance evacuation to the U.S. from Mexico or the Caribbean, a quarter of respondents (25.7%) drastically underestimated the cost at $0 to $10,000. Another quarter of respondents correctly estimated cost as coming in between $10,001 and $20,000.
“While cruising has become an increasingly popular vacation choice among Americans, consumers are wary of cruise lines’ ability to care for them during a medical emergency,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications for Allianz Global Assistance USA. “Our wave season survey shows that cruisers have become more sophisticated and understand that most ships will disembark seriously ill or injured passengers in the closest port, regardless of whether the closest medical facilities can provide an appropriate level of care. Smart cruisers are covering themselves with travel insurance in the event that they must be medically evacuated to a facility that is properly equipped to treat them.”
Among other findings, 38% of consumers surveyed thought that travel insurance is more important when booking a cruise than it is for other types of travel.
The survey also found that more than two-thirds of respondents (68.2 percent) would prefer to spend all or most of their time exploring their destination instead of staying aboard the cruise ship, a slight increase from last year (65.6 percent). However, safety concerns with the destination were still the top reason (35.7 percent) cruisers would be hesitant to disembark at port. Other reasons include disinterest in the destination (18.4 percent), fear of not getting back on the ship in time (14.1 percent), previously having visited the destination (11.4 percent), taking advantage of the all-inclusive food and drinks on board (9.7 percent), not having pre-booked an off-board activity (7 percent) and lack of Internet/mobile connectivity (3.7 percent).
Allianz’s wave season survey also analyzed trends such as themed cruises, finding that more than a quarter of respondents (31.5 percent) were not interested in food, pop culture or music-themed cruises. Fewer respondents are interested in adventure or expedition cruises to places like Alaska over sunny, beach destinations compared to last year (43.8 percent, down from 48.9 percent).
Almost three quarters (74.2 percent) of those surveyed expressed interest in river cruises over ocean cruises thanks to more scenic routes (21.5 percent), lack of waves (13.5 percent), easier disembarking (13.4 percent), smaller ship sizes (12.2 percent), shore excursions being included in the price (9.8 percent), and socializing opportunities (3.8 percent). Only 25.8 percent shared that despite the unique attributes of a river cruise, they would still prefer ocean cruising.
Allianz Global Assistance offers travel insurance** through most major U.S. airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies, other travel suppliers and directly to consumers. For more information on Allianz Global Assistance and the policies offered for travelers, please visit: http://www.allianztravelinsurance.com.
*Methodology: This 10-question survey was administered to the U.S. internet population from February 23, 2018 through February 25, 2018, receiving 1,554 responses. The methodology is explained here and a snapshot of survey findings are listed below:
1. If you were to get sick on a cruise, do you think the cruise line would be equipped to handle serious medical emergencies?
- 44.5% – Yes, I think cruise lines are equipped
- 55.5% – No, I don’t think cruise lines are equipped
2. If a cruise were to disembark you in Mexico or the Caribbean due to a serious medical issue, what do you think it would cost you to be flown to the U.S. via an air ambulance?
- 25.7% – $0–$10,000
- 26.1% –$10,001–$20,000
- 17.1% – $20,001–$30,000
- 9.0% – $30,001–$40,000
- 4.8% – $40,001–$50,000
- 17.3% – $50,001 or higher
3. Do you think it’s more or less important to purchase travel insurance before a cruise versus any other type of trip?
- 38.8% – I think it’s more important
- 14.0% – I think it’s less important
- 47.2% – I think the importance is equal
4. If you were to take a cruise anywhere, to what extent would you prefer to stay on the ship versus get off the ship to explore the destinations?
- 5.5% – Entire time on the ship
- 26.4% – Majority on ship with some destination time
- 37.7% – Majority in destination with some ship time
- 30.5% – Entire time exploring the destination
5. When taking a cruise, what would be your main reason for not wanting to disembark at the ports to explore the destinations?
- 35.7%- Safety concerns with the destination
- 18.4% – Disinterest in the destination
- 14.1% – Fear of not getting back to the ship on time
- 11.4% – Having visited the destination previously
- 9.7% – Inclusive food/drinks on the ship
- 7.0% – Not having pre-booked an off-board activity
- 3.7% – Lack of internet/mobile connectivity
6. Would you be more or less interested in taking a cruise if it was themed (ex: music cruises, foodie cruises, pop culture cruises like Black Panther/La La Land/Jurassic Park)?
- 16.4% – More interested
- 31.5% – Less interested
- 52.1% – Unchanged
7. What attribute of a river cruise would make you prefer to take a river cruise over an ocean cruise?
- 21.5% – It’s more scenic/You can see the shore line
- 13.5% – No waves
- 13.4% – Easier to disembark/On land every day
- 12.2% – Smaller ships
- 9.8% – Shore excursions included in the price
- 3.8% – More socializing opportunities
- 25.8% – None, I prefer ocean cruising
8. Would you be more interested in taking an adventure or expedition cruise to destinations like Alaska versus sunny beach destinations like the Caribbean?
- 43.8% – More interested in adventure or expedition
- 56.2% – More interested in sunny beach
9. If you were to take a cruise, how many days in advance would you plan to arrive in the departure city of your cruise?
- 20.7% – 0, I’d arrive the same day
- 40.2% – 1
- 15.2% – 2
- 7.4% – 3
- 3.5% – 4
- 2.3% – 5
- 10.6% – 6 or more
Allianz Global Assistance USA
Allianz Global Assistance USA (AGA Service Company) is a leading consumer specialty insurance and assistance company. We provide insurance to 35 million customers annually and are best known for our Allianz Travel Insurance plans. In addition to travel insurance, Allianz Global Assistance USA offers tuition insurance, event ticket protection, registration protection for endurance events and unique travel assistance services such as international medical assistance and concierge services. The company also serves as an outsource provider for in-bound call center services and claims administration for property and casualty insurers and credit card companies.
**Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply to all plans. Plans are available only to U.S. residents. Not all plans are available in all jurisdictions. For a complete description of the coverage and benefit limits offered under your plan, carefully review your plan’s Letter of Confirmation/Declarations and Certificate of Insurance/Policy. Insurance coverage is underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: Oakbrook Terrace, IL), rated “A-” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: Richmond, VA), rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101-C series or 101-P series, or Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies (One Nationwide Plaza, Columbus, OH 43215-2200), under Form Nos. SRTC 2000 and NSHTC 2500, each rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., depending on state of residence. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are marks of AGA Service Company or its affiliates. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of these plans and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson Insurance Company. Non-insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company.
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SOURCE Allianz Global Assistance USA