HomeBlogEmerald Waterways Travel Insurance - 2024 Review

Emerald Waterways Travel Insurance - 2024 Review

Emerald Waterways Travel Insurance Review

Emerald Waterways Travel Insurance Review
Insurance Partner
Coverage Options


  • Reputable Insurer
  • Cancel For Any Reason Pays Cash Refund


  • Low Medical And Evacuation Coverage
  • Very Expensive Prices

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Emerald Waterways

Emerald Cruises was launched in 2013 as the sister venture of established cruise operator Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours. This new cruise company was designed to emulate the deluxe experience and all-inclusive feel of Scenic’s itineraries whilst catering to more budget-conscious cruise travelers.

With an Emerald Cruises vacation all Port charges, airport transfers and all gratuities are covered in the price. Also included are all onboard meals with a selection of beer and wine. Wi-Fi is available for those who like to stay connected, and complimentary bicycles encourage passengers to explore the ports from a new two-wheeled perspective.


Emerald Waterways Travel Insurance

As with most cruise lines, Emerald Waterways offers a travel insurance plan through their partner TripMate called the Travel Protection Plan and a “Cancel For Any Reason” version called the Travel Protection Plus Plan. Both of these plans are underwritten by The United States Fire Insurance Company, who also underwrite other travel insurance policies available on TripProtectors.

Whilst the insurer behind the Emerald plans is excellent, the plans that Emerald have put together for thier customers is unfortunately charged at a high price with low benefit levels. At TripProtectors we would not recommend buying these plans. Our advice is simple: You’ll get much better value for money and improved cruise travel Insurance coverage if you compare the wider Travel Insurance market.

To enable us to demonstrate the travel insurance options available to you over and above that offered by Emerald, we need to get creative and set-sail with Emerald Cruises. So sit back, relax and enjoy as we hoist the main sail and way-anchor with our Emerald Cruise vacation.

Our Cruise: ‘Secrets of the Douro’

Our sample couple, ages 55 and 60, selected the ‘Secrets of the Douro’, an 8-night river cruise in Portugal and Spain for 8,990. 5/14/2022 – 5/21/2022. After choosing our stateroom, the total cost of the cruise is $8,990.

Trip Cost

Upsell Protection Plans

Once we have chosen the stateroom, we are presented with two optional non-insurance upsell products that sound like insurance but aren’t: the Platinum Protection Plan and the Deposit Protection Plan. These upsells must be purchased on the same day the first trip payment is made.

The Platinum Protection Plan is a cancellation option that provides a 100% refund. The Platinum Protection plan allows you to cancel for one of the prescribed reasons (such as illness/injury) and receive a refund. If you cancel for a non-prescribed reason, a future credit is offered in lieu of cash. How much you receive will depend on when you cancel. If you cancel within 31 days prior to the trip departure, you will receive a full 100% refund of your booking costs less PPP fees, airline cancellation fees and administrative fees). If you were to cancel 30-15 days prior to your departure, you’ll receive a 70% refund (less cancellation fees). If you cancel 14 days or less before the trip departure, and standard booking conditions apply. To be fair to Emerald, their plan's description finishes by reminding the customer that: This does not replace Travel Insurance we strongly recommend this be obtained at time of booking.

The cost for this upsell is $295 per person for river cruises and increases to $395 per person for yacht cruises. If you are heading off on an Emerald Cruises vacation and are wondering about buying the Platinum Protection Plan, our advice is simple: At TripProtectors do not recommend that you purchase this coverage as it is readily available in other travel insurance policies along with far additional benefits, at a much lower price.

The Deposit Protection Plan allows you to change your booking without losing the non-refundable deposit. You can only buy it when paying the deposit, and you get 24 months to use it or lose it. However, it’s actually a $125 per person prepaid change fee, whether you use it or not.

In our opinion, he Deposit Protection Plan as well as the Platinum Protection Plan are both a waste of money when you buy a comprehensive travel insurance plan to give you more coverage for a better price. With travel insurance you can simply cancel the trip for a covered reason, the insurance repays you the non-refundable deposit, and you can then rebook your trip as and when appropriate.

How to Buy Travel Insurance with Emerald Waterways’ Partner – TripMate

Emerald partners with TripMate to provide travel insurance. They do not offer it themselves. Instead, you must call and speak with a TripMate sales agent. In 2019 TripMate was acquired by Generali Global, so the policies they provide are Generali policies.

When looking at the insurance on TripMate, we have a choice of the Travel Protection Plan or the Travel Protection Plus Plan which is their Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) policy. Coverages for both are listed below:


TripMate Plan Info


TripMate - Medical Info


TripMate - Baggage

The Travel Protection Plan provides $50,000 of medical coverage and $100,000 of medical evacuation coverage. Pre-existing medical conditions are automatically waived if the policy is purchased within 14 days of the initial trip deposit or payment.

Choosing the Travel Protection Plus provides the same coverage but adds the Cancel For Any Reason benefit to provide a 75% refund of the trip cost if cancelling for a reason not listed in the policy.

In terms of price, for our sample trip, choosing the Travel Protection Plan would be $382 per person for a total of $764 while the Travel Protection Plus Plan would be $573 per person for a total of $1146.

Tripmate Protection Plan

Tripmate Protection Plan Plus

When deciding upon the correct coverage levels for a vacation, TripProtectors recommends when traveling outside the United States that a traveler carry a minimum of $100,000 of medical coverage and $250,000 of medical evacuation.

Both plans only provides $50,000 for medical coverage per person which is half of what we recommend. Medical evacuation coverage for both plans is only $100,000, which is also less than our recommendation. We discuss further below why we recommend the level of coverage we do, and why the Emerald plans may leave you financially liable if the worst were to happen.

Comparison Quotes

To best illustrate the alternative travel insurance options available to you, we ran a quote based on our sample couple, ages 59 and 60, using TripProtectors’s travel insurance marketplace engine to see if we could get better coverage than what TripMate’s plans offered. The trip cost used for the comparison is the cruise cost for both travelers is $8,990.

As mentioned previously, when traveling outside the United States, we recommend a minimum coverage of $100k in Medical Insurance, $250k in Medical Evacuation, and a Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver. We used these criteria to choose the selected quotes.

The least expensive plan with adequate coverage on our quote from TripProtectors is the Trawick First Class, at $417.62.

Trawick First Class

The Trawick First Class provides $150,000 of medical coverage per person, $1 million of medical evacuation and coverage for pre-existing medical condition provided the policy is purchased within 14 days of the initial trip payment or deposit. It has 3x the coverage of the Emerald Waterways Travel Protection Plan and 10x the medical evacuation coverage for $346.32 LESS than the Emerald Waterways’ Protection Plan.

If we prefer a Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) policy, the least expensive plan with adequate coverage would be the Trawick First Class (CFAR 75%) at $709.95. This plan is comparable to the Emerald Waterways Protection Plus Plan. The Trawick First Class (CFAR 75%) has the same coverage as the Trawick First Class but adds the Cancel For Any Reason option. Should you cancel for a reason NOT listed in the policy, you would be refunded 75% of the trip cost in cash, not cruise credits. At TripProtectors, we always prefer cash rather than a cruise credit. You never know what the future holds, whether you will want to take another Emerald trip, whether you will be able to, and having cash gives you complete flexibility.

Trawick First Class (CFAR 75-)

This plan also has has 3x the coverage of the Emerald Waterways Travel Protection Plus Plan and 10x the medical evacuation coverage for $436.05 LESS than the Emerald Waterways’ Protection Plus Plan.

The easiest way to illustrate these comparisons to to show the plans side by side. This wil let you see very clearly whether the Emerald plans offer you good value for money and comprehensive coverge.


Emerald Waterways Protection Plan

Emerald Waterways Protection Plus Plan (with CFAR)

Trawick First Class

Trawick First Class (CFAR 75%)

Trip Cancellation

100% of trip cost

100% of trip cost

100% of trip cost

100% of trip cost

Trip Interruption

150% of trip cost

150% of trip cost

150% of trip cost

150% of trip cost

Medical Insurance





Medical Evacuation





Baggage Loss/Damage



$500/article up to $2,000 per person

$500/article up to $2,000 per person

Baggage Delay





Travel Delay

(Incl quarantine)

$750 ($150/day)

$750 ($150/day)

$1000 per person

$1000 per person

Missed Connection



$1,000 per person

$500 per person

Cover Pre-existing Medical Conditions

Yes, if purchased within 14 days of deposit

Yes, if purchased within 14 days of deposit

Yes, if purchased within 14 days of deposit

Yes, if purchased within 14 days of deposit

Cancel For Work Reason





Interrupt For Any Reason





Cancel For Any Reason



75% of non-refundable trip cost


75% of trip cost in cash

Accidental Death & Dismemberment





Cost of Policy


(8.5% of trip cost)


(12.7% of trip cost)


(4.6% of trip cost)


(7.9% or trip cost)

Cost Comparison

It is clear to see from the table above that overall, both the Emerald Waterways Protection Plan and Protection Plus Plan have minimal coverage for an extremely high price. Adding the CFAR benefit, available with the Protection Plus Plan only provides a cruise credit valid for one year.

By shopping for cruise travel insurance through TripProtectors our two travelers can have 3x times the medical coverage and 10x more medical evacuation coverage than the Emerald Waterways Plans. They can also receive actual cash back if they choose to cancel for a reason not specified in the policy instead of a time-limited cruise credit.

The Trawick First Class is $346.32 LESS than the Emerald Waterways’ Protection Plan while the Trawick First Class (CFAR 75%) is $436.05 LESS than the Emerald Waterways’ Protection Plus Plan. The savings with these policies could be used for airfare, additional excursions or shopping.

In the following sections, we discuss know what to look for when shopping for travel insurance for your Emerald Waterways cruise.

Trip Cancellation

A significant concern for travelers is Trip Cancellation. If you became ill or had an accidental injury prior to your departure date, you may have to cancel your travel arrangements, resulting in financial losses. While disappointing, Trip Cancellation is doubly painful without cancellation insurance.

The Emerald Waterways’ Protection Plan and Protection Plus Plan do provide a wide range of cancellation reasons which are listed below, and which are similar to the reasons listed in policies available at TripProtectors:

  • Unexpected injury, illness, or death of traveler or non-traveling family member
  • Involvement of a traffic accident that causes you to miss your cruise
  • Residence uninhabitable by natural disaster, fire, flood, burglary
  • Destination uninhabitable or unreachable by fire, flood, or natural disaster
  • Revocation of military leave
  • Subpoena or being called to serve jury duty
  • Hurricanes
  • Documented theft of passports or visas
  • Employer-initiated transfer of 250 miles or more
  • Mechanical breakdown of a common carrier
  • Terrorism
  • Default or bankruptcy of the common carrier or travel supplier
  • Strikes

Trip Interruption

Trip Interruption is a situation during your trip that causes you to miss some or the rest of your vacation. It’s like Trip Cancellation but happens during your travels.

The most common trip interruption is the injury or illness of a traveler. If you had an injury or illness on your vacation but can continue traveling after treatment, trip interruption reimburses the unused portion of the trip, and the cost to rejoin the trip in progress.

Trip interruption also includes a family member who had a sudden grave illness or passed away. If your covered situation requires curtailing the trip and going home early, Trip Interruption also reimburses for the unused portion of the trip, plus the added cost of going home early.

Both the Travel Protection and Protection Plus Plans provide 150% refund of trip costs as do the Trawick First Class and First Class (CFAR 75%) policies.


Cancel For Any Reason

Cancel For Any Reason cruise insurance provides the highest level of flexibility and reimbursement if you must cancel your trip for any reason not covered by the policy.

If you cancel your Emerald Waterways cruise for a reason not listed in their travel policy, then there is no refund with the Protection Plan, but you would receive a 75% refund in cash with the Protection Plus Plan. Surprisingly, they do refund in cash instead of cruise credits like other cruise lines. When it comes to refunds, we always prefer cash since future credits may not be used.

Travel insurance policies like the Trawick First Class (CFAR 75%) also pay a 75% cash refund of all prepaid, non-refundable trip costs including arrangements made outside of Emerald Waterways. This could include hotels, excursions and transfers.

Cancel For Any Reason policies have several stipulations:

  1. Purchase the policy within 10 - 21 days (depending on policy), of your initial payment or deposit date and
  2. Insure 100% of the prepaid trip costs subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions. For additional prepaid non-refundable payments made after the purchase of the policy, insure within 10-21 days (depending on policy), of each subsequent payment added to your trip, and
  3. Cancel your trip 2 days or more before your scheduled departure date.

Medical Insurance for Emergency Treatment

One of the most important factors in selecting trip insurance is having adequate Medical Insurance when you travel. Anything can happen, including accidental injuries or sudden illness.

If you have a medical emergency when traveling and don’t have proper medical insurance coverage while overseas, you could find yourself with huge, unexpected hospital bills. Many Americans mistakenly believe countries with universal health care will treat them for free. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Instead, Americans receive treatment at private hospitals, not public, and must pay like anyone else. Admission for inpatient care can cost $3,000-$4,000 per day, plus the cost of treatment, x-rays, surgeries, and specialists.

A common misconception is that Medicare will pay for hospitalization overseas.  Unfortunately, they won’t. Medicare does not pay providers outside the US. Some Medicare supplements do cover overseas, but have lifetime limits or reduced benefits, and pay for emergencies only. They can still require you to pay 20% of the costs. As a result, you could go on vacation and end up with medical bills in the thousands.

TripProtectors urges overseas travelers to take travel medical insurance of at least $100,000 per person. In a medical emergency, $100,000 provides ample health care and helps protect your retirement savings from unexpected financial burdens.

Emerald Waterways’ Protection and Protection Plus Plans only provide a $50,000 benefit for Medical Insurance. Both the Trawick First Class and First Class (CFAR 75%) policies includes $150,000 per person of Medical Insurance, so you can receive proper treatment without ending up in debt.

Emergency Medical Evacuation

Medical Insurance isn’t the only potentially expensive part of a trip. Emergency Medical Evacuation transports you from the place of injury or illness to the closest hospital. Once you’re stable enough for transport, Medical Evacuation brings you home via commercial flight or, if necessary, private medical jet.

Medical flights can cost up to $25,000 per hour and regular health insurance does not cover it. In addition, the US State Department does not offer any medical treatment or evacuation assistance for US citizens. TripProtectors advises travelers to get at least $250,000 Medical Evacuation to assure there’s enough coverage to get them back home from almost anywhere if they experience a serious medical event. However, if traveling to Asia or Africa or beyond, we recommend a minimum of $500,000 for Emergency Medical Evacuation due to the distance from the US.

The Emerald Waterways Protection and Protection Plus Plans includes Medical Evacuation up to $100,000 per person. The Trawick First Class and First Class (CFAR 75%) plans offer $1 million per person for Medical Evacuation, so you can feel secure knowing you have adequate coverage to transport you back home if needed.

Pre-existing Medical Conditions

A significant concern for senior travelers can be pre-existing medical conditions. A Pre-Existing Medical Condition is one in which you’ve received medical treatment, testing, medication changes, added new medications, or received a recommendation for a treatment or test that hasn’t happened yet. Most travel insurance policies exclude pre-existing conditions unless you purchase the policy within the required time period from your initial trip deposit date (called the Time Sensitive Period). Otherwise, the insurer will look backward 60, 90, or 180 days (depending on the policy) from the date you purchased the insurance to see if there are any pre-existing medical conditions they won’t cover. This is called the Look Back Period. Any medical conditions older than this Look Back Period, unchanged or stabilized with no medication dosage changes are covered, as are any new conditions that arise after you purchase the policy.

If you must cancel, interrupt, or seek medical treatment for a medical condition while traveling, travel insurance policies typically exclude claims related to Pre-existing Medical Conditions. However, if you purchase the policy within a few days of your Initial Trip Payment or Deposit date, many policies add a Waiver to the policy that covers Pre-existing Conditions. As a result, there is no Look Back Period and Pre-existing Conditions are covered.

The Emerald Waterways Protection and Protection Plus Plans cover Pre-Existing Conditions as long as the policy is purchased within 14 days of the initial trip payment or deposit. This is also the case for the Trawick First Class and First Class (CFAR 75%) plans.


Price and Value

In our opinon, the Emerald Waterways Protection and Protection Plus Plans offer lower than expected coverage for an unreasonably high price. The medical insurance coverage is only $50,000, and the medical evacuation coverage is only $100,000, which may not be adequate for a serious illness or injury and may leave you financially vulnerable. We were pleased to see both plans offer a Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion Waiver, robust cancellation reasons and cash refunds when using the Cancel For Any Reason option. While better than many other cruise insurances, the price for this coverage is very high.

In contrast, by comparison shopping, we found the Trawick First Class policy comes in at $417.62, which is $346.32 LESS than the Emerald Waterways’ Protection Plan while the Trawick First Class (CFAR 75%) comes in at $709.95, which is $436.05 LESS than the Emerald Waterways’ Protection Plus Plan. Both plans include superior medical and evacuation benefits, as well as the pre-existing medical condition waiver if purchased within a Time Sensitive Period of 14 days from the deposit date, and a robust list of cancellation reasons. The extra savings over the Emerald Waterways’ plans could be used for additional excursions, shopping or meals.


The Emerald Waterways Protection and Protection Plus Plans do provide decent coverage in many areas, but we feel they do not provide enough medical coverage for our comfort. Their upsells of the Platinum Protection Plan and Deposit Protection Plan should be avoided as these benefits are a waste of money as they are automatically built into trip insurance. Overall, we rate it a 7 out of 10.

Travelers planning an Emerald Waterways cruise vacation will find the best value for their money and peace of mind when they shop for travel insurance at TripProtectors Travel Insurance Marketplace. There, you can review dozens of options and select the best policy to fit your needs.

To help you find the best policy, TripProtectors recommends having at least $100,000 in travel medical coverage and $250,000 emergency medical evacuation when traveling outside the US. And, if you purchase the policy within the 14-21 days of initial trip payment, please consider a travel insurance policy with the pre-existing condition waiver included to ensure the most coverage for your money.

If you are planning an Emerald Waterways cruise in 2022, be sure to pack insurance before you travel. You never know when you may need it.

Have questions? Chat with us online, send us an email at agent@TripProtectors.com or alternatively call us at +1(650) 397-6592. We would love to hear from you.

Safe Travels!

This article has been written for review purposes only and does not suggest sponsorship or endorsement of AARDY by the trademark owner.

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