Ambassador Cruise Line are very reasonable but provide a very comfortable service. But this is more about insurance than the cruise. We sailed from Tilbury and enjoyed a lovely day in Torshavn in the Faroe Islands. On the following sea day, my husband fell and broke his hip. The ship’s doctor and medical team were excellent with their care, but said that we would have to disembark upon arrival at Reykjavik for my husband to be hospitalised there. At least I managed to see the smoking volcano before we docked, but my husband was flat on his back and could see nothing. He was given breakfast in bed, and the ambulance arrived bright and early to transport him to hospital. I packed the smallest suitcase, expecting to stay for about a week, and left the rest of the luggage on board, for transport back to Tilbury.
The ship’s representative accompanied me to the hospital, helped me get in contact with our insurance, and between them they found me hotel accommodation in the centre of the town. The hospital was some 5 miles from the centre of town which necessitated taxis to and fro. After a few days and 2 wrong attempts, I discovered that I could get buses in order to visit my husband. I must say that the hospital was excellent. They confirmed a fractured hip and operated. He stayed in hospital for 6 days then we both moved into a step-down facility until we could get a flight back home. The hospital stipulated that he should have a wheelchair to the plane seat and likewise upon arrival in the UK.
My hotel was bed and breakfast. The benefit of being in the centre of town was that I could look around in the daytime before late afternoon visiting hours, so my travel and sightseeing was still quite pleasant and I managed to visit some of the intended sights including the Golden Circle tour and seeing puffins. I also had plenty of time to explore Reykjavik itself which I enjoyed.
However, I had to find both lunch and evening meals, and had to fund my own transport to the hospital daily. Iceland is a comparatively expensive destination and it was impossible to get a 1-way taxi for under £20. And the cheapest meal I could find was soup (lovely soup though it was!) at £16. I learned after a few days that I could eat in the hospital canteen for around £10 per meal, which I subsequently did. These expenses normally come out of the Hospital Benefit section of travel insurance, and one claims afterwards.
As we usually travel abroad a few times each year, we take out annual travel insurance. I had renewed our travel insurance shortly before we embarked on this cruise. On two previous occasions when we needed to claim on insurance, everything went smoothly, and I never had cause to complain. However, when I renewed the annual insurance, I failed to notice that the Hospital Benefit had dropped from £50 per day to £20 per day. As you will gather from the above costs, £20 per day was not going to cover even half of my expenses: it only just covered lunch.
The insurance was also very slow at deciding whether we were correctly covered, and until they had done that, they would not book our flights home despite my husband having a “Fit to Fly” from the hospital. This caused me no end of stress – and it continued for 2 months until I had managed to negotiate most of the expenses we had incurred. I eventually booked our flights back myself, and then had to claim for them too. But I never did get compensation for my meals and travel, nor did we see anything back from the missed portion of the cruise: although it was ‘awarded’, it was eaten up with red tape and excuses. I also had to flight to get (and eventually did get) the taxi trip from the hospital to the airport – no short trip as the international airport is 50km away from Reykjavik, and the taxi cost £145.
So PLEASE DO CHECK THAT YOUR HOSPITAL BENEFIT IS SUFFICIENT!!! If our hospital benefit had stayed at £50 per day, I would not have had the extremely stressful months of dangling at the end of the insurance string, arguing, and eventually settling for being out of pocket.