Is there itinerary insurance? We are planning an Eastern Mediterranean cruise with a primary objective of visiting Israel. We found a cruise with several ports of call in Israel. We are told that political conditions in the area could prevent stops in Israel. Is there insurance available to permit a return visit to Israel when conditions improve?
–Sumner, Highland Park, Ill.
To answer your question in a word, Sumner: no. While there are many types of travel insurance, there is none that would do what you're requesting--a trip back to Israel if your cruise doesn't stop there.
But if your stops in Israel are cancelled, you do have some recourse. First, the cruise line will attempt to make substitute stops. Of course, if you're intent on Israel, alternative stops or even a shipboard credit may not make up for this ($50 seems to be the going compensatory rate for a missed stop, if you complain). To complicate matters, most cruises don't announce itinerary changes until the cruise is underway, or very shortly before. And once you're on board and cruising, unless there's a major disaster, most travel insurance companies consider you to have had a successful vacation, at least insofar as it means they won't offer compensation.
There is one situation where travel insurance could help. If you have "cancel for any reason" travel insurance and you know in advance that the Israel stops are not going to be made, you could cancel in advance, recoup your costs, and go on a new vacation to Israel later. So for example, should Israeli-Palestinian relations take a major turn for the worse (intifada-level or even more serious), and it looks like there's no way a cruise ship would stop in Israel, you might preemptively cancel. That way, you can take a different vacation in Israel on your own at a later date.