Pet-Friendly Cruises: Are Dogs Allowed on Cruise Ships?

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Planning a vacation can be challenging, especially when you want to bring your furry companion along.

Our four-legged pets quickly become part of the family. So, can you take a dog on a cruise ship?

Unfortunately, there are very few pet-friendly cruises. But you’re not out of luck.

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is known for its top-notch pet-friendly cruises. They are the only cruise line that allows cats and dogs on their fleet.

Service animals trained for specific tasks are also allowed on most cruise lines. But, emotional support pets are generally banned.

Are Dogs Allowed on Cruise Ships?

dog standing on a pier looking out over the oceanPin

Dogs are generally not allowed on cruise ships except for service dogs.

While most cruise lines do not allow dogs on board, there is one exception. Cunard Cruise offers a pet-friendly experience on their Queen Mary 2 ship.

Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 offers dedicated kennels for dogs and cats. The pet-friendly facilities provide your pets with safe and comfortable accommodations during the cruise.

In addition to the Queen Mary 2, several overnight cruises or multi-night ferries allow pets on board. These cruises either have pet-friendly cabins or onboard kennels for your pets.

Most cruise lines have an exception for service animals. However, vaccination and documentation requirements may apply for your dog or cat to sail.

When planning your cruise vacation with your dog, remember that some destinations have strict entry policies for pets. It’s crucial to research the rules and regulations of any countries you plan to visit and obtain the necessary paperwork beforehand.

The Only Pet-Friendly Cruise Line

Cunard Line is the only major cruise line that allows guests to bring cats and dogs on the cruise ship.

On select Queen Mary 2 transatlantic sailings between New York and Southampton, twenty-four kennels become available for pet owners. The kennels are at the ship’s aft on deck 12.

Curnard’s pet-friendly policy dates back to the inception of the cruise line when cats were kept on board to eliminate mice and other vermin.

Your pet must stay in the kennel and cannot accompany you in your stateroom.

The kennels are managed by a professional Kennel Master who oversees their care during your voyage. Your pets are in safe hands, as they’ll be provided with daily playtime, walking services, and of course, lots of attention.

While on the cruise ship, the Kennel Master ensures your pet receives freshly baked treats, toys, feeding bowls, beds, life jackets in case of emergencies, and lots of attention.

For an added fee, you can order liver or steak for your furry friend to enjoy.

The cruise line ensures your pets have plenty of playtimes, are regularly walked, and are cleaned up after.

Pet owners can visit the Onwer’s Lounge on Queen Mary 2. The Owner’s Lounge includes a spacious enclosed area with a vintage Liverpool lamp post and a New York City fire hydrant.

There are visiting hours when you can see your pet.

Before getting too excited, space for dogs on Cunard Line is limited.

The cruise line recommends booking pet accommodations at least a year in advance.

Prices start at $800 for a small dog, $1,000 for a large dog, and $1,600 for a cat. Cats are more costly because they require two cages, one for sleeping and one for a litter box.

Of course, there will be certain requirements you’ll need to fulfill, such as vaccinations and documentation. The requirements ensure the safety and well-being of all on board.

Cunard Line also permits service animals on their ships. Unlike pets, bringing a working dog on the vessel is free. And service animals can stay in cabins and accompany the owner in public spaces.

Are Service Animals Allowed on Cruises?

Service dog giving assistance to disabled person on wheelchair.Pin

Service animals, specifically trained to assist individuals with disabilities, are allowed on most cruise ships. These animals are not considered pets and serve an essential purpose for their owners.

Each cruise line has its own rules, but they are generally allowed by most cruise lines.

Royal Caribbean permits pets “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.” The cruise line provides a four-foot by four-foot relief area to accommodate service dogs and can accompany guests with a disability in all public spaces. But the “care and supervision of the service dog is the sole responsibility of the owner.”

Royal Caribbean also takes the extra step of warning passengers that the live trees in Central Park on the Oasis-class ships are not an acceptable place for your dog to relieve themselves.

Carnival Cruise Line permits “working service dogs, which are legally defined and individually trained to meet disability-related needs by performing tasks like guiding a blind person, alerting a deaf person, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks.” It is up to the individual to care for and supervise the service animal.

Norwegian Cruise Line “accepts service dogs that are trained to perform a specific task.” The cruise line provides a relief sandbox, but guests are “responsible for bringing all food, medication and life jacket for the dog.”

As a traveler, you will find that most cruise lines are committed to accommodating passengers with disabilities and their service animals.

While some documentation, such as identification cards or the presence of a harness, might help prove your companion is a service dog, it is not required by law. Verbally proclaiming that your dog is a service animal could be enough for cruise staff to allow them aboard.

Remember, each cruise line has specific rules and guidelines, so it’s always a good idea to check with your chosen company beforehand. Be prepared to provide information about your disability and the tasks your service animal performs for you.

Additionally, it’s essential to research your destination’s rules and regulations regarding service animals.

As cruise ships visit multiple international ports, you may encounter different rules and restrictions at each location. Researching these rules in advance will prevent potential issues or conflicts during your trip.

When bringing a service dog on a cruise, it is important to make reservations in advance. It is also worth noting that the cruise line may charge a cleaning fee for any mess caused by the dog. Additionally, if the dog misbehaves, there is a possibility that the cruise line will ask the pet’s owner to leave the vessel.

It’s important to remember that there is no veterinarian on board the cruise ship.

Can Emotional Support Dogs Go On Cruises?

dog on a ferry laying down under a bench with luggagePin
The dog waiting for the luggage on the ferry entering the harbor. Black and White Border Collie on the deck.

Most cruise lines don’t allow emotional support animals to board their ships.

It’s important to differentiate between emotional support animals and service animals. Service animals, specifically trained to assist those with disabilities, are generally allowed in public spaces where emotional support animals are not, such as cruise ships.

Cruise lines treat emotional support dogs as any other pet. And they are bound by the same restrictions.

Norwegian Cruise Line clarifies that they do “NOT accept ‘Emotional Support’ dogs as service dogs, they CANNOT sail.”

Puppies for Princess

Princess Cruises doesn’t let passengers bring pets on their cruise ships, but Puppies for Princess is the next best thing. While docked in Skagway, Alaska cruise port, the cruise line brings professional sled dog puppies on board the ship.

Passengers can take photos with the dogs and learn about the training programs for sled races, including the renowned 1,100-mile Iditarod.

Meow Meow Cruises

You can’t bring your cat on this sailing, but it is the next best thing.

Meow Meow Cruises is an annual at-sea gathering of cat lovers. It’s a great way to meet new people and share photos of your beloved kitty while exploring the high seas.

Article by

Marcello De Lio

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