Thursday, October 7, 2021

Cruising With Fido


For years I could only travel with my dog Bentley when I took road trips. A flight to Europe or other parts of the world would have been impossible. Airlines allow only a certain size of the kennel and it would have been traumatic for him to be squeezed for ten or more hours into the baggage department. 

I researched cruises but didn’t find anything suitable. In fact, the only cruise ship was the famous Queen Mary 2 who would allow dogs (in kennels only). Their prices were a bit out of the range for me, and the outlook to have Bentley locked in one of two dozen kennels for ten days horrified me. He wouldn’t have been allowed in my stateroom.

A Recent Article Stated:  

“Bring Fido or Kitty along on the Queen Mary 2.  The only cruise line with facilities for your dog or cat is the posh, 2,691-passenger Queen Mary 2 ocean liner, which upholds the venerable Cunard line’s long-standing tradition of being pet-friendly. In addition to the cages, there is an Owner’s Lounge where guests may spend quality time with their pets and a large, gated outdoor exercise area equipped with an antique lamppost from Liverpool and a fire hydrant from New York City. You can hang out with your furry friend during set visiting hours. Prices range from $800 to $1,000 per dog and from $1,000 to $1,600 per cat. (Cats require two kennels -- one for the litter box and one for the cat.) Back in the 1800s, cats were “employed” on Cunard ships to take care of vermin. In the 1900s, the rich and famous set sail with their pets – including actress Elizabeth Taylor, who cruised with her pooches.” 

Be aware that space is extremely limited – Cunard recommends you book pet accommodations at least a year in advance – and the price tag is steep: From $800 for a small dog, $1,000 for a large dog, $1,600 for a cat (since cats are required to have two cages, one for a litter box). There are also a bunch of regulations to be followed regarding vaccinations, microchipping requirements, and such. 

Even though the United Kingdom has reduced rules that used to require dogs have a series of vaccinations six months in advance of sailing, you’ll still need a couple of months to get clearance to trot up the gangway with your pet.

Service dogs

On all cruise ships, service animals who are trained in specific tasks are typically allowed, with rules varying by the cruise line. (“Emotional support” pets are generally banned from the high seas.)  Each cruise line has its own rules for service dogs. 

Royal Caribbean

Carnival Cruis

Norwegian Cruise Line  

However, service dog owners need to make reservations for their canine in advance and are responsible for researching and understanding rules for disembarking with a dog at each port of call (canine companions may not be allowed off the ship at some ports), as well as specific immunization requirements. If your dog makes a mess onboard, you may be charged a cleaning fee. If your dog misbehaves, you may be kicked off the ship. With no veterinarian onboard, you may want to bring along doggy seasickness pills just in case.




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