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Pet Friendly Cruises

Pets are part of the family and their owners want pet friendly cruises so they can enjoy their vacations with their furry family members. If you want to take your pet on a cruise, your options are limited because not many companies offer a kennel service.

Photo courtesy of Daniel Knecht

Currently Cunard is the only cruise line offering kennel service on one of their luxury liners the Queen Mary II. Ferries in Europe and charter and tour cruises in the US allow small well-behaved pets. If you plan to bring your pet, make sure you meet all the guidelines otherwise, you will not be able to bring the animal aboard.

No Animal Policy Exceptions

Cruise lines don't offer pet friendly cruises because of concerns regarding hygiene in a confined space and the strict quarantine and entry regulations for animals in other countries. They make exceptions for service animals for disabled passengers requiring the assistance of their pets.

If you have a service animal, you must provide written notification to the cruise line when you book your trip and get an approval before you board. Cruise lines accept service animals with strict conditions including paying any damage caused by your service animal during the voyage. Before you book your trip, make sure you are able to meet the financial and documentation requirements the cruise line demands.

Cunard Kennel Service

The pet friendly cruises on the Queen Mary II are very popular and if you decide to take your pet you have to make reservation months in advance because they only have 12 kennels available during each voyage. Cats, dogs and other small animals for a fee of $300 per pet can enjoy the kennels on the Queen Mary II. You can visit your pet in the kennel several times a day during the visitation hours. Cunard offers many amenities for the pets including:

  • An open deck area with lampposts and fire hydrants
  • Gourmet and specialized made-to-order pet food
  • Fleece blankets
  • Toys for cats and dogs
  • Beds in two different sizes
  • Cat posts and scratchers
  • Exercise services

If you have a large pet, you cannot take it on the cruise. The small size kennel is 33” square and 27” tall, and the largest is the same width and depth, but 39" high. If the size of your pet is more than these measurements by measuring from tip of tail to tip of nose or feet to head you cannot bring it aboard.

Pet Documentation

Photo courtesy of jameskm03

These Pet friendly cruises require a wide range of documentation from the country of origin and your final destination. Talk to the representative of the ship regarding the documentations and health requirements for your pet. The guidelines vary according to the country, but some of the common requirements include:

  • Pet passports
  • Current vaccinations for rabies and tapeworm
  • The pet has to be micro-chipped
  • Approval of the pet by proper government agency before it arrives
  • Certification from your veterinarian it is healthy enough to travel and free of communicable diseases to humans

The compliance list can be very extensive, make sure you read it thoroughly before you book your trip.

Charters, Tours and Ferries

Other types of pet friendly cruises include charters, tours and ferries. While they are not the traditional cruise lines that most people

use, they can give you the opportunity to take your pet on a maritime adventure. The charter and tours generally do not last more than two hours and they allow small pets on leashes.

Tours and charters start around $15 to $40 and they are available in rivers, lakes and coastal waterways around the country. Ferries in Europe allow pets for travels to Spain, UK and France starting at $25 per pet for a one-way trip. The documentation and veterinary rules also apply for ferries and each country has a strict enforcement policy.