It is not at all uncommon for people to travel with their pets. But what is far less common is finding a cruise ship which allows a canine companion aboard. In the case of cruise ships which sail under the American flag, they must comply with the American Disabilities Act and therefore must allow service animals on board. However, cruise ships sailing under a foreign flag, even when docking in the United States, don’t always comply with any or all ADA requirements. But there is one cruise ship which does offer guests the option of bringing their dog or cat along.
The Pet-Friendly Cruise Ship
The Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 offers a kennel program on all transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton. There is a full-time kennel master who is responsible for feeding, walking and cleaning up after all of the animals boarded the 24-hour kennel facility. In addition, guests are invited to come to the kennel’s indoor and outdoor areas to spend time with their pet. But it is important to remember that space is limited so booking kennel space early is critical during holidays and other busy travel seasons. Also, pets who are booked for the Queen Mary 2 must also be in compliance with the Pets Travel Scheme and have a pet passport.
Other Options for Cruising With Your Pet
While the majority of all large cruise ships forbid travel with pets, there are a large number of American sightseeing and nature cruises which offer opportunities to explore the water with your pet. Most of the choices are shorter day cruises but they are operated out of ports all across the country and range from less than an hour to half day cruises.
Pet-friendly cruises in the northeast operate out of Bar Harbor, Belfast Bay and Bangor Harbor. In the southwest pet owners can enjoy day trips out of Galveston Harbor and even the Canyon Lakes of Arizona. In the southeast pet-friendly cruises can be found in Alexandria Harbor and St. Augustine. And if you are unable to find a large cruise line in your area that will allow you to take your pets, then there is always the option to book a charter or private tour of the area that you are visiting.
Tips for Traveling with Pets
Whenever you are traveling with your pet it is critical that each pet have an identification tag with your contact information in case you and your pet get separated. It is also important to have plenty of water for your pet and the food that they normally eat. It is understandable that your pet might become anxious when traveling or in unfamiliar surroundings so make every effort to be extra patient with him or her if there are any signs of anxiety. Bringing a blanket or pillow from home can be a good idea as it will comfort your pet and help him or her to relax and enjoy the experience of traveling with you. Traveling with a pet can add challenges to your vacation but it can also greatly increase your enjoyment and relaxation as you know your pet is safe and sound.