If you’re interested in cruise traveling with their furry family members are generally out of luck—that is unless they are teddy bears or other plush animals.
However, though pets generally are not permitted at sea, you may be happy to know there are some exceptions.
Cunard is the only line that caters to dogs and cats with kennels on its Queen Mary 2, specifically aboard transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton. The animals must comply with the Pets Travel Scheme and have a pet passport.
Another exception is the recent story of a family’s Australian native rose-breasted female galah cockatoo, named Harri. The bird escaped from home only to be discovered by the crew onboard Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess sailing the Tasman Sea. While microchip-embedded Harri enjoyed the remainder of the cruise and staff’s attention, the rest of his family was aboard corporate cousin’s Pacific Aria from P&O Cruises. When each party finished their journeys, they were pleasantly reunited.
Even though biosecurity guidelines were followed to enable Harri to sail, it was a rare case meant just to allow the stowaway to return home. Ordinarily, only service animals are allowed onboard with passengers. It’s also not likely that Dexter the peacock of United Airlines fame will qualify.
Take, for instance, Carnival Cruise Line’s policy which refers specifically to service dogs. The company’s website reads as follows:
“The only dogs Carnival permits aboard our ships are 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. Working service dogs are not pets.”
The policy goes on to clarify, “Emotional support dogs, which are not recognized by the Department of Justice, are also not permitted on Carnival ships.”
What’s more, ports of call have their own regulations regarding animals such as vaccination requirements which must be met for admission.
Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International similarly cite “service dogs,” and MSC Cruises mentions healthy “guide dogs” as service animals and for the visually impaired. Cats, hamsters, cockatoos, peacocks or any other common pets or exotic animals are not discussed.
Disney Cruise Line, on the other hand, does not specify beyond permitting “trained service animals” in most onboard locations provided they stay on a leash and are under the control of the owner or someone in the owner’s party at all times.
The company further adds, “We strongly encourage Guests traveling with a service animal to contact Disney Cruise Line Special Services as soon as possible to discuss required documentation, the set-up of a relief area and the availability of Port Adventures.”
Discussions are sure to also include the type of animal to verify exactly what is and is not allowed on the ship.
One final note: Just as on an airplane, space—at least in some private staterooms—can be at a premium. Whether or not the size of an animal can be physically accommodated must also be practically considered by the cruise line and guest alike.
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