Pet Friendly Cruises

Pet Friendly Cruises (Photo: Ditty_about_summer/Shuttertock.com)

Find a Cruise

Updated April 4, 2019

If you're looking for pet friendly vacations that will let you bring Fido or Fluffy, cruising might not be the best choice. Only one of the major lines allows passengers to cruise with pets, and even that's just on one ship during select sailings. But don't despair, pet-lovers: There are plenty of ways for you to combine a cruise with your affinity for fur babies. Below, we give you more info on cruises that allow pets, exceptions to the general "no pets" rule and ways you can still enjoy pet cruise fun without bringing your four-legged friends along for the ride.


Which Ships Offer Pet Friendly Cruises?

When it comes to cruise ships that allow pets, there's only one: Cunard's Queen Mary 2. On certain transatlantic sailings -- those between New York and Southampton, either direction -- you can bring your dog or cat, but that doesn't mean your fuzzy family members will be able to snuggle with you in your cabin. They'll be confined to their own digs in an onboard kennel on Deck 12, where dedicated crew members feed, walk and clean up after them in addition to lavishing them with treats and toys. Feeding bowls and beds are provided; food can also be provided upon request. Pets will have organized playtime, and you'll be able to visit them during designated hours each day.

If you're interested in reserving a spot for Rover or Whiskers, do it early, as the ship only has room for a dozen animals. Cunard recommends booking at least 12 to 18 months in advance if you'd like to secure kennel accommodations for your pet. Just be prepared to pay almost as much for your pet to cruise as you'll be paying for yourself. Prices range from $500 to $1,000 per dog and from $1,000 to $1,600 per cat. (Cats require two kennels -- one for the litter box.) Pets are able to share kennels, but the line recommends doing that for small animals (cats and teacup-sized dogs) only.


Are Service Animals Allowed on Cruises?

Although lines ban pets on cruises, exceptions are made for service animals. Various types are allowed, but the most common are those of the canine persuasion. Requirements for traveling with a service dog vary by cruise line, so be sure to ask about the policy for your ship if you'll be bringing a non-human companion onboard. You'll want to find out how far in advance you should contact your cruise line's accessibility department to make arrangements. You should also inquire about provisions: Where will your animal relieve itself? Will you need to bring your own bed or food?

While most lines are required by law to make concessions for specially trained pets that serve a legitimate purpose, there aren't any legal hard and fast verification methods in place for lines to prove that pets listed as service animals actually are. For that reason, the issue of service dogs on cruise ships is hotly debated. Some maintain that, because laws prevent questions from being asked of the owners of alleged service animals, it's easy for passengers to simply lie and claim that their uncertified pets serve an emotional or medical purpose in order to bring them onboard.

Passengers can be quick to judge when pets don't seem to be treated like service animals. "We had a small 'service dog' on our last cruise that was being pushed around in a stroller!" says sprockie. "Someone came in with their dog in a stroller, wheeled it up to her table and set his food bowl on the table for him to eat alongside her. I am a dog lover, but I think things are going a bit far."

Apparently, some travelers even admit to flouting the rules. "There was someone on Indy [Independence of the Seas] last week with an ankle biter. Said it wasn't a service dog when someone asked," Cruise Critic member CaribSailor says. And cynbar confides: "We know some people -- an otherwise very nice couple -- who brag that they bought a service dog certificate for their dog although they admit they have no disability."

While we don't condone using devious methods to get your animal companion onboard a cruise vacation, travelers with legitimate service animals should be aware that they might be getting the side-eye from their shipmates, especially if they don't fit the stereotype of a disabled person with a service dog.


What's an Animal-Lover to Do?

So, how else can you enjoy a pet-focused vacation, sans pets? Try booking yourself on a cruise that celebrates all things pet-related. Take, for example, the Meow Meow Cruise, a four-night Western Caribbean sailing on Carnival Paradise in April 2016. You won't be able to bring Mittens on this oceangoing adventure, but you will be surrounded by lots of other cat-lovers who share your fondness for felines. If dog cruises are more up your alley, the organizers of the Meow Meow Cruise are looking into the possibility of a complementary Woof Woof Cruise for an undetermined future date.

Find a Cruise
Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise
Find a Cruise
Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise

Popular on Cruise Critic

7 Ways to Outsmart Deck Chair Hogs
In the wee hours of the morning, under the cover of darkness, they creep. Their flip-flops smack across the pool decks of cruise ships everywhere as they shuffle like a horde of zombies armed with towels, sunscreen and books. If it sounds like a scene from a horror movie, you're on the right track. We're talking about deck chair hogs -- those inconsiderate fellow passengers who rise before the sun to stake out prime poolside real estate, mark it with personal belongings and then abandon it, rendering it useless to others. If you've had enough, we urge you to stand up to these selfish sunbathers and claim the deck chair that's rightfully yours. Join the peaceful revolution by employing the following seven tips for outsmarting deck chair hogs.
How to Find the Best Cruise Bargains in 2019
It's the end of a decade, 2019, and a lot has changed in the world of cruising -- race cars, haute cuisine, digital everything -- but some tips on how to save on your next sailing stay tried and true. To uncover the best ways to land a cruise bargain this year, we spoke to travel agent experts and consulted industry surveys. What we found is that cruising shows no signs of slowing down, but getting on the right ship to the right destination might mean taking quick action. We've narrowed down the who, what, where and when of finding the best cruise deals in 2019 so you can spend less money and more time enjoying the seas.
What Not to Forget On a Cruise: 10 Things to Remember to Pack
We all know that sinking feeling when you realize you've left something important behind, whether it's your phone in the car or your wallet at the restaurant you just left. That feeling is much worse when you're on a cruise and discover that you've forgotten something at home. While not every "oops" will upend your cruise, some will, while others can prove to be enough of headache to put a dent in an otherwise great vacation. From A to Z, we list a few critical things not to forget the next time you cruise.