Queen Mary 2 Offers Enhanced Pet Services

February 15, 2006

While Cunard's Queen Mary 2 can boast of having numerous "biggest ever" facilities, it also has earned bragging rights for something not found aboard any other cruise ship. Indeed, its pet kennel is unique, and QM2 is actually upping the stakes with the announcement today of added canine and feline amenities.

"Pets on Deck" includes fresh-baked biscuits at turn-down, a choice of beds and blankets and even -- we presume this is for dogs as no self-respecting cat would wear outerwear -- a coat emblazoned with a QM2-logo. Other features include a choice of premium pet foods (from top brands, alas; aside from the biscuits no offerings are prepared in QM2 kitchens), toys, fleece blankets and cat posts and scratchers.

Queen Mary 2 has 12 kennels, and the animals are overseen by the ship's full-time Kennel Master, who will also take care of such daily chores as feeding, walking and cleaning up.

The kennels and adjacent indoor and outdoor walking areas are open throughout the day so passengers can hang out with their pets. Cost per pet (per cruise) ranges from $300 - $500 (single, rather than double occupancy). Reservations are key and should be made at time of booking.

Cunard has a long tradition of pet hospitality, one that dates back to the maiden voyage of the Britannia in 1840, when three cats were onboard. Since then, circus elephants, canaries, a monkey and even a boa constrictor have traveled Cunard.

Widely considered the line-of-choice by generations of celebrities, Cunard has also transported a surprising number of notable pets. Mr. Ramshaw, the world's only trained golden eagle, made at least 21 trans-Atlantic crossings on mid 20th-century liners; Rin-Tin-Tin, star of 36 silent films, traveled on the Berengaria; and Tom Mix and Tony, stars of the 1930's western series "Miracle Rider," regularly trotted up the gangway. (Tony's hooves were even fitted with special rubber shoes to prevent the horse from slipping.)

In the 1950's, Elizabeth Taylor brought her pampered puppies on board the original Queen Mary and exercised them regularly on the ship's sports deck. She even ordered special meals for them from the fish chef. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor also traveled with a beloved pup, and at the Duke's behest, Cunard installed a lamp post beside the kennels.