Cruising with Fido

Cruising with Fido


My friends Pablo and Picasso

Sometimes people assume that traveling with a dog should be relatively low-hassle. After all, there are tons of dog-friendly hotels out there these days, and even flying with a dog has become more commonplace, even with the paperwork you need to fill out.

But what about cruising with your beloved pooch? Should be no problem…right?

Pets do represent some liability for any business, and like any business, cruise lines have rules that need to be followed to ensure your pet’s safety and the safety of all passengers and crew aboard the ship. Bringing Fido along to share in your adventure is totally possible, but it does take a bit of planning and organization.

To my knowledge there is only ONE cruise line that allows dogs onboard.  So, if you are hoping to take a cruise with your four-legged friend, you will want to look into the Cunard Line.  There may be others, but you will want to do your research or work with a qualified travel agent to determine the best option for you and your pet.


To help you along, I’ve done my homework, and I’ve got the inside scoop (so to speak) from the Kennel Department on the Cunard Line (NYC – Southampton UK). Keep in mind, this information ONLY applies to Cunard, if there is another cruise line that allows pets on board they will likely have different requirements and restrictions, please contact your travel agent or the cruise line ahead of time for details.


Here’s what you need to know (including facility images), directly from Cunard:

Kennels are only open on Transatlantic voyages between the following ports of embarkation/disembarkation:

  • Southampton
  • Hamburg
  • New York

If you are coming from a non-EU country, other than the USA, please be advised that it is your responsibility to check with DEFRA for the requirements to enter the UK. 


Pet Travel Requirements for sailing:

     Eastbound Requirements: NYC – SOU:

     The cat or dog must have been:  


  • Fitted with a microchip
  • Vaccinated against rabies
  • Issued with an official Veterinary Certificate (Regulation (EC) No 2011/874) or official PET Passport

This certificate is only valid for 10 days from the day it is signed and stamped by the USDA and needs to be valid when you arrived into southhampton.    

  • Treated against  tapeworm not less than 24 hours or more than 120 hours before check-in and issued with an official certificate of treatment

 Failure to complete the above requirements in order, will result in your pet being denied boarding.


     Westbound Requirements: SOU – NYC:


The cat or dog must have been:

  • Issued a current Health Certificate (The health certificate shall show that the dog or cat was examined by a veterinarian within 30 days of entry of the dog or cat into the State of New York.)
  • Rabies Vaccination within 12 months to 14 days prior to Entry into the State of New York


General Information:

  • Animals Accepted – Dogs and Cats only – no birds.
  • Animals are not permitted in guest staterooms nor public areas
  • There is no Veterinarian onboard
  • The Kennel is located on deck 12, Aft.
  • Dogs can be walked on to the ship on a lead or brought onboard in a kennel
  • Cats should be brought onboard in a kennel.


Visiting Hours may vary but are usually as follows:

8:00 am to 10:00 am

11:00 am to 12:00 pm

3:00 pm to 6:00 pm

8:00 pm to 8:30 pm

*Guest should check onboard for specific hours


kennel-pics-cages kennel-pics-playground


Kennel Measurements:

6 upper Kennels (27″ H, 30″ W, 35.5″ D)  

Weight Restriction 25 lbs or less

6 lower Kennels  (36″ H, 30″ W, 35.5″ D)  

Weight Restriction 26 lbs or more

2 kennels may be opened up to accommodate larger animals.


Pet Measurements should be as follows:

  • Pet Height in inches (from floor to shoulder)
  • Pet Length in inches (from tip of nose to base of tail)
  • Pet weight in pounds
  • Pet Age at time of sailing


Kennel Fees:

1 upper kennel $500.00

1 lower kennel  $700.00

1 cat requires 2 upper kennels (one for the litterbox)

second pet sharing same kennel $500.00




Dog breeds that are too large for the kennels:



Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound)


Irish Wolfhound


New Foundland

Curly Coated Retreiver

Gordon Setter

Great Dane


Irish Setter





Bull Mastiff

St. Bernard




This is not a complete list and there are always exceptions to the rule. If your dog’s breed is on the list but is small for the breed we may be able to accommodate you.


What About Service Animals?

Service animals are defined by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”

It’s important to note that animals that provide emotional support (also known as “comfort animals”) are no longer recognized by the ADA and so do not fall under the definition of service animals.

In order to clear your service dog for boarding, you’ll need to first contact the cruise line and let them know which services your dog provides for you. Once they have that information — assuming your dog is cleared to travel per the guidelines mentioned above — the cruise line will send you the necessary paperwork to fill out for bringing your pet on board.


So, what do you think? Would you bring your dog with you on your next cruise? My goal, of course, is to provide you with the most comprehensive and current info available so that you can make the choice that’s best for you and your much-loved pet. Have you already taken cruises where you brought your pet along? If so, what was your experience, and what would your recommend to our readers? Comment and share!