Can Pets Travel on Cruise Ships?

Jodi Ziskin's picture

While service dogs are welcome aboard most cruise ships, traveling the high seas with a pet is a completely different matter.

To begin with, each country has different rules and regulations regarding pet immigration (including quarantine, vaccine requirements and the like). In addition, the extremely stringent sanitary rules for cruise ships - however antiquated (and ineffective if you ask anyone who has contracted the norovirus on a ship) - simply does not make a cruise an ideal place for our furry friends. This is why pets are prohibited by almost all of the major cruise lines.

There is one exception; Cunard allows pets on their famed luxury liner, the Queen Mary 2 (QM2), which sails from England to New York. Not only are pets welcome, they are pampered

One thing to be aware of; pets are not permitted in passenger cabins or in public areas. The ship offers only 12 kennels, so advance booking is a must.

As with any travel that involves visits to other countries, it is important for pet parents to research the pet laws of each port of call, inquire about vaccine requirements from Cunard, and talk to your veterinarian about vaccine protocol (some travel immunizations can come in a series that need to be administered two weeks apart).

The QM2 employs a Pet Master who is in charge of making your pet's experience as enjoyable as possible. The Pet Master offers special VIP boarding, a choice of beds for the kennel, accompanies the pet to a special exercise area (which also doubles as a place to do their business), cleans all kennels and serves all meals, including oven-baked biscuits and cooked chicken. Of course, passengers can provide their own food or make special requests.

Each pet is also provided with his/her own QM logoed coat. They are also issued life jackets and assigned crew members who are in charge of taking them to safety if an emergency occurs.

While passengers cannot spend as much time with their pets as they would probably like, there are generous visiting hours each day.

Will other cruise lines follow suit? Will pets ever be allowed to stay in the cabin with their people? In these pet-centric times, anything is possible.  

In recent years, traveling with pets rules have changed considerably on airplanes, so perhaps with time - and continued requests from passengers - our pets will one day be sailing the seas by our side.



Jodi Ziskin, our Traveling with Pets Editor, is a Holistic Wellness Consultant for Animal Companions, specializing in nutrition and proactive health. She is a Certified Pet Nutrition Consultant who also holds a Master of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition. Through her company Holistic Jodi, LLC, Jodi makes house calls throughout South Florida, helping cats, dogs, birds and rabbits be as healthy and happy as possible.


She and her husband Zach live in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with their two cats, Obi and Emma.



Please feel free to contact Jodi at holisticjodi[at] or visit