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Are Dogs Allowed on Cruises? 2024 Guidelines & Suggestions

Written by: Adam Mann

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

Are Dogs Allowed on Cruises? 2024 Guidelines & Suggestions

If you’re looking to take a relaxing trip at sea, it’s only natural to wonder if you can bring your furry friend with you. However, if bringing your pet on your next cruise is non-negotiable, you might want to find a different way to vacation.

Because while there is one cruise line that offers a pet-friendly cruise, there are still quite a few restrictions that keep you from your pet throughout most of the ship. However, this isn’t the case for service animals who get more liberties on a cruise ship.

When it comes to dogs and cruises, it’s all about the details, so keep reading and we’ll break down everything you need to know.

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Are Dogs Allowed on Cruises?

If you’re looking to go on a cruise where you can bring your pet, we currently only know of one available option. The only cruise line that remains pet-friendly is Cunard, and they only offer one cruise ship that allows pets.

From there, they only allow cats and dogs, and they’re still not allowed in your cabin. There’s a special boarding facility available on board for your furry friends. Staff on board take the pets out for plenty of walks and time outside in designated areas, and there are set visiting hours for when you can see your pet.

However, pets are still not allowed in the cabins, and you cannot take your pets out of the designated areas on the cruise.

Since there’s only one cruise line offering one cruise ship that allows pets, you’ll need to book early if you want to bring them. Most of the time, the cruise’s pet spots book out about a year in advance, so you’ll need to look at least this far ahead to bring your pet on this type of vacation.

Border collie on the deck of a ship
Image Credit: Jumpstory

Service Animals and Cruises

While Cunard is the only cruise line that allows pets on board, that’s not the case for service animals. To remain compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), cruise lines must make reasonable accommodations for people with service animals.

You can bring a service animal onto a cruise and they can stay in your cabin with you, but they must remain on a leash at all times. Each cruise sets its own specific policies regarding service animals, but generally, you need to inform them about 30 days in advance so they can get an area set up for your service animal to relieve themselves.

This area will not be connected to your room, but most cruise lines do everything they can to make it as close to your room as possible. From there, different cruises have different policies, but some cruises may restrict service animals from entering select areas like pools or areas designated solely for children.

If you have any questions about service animals and a specific cruise line, we recommend reaching out to them directly to learn more about their policies.

Emotional Support Animals and Cruises

While you can bring service animals on any cruise in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, that’s not the case for emotional support animals. Emotional support animals do not meet the justice department’s definition of a service animal, and because of this, cruises do not have to allow them on board.

Currently, we cannot find any cruise that allows emotional support animals on board in the same way as service animals. If you’re looking to bring an emotional support animal on a cruise, you’ll need to follow all the same rules as you would with a regular pet.

Emotional support dog with an elderly woman
Image Credit: everymmnt, Shutterstock

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Should You Take Your Dog on a Cruise?

Just because you can take your pet or your service animal on a cruise doesn’t mean you should. There are several reasons taking a service animal on a cruise might be a bad idea. First, you never know how a service animal will respond in an unfamiliar environment like a cruise ship.

Next, if you’re bringing a regular pet, they won’t get to spend much time with you anyway, so it might be a better idea to get someone else to watch them instead of paying to bring them on the cruise ship.

Finally, no cruise line offers vet services. That means if something happens to your pet while you’re at sea, it’s entirely up to you to figure out what’s going on and try to treat it.

What You Need to Bring When Taking Your Dog on a Cruise

If you’re bringing your pet on a cruise you need to bring along everything they’ll need for the duration of the cruise. This includes their food, bowls, leashes, toys, medicine, and bedding. The only exception to this is Cunard Cruises, which offers food for pets staying in the kennels. Cunard also offers life jackets for both small and large animals.

You’ll also need to bring whatever you need to clean up after your dog in the relief area for all cruise lines except Cunard, who takes care of this for you.

Kuvasz dog sunbathing on ship deck
Image Credit: La Su, Shutterstock

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While it’s fun to think about bringing your pup on a cruise ship, the truth is a little bit messier. Since most cruises don’t allow pets, you don’t have many options if you want to bring them. You can bring a service dog on a cruise, just ensure you give the cruise line plenty of notice so they can prepare everything your pup will need before you depart!

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Featured Image Credit: JumpStory

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