I’m a huge fan of cruises.
I’ve heard the argument that cruises are boring and make you feel claustrophobic, but cruise ships are massive and have plenty to do on board. There are activities and entertainment, and time is broken up with port stops and docking.
Plus, the majority are all inclusive, so your food, lodging and entertainment are taken care of. There’s no need to plan out what restaurants to try, or what hotel to stay in. Pretty much every aspect of your trip is covered. It’s a great option for people who want to focus on enjoyment and relaxation, instead of planning.
Luckily for us dog lovers, times are changing, and your furry friend can now join you out on the water. Pet-friendly cruises are popping up everywhere. And I’m not talking about excursions limited to a few hours. I’m talking real, multi-night cruise ships. You’ll still get to spend days on the water and enjoy all that cruise ships have to offer, and you won’t have to leave your pup behind.
Help your pup grow sea legs on one of these pet-friendly cruises.
Queen Mary II
The Queen Mary II is probably the most well known of all the pet-friendly cruises out there.
The ocean liner travels between New York and Southhampton (on the south coast of England), and is operated by the British cruise line Cunard.
The transatlantic crossing allows cats and dogs, who are welcomed aboard with a gift pack that includes toys, food dishes, name tags and a complimentary photo shoot.
Pets stay in a kennel suite with a comfy bed and blanket, and are cared for around the clock by a kennel master. They’re given regular feedings, walks, and cleanings and have an indoor play area to stretch their legs.
You can visit your furry pal during visiting hours, and take them out for walks and to play. The QM2 even organizes a special “Dog Lovers Meeting” where pets and pet parents can socialize on deck.
The trip takes seven nights, and the ship includes fine dining, live music, nightly entertainment and a library. Book early to reserve your spot, as there is limited space in the kennel.
1AVista Reisen doesn’t just tolerate dogs on board, they make their cruises all about the dog!
Their dog-friendly cruises visit cities in Holland, Austria and Germany. They sail through Holland’s rivers and canals and over the Rhine, Main and Moselle, as well as the Danube in Eastern Europe.
1AVista Reisen curates a dog-themed trip for dog owners and lovers that includes pack walks, socializing and access to all parts of the ship. There’s a small dog meadow on the sun deck, dog bowls and fresh water throughout the boat and in your cabin, and treats at the front desk. There’s even a dog trainer on board who is available to share tips and tricks.
The company offers a myriad of dog-friendly cruises to choose from, ranging in price and location. Cruises are usually seven to eight days long, and are all-inclusive. Every cabin comes equipped with AC, a flat-screen TV and free WiFi. Be on the look out, because their dog-friendly trips have become so popular that they offer new routes and ports every year.
Dogs are allowed to stay in cabin with you throughout the journey. They cannot exceed a shoulder height of 50cm. Only one dog is permitted in each booked cabin. Certain breeds are not permitted aboard, including Pitbull, Rottweiler and Bulldog.
Want to go Mediterranean island hopping with your pup? Corsica Ferries offers ferry crossings from France or Italy to Corsica, Sardinia, Elba, Majorca or Sicily.
Dogs are allowed in all public areas, and even restaurants. There are pet-friendly cabins on most of their ferries, and cabin floors that are covered with linoleum. Cats and other small pets are permitting as well, but they must be kept in a cage.
There are restaurants and bars on board, as well as shops and game rooms.
Prices start at €17 per dog and crossing.
Tallink Silja Line
Tallink offers Baltic mini-cruises that travel between Stockholm and one of three cities, Helsinki, Tallinn or Riga. There’s also a Helsinki to Tallinn route.
The Silja line offers many amenities, including loads of dining options, a lounge, shops and even a spa on board. For the pups, there’s access to the deck for walks and dog-relief stations.
Pets are allowed to stay in the cabin with you. You can either sail roundtrip (two night cruise) or go one way, in either direction. The ships sail daily, all year-round.
You can book a dog-friendly cabin and pay a fee of €32 per pet (€16 each way). There’s a maximum of three pets allowed per cabin, with no size restrictions, but be aware that certain “dangerous” animals are restricted.
Pets are required to have EU pet passports. There are a limited number of pet-friendly cabins available on all ships, so book early!
DFDS offers a one night, mini-cruise to Amsterdam!
The company is so pet-friendly, they offer 50% off pet travel during National Pet Month (April). They also accept a variety of pets on board, including rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs, as well as cats, dogs and ferrets.
Their mini-cruise goes between Newcastle and Holland, and your pet is allowed to stay with you in your cabin. Pet-friendly cabins are suitable for up to two medium-sized dogs, and have vinyl flooring instead of carpet.
There’s a designated dog deck, with astroturf and gravel for easy bathroom breaks. Plus, there’s plenty onboard to keep you busy. The ship has two bars, a nightclub, a casino, two cinemas showing six films, an arcade, a shop, a coffee shop and kids play area.
Pro tip: pre-book your meals to save money.
Dogs are charged £25 per night, per dog, and a pet passport or third country certificate showing a microchip and rabies vaccine are required for the crossing. Be sure to book pets in advance, as pet-friendly cabins are limited.
Pets are welcome on all DFDS routes, including shorter crossings to places in France, Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia, Poland and Lithuania. Some routes offer kennels, while others allow your pet to remain with you in your car. Check individual routes for terms.
Click here for more pet-friendly travel information.
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