The Top Options for Pet-Friendly Cruises
Written by: Amanda Bailey on July 16, 2015
If you’re a frequent cruiser with pets, it can be difficult to part with your furry family members while you’re at sea. Most major cruise lines don’t allow animals due to sanitation codes and port requirements, but there is one, in addition to several regional companies, that welcome both owners and their four-legged friends on shorter sailings.
Of course, all cruise lines must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act when it comes to service animals accompanying passengers with certain disabilities, but there are several options for cruise enthusiasts who just can’t bear to leave their beloved pooch or feline at home.
Cunard Cruise Lines
Be sure to book your pets far in advance on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2; the ship accommodates cats and dogs on certain transatlantic voyages but limits the quantity to 12. Once onboard, your pet will be in good hands with the ship’s kennel master, who is in charge of feeding and caring for the animals. There’s a designated kennel area and outdoor space just for them too — and owners can visit their pets throughout the day in two-hour blocks of time.
Mercury, Chicago’s Skyline Cruise
This Windy City company offers 90-minute Canine Cruises through the Chicago Harbor, Lake and Michigan, and the surrounding channels. Water bowls and newspapers are provided for all pets onboard.
Acadian Nature Cruises
Take your canine or feline companion on a two-hour scenic tour of coastal Maine with Acadian Nature Cruises out of Bar Harbor. Sights include historic mansions and the unique Egg Rock Lighthouse, along with plenty of opportunities to catch glimpses of local wildlife.
Potomac Riverboat Company
From June through September, Potomac Riverboat Company invites dog owners to sail with their pets each Thursday on their Canine Cruises. Dogs ride free, but must be on a leash at all times on this 60-minute ride around the Alexandria Seaport in Virginia.
An Arizona tradition since 1925, the Dolly Steamboat allows well-behaved, potty-trained pets on board all of its sailings through Canyon Lake. Humans and pets alike can admire stunning scenes of the historic Apache Trail in Tonto National Forest.
While the options are still limited for cruisers wanting to bring Buddy along on their tour of the Caribbean, there are still plenty of smaller, regional ships that welcome pets, as long as they are accompanied by well-behaved humans!
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