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The Dog Lover’s Complete Guide to Finding Pet-Friendly Cruises

Dog wearing sunglasses enjoys pet-friendly cruises.

Pet-friendly cruises require you to clean up after your dog and keep him leashed when not in your cabin. Others require dogs to stay in a boarding area.

Your dog is your best friend and you love when they can travel with you. Learn how they can join your vacation with this guide to finding pet-friendly cruises.

Cruises are a great way to get away from all of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Think of it, you’re lounging on the deck with a cocktail in your hand in the sun on your face. But, what could make your cruise even better? How about having your best friend by your side the whole time.

It sounds like a dream to have your puppy nestled in your lap while you’re sailing the seven seas.

But, are pet-friendly cruises actually a thing?

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about bringing your doggo on the cruise. 

Are Pet-Friendly Cruises a Thing?

First off, is it even possible to bring your doggo on the ship? And the answer is yes, absolutely.

Pet-friendly cruises are few and far between, but they definitely do exist.

Service Animal vs ESA

Let’s take a minute to talk about service animals versus emotional support animals. It is a federal law that cruise lines are required to allow you to bring your service animal onboard, regardless of their pet policies. However, while there is some gray area regarding emotional support animals, cruises are not required to allow them on board.

A service animal is a dog or miniature horse that is trained to perform a specific task for the owner. Service animals can be trained to do many different tasks, including assisting blind people, comfort those with severe mental disorders, such as autism, and even detect seizures before they happen.

While there are many more services that these animals can provide, they are in a different class than emotional support animals.

Emotional support animals are animals – dogs, cats, birds, or others – that a doctor has deemed necessary for your emotional well-being. While some cruises may still allow them onboard, you may have to pay a pet fee, whereas pet fees cannot be charged for service animals.

Common Rules 

For cruises that do allow pets, they tend to have some rules in common. First off, you will be responsible to clean up after your own dog. Most of us do that anyway, but you’ll need to be especially vigilant on the cruise. 

Second, most cruises require your dog to be on a leash whenever they are not in your cabin. Others may require your pet to stay in a dog boarding area throughout the cruise. Lastly, cruises usually only allow a certain amount of pets at any given time, so it’s usually first come first serve.

Suggested Cruiselines

Some of the biggest cruise lines are the most fun, but they usually aren’t pet-friendly. You’ll want to look into smaller cruise lines. Here are a few options:

  • Cunard Cruise Lines
  • Dolly Steamboat
  • Potomac Riverboat
  • Acadian Nature Cruises

While it’s true, everyone loves Caribbean cruises, they just aren’t very pet-friendly.

Now that you know more about pet-friendly cruises, do you think it’s worth it to take your puppy onboard?

It might come down to weighing the pros and cons, but, whether it’s worth it or not it’s really up to you and your doggo. If your pet has anxiety or medical problems, it might be best to leave them with a close friend or relative while you’re gone. Browse through the rest of our top stories so you can make sure your doggo is living its best life.


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