Can You Go On A Cruise With Your Pet?

Whether you're planning to disconnect for a night on a camping trip with your dog or thinking of hitting the road on an RV adventure with your pet, bringing your furry friends along for the ride means double the company and triple the joy wherever you go. That said, you probably wouldn't think twice about packing them up for most overland journeys, right? Although traveling by land with your pet might seem simple — especially if you're staying stateside and driving your own car — there are other forms of transport (as well as more far-off destinations) that don't necessarily feel so straightforward.

So, what about planes, trains, and ... boats? Whether it's figuring out everything you need to fly with your pet to understanding the ins and outs of international travel regulations, the not-so-convenient reality is that most of these forms of pet travel have a few added hurdles that owners must take into account before just "going." Luckily, there's one name out there that's making the process just a little bit easier for owners and their furry friends to enjoy some well-deserved away time together: the Queen Mary 2

Cruising from New York to Southampton (United Kingdom) and back, Cunard Cruise Line's Queen Mary 2 (or QM2, for short) is, technically, the only truly pet-friendly cruise ship out there. With dedicated kennels, play areas, and a cozy owner's lounge — as well as courtesy dog treats, fleece blankets, and even professional portraits — the transatlantic ocean liner takes animal travel to a whole new level. Royal Caribbean who?

Traveling onboard the Queen Mary 2 with your pet

For travelers who don't mind taking things a little slow — the trip takes a total of seven days to complete — hopping aboard the QM2 can be the perfect choice for making the journey from the U.S. to Europe alongside your pet in style. Considering that airlines tend to impose some pretty strict guidelines in terms of size and weight for pet travel, the QM2 is especially appealing if you're worried about putting your larger dog in a plane's cargo hold for the trip.

At the time of writing, the QM2's pet policy stated that the maximum height for pets who wanted to travel onboard the ship was 26 inches. Meanwhile, the maximum length was 33 inches per kennel, or roughly 58 inches spread across two kennels (for double the price, of course).

The liner's love for dogs and cats doesn't mean that your pet is free to roam the halls of the cruise as it pleases, unfortunately. Unless you're traveling with a certified service animal, all pets aboard the QM2 must remain in the dedicated kennel and play areas at all times. Don't worry, though; this isn't nearly as rough as it sounds. With a round-the-clock kennel master to look after the pets, as well as daily play sessions and walks, your pet will be more than looked after during the trip. Plus, the QM2 also offers a range of visiting hours, so you can still hang out with your pet as many times as you want during the trip.

More tips before you book

Although the QM2 doesn't necessarily let you cuddle up to your pet inside the cabin, the cruise line's well-earned reputation as a pet-friendly ship has made it truly legendary. The QM2 has been transporting pets (and their owners) for 180 years — and there's no sign of them slowing down.

However, if you want to experience the transatlantic journey first-hand, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. For starters, pet-friendly spots tend to book up extremely quickly. In fact, experts recommend securing your spot at least a year in advance to ensure you snag one of the 24 kennels available. If you're traveling with a cat, you'll need to book two kennels to accommodate their litter box — something to keep in mind. In terms of health requirements, these vary depending on where you board. Don't worry, though; the team will provide you with all of this information after your booking is secured.

Lastly, when it comes to pricing, all that pampering and care doesn't come cheap. The QM2's pet fee is currently set at $800 for small pets (24 pounds or less) and $1,000 for large ones (26 pounds and over) per kennel. This fee covers the transport costs, as well as all of their food, care, and comfort for the entirety of the trip.