What tips do you need for taking a pet-friendly cruise in the UK?

Sailing through the idyllic British waterways with your beloved pet might sound like a dream vacation, but it requires careful planning. Fortunately, the UK offers a number of pet-friendly cruises that cater to the needs of our furry friends. This article provides a comprehensive guide on what you need to know about taking your pet on a cruise, ensuring that both of you have a memorable and stress-free vacation.

Choosing a Pet-Friendly Cruise

Before you begin your sea adventure with your dogs, the first step is to find a pet-friendly cruise. Not all cruises allow pets onboard, therefore, it is essential to do your research.

Some cruises in the UK, like the Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2, offer a kennel service. This cruise line provides a unique experience for both you and your pet. They offer 24 kennels on board along with a full-time kennel master who ensures that all pets on board are well taken care of. This service includes feeding, walking, and cleaning the kennels.

However, the availability of kennels may not be present on all cruises. Therefore, it's crucial to clarify if your chosen cruise provides this service. Additionally, booking early is wise as the demand for dog-friendly cruises can be high.

Preparing Your Pet for the Cruise

Once you've booked your pet-friendly cruise, the next step is preparing your dog for the journey. This includes ensuring your dog is comfortable and safe while travelling.

Make a visit to your vet to get a health certificate. This certificate is required by all pet-friendly cruises. Your vet will check your pet's overall health and ensure they are fit to travel. Also, ensure your pet's vaccinations are up to date, especially the rabies vaccination.

Cruises are generally long journeys. Therefore, make sure your pet is accustomed to long-term travel. Spend more time with them in the car, gradually increasing the time spent on the road. This will help them adjust to longer travel times.

Onboard Care For Your Pet

While onboard, the safety and care of your pet are paramount. Remember, the environment is different, and your pet may need time to adapt.

Most pet-friendly cruises in the UK offer kennel service, but it's crucial to know the specifics of this. Usually, the kennels are located in a specific area of the ship where pets are allowed. Some cruises even provide a pet play area.

It's recommended to bring familiar items from home like your pet's bed, blanket, and toys. These items will provide comfort and help your pet settle down in the new environment.

Exploring Destinations with Your Pet

The fun part of the cruise vacation is exploring different destinations with your pet. But remember, not all places are pet-friendly.

Check with the cruise line about the pet policies at the ports of call. If pets are not allowed to disembark, you may need to plan for their care onboard.

However, many popular destinations in the UK are pet-friendly and offer beautiful walks and hikes. For example, the Isle of Wight is perfect for a dog walk with its stunning coastal paths and dog-friendly beaches.

Returning Home

As your cruise vacation comes towards its end, it's essential to prepare for your return home.

Before disembarking, ensure your pet is healthy and ready for the journey home. Check their belongings and make sure you haven't left anything behind in the cabin or kennel.

Also, be aware of the travel requirements when re-entering the UK with your pet. They might require an up-to-date rabies vaccination and tapeworm treatment, depending on where you have travelled.

In conclusion, taking your pet on a pet-friendly cruise in the UK is not as daunting as it might seem. With adequate planning and preparation, you can ensure an enjoyable and memorable experience for both you and your furry friend. Remember, a little research and preparation go a long way in ensuring a smooth sailing adventure for you and your cherished pet.

The Importance of a Pet Passport and Health Certificate

When considering a pet-friendly cruise, it is crucial to understand the importance of a pet passport and health certificate. A health certificate, as mentioned earlier, ensures that your pet is fit to travel. This document is typically issued by a vet and certifies that your pet has had all the necessary vaccinations, including a rabies vaccination, and is in good health.

In addition to a health certificate, you may also need a pet passport. This document is especially important for those planning to travel to Northern Ireland or Great Britain. The pet passport contains all the details about your pet, including their breed, age, and health status. It also includes a record of all their vaccinations.

Before you embark on your journey, consult with your vet to ensure that your pet's health certificate and pet passport are up-to-date. Remember, these documents are not just formalities, but they are essential for the safety and well-being of your pet.

Selecting Pet-Friendly Cabins and Understanding the Policies

Once you've booked your cruise, the next step is to select a pet-friendly cabin. A pet-friendly cabin is designed to accommodate your pet and make them feel comfortable throughout the journey. These cabins often have extra space for your pet to move around, and some even include a small area for your pet to relieve themselves.

In addition to selecting a pet-friendly cabin on the Queen Mary or other dog-friendly cruises, it is equally important to understand the cruise's pet policies. These policies can include rules about where your pet can be on the ship, how often they can be outside their cabin, and what kind of behaviour is expected from them.

For example, many cruises require that pets must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in certain areas, like the dining room. Some cruises also have specific rules for assistance dogs or emotional support animals.

Understanding these policies ahead of time will help ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip for both you and your pet. Remember, planning and preparation are key when it comes to pet travel.


Pet-friendly cruises in the UK offer an amazing opportunity for you and your furry companion to explore beautiful destinations together. Whether you choose to sail on the Queen Mary, explore the coast of Northern Ireland or relax on the beaches of Great Britain, these trips are sure to create lasting memories.

Remember, planning is key to ensure a stress-free vacation. From selecting a dog-friendly cruise and pet-friendly cabin, to understanding the pet policies and ensuring your pet’s health certificate and passport are in order, these steps are crucial to guarantee a smooth sailing.

Above all, it's essential to keep the needs and comfort of your pet in mind. After all, this vacation is for them too. As long as you're prepared, you'll be able to enjoy a wonderful getaway with your pet by your side. Safe travels!