Are There Any Pet-Friendly Cruises in 2022?

It’s becoming increasingly popular for people to travel with their dogs, so what about cruises? Are there any pet-friendly cruises? And I’m not talking mere day cruises here, but multi-night cruises, ideally with the option for some sightseeing. Find out more about whether dogs are allowed on cruises, plus a few pet-friendly options to consider.

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Pet-friendly cruises

Can Dogs Go on Cruises?

Unfortunately, if you’re picturing taking a typical Mediterranean or Caribbean multi-night cruise along with your dog anytime soon, you’re out of luck. I’ve checked the rules for countless cruises, and unless you have an assistance dog, animals are strictly forbidden on nearly all cruises.

There are probably two main reasons for this. Firstly, there are the additional facilities required by dogs, plus the likelihood of mishaps in a ship environment. If your dog insists on doing their business on grass, you’re out of luck on a cruise ship. Additionally, there probably hasn’t yet been enough demand, with cruises being very popular without being pet-friendly.

However, there are a few options available if you’d like to cruise with your dog. There are a small number of overnight cruises (or at least multi-night ferries) that allow dogs on board, whether in pet-friendly cabins or onboard kennels. Check out these pet-friendly cruise options…

Cross the Atlantic with Your Dog on the Queen Mary 2

One of the most well-known cruises that welcomes pet dogs on board is the Queen Mary 2 on its Transatlantic crossing between New York and Southhampton in England.

This crossing is also useful for people heading to Europe or the USA with their pup, but who don’t want to fly them in the hold (if they are too large to fit in the cabin).

Dog-friendly cruises
Set sail from Southhampton to New York with your dog on the Queen Mary 2

Onboard the Queen Mary 2

While pets are not allowed in your cabin onboard the Queen Mary 2, there are 24 kennels on the ship, accomodating both dogs and cats. Cats need to reserve two kennels, one for general use and one for their litter box.

Pets need to remain in the kennel area; they are not permitted into the other public areas of the ship. The kennel area includes an outdoor area, a small enclosed playroom for stormy Atlantic crosses and an owner’s lounge.

Access is provided to the kennels multiple times per day. Looking at reports from people who have travelled with dogs on the ship, they tend to spend a large part of each day sitting on the chairs on this deck. There is also a full-time kennel master, who will walk your dog when you can’t, naturally!

Queen Mary 2
The Queen Mary 2 has kennels for both cats and dogs © Depositphotos

Booking a Kennel

The kennels on the Queen Mary 2 are amongst the fastest option to sell out on the crossings, about a year in advance, thanks to their popularity as a way to cross the Atlantic for those with larger dogs that can’t fit in the cabin. However, a wait list does operate and sometimes last minute spaces become available.

As of 2018, small kennels are $800 USD for the seven-night crossing, while large kennels are $1000 USD. Contact Cunard directly for the latest prices.

For more information on the Queen Mary 2, check out Man in Seat 61. Alternatively, read the review on The Road Unleashed.

Take a European River Cruise with Your Dog

In Europe itself, one of the most popular cruising options is to take a river cruise. These cruises are available on many rivers, including the Rhine, Danube and Moselle Rivers.

Given how dog-friendly most of the countries are that these river cruises pass through, and that a river cruise doesn’t have the same logistical issues when it comes to “doggie business” as a cruise on the open ocean, it’s a surprise that dogs aren’t welcome on more of these cruises. I have only come across one option so far.

Dog-Friendly River Cruises with 1AVisa Reisen

The only dog-friendly European river cruises I have come across are run by 1AVista Reisen, a German company based in Cologne.

They operate multiple cruises per year for dogs and their owners aboard the MS Rigoletto and MS Junker Jörg, in both Germany and the Netherlands. The cruises are majority German-language, but the crew can provide assistance in English.

Speyer Cathedral
The dog-friendly cruises of 1AVista Reisen stop at Speyer on the Rhine River

Onboard the River Cruises

Dogs on these cruises aren’t relegated to kennels, but are permitted to stay with you in your cabin. Either one or two dogs are permitted per cabin (either one with a maximum shoulder height of 50cm, or two with a maximum shoulder height of 30cm).

On the dog-friendly cruises, a section of the sun deck is converted to a “dog meadow”, covered in grass and plants so that dogs can relieve themselves any time of day. There’s plenty of walks each day, plus a dog trainer on board.

For more information, check out the 1AVista Reisen website (Germany only). Or read this review from Louie Vuitton the Frenchie (complete with photos).

Enjoy a Baltic Mini-Cruise with Your Dog

Another pet-friendly cruise option in Europe is to take advantage of some of the pet-friendly ferry crossings, particularly ones that allow foot passengers also to take pets. Then turn the ferry trip into a mini-cruise by taking two crossings back-to-back! Many ferry companies specifically sell this as an option.

This is what I discovered when I was taking a ferry crossing on the Baltic from Stockholm to Helsinki, with Tallink Silja Line. We were just taking the ship one-way, but on board we discovered that many of the passengers were doing a two-night cruise, with a full day to explore Helsinki and two fun-filled nights on board the ship.

Baltic Mini-Cruises with Tallink Silja Line

Tallink Silja Line offers multiple Baltic mini-cruise options. Ships sail regularly from Stockholm to Helsinki, Tallinn and Turku, with the option to do a mini-cruise in either direction. To book, head to their website and click on the Roundtrip Cruise option.

View of Tallinn Old Town
Visit Tallinn on an overnight pet-friendly cruise with Tallink Silja Line

Onboard the Tallink Silja Ships

Tallink Silja Line operates multiple cruise ships on these routes, each with multiple dog-friendly cabins, in addition to kennels on some routes. I recommend booking early to make sure you can book a dog-friendly cabin.

We travelled in a B-class cabin but I recommend splurging for an A-class cabin with windows if available, as you’ll probably spend longer than usual in your cabin while travelling with a dog. The pet-friendly cabins are slightly more expensive, plus the fee for a dog in your cabin is €32 round-trip.

Cruises with pets
The Silja Symphony has dog-friendly cabins

Onboard, on our ship there was a designated dog exercise area on the upper deck, with a gravel filled sandpit for dogs to do their business. If the weather is fine, it’s great to chill out on the upper deck and enjoy a drink from the Promenade bar with your pup by your side.

Dog friendly cruises Europe
Exploring the top deck on our dog-friendly Baltic cruise

Pet dogs aren’t allowed inside the other bars and restaurants, indoors on the ship. However, we entered through the main promenade area with our dog, and had no issues walking him back through the area while we explored.

Find out more about this pet-friendly cruise, including the facilities for humans on board the ships and sightseeing recommendations, in my review.

Take a Short Cruise to the Netherlands with Your Dog

If you’re located in the UK, there are also dog-friendly mini-cruise options closer to home. Fancy a day or two in the Netherlands? There’s two ferry options available that can offer you a Dutch mini-cruise, both with dog-friendly cabins available.

DFDS Mini-Cruise from Newcastle to Amsterdam

DFDS specifically markets a mini-cruise option for their ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam. The mini-cruise includes a coach from the ferry terminal, with five hours spent in Amsterdam. If you’d prefer to spend longer, there’s also the option to add a hotel booking for a night or two.

Amsterdam Canals
Head to Amsterdam on a short cruise with your dog

Onboard they have multiple pet-friendly cabins. Up to two medium-sized dogs are allowed in each cabin, which accommodates four humans in bunk beds. To book a pet-friendly cabin, you’ll need to call the call centre. Be sure to book well in advance, as there are limited numbers available.

Your dog will be restricted to your cabin, as well as the nearby dog toilet area (featuring fake grass, gravel beds and a post). Unfortunately, pet dogs are not allowed on the other outdoor decks or inside the public spaces, but it is fine to leave them unattended in your cabin, as long as you trust them.

There is a charge of £25 per pet per journey. Kennels are also available on board the ships, but they seem to be restricted to those bringing a vehicle on board. Dogs are permitted on the coach into Amsterdam, as long as they don’t sit on a seat. 

Click here to find out more about the DFDS pet-friendly cabins or read this review by someone doing the mini-cruise with their dog.

DIY Stena Line Cruise from Harwich to Hook of Holland

The other possible cruise option from England to the Netherlands is the Stena Line ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland. While they don’t advertise a mini-cruise option on their website, it’s still easy to book, including the addition of a hotel for a one or two-night stay in the Netherlands.

There are both overnight and day crossings available. Overnight cruises are either 8hr or 9 1/2 hr in duration, with the day cruises around 6 1/2 hours.

Stena Line ferry to Hook of Holland
The Stena Line ferry sails day and night to the Netherlands

Hook of Holland is located not far away from Rotterdam, plus the beaches near The Hague. It’s also not far from Amsterdam on the quick and dog-friendly trains.

Recently Stena Lina has added a variety of pet-friendly cabins to this route. Choose between two-berth inside and outside cabins, both with bunk beds. There are also five-berth cabins that can accommodate up to four adults and one child, with a window.

These cabins can accommodate up to three small pets, up to 15kg each, two medium-size dogs up to 30kg, or one larger dog over 30kg. There are no additional fees for pets, but the cabins are more expensive. Pets are only permitted inside the cabin, plus the nearby designated pet area out on deck.

If the pet-friendly cabins are already booked out, there is also the option of booking a kennel for your pet. We used these kennels when previously on the ferry and found them more pet-friendly than most. It was possible to freely visit the kennels and there was a CCTV display of the kennel area among the TV channels. The set charge for dogs using the kennels is £21.

Cruises with dogs
Schnitzel in his kennel on the Stena Line ferry to Hook of Holland

Read my review of travelling between London and Amsterdam with my dog on this ferry, on the overnight sailing. It’s easy to book online including your pet, click here to start a booking. You can select a pet-friendly cabin online, plus add details of your pet at the next step, whether they will travel in your cabin or in a kennel.

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13 thoughts on “Are There Any Pet-Friendly Cruises in 2022?”

    • Sorry, but I don’t believe any exist. There are pet friendly ferries across to the continent, and then you could either take trains (probably, the services aren’t as good the further east you go) or fly to Istanbul.

      Reply
    • Greg.. pls let me know what you find. I’m still in process of finding a transatlantic to UK or Hamburg to then go to Turkey (no spaces on transatlantic ships at this time but I’m crossing fingers), but then i will be in your same situation. I’d appreciate if you could let me know your findings. Thanks. sammyjones777 @ yahoo . ca

      Reply
      • What you find with the QM2 is that the kennel places go very early (12-18 months in advance), but then at the three month (90-day) point when the deposit becomes forfeit, they get a fair few cancellations. I did the TA both ways this year with my dog, and we booked 18 months ahead, but both times we met people who had got on at short notice.

        Reply
  1. How about the bullet trains UK to continent, and within continental EU?
    Are dogs allowed on the bullet trains? I know that they’re not really tours because you can reach your destination in less than 24 hours, but I was just wondering. How about a tour train like the Orient express? Do they allow dogs?
    I am moving to Portugal so it’s a one-way trip but I won’t put my dog in the stowaway cabin only in the passenger cabin and it’s getting more and more difficult to do that. Even the ones that do only guarantee it until you land in Europe and then from there if you want to continue on air travel you have to put the dog in steerage. So I thought I would just get off at wherever the plane lands, and from there take trains or Rent-A-Car . I am moving there for at least a year so I’m also interested in these pet friendly European cruises and luxury train tours because I’ll be spending much of the time traveling all over Europe. Lastly, is anyone aware if the European countries have different entrance policies for dogs? I believe they do and that the UK is quite restrictive and Iceland as well (they’re both islands), but I wasn’t sure about other countries

    Reply
    • Hi Patrick – You’ll find answers to a lot of your questions in different articles. Firstly, the Eurostar train doesn’t allow pet dogs onboard. The best option is to take one of the few ferries that allow foot passengers to bring pets, or use a pet taxi. Some of the overnight trains allow pets, as long as you reserve an entire berth. Check with individual companies, but Austria’s ÖBB is one that allows pets. Some European countries do have different policies. I suggest you check my article on travelling between European countries. As well as the UK, Finland, Ireland, Malta and Norway all require a worming treatment. You need to book in advance an inspection appointment on arrival in Malta. Plus, some non-EU countries may have different requirements, plus you might need a rabies titre test result to return to the EU.

      Reply
  2. I am retired and am ready to move back to the UK.
    I would be taking 7 Standard Poodles. 6 are pets the other is my service dog.
    There’s absolutely no question of leaving any of them and 2 are under 6 months. What is my best strategy?

    Reply
  3. Thanks everyone for sharing your helpful travel experiencs and tips.
    My husband and me live in the Netherlands and interested to know what travel or tour or river or sea cruise options for a week or twos vacation including other European countries?
    (We want our 2 small/medium dogs with us in my berth or cabin).
    Any ideas please? Many thanks Mirium

    Reply

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