Cruises - 13 min read

12 BEST Dog-Friendly Cruises (Sightseeing With Your Best Friend!)

Jessica Langille

Jessica Langille, Updated October 8, 2022

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Most pet owners think of their furry friends as part of the family. If you’re booking a family vacation, it might not feel right to leave your dog behind. Traveling with dogs is becoming more common, however, it’s still difficult for pet owners to find dog-friendly cruise lines. Are there any cruises that allow dogs onboard?

Currently, the only luxury cruise vacation that is pet-friendly is Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 ship. If you want to take your dog on a cruise, there are several city and sightseeing cruise options you can enjoy. The Mercury in Chicago often hosts a Canine Cruise. Le Boat allows a limited number of dogs on each boat cruise.

Do you want to pamper your dog while being surrounded by puppy-passionate people? You’re in the right spot. Today, we’re going to discuss everything you wanted to know about the pet-friendly Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and other cruise excursions that allow dogs on board. We will also go into more detail about what you should know before bringing your dog onboard.

What Cruise Line Is Dog-Friendly?

The only dog-friendly cruise line is Cunard. Even though this cruise line loves providing the opportunity to bring your furry friends on board, they currently have only 1 ship that is pet-friendly. The Queen Mary 2 allows up to 24 pets on board each trip.

Since this is the only pet-friendly cruise worldwide, you can expect reservations for the pet area to fill up fast. If you want to book a cruise with your dog, you will likely need to start looking for trips at least a year in advance.

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 Dog-Friendly Cruise

Credit: Cruise Radio

Cost: $445 to $27,074 | Cost For Dogs: approximately $1000 (exact cost will be given at the time of booking) | Routes: New York City, NY to Southampton, England/ Southhampton, England to New York City, NY | Trip Length: 2 nights to 123 nights

Why Travel With Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 Dog-Friendly Cruise

Your dog will be treated like a passenger on Queen Mary 2. There is a designated area for pets with trained professionals that are passionate about animals taking care of them. The carriers for pets on this ship have been approved by Pet Travel Scheme. Cats and dogs will be pampered at the same level as human passengers.

All pet owners can expect the best for their dogs (and cats too!) with Cunard. They will be provided with many great services from the Pets On Deck Program. This includes freshly baked biscuits, clean and cozy blankets and beds, and a cute new pet coat courtesy of Cunards.

Your pet will also receive a complimentary goodie bag. This includes a food dish, scoop, frisbee, and more. Owners will even get to have a portrait taken with their furry friend. Both you and your canine will get treated like royalty on this cruise vacation.

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 Pet Rules & Restrictions

  • Have your documents ready. Before boarding Queen Mary 2 with your dog, you will need to present all necessary documents for your dog to travel. This includes clearance from the government to enter the UK from the US (and vice versa).
  • Pets can’t travel alone. Is the dog traveling to their new home overseas? Cunard’s policy states that all pets must be accompanied on the ship.
  • Travelers have specific visiting hours to see their pets. The pet’s area is separate from the other areas of the ship. There is a schedule that the workers must follow. This means that travelers will only be able to visit their pets during specific hours of the day.

11 Dog-Friendly Cruises (Mini Cruises, River Cruises, & More)

There are several options available for dog lovers that want to enjoy a day at sea with their pup. There may only be 1 pet-friendly luxury cruise vacation, but there are several mini cruises and other options for you and your dog. Let’s take a look at some of the best cruises.

1. Bow Wow Brunch Cruise (San Diego, CA)

Credit: City Experiences

Cost: N/A | Trip Length: 2 1/2 hours | Location: 1800 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA

Hornblower Cruises is a popular city cruise line in San Diego. They are known for their spectacular brunch events. One event pet owners look forward to is the Bow Wow Brunch Cruise. This event has a brunch buffet for the pups, and a separate buffet for the owners as well.

The Bow Wow Brunch Cruise is an annual event, that typically takes place annually in October. Since it’s close to the Halloween season, passengers can enjoy a doggy costume contest and other themed events.

Please Note: This annual event has been put on pause since the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information about when the next cruise becomes available, check the official Hornblower calendar.

Rules & Restrictions

  • One dog per adult passenger. While kids are more than welcome to come on this cruise, they are not allowed to be responsible for a dog.
  • All dogs must be kept on a leash. Owners aren’t allowed to use retractable leashes.
  • You must clean up after your dog. All pet owners are responsible for any mess their dog makes.
  • Paperwork must be completed before boarding. All passengers are required to sign waiver forms when they purchase a ticket.

2. Canine Cruise (Chicago, IL)

Credit: Secret Chicago

Cost: $8 for dogs, $42 for adults, $18 for kids (age 5 to 15), kids under 5 are free | Trip Length: 90 minutes | Location: 112 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL

The Mercury is a city cruise line that takes passengers along the Chicago River. Canine Cruise is a popular ship that allows passengers to bring their pooch on board. There are multiple dates from May through October annually.

Rules and Restrictions

  • Keep your dog leashed. You will need to keep your dog on a leash the entire time they are onboard. The cruise line suggests owners keep their dogs on their lap or in the seat next to them. If your dog is too big for the seats, there is a deck area where you can stay with them as well.

3. Seadog Tours (Chicago, IL)

Credit: Bring Fido

Cost: Dogs are free, $47.95 for adults, $37.95 for children (ages 3 to 12), and kids under 3 are free | Trip Length: 75 minutes | Location: 600 E Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL

Hornblower also has city cruises in Chicago. If you want to bring your dog onboard, you should book a ticket for the Seadog Tours. This quick city cruise has tours running daily, so you can arrange a cruise whenever you’re in the city.

Rules & Restrictions

  • Dogs must be leashed and accompanied by an adult. It’s recommended that you hold onto your dog throughout the cruise because the ship is known to take big turns. Some dogs may get frightened by the splashes during these turns.
  • Polite dogs are invited onboard. Seadog Tours is welcoming to your four-legged friends. However, they ask that you only bring dogs onboard that are friendly and calm around people and other dogs.

4. Acadian Sightseeing & Nature Cruise (Bar Harbor, ME)

Credit: TripAdvisor

Cost: $12 to $37 | Trip Length: 2 hours | Location: 119 Eden St, Bar Harbor, ME

The Acadian Sightseeing & Nature Cruise is a family-friendly adventure that also allows dogs onboard. This is a great mini cruise in Maine where passengers can enjoy seeing marine mammals and birds and more of the local area. There are cruises available from May through October.

Rules & Restrictions

  • All dogs must be accompanied by an adult. The dog is to be remained leashed throughout the entire cruise. As the dog’s owner, you will be responsible for your pet throughout the entire trip.

5. Le Boat (Various Locations- Canada & Europe)

Credit: Le Boat

Cost: $709 to $2683 | Trip Length: 7 nights | Location: N/A

Le Boat has various ports throughout Europe and Canada. They are the ideal company for a boating holiday. Travelers can enjoy various types of boating cruises. Dogs are welcome onboard. However, each boat has a limitation for the number of dogs onboard. Always check the specific boat’s regulations and leave plenty of time to reserve your trip.

Rules & Regulations

  • Dogs will need a valid rabies vaccination. Owners must supply proof of those before boarding any of the boats in Canada or the UK. Dogs will also need tapeworm treatment for traveling abroad in the UK and Ireland.
  • Only 2 dogs per boat. Make sure there is room for your dog at the time of booking your ticket.
  • It’s recommended to bring a comfort item. Many dogs feel more comfortable traveling on the water when they have a blanket, plush toy, or other comfort items from home.
  • There is a $90 fee. When you travel on one of the boats with your dog, you will be charged a non-refundable cleaning fee.

6. Rodne Fjords Cruise (Norway)

Credit: Visit Bergen

Cost: Approximately $81 USD | Trip Length: 3 to 3.5 hours | Location: Skagenkaien 35-37, 4006 Stavanger, Norway

This popular Norwegian sightseeing tour is also dog-friendly. You can enjoy the beautiful scenic tour and relax with your furry friend. It is one of the best mini cruises in Norway to see the Lysefjord and Preikestolen. The boat is spacious and comfortable and guests can enjoy a stunning view from the sundeck.

Please note: Dogs are welcome on the solo cruise, but they aren’t permitted on any cruises that are part of a hiking package.

Rules & Regulations

  • Dogs must be accompanied by an adult. It’s your responsibility to keep your dog on a leash and with you during the cruise at all times.
  • There is a designated dog area. In the event that another passenger onboard is allergic to dogs, there is a set area where dog owners can stay with their furry friends.

7. Scenic Cruise St. Augustine (St. Augustine, FL)

Credit: Shutterstock

Cost: $20.75 for adults, $17.50 for seniors (60+), $9.75 for children (4 to 12) | Trip Length: 75 minutes | Location: 111 Avenida Menendez, St. Augustine, FL 

Scenic Cruise St. Augustine is a pet-friendly city cruise line. You can enjoy a narrated sightseeing cruise with your furry friend by your side. Passengers don’t have to book specific cruises to enjoy a day out with their doggy. Your pooch is welcome on all of the scenic cruises, however, you will remain responsible for the dog at all times.

Rules & Regulations

  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times during the cruise. This is the only requirement that the cruise line has for bringing pets on board.

8. Dog Gone Sailing Charters (Provincetown, MA)

Credit: TripAdvisor

Cost: $45 to $580 (Dogs are free) | Trip Length: various half-day and full-day cruises | Location: 10 MacMillan Pier, Provincetown, MA

Dog Gone Sailing Charters treats your dog like a VIP passenger. These intimate boat cruises have enough room for 6 passengers on board. There are many types of boating cruises that you can enjoy, from sunset tours to whale-watching. This charter company takes safety seriously. They have life jackets in all sizes, for humans and dogs as well.

Rules & Regulations

  • Owners are responsible for their dogs. This is a smaller and more intimate boat cruise company. Your dog won’t have to stay on a leash or in a particular area. However, the company recommends that your dog wear a life jacket while it’s onboard.

9. Watermark Cruises (Annapolis, MD)

Credit: Bring Fido

Cost: $29 to $32 for adults, $11 to $14 for children, dogs are free | Trip Length: 60 to 90 minutes | Location: 1 Dock St, Annapolis, MD

Watermark Journey is a popular sightseeing cruise in Maryland. Dogs are welcome onboard most of the trips. The only exception is themed events, like fireworks nights and certain festivals.

Many pet owners agree that this is one of the best boat cruises in the country for dogs. Both the pups and owners enjoy the cruise because the staff is friendly and the ride is relaxing.

Rules & Regulations

  • Friendly dogs are welcome. Dog owners are responsible for their dog’s behavior onboard. By the company’s request, it’s asked that pet owners only bring their dog on the boat if it is calm and friendly.
  • Dogs must remain on a leash. You aren’t allowed to take your dog off of its leash while you’re on the cruise ship.

10. BayWatch Dolphin Tours (Galveston, TX)

Credit: Shutterstock

Cost:$12 to $20 per person, dogs are free | Trip Length: 45 minutes | Location: 2100 Harborside Dr, Galveston, TX 

Galveston, TX is one of the most dog-friendly destinations to travel to in the country. There are many tourist attractions throughout the city that are pet-friendly, including the BayWatch Dolphin Tours. This tour is available 7 days a week and takes travelers to one of the best spots in the harbor for dolphin sightings.

Rules & Regulations

  • All passengers are responsible for the dog they bring on board. It must be kept on a leash at all times during the cruise. Please only bring dogs on board that are calm and friendly around other dogs.

11. Hy-Line Cruises (Hyannis, MA)

Credit: Shutterstock

Cost: $58 to $99 per person, children under 4 and dogs are free | Trip Length: 1 hour to 2.5 hours | Location: 220 Ocean St, Hyannis, MA 

Hy-Line Cruises has several cruise options to choose from, and dogs are welcome on most of them. There is only one exception in which dogs aren’t allowed on board. That’s in the Captain’s View section of the Nantucket High-Speed Ferry Grey Lady IV.

Rules & Regulations

  • Dogs aren’t allowed on the furniture. You may keep small dogs on your lap, however, you are not allowed to place them on the seats.
  • Dogs must be kept on a leash or in a cage. They will not be allowed to roam freely on the board. You are responsible for your dog while it’s traveling on the cruise ship.

Why Are Dogs Not Allowed On Most Cruises?

Most cruise ships are not set up to be pet-friendly. They are designed to provide people with a more intimate travel experience. In order for pets to come on board, there needs to be a designated area. After all, there could be passengers on board that are allergic, afraid, or simply don’t want to be around animals.

Another factor to consider is that these cruise ships are not equipped with the amenities to cater to pets. Some cruises will be at sea for a couple of days between destinations. There is no area onboard where the dogs can play, go for a walk, or even go to the bathroom.

Are Service Dogs Allowed On Cruise Ships?

Cruise lines will allow a service dog on board. Service dogs aren’t considered a pet because they play a fundamental role in helping people with disabilities live a regular lifestyle. The level of training that service dogs have is far different from what the average housepet receives. For example, these dogs are trained to use relief boxes when they need to go to the bathroom.

Every cruise line has its own policy regarding service dogs. Make sure you find out the specific details of the company you want to travel with before booking a trip.

Can Emotional Support Dogs Go On Cruises?

Emotional support animals typically aren’t allowed to go on cruises. The same rules that apply to service dogs don’t apply to emotional support animals. This is because emotional support animals don’t have the same level of training as service dogs. There is always a risk that the dog may not have proper training or behave well around groups of people.

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