‘Aaargh me hearties, let us set sail for ports unknown – to sail the Seven Seas in search of adventure – or at least hoist the mainsail with the Greek Isles in mind.’ You may not be flying the skull and crossbones – or have a parrot on your shoulder – but having a wagging tail next to you as you smell that briny air aboard a modern cruise ship can provide unforgettable memories. But before you set sail and down your first cup of grog, there are a few things you should know about hitting the high seas with a four-legged friend.
Firstly, selecting the right cruise company can make all the difference in the world. The British cruise line, Cunard, has a ‘Pets on Deck’ programme that will treat your furry friend with the care that they lavish on the two-legged passengers that grace the decks and cabins of their world-famous Queen Mary 2.
They have 24-hour ultra-luxurious kennel facilities, play areas for all sorts of furry friends and stewards that will gladly take your canine companion to indulge in the ever-popular ‘barking at seagulls’ tour of the deck. Their menu is provided care off some inventive doggie chefs who will provide a diverse set of meals that will be delicious and nutritious – in fact rivalling the offerings of the best onboard buffets (do not allow your fourlegged friend to sample the delights of the buffet – or the bottomless margaritas – it’s bad for them).
They will also be provided with a welcome pack that will beat anything you get. Their own personalized tour specific food bowl, a great toy and even a photo of you and your furry companion enjoying the briny deep.
However, for those who do not choose the Queen Mary 2 option the challenges to bringing a pet onboard can be akin to walking the plank and being plunged into a briny deep of red tape. Even Cunard has some strict rules.
Firstly, allow yourself sufficient time to meet all their requirements. You will be provided with a ‘Pet Passport’ pack -which will have all the information you need to allow you and your pet to enjoy your cruise. Y9ou will have to ensure that your dog is microchipped – and your vet will have to provide the paperwork to confirm that this has been done – and that paperwork must include the chip ID.
At the same time, your dog must be inoculated against rabies and your vet must supply verification that this has been done. Ask about tick, flea and tapeworm treatment and make sure you get that documentation form the vet. A Veterinary Certificate of health may also be required.