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Is It Time To Treat Your Pet To A Cruise?

clock 9th September 2015 | comment0 Comments

Are you among the 72% of people that fret about going on holiday because they worry about leaving their pet at home? Remarkably, for a very large number of people, their first priority when choosing a holiday is organising what to do with their dog or cat.

 

Cannot possibly go away and leave the dog…

According to a recent survey a staggering 10.5 million pet owners worry their way through their holiday due to constantly thinking about their cat or dog being left at home. Just as shocking, it was found that one in ten owners will not even take a holiday without their pet. From being slightly alarmed by this information and due to my passion for cruise, I decided to find out: Can we take our pets on a cruise with us?

Cruising is the largest growing sector within the travel industry and with over 300 ships to choose from worldwide, it is an increasingly popular holiday choice for so many people. So, with this information and the statistics about pet owners, surely it is possible to take your pet on a cruise?

 

Time for some serious research…

After extensive research, it was not looking hopeful However, I started to understand the reasons why taking your pet on a cruise is not possible. Cruise ships have extremely strict sanitation and health guidelines that they have to adhere to, and this would prove fairly difficult with pets onboard. Just like us, pets need somewhere to sleep, exercise, eat and go to the toilet, so to make this possible in a limited space shared with so many people, would be hard. Secondly, the nature of a cruise holiday is going to more than one country during a sailing. Many countries have strict quarantine and admission requirements for any animals entering the country, therefore this would make it almost impossible.

So basically, the only pet that is allowed on a cruise ship is a service animal. Although a service animal is not actually considered a pet, they are an animal that is trained to benefit a person with a disability. Appropriate paperwork will have to be presented to the cruise line before the cruise and supervision of the animal will be the sole responsibility of the owner at all times. Owners will also be responsible for obtaining all required permits for service animals to leave the ship in port of call.

On most cruise lines, service animals are allowed to go in all onboard venues, including all dining areas. I can imagine you are now wondering, where they go to the toilet!? A popular question amongst cruisers, believe it or not! Well, they will have a special ‘Botty Box’ which will vary in size and location depending on the cruise line.

 


 

You thought cruising was only for people…

So, just as I was wrapping up my research and findings about pets on cruise ships… hang on… pet friendly cruise ship? How could this be right after everything I found out about not allowing this? Well, it turns out there is one exception to the rule. British cruise line, Cunard, operates the ‘Pets on Deck’ programme, allowing owners to bring their pets on a cruise with them.

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is an approved carrier in connection with the Pet Travel Scheme and allows dogs, cats and other furry favourites to go on a luxury transatlantic sailing with their owners. Pets onboard the Queen Mary 2 receive the same pampering as their owners. Boasting spacious pet kennels with a full-time kennel master, they have the ultimate luxury pet accommodation… with their own private ‘pet butler’!

The area also has an indoor play zone where dogs and cats can play with each other, or if stated by the owner they can have an individual playtime. Dogs are walked outdoors several times a day and also have visiting hours for the owners to go and visit them.

Fine dining? Of course! Freshly baked, healthy, gourmet doggie or kitty cookies are offered on a daily basis as well as meal times requested by owner.

Even overnight, pets are never left unattended and there is someone caring for them 24 hours a day. As for safety, all pets have their own life vests too! Those guests with pets are taught how to put them on during the emergency drill.

As if all of this was not enough, pets are also supplied with a complimentary gift pack which includes toys, personalized name tag, food dish, portrait with owner and a personalized cruise card. Lucky little things!


 

 

Fit for even the most famous pets…

Cunard has supported the pet-friendly policy since the maiden voyage of the Britannia in 1840 when three cats were on board and since then thousands of pets have enjoyed the Cunard treatment, including, a monkey, canaries and a circus elephant! With such star treatment it’s no wonder that even some celebrity pets have cruised with Cunard including, Elizabeth Taylor with her dog, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor with their puppy and most recently Britain’s most famous dog, Pudsey, cruised with his owner Ashley.

 

 

Being a dog owner myself, I know how attached we are to our pets and if I could have taken my dog with me to sea I would have! Pets On Deck truely is an incredible concept and I know you are having second thoughts about your next holiday now. Be aware that there is a limit to 12 pets per cruise so they book up fast!



The Most Popular Cruise Destinations of 2009

clock 30th December 2009 | comment0 Comments

As another year of cruising comes to an end, we thought we'd take a look back at 2009 and the most popular cruises and destinations. Unsurprisingly, our number one cruise destination is the Mediterranean - with a huge range of cruise lines and itineraries featured in this diverse and fascinating region. With many Med cruises departing from UK ports, there's often no need to fly and this certainly keeps the cost down. Royal Caribbean's, Independence of the Seas sailings from Southampton reflected this trend, and made her our most popular ship of 2009. Packed with stunning leisure and entertainment options, the Independence delighted cruisers on voyages to the Med and the 5th most popular destination, the Canary Islands.

Our 2nd most popular destination is the Baltic, Fjords and Scandinavia. A growing market, the stunning sights and history of the Northern Europe are proving a favourite with cruisers. Almost all cruise lines offer itineraries in this region now, with Fred. Olsen and Cruise and Maritime Voyages offering superb traditional voyages on more intimate sized ships, for an absorbing experience.

The Caribbean is our third most popular destination and there's nothing better than a spot of island hopping under sun-kissed skies. Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises, premium quality sailings in have proved extremely popular in this region, as have P&O Cruises British style cruises and Royal Caribbean's action packed adventures. In fourth place we find European short break cruises. These cruises offer a great taster of what a cruise line has to offer, with Ireland, Bruges & Amsterdam amongst the most popular ports of call.

Outside the top 5 we find more specialised cruises like the transatlantic crossing and world cruises. Cunard Line are undoubtedly the leaders in the transatlantic voyage with their decadent Southampton to New York sailings. The world cruise sector offers chance to be a part of an epic journey, to discover Australasia, the Far East or closer to home. 'Once in a lifetime' destinations like the Panama Canal, South America and Alaska also make our top 10 destinations with Dubai - a relatively new and fast growing destination for cruise holidays.



Fresh Innovations for Cruisers on New Cruise Ships

clock 19th August 2009 | comment0 Comments

With a whole host of new cruise ships taking to the seas or readying to launch, we thought we’d run the rule over some of the new innovations and features coming soon, to a cruise ship near you.

Perhaps the stand out concept of the new breed of cruise-liners is Royal Caribbean’s creation of distinct neighbourhoods. The Oasis of the Seas due to sail in November 2009, has seven such neighbourhood areas, including the first tropical garden at sea – Central Park, a Boardwalk entertainment area, and Aquatheatre. Maintaining their mantle as leading leisure innovators the ship also includes a 25m zip-line, nine decks up - for a thrilling descent!

Celebrity Cruises new Solstice class continue the green theme with real grass lawns on deck, giving you the opportunity to practice your putting or simply stretch out. Another impressive feature of this class of ship is the Aquaspa wellness facility - a common trend with new builds seems to be investment in quality health and wellness facilities. The P&O Azura will feature an Oasis Spa and MSC Cruises new flagship, MSC Magnifica, will come complete with an Aurea Spa, offering Turkish baths and Thalassotherapy treatments.

Entertainment is also key - a must on all ships is a state of the art theatre and some quality performers. You will soon be able to enjoy the Blue Man Group in the Epic theatre on NCL Epic and Broadway production Hairspray in Oasis of the Seas’ Opal Theatre. For something more refined the Royal Court Theatre and Queens Room ballroom on Cunard Line’s new Queen Elizabeth promise evenings of high culture, and for something laidback, you can watch blockbuster movies under the stars, poolside, on ships like the Grand Princess and P&O Azura.

With accommodation and dining facilities also greatly improving, it’s no surprise the cruise holiday market is growing. Staterooms are becoming more spacious and luxurious, with a higher percentage having balconies. Royal Caribbean bring us 51m² Loft Suites sleeping up to 10 persons and NCL introduce the equally impressive Courtyard Villas. The choice of restaurants and cuisine has improved across the board with dining options inspired by world-renowned chefs becoming the norm. Michelin-starred chef Atul Kochhar joins the ranks of James Martin, Marco Pierre White, Gary Rhodes, Aldo Zilli and Nobu Matsuhisa, as his Indian fusion restaurant Sindhu comes to the Azura.

Other new innovations include a pool area with retractable roof on MSC Magnifica and an elevator bar that moves between three levels on Oasis, but the common theme is massive improvements to established facilities. You can expect finer dining, more comfortable cabins, higher class spa centres and more leisure options than ever on the next generation of cruise ships.



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