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Managing Pets On Board

Firstly, we must come clean: We LOVE dogs. We had a Corgi for 16 years and she traveled almost everywhere with us, many times on planes.

The other day, while disembarking from a plane, we walked by a seat occupied by a dog. He/she was standing on all fours in the middle seat, which didn’t appear to be spoiled nor a repository for something more solid, with the owner in the window seat. Since the dog’s kennel was in the overhead bin, we could only assume either the dog spent the flight held in place by a seat belt or in the overhead bin, neither of which is allowed.

Most airlines allow pets on board. Most cruise lines do not. Cunard is an exception…more on that later.

Back to the plane.

Many hours after leaving the aircraft, we discussed dogs-in-flight with two other dog lovers in our family. The vote was unanimous. Not allowed. We all remembered how the Corgi Hummersurvived all her flights in the luggage compartment, which was temperature controlled, and the process seemed to be fine with her, as it was with us.

Times have really changed.

In checking to see what the pet regulations were on this particular airline (Alaska), we were astounded. Shocked. Speechless. Not only are dogs and cats allowed in the cabin — we once saw a dog running up and down the aisle — but so are rabbits and household birds. What if your household bird is a parrot? Wouldn’t that strain your patience to hear “Polly wants a cracker” for three hours. And rabbits. If the flight’s long enough, they could multiply!

If the pets produce offensive odors or too much noise, according to Alaska, they’re taken off to the baggage compartment. Really? And who’s going to step outside and take them there? And what about other passengers who may have pet allergies. It’s not okay to have nuts on a plane because of allergic reactions, but it is okay to have pets that could cause allergic reactions. Talk about nuts!

Then there’s Cunard.

If you’re going to allow pets to travel, do it right…and Cunard does. On all Transatlantic crossings on the Queen Mary 2, pets are allowed. In a kennel. With a kennel master. Full-time, which means he walks and feeds them and does…other things. The kennel’s open all day, allowing pet owners to visit often, and kennel capacity is 12 (unless they can share a bunk).

It’s not exactly Noah’s Ark. All breeds are welcome. There is only one stipulation, besides having “parents” willing to pay the rack rate for having pets in a cruise ship kennel.

They must have a pet passport.

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Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Celebrity Solstice
7 nights
July 17, 2015
Seattle (return): Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria
Oceanview: $945
Cost per day: $135

Cunard A Cruise Line For The Dogs

Many years ago, on a visit to the vet with our brother-in-law and his dog, we noticed a brochure on the counter advertising "pet insurance." We laughed at the prospect of needing such an unnecessary and frivolous expense. In the succeeding years of Princessmounting veterinary bills in both households, the laughing ceased.

So it is today that we refuse to mock dogs and cruises. Instead, we shall only report…

That Cunard has a kennel program (or "programme") for pets on the Queen Mary 2, which means that pets can cruise across the Atlantic from New York to Southampton or vice-versa.

That the dogs are not allowed in any guest area of the ship.

That there is a full-time kennel master who will feed, walk and…you know, clean up after the pets.

That the animals will receive a complimentary gift pack.

That visitation is allowed during the day, enabling the owners to feed, walk and, you know…

That there is only room for 12 "spacious" kennels.

That the dogs and cats must be in possession of a "pet passport."

The cost? Given our history, does it really matter?

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Cruise news, views and gossip

Carnival Conquest
7 nights
August 24, 2014
Miami (return): CozumelBelizeRoatanCosta Maya
Balcony: $559
Cost per day: $79

When Traveling Goes To The Dogs…

On the weekend, we put our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter on a plane for home after a welcome visit that was short on time and long on enjoyment. But that's beside the point, because we wouldn't be telling you this unless there was some connection to cruising.

And there is.

On their plane were at least five, and maybe as many as 10 dogs. Now to be clear about something, we love dogs. Not in that "some of our best friends are dogs" kind of way, but in the family way, if you'll pardon the expression. There have always been dogs somewhere in our family, and there always will be.

However, count us among the airline passengers who think dogs have no place in the cabins of planes…and the connection to cruising, if you haven't figured it out, is that Corgi-Sannse(WC) copythey also have no place on cruise ships. Fortunately, they remain unwelcome on ships unless they are working — as service dogs for people who require them.

There are good reasons behind our reasoning. At least we think so. Dogs can travel in the hold of planes. Our Corgi did it for years and years. One time, she even flew in the hold when we weren't in the cabin after the flight attendant alerted is that it would be too cold for her, so she took a later flight.

Secondly, as hard as this is to believe, some people just don't like dogs. And some are allergic to dogs. And some could be bitten by dogs roaming the aisle — just wait! — the way little kids do. And some will find it annoying if a dogs whines or growls or, worse yet, makes a mess in his Mommy's purse, or wherever it is they keep pet dogs on planes now. As an aside, none of these things happened on our family's latest flight…in fact all five or 10 dogs were eerily quiet.

On our family's flight this weekend, these were not "purse" dogs. There was a German Shepherd, a black lab, etc. etc.

So far, cruise lines are pet smart and not pet friendly.

However, life changes in strange ways, doesn't it?

Photo credit: Sannse, Wikimedia Commons

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Royal Caribbean, New Orleans parting ways

Norwegian Star
9 nights
July 12, 2014
Copenhagen (return): BerlinTallinnSt. PetersburgHelsinkiStockholm
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $77


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