The Ultimate Pet-Friendly Cruises You Never Knew Existed


Sailing through crystal clear waters with the sea breeze ruffling your hair never sounded better, and the fact that your furry friend can join you is the cherry on top. The truth is, that for many dog owners if they have to leave their fur-child at home, they’d rather not go. So we’re here to share with you the ultimate pet cruises!

But first, let’s answer a question you might have:

Can Dogs go on Cruises?

Man’s best friend can go many places. In recent years, there have been new allowances made for these lovely creatures. Emotional Support Animals (ESA’s) have made their appearance on many modes of transport, however, cruise ships are not one of them.

Your ordinary cruises do not allow dogs on cruise ships, or any other pet for that matter. They have strict rules about sanitation, and dogs need space to exercise as well as relieve themselves. But luckily for us animal-lovers, there are plenty of cruises that are far from ordinary! And they allow both dogs, cats and hairless cats to roam the boat at will.

Nowadays you get cruises that allow pets, and not only do they tolerate them, but they cater to every need of your pampered pooch. So now that we’ve answered the question – can you take a dog on a cruise? Let’s take a look at the very best pet-friendly cruise ships to sail the high seas!

Dog-Friendly Cruises

dog on boat

If the thought of leaving your four-legged friend at home is more than traumatic, then there’s no need to worry as Fido can be by your side every step of the way. While guide-dogs and service-dogs are allowed on ordinary cruises, ESA dogs and ordinary fur-babies have not yet made the cut.

But that’s no problem, leave ordinary cruises in the dust, and head for a dog cruise that not only tolerates your fur-child but caters to its every need!

Queen Mary II – New York – England

The British cruise line – Cunard‘s regards the Queen Mary II as one of the most magnificent ocean liner’s ever built! And we think it’s because of the great addition of pooches on-board.

The ship has a great kennel program on all their trips between New York and South Hampton. Your pup will be closely monitored by a team that walks and feeds them, plus you’ll get the chance to spend plenty of time with your pooch! A few hours a day are set aside for quality time and playtime, so you’ll have all the emotional support you could ever need.

The Goodtime II – Seattle, Washington

For 65 years, Seattles’s Argosy Cruises has hosted a Christmas Ship Festival. It’s the largest Christmas floating parade in the world, and they’ve now added a pet-friendly cruise to their ranks.

Puppers and their humans can enjoy champagne, buffet gourmet meals (provided by The Dining Dog Cafe), and pictures with Santa Paws. There’s no better way to celebrate the holidays than by enjoying a 5-star dining experience with your pooch!

It’s important to note that The Goodtime II is only a pet cruise during the festive season, so don’t book in July thinking your fury-friend can come along for the ride.

Potomac Riverboat Canine Cruise – Alexandria, Virginia

The Potomac Riverboat Company hosts a one-hour sightseeing tour from Port Alexandria for you and your canine. The howling experience is a local treat, and this pet-friendly cruise line welcomes aboard passengers with or without their pup.

Keep an eye on their website, as they host special dog cruises near Halloween and Christmas, where everyone (including their pooch), dresses up for the occasion. If you’re looking for something a little extra from cruises with dogs, this is the perfect one for you!

dog looking at sea

Bow Wow Brunch Cruise – San Diego, California

Bow Wow Brunch Cruise is perfect for those with a healthy appetite, looking to fill their belly’s with a healthy portion of delicious food. The fact that your doggo can help themselves to their own doggie buffet is an absolute delight!

You’ll experience a 2-hour boat ride along the San Diego Bay while sipping on bottomless coffee and helping yourself to an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet (for both humans and pups).

The trip takes place once a year – generally in October, so be sure to book in advance to secure your seat on this wonderful dog-friendly sightseeing tour! It’s one of the most fun animal activities you can do in the area, aside from getting discounted tickets for the San Diego Zoo!

Mercury’s Canine Cruise – Chicago, Illinois

Cruise through Chicago’s waterways on the Mercury Canine Cruise while taking in all the sights and smells the city has to offer! Your pooch can take a seat on your lap, at your feet, or amble around the boat while you listen to the narrating tour guide.

There’s plenty of safe outdoor seating, water bowls for your pup, as well as a newspaper lined bathroom where your doggo can do their ‘business’.

This is one of the best cruises that allow dogs, as you get to spend a great deal of quality time with your little animal while learning about the rich history of the city!

Scenic Cruise St. Augustine – St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine hosts a variety of scenic cruises that allow you to see all the most beautiful sights in the area. The best part is that all of these cruises are pooch-friendly! The ship has been cruising the area since the early 1900s, and its captain knows all the best sightseeing spots around.

You won’t have to leave your fur-child at home for this scenic trip, as well-behaved dogs are welcomed with water bowls and treats!

Wrapping Up Dog-Friendly Cruise Ships

dog on beach

While dogs are making waves in the boating department, it’s still not the norm to allow dogs onboard cruise ships. This can be very disappointing for dog owners who are very attached to their four-legged friends.

However, things are beginning to change, and more and more cruise liners are letting these fury creatures aboard. So take your doggo on a sightseeing tour, or feast with them on an all-you-can-eat-brunch cruise, because we believe dog cruises are here to stay!

Tell your pooch to get ready, they’re about to set sail on a sightseeing adventure!


Matt Davison
Matt has done marketing for travel and tourism for over a decade. His first love is SEO, with entrepreneurship hotter on its heels than a girlfriend. When he is not looking up flights back to his next destination, you can find him in the garden, making excuses to walk Rusty, strategizing with the team and tinkering on sites until the early morning.