Last updated: 07:00 AM ET, Thu October 06 2016

Could More Kennels Be Headed to Sea?

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Cunard Line | Jason Leppert | October 06, 2016

Could More Kennels Be Headed to Sea?

Photo courtesy of Cunard Line

Following a long heritage of kennels at sea aboard ocean liners, Cunard Line recently updated the Queen Mary 2 by expanding its facilities for dogs and cats, but is there any hope for other cruise ships to feature them?

At a time when more and more people are seen traveling with pets on planes, one might wonder if there is a future for more on cruise ships as well.

Traditionally, ocean liners like the Queen Mary 2 were used primarily as transportation, and as the modern Cunarder serves this purpose much to this day, four-legged guests are catered to on transatlantic voyages only between the ports of Southampton, Hamburg and New York.

READ MORE: Cunard's Queen Mary 2 Debuts Following A $132 Million Restoration Project

In fact, the recently remodeled QM2 just doubled its kennels from 12 to 24 and expanded its outdoor deck space, complete with an English lamppost and American fire hydrant for furry friends to feel at home. There’s even a lounge for owners and a playground for pets.

As for other ships, the thinking seems to be that they are destinations unto themselves and so kennels are not available on outright cruises. Even Cunard doesn't accommodate pets on sailings other than its transatlantic varieties.

Service animals on the other hand are allowed on ships if they can be verified ahead of time. While recently aboard the Seabourn Quest, I asked about such companions, and I was told that they are facilitated in the guest rooms with a litter box out on the veranda and a walking area arranged up on deck.

READ MORE: TravelPulse On Board: Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 Review

When asked about future potential for kennels aboard additional ships, Roger Frizzell, SVP & Chief Communications Officer for Carnival Corporation & plc said, “As you know, we receive tremendously positive feedback from our guests on the Queen Mary 2, so we know the dog kennels are an attractive feature. In fact, that's the reason we recently expanded the kennels. In the past few years, we have begun to share best practices among each of our ten brands, so this is something that could be replicated on our other ships in the future.”

Challenges that could be in the way of that happening are concerns for health, particularly allergies, added noise and precious room. Frizzell added, “Space on each of the ships is at a premium, and we have been working to specifically tailor our ship features to the psychographics of our guests in each of the brands as part of our larger efforts to exceed guest expectations.”

So, where do things stand, at least as far as Carnival Corp. is concerned? “While we currently have no immediate plans to do so, the discussion is certainly underway across the company,” concluded Frizzell.

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