Thursday, June 6, 2024

Pampered pooches cross the Atlantic in style aboard Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary kennel master, Oliver Cruz, center, presents happy dog owners Callie and Ryan Regan and their dog Remly with a certificate honoring his successful crossing on the stately ship, known for its kennels, unique to cruising.


Owners are welcome to visit their pets, and take them to a quiet corner
on Deck 12, where both inside and outside spaces are reserved for pets.


A DOG'S LIFE is a good life aboard Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2.
With 24 cozy kennels and a full-time kennel master to look after their every need, canine and feline passengers travel as comfortably as their human counterparts.
They have treats and walks, comfy beds, toys and individual menus catered to each dog's needs.  So they dine like lords and ladies aboard this beautiful ship, the only one that accepts dogs other than service animals.
For many pet owners, it's the preferred way to cross the Atlantic. The leisurely one-week crossing allows both pet and "parents" to enjoy a slow transition to another continent, without being subjected to jet lag or, in a pet's case, the hold of an airplane.
Porters clad in the traditional Cunard uniform
gladly walk dogs or owners can do it themselves.
WE SPENT a delightful morning with QM kennel master Oliver Cruz, who had his hands full with 20 dogs and two cats on our recent westbound crossing from Southampton. He greeted us on deck 12, where a large, pristine space is dedicated to four-legged passengers and their owners. The pleasant, spotless area has both inside and outside spaces. Pet owners can visit and walk their fur babies, assist in feeding them if they like and take them into the sunshine for one-on-one time, while they read, soak up the sun or check messages. At appointed times, other passengers can come take a peek, too.
Years ago, I wrote a story on the Queen Elizabeth 2's kennels, which were seldom advertised and always booked well in advance. The space featured a miniature Hyde Park, with a faux tree and fire hydrant.  QM2 has a red hydrant as well.
Dog lover and QM2 kennel master Oliver Cruz, is hands on in daily
interaction with each canine passenger. They are carefully tended.

Queen Mary's kennels are popular. Cruz said. "Some people book a year or more in advance, and we recommend that," he added. Kennel slots fill up quickly -- even before the ship's coveted suites.
WHO TAKES his dog on a ship? Plenty of people,  Cruz said. "People moving from one country to the other like the ease and comfort of taking a beloved pet on a ship," he said. That enhances the owner's journey and assures the pet isn't traumatized by the uncertainties of air travel. Other travelers simply want to have their pet with them while traveling.
ONE CHICAGO couple, Callie and Ryan Regan, love the experience and say they wouldn't take their treasured doggie Remly across the pond any other way.
"We took him on Queen Mary a year ago when we left the states for a job in England," Ryan said. "He was so spoiled after that he wouldn't eat his regular food for a couple days."
Cookie and Keller on the top deck, after a 
visit with dog owners and the kennel master.
Now, returning to the U.S., Remly adjusted easily to the ship, they said. He enjoys his spacious kennel, comfy bed and kibble laced with pieces of steak.
Cruz added that pet owners can organize their dog's food and can even provide their own if they like.
He and his assistant accommodate special needs -- vitamins, etc. -- and monitor pets' "doggy do" to check for any signs that the pet is not well. "So owners
don't pick up after their pups," he said. "We do that."
AMONG PAMPERED four-legged passengers were a border collie, an American bull dog, a German shepherd, a Jack Russell terrier, a springer spaniel, a long-haired chihuahua and two contented cats, minority among the 19 dog breeds on board.
Pets are accepted on all Transatlantic crossings, except the first and last crossings of the year. Availability is limited, so pet owners are advised to book well in advance. The cost of transportation will be given at the time of booking, but will likely range between $800 and $1,000 USD. Pet owners must supply up to date vaccinations and records to prove their dogs and cats are healthy. Forms are provided by Cunard.
PHILIPINO BORN Cruz has been QM2's kennel master for 14 years, and is a lifelong animal lover with 10 cats, 8 dogs, turtles, fish and other members of the menagerie.
Kennel master Oliver
Cruz presents a 
"crossing certificate"
for each pet.
His children include son Christian, who is grooming to replace Cruz when he retires "way down the road."

More info or to book a cruise for you or your pet:

Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers cross the
Atlantic from Florida, on board Norwegian Cruise Line's
Getaway. The veteran cruisers enjoy this mode of travel
and will tout its benefits and advantages next week.
P NEXT:  We're singing the praises of travel for the next few weeks. Highlights of favorite trips will give tips and encourage readers to book that longed for  trip, arrange the cruise or camping trip, take that drive to the cousins you've long wanted to see. Our credo is "enjoy the summer," remembering that time is fleeting for us all.  "Carpe diem" is our byword as we explore the glories of travel, exploring the Caribbean and Mediterranean, and enjoying an Atlantic crossing on the world's most famous authentic ocean liner, Queen Mary 2.



  1. Appreciate your pointing out his beautiful ship is a liner. We used to board our dogs on QE2!

  2. Queen Mary devoteesJune 9, 2024 at 1:14 PM

    We have booked the world cruise on Queen Mary and guess who is coming along? Our beloved terrier.

  3. We love this story. Did not know about QM's kennels. Great idea.