Moosh - dog near water

Slow travel has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Ocean cruises have traditionally been enjoyed by an older clientele. The stereotype of the average cruise ship customer being a retiree in their 60s, 70s, or beyond rang pretty true for most of the last several decades.

But over the past few years, slow travel has become very popular with millennials. Tired of slumming it in uncomfortable backpacker hostels, rushing to make cheap connecting flights, and risking life and limb in rickety buses hurtling down dangerous foreign backroads, many millennials are choosing to explore the globe from the safety and comfort of a luxury ocean liner.

Cruising has become increasingly popular with a younger demographic in recent years.

Why Modern Cruise Ships Are So Cool

If the only cruise ship you are aware of is the “Love Boat” from the cheesy 1970s sitcom of the same name, you would be amazed by a modern cruise ship. Today’s large cruise ships are stunningly opulent floating cities with more mod-cons and attractions squeezed inside their pristine white hulls than you would find in even the most lavish Las Vegas hotel!

Modern cruise ships contain multiple restaurants offering cuisine from all corners of the world. They provide endless entertainment in the form of theatres showing live musical extravaganzas, cozy jazz clubs, planetariums, lecture theatres, and cinemas. World-famous celebrities, musicians, and lecturers regularly travel onboard and give guest performances and lectures. People who enjoy physical activity can avail of state-of-the-art gyms, saunas, tennis courts, climbing walls, and even golf courses on modern cruise ships.

It is no wonder slow travel has become so popular with millennials!

Many Millennials Are Availing Of Emotional Support Animals

More millennials than ever before have emotional support animals. ESAs provide comfort to hundreds of thousands of American millennials who suffer from psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and phobias. So the question is…

Is It Possible To Take an Emotional Support Animal On A Cruise?

With so many millennials availing of emotional support animals and also wanting to experience an ocean cruise, many people want to know if their emotional support animal can accompany them onboard a cruise ship.

Different Cruise Companies Have Different ESA Policies

Unfortunately, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Different cruise companies have different policies regarding emotional support pets. In recent months a few companies have banned all ESAs from their ships. Others have banned certain species of emotional support animal, while others still allow ESAs to travel on their vessels.

Authorities typically do not step in to force the hand of travel companies that decide to ban emotional support animals. In most instances, the final decision is left up to the discretion of the company involved, and if they decide that carrying emotional support pets is negatively impacting the experience of the majority of staff and customers, they can refuse to allow ESAs on board.

Many Large Cruise Companies Have Banned ESAs

In 2018, Royal Caribbean International, the world’s second-largest cruise operator, changed their policy on ESAs. From summer 2018, emotional support pets are no longer allowed to travel on any of the company’s ships. Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Corp have also banned emotional support animals from traveling on their vessels.

It’s important to check whether your chosen cruise company allows you to bring an emotional support animal onboard before booking travel.

Companies With Pet-Friendly Cruises

Cunard, which is a subsidiary of Carnival, still allows emotional support animals. Most Cunard ships allow a limited amount of pets on-board. Their flagship vessel, the Queen Mary II, which specializes in transatlantic crossings, has dedicated kennels for dogs and cats. An emotional support animal may not stay with a guest in their cabin, but guests can visit their ESA in the kennel area for several hours during the day.

If you want to bring your ESA dog or cat onto a Cunard cruise liner you will need to book early, as there is only a limited number of emotional support pets allowed on a ship at any one time. The company is always careful to make sure one of their luxury liners does not turn into a modern-day Noah’s Ark!

Several smaller American cruise companies, such as Acadian Nature Cruises and Sleeping Bear Dunes Boat Cruises, allow ESAs on board their ships and riverboats. But the vast majority of these companies only offer short cruises (up to half a day in length) around harbors, rivers, and lakes.

Flying With an Emotional Support Animal

Rules regarding flying with an emotional support animal have also been shifting recently. Delta, American, and Alaska Airlines have all refused travel to certain species of ESA recently after incidents onboard their flights involving ESAs biting, urinating, defecating, and otherwise being disruptive.

Highly exotic ESAs such as peacocks are often refused travel, as are certain breeds of dog such as pit bulls.

Check Before You Travel

If you are planning to take a cruise, it is crucial that you check with the company you plan to travel with before you book your tickets.

Cruising with your ESA best friend could be a beautiful experience, but being turned away at the gangway of one of the world’s most luxurious ocean liners would be majorly disappointing. So check before you travel!