Assistance dogs.

Cunard accepts registered assistance dogs on board that have been specifically trained to assist a person with a disability and has been certified by an organization that is a full member of Assistance Dogs International (ADI) or the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), the accrediting bodies for assistance dog organizations worldwide. All assistance dogs are carried free of charge.

Emotional support dogs are not recognized as assistance dogs by the above organizations and are not permitted on board.

Assistance dogs may not be permitted ashore in certain ports of call, in line with current Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) regulations, which apply in the UK. If you indicate on your questionnaire that you will be taking an assistance dog on board, we will forward the relevant paperwork for you to complete and return to us with any supplementary information that is required. Please refer to the DEFRA  website for the most up-to-date information.

We would advise all owners to carry their dog’s identification card, or something similar, with them at all times in case local authorities require proof. Guests with an assistance dog are not required to travel with a companion, provided they are able to undertake day-to-day tasks independently.


For sailings departing from Southampton, once you have presented your confirmation letter to our check-in staff, a member of the ship’s crew will check your assistance dog’s paperwork and scan the microchip.

For embarkation in New York, the ship’s crew will also check the documentation to ensure the tapeworm treatment has been administered within the required timescale. Providing these checks are satisfactory, you will then be escorted through security to board the ship.

Tapeworm and other treatments.

In order to return to the UK, your assistance dog is required to undertake tapeworm treatment 24–120 hours (1–5 days) prior to arrival into Southampton. This treatment will need to be carried out by an authorized veterinarian in the necessary port of call and must meet the above time frames. We ask owners to select their itinerary carefully, as, on occasion, ports of call may be missed and replaced or canceled for reasons beyond Cunard’s control. 

It is the responsibility of the owner to research their itinerary in full and to ensure a local veterinarian can administer the required tapeworm treatment at the appropriate time. We would therefore advise you to check your itinerary carefully in order to ensure the tapeworm treatment can be offered in more than one port of call and within DEFRA’s timing guidelines to re-enter the UK. Please note that it can be difficult to locate vets on weekends and bank vacations. Therefore, we would suggest that, if your last port of call falls on a weekend, to arrange treatment to be undertaken at your penultimate port of call (as long as this falls within the DEFRA’s timing guidelines highlighted above). 

Owners are responsible for locating a vet and ensuring that the correct treatment has been carried out, as well as that the PETS Passport has been updated correctly. Please note that Cunard does not offer any vet services on board.

Should the tapeworm treatment not be carried out, or if the documentation is incorrect, your dog may be placed into quarantine on your return to Southampton.

Should your chosen itinerary be 2, 3 or 4 nights in duration, the tapeworm treatment can be carried out on the morning of embarkation by an authorized veterinarian, and your dog will be able to disembark at EU ports of call. For Transatlantic Crossings on Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southampton, tapeworm treatment must be administered no more than 5 days prior to embarkation.

 If traveling to Mexico , dogs must have had an ecto-parasite and endo-parasite treatment applied no more than 15 days prior to arrival to port. This information should be included in the dog’s health certificate.

Pet passport.

It is your responsibility to check your assistance dog’s passport, or official veterinary health certificate, following a tapeworm treatment. Should the passport be incorrectly completed or missing information, Animal Health may place your dog into quarantine upon your return to Southampton. Any costs involved in quarantine placement will be the owner’s responsibility.

Alternatively, if you are traveling on a Transatlantic Crossing on board Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southampton and your PETS passport, or Official Veterinary Health Certificate, is incorrectly completed or missing information, your dog will be denied embarkation in New York.


Your dog must wear its harness, or undershirt, at all times when not in the stateroom. Due to the nature of cruising, we are unable to provide a safe off-leash area for assistance dogs.

We carry small and large canine life jackets on each of our vessels. The relevant life jacket will be placed in your stateroom alongside your own.

Disembarkation in ports of call.

It is the responsibility of the owner to research each country’s individual regulations, including re-entry to the UK, in order to go ashore with their assistance dog.

Cunard cannot be held responsible should your dog be denied entry upon disembarkation in Southampton for not following DEFRA regulations.

World Voyages.

You may bring your assistance dog on a full-world voyage if you are embarking and disembarking in Southampton, and providing your embarkation and disembarkation point is in Southampton, you have researched which countries fall within the DEFRA guidelines and have checked the various countries’ individual regulations. However, if you are only doing a sector of a world voyage, we would be unable to allow your assistance dog on board.

We require a minimum of 3 months’ notice if you intend on traveling with an assistance dog. Please contact our Customer Contact Center.

Transatlantic Crossings from Southampton to New York.

It is the responsibility of the owner to research the regulations for entry into the United States of America in order to disembark the vessel with their assistance dog. Cunard requires copies of the PETS passport, or Official Veterinary Health Certificate, verifying all relevant vaccinations and treatments no later than 30 days prior to sailing.

Once this paperwork has been received and checked, we will issue you a letter of confirmation, which must be produced at check-in. Failure to produce this letter may result in denied boarding.

Re-entering the UK.

In order for your assistance dog to re-enter the UK, you must have completed the following in this order:

  • Have your assistance dog microchipped
  • Have your assistance dog vaccinated against rabies
  • Ensure your assistance dog was vaccinated after it was microchipped
  • Obtained an EU PETS passport or Official Veterinary Health Certificate
  • Ensured that 21 days have passed since your pet was vaccinated
  • Obtained the tapeworm (Echinococcus Multilocularis) treatment 24–120 hours (1–5 days) prior to arrival into Southampton and no more than 5 days prior to embarkation in New York for Transatlantic Crossings.


You will be required to send in copies of the relevant pages from the PETS Passport or Official Veterinary Health Certificate once your booking has been made. Cunard will not issue your assistance dog permission to travel until this paperwork has been produced and verified. Confirmation of the tapeworm treatment will be checked by an on-board representative at embarkation in New York. A further check may be conducted by Animal Health on arrival in Southampton.

Once your paperwork has been checked, all DEFRA conditions have been met and you have completed and signed the terms and conditions, we will send you a confirmation letter for sailings from Southampton only. This letter confirms your assistance dog has been given permission to travel and must be produced at check-in. Failure to produce this letter may result in your assistance dog being denied boarding.

Food and bedding.

Please ensure that you bring a suitable supply of all dry dog food and water bowls plus any applicable blankets and bedding. Dogs can only be fed in the stateroom, and under no circumstance should your dog be fed “tidbits” in any public areas.

We do allow assistance dogs into our buffet restaurants. However, your dog must remain at the table. Should you be traveling alone, our crew will be happy to assist you with food selection and carry your tray back to the table.

Dog toileting.

The vessel will provide a wooden 4ft x 4ft box that will be filled with mulch. Your stateroom location will determine exactly where the “litter box” will be placed, and we will endeavor to ensure that this is as close to your stateroom as possible without compromising safety.

On your arrival, your stateroom steward will show you to the location of the relief box. Please note that litter boxes cannot be placed on stateroom balconies or inside the stateroom itself.

We would ask owners to clean up after their dog, and our staff will advise you once you are on board where to dispose of your dog’s waste. The box will be emptied and replenished by the staff on board every day.

Accessible areas of the ship.

Assistance dogs are welcome in all areas of the ship apart from:

  • Designated children’s areas
  • Swimming pools or the “beach” area surrounding the pool where water may flow freely in and out of the pool
  • Whirlpool
  • Crew areas
  • Galley visits.

We do not allow assistance dogs to use the kennel facilities on Queen Mary 2.

Vet on board.

We currently do not offer vet services on board any of our ships, and the ship’s doctors are unable to assist should your dog be taken ill on board. Therefore, it is imperative that you consult your vet prior to your voyage for advice to ensure your dog is fit to travel. It may be a good idea to talk to your vet regarding motion sickness.