Queen Mary 2 Kennels: Southampton Embarkation

Southampton from the Queen Mary 2

Southampton from the Queen Mary 2

If you've read my whole spiel about embarking in New York on the Queen Mary 2 for the dogs to stay in the kennels, then you'll know that I was worried about how our Southampton embarkation would work out.  Well, Southampton was a breeze!

 Queen Mary 2 Southampton Queen Mary 2 Southampton 
 Queen Mary 2 Southampton  Queen Mary 2 Southampton

Leaving Southampton

Pre-Arrival Tasks

Morning walk: Unlike embarkation on the New York side, Cunard does not give pet travelers early check in on the Southampton side.  But , it turns out that I actually preferred it that way.  We drove into Southampton and walked the dogs at around 12:00 in the afternoon at Green Park, which is directly off the A33.

Drop off rental car and provide luggage to porters:  Patrick dropped me and the dogs off at the Cunard terminal with our luggage and then drove to Hertz to drop off the rental car.  The rental car office is within 10 minutes of the Cunard terminal.

*Note: Please make sure that you set aside enough time to arrive at Southampton.  One family who was supposed to be on our ship with their dog planned to take the train from London to Southampton that morning.  Unfortunately, the train was delayed by almost three hours and they missed boarding and check in.  We stayed about an hour away from Southampton and drove in but there are plenty of lovely hotels right in Southampton where you can spend the night with your dog. 

Jojo with dogs

Jojo, the kennelmaster, and three of Chewy's and Abby's playmates

At the Southampton Cunard Terminal

We arrived at the Southampton Cunard Terminal at around 1:00, which worked perfectly because the ship left port at around 5:00 p.m. 

The Southampton Cruise Terminal is a gorgeous light filled building in steel and gray.  We pulled our car around and the porters helped us take our luggage out and stack them in the various areas.  Unlike New York, the Southampton cruise terminal has a HUGE drop off area for cars so we didn't feel like we were being rushed.  In fact, we were even able to rearrange some of our luggage while the porter helped hold Abby.

I sat on the bottom floor with Chewy and Abby while I waited for Patrick to return from the car office.  The bottom floor is primarily a waiting area and very large, so, it is a good calm place to sit with your dogs if you need a few minutes to get reorganized.

Once Patrick arrived, we took the elevator upstairs.  (Most guests will take the escalators up to the second floor).  The second floor is spacious and brightly lit with plenty of seating.  Since we had the dogs, we went through the Cunard VIP line, where there was no wait, and they checked us into our stateroom very quickly.  We waited for Jojo, the Kennelmaster, to come and bring us up to the kennels.

Chewy and Abby on board the QM2 Chewy on the QM2
Facilities for dogs on the QM2 Kennels on the QM2
Chewy and Abby on the QM2 Dogs on the QM2

Facilities on board the QM2 kennels

On Board the Queen Mary 2

At around 3:00, Jojo took us and one other family with two cats up through the ramp, across the dining room, and up the elevators to the 12th floor kennels.  We got Chewy and Abby settled and went down to have a late lunch and enjoy our room.

By the time we had unpacked, we were ready to go back up to the 12th floor to see the dogs again.

This decision to check in late made the whole day much much less stressful, by the way.  We were only away from the dogs for about an hour or two rather than the five hours when we boarded in New York.  I highly recommend checking in at around 2:00 from Southampton.

Jojo with the dogs Chewy on the QM2
Dogs on the QM2 Dog on the QM2
Dog on the QM2 Cat on the QM2

Chewy's and Abby's fellow boarders

From around 4:00 to 6:00, we hung out with the dogs and explained the dogs' food preferences to Jojo as we watched the ship depart from Southampton (much much less dramatic than the Brooklyn departure with the Statue of Liberty in the background).  The weather was pretty chilly and, unlike the Brooklyn departure where a band played in front of the pool, there were very few people who watched us leave from Southampton.  The dogs ate and then we put them back in their crates. 

This time around, we opted for the early dinner seating which we found to be a much easier schedule to optimize spending time with the dogs.  The kennel visiting hours are:

8:00 - 11:00
12:00 - 12:30
3:00 - 6:00
8:00 - 8:30

We found it easy to go and visit the dogs until 5:30, change for dinner, eat dinner, and come back up at 8:00 to visit them again.  When we had the late dinner seating, we found that we occasionally had to skip the 8:00 visiting hour which made us sad because then we couldn't say good night to the pups!

Next up: disembarkation in New York.

Note: This post was brought to you by the lovely folks at Cunard.  Click here for more information about Cunard.  As always, all opinions on this blog are mine and mine alone, regardless of sponsorship.  We really do think that the Queen Mary 2 is the best way to transport pets overseas!

09/18/2013 08:19
Doug Campbell

Can't wait to hear about how the return to Brooklyn went. If your US plans still include Asheville, as 30+ year residents we would be glad to share our knowledge of the area.
Doug, Bernie & Shay
07/16/2014 10:46
Hi Akila and Patrick,
I am so, so, so happy to have discovered your blogs!! My husband and I have a Boston Terrier. We love to travel and are planning a move to Europe next year. All the details of caring for Bronx are the most worry-inducing parts of the transition for me. Your site dispels so many fears and is making us excited to travel with him! We had looked into Cunard before and it's great to read your descriptions. Thank you so much - looking forward to reading more on both sites!
08/06/2014 20:31
Your dog deserves comfy bed. Get one for your dog here.
08/06/2014 20:36
Talk a walk with your dog today. You need this Pami Pocket to put your phone inside and you got no more missed call. :) http://www.pamipocket.com/
11/08/2014 12:45
Hi there, have you written a post on disembarking in New York from Southampton yet? I am embarking on this journey with my pup and was wondering if it is stressful getting off the boat in New York and if you still get the VIP service!

Thanks for all the blogs :)

04/22/2015 11:46
The dogs on the first picture are awesome, and they have such sweet shirts!
04/28/2015 10:25
hello Akila and Patrick,
Thank you for your share. i am willing to go for a tour. read your post twice and grab a lot of little issue that helps me a lot in my next travel
10/30/2015 02:59
Travelling by boat is one of the most relaxing and wonderful ways to travel, if you aren't prone to seasickness. It is an amazing experience not only for the pets, but also for their masters. The tourist will relax while he is waiting to arrive at destination. The boat owner should have quality boat lifts, like the ones from http://lunmarboatlifts.com/ to keep the ship in the docks and to guarantee him a safe journey.

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A Dog's Round-the-World Packing List

When we first set off on this big travel adventure with Chewy and Abby, we didn't know how much gear we would need or want.  In fact, the essentials boils down to a pretty short list which I've shared below.  When we take short trips with them, we usually dump all of this stuff into a standard school-size backpack or a duffle bag.  In Europe, we kept their stuff in a plastic bin so that it was separate from the rest of our things.  Either way, these are the essentials to keep your doggie happy while on the road.

In addition to the below, we also pack the following:

- Dog food
- Dog treats
- Pet passport and most recent vaccination records
- Collar with tags that list the dogs' names, international cell phone number, and e-mail address
- Benadryl for Abby's allergies and Glucosamine/Chondriton and Baby Aspirin for Chewy's arthritis


We're a bit late to the party tonight but some of our favorite traveling dog bloggers have posted their doggie packing lists, as well.  Check out their posts here:

- Montecristo Travels’ dog travel packing tips
- Dog Jaunt’s dog travel packing tips
- The Ramble's packing tips

11/09/2012 00:47
I read all these posts and am surprised no one listed a key packing essential: A pet first aid kit. You can make your own or buy a pre-made version online. They are small and portable, and slip into any tote or backpack. We have a full-size one on hand at home, and a mini version for hiking trips and other excursions.
11/09/2012 13:14
What generally comes in a pet first aid kit?
11/27/2012 10:42
Jenn, I'm curious, too. What do you put in your first aid kit? We generally just carry a small bottle of Benadryl for Abby's allergies and a bottle of baby aspirin for Chewy's arthritis but don't carry anything else. Would love to know!
11/27/2012 11:36
Glad there is so much interest in the pet first aid kit. I'm in the process of moving from Chicago to DC but will post the contents of Luna's kit next week. Cheers!
11/09/2012 13:16
Thanks again for joining us! I've never heard of the hammock seat cover before!
11/27/2012 11:35
Glad there is so much interest in the pet first aid kit. I'm in the process of moving from Chicago to DC but will post the contents of Luna's kit next week. Cheers!
12/19/2012 07:14
What about a pet carrier?

Arelle Sleepypods
09/11/2014 07:38
Just realised the date was September 'last year'.
04/24/2015 03:51
Thank you so much for you travel adventure share. Learn a lot because i am planning to made a tour with my dogs.
06/18/2015 03:34
That was a fantastic consideration of this case! I like very much to read Your posts and this is for me absolutely number one blog in this topic! Congratulations and keep working like this.

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Pet-Friendly Venice with Go With Oh

Chewy and Abby in Venice

Chewy, Abby, and me in Venice

We were told that Venice is one of the world's great pet-friendly cities because there are no cars.  Indeed, pets are everywhere in Venice, though it's primarily a small dog city.  We did a good bit of exploring with Chewy and Abby and we think they really enjoyed their time in the city of canals.

If you want a quick overview of our stay in Venice, check out this short video highlighting our trip with the pups in this beautiful city.

Chewy and Abby Trenitalia Us getting onto Trenitalia train
Us on the Trenitalia Parking lot

Train and parking lot

Arriving in Venice With Pets

Because cars are not allowed in Venice, there are only three main ways to bring pets into Venice:

(1) Park outside the city or in one of the city's parking lots and take the vaporetto (sea boat) or train

(2) Train into the city

(3) Fly into Venice and take a vaporetto (sea boat) or train


There are three main parking lots in Venice:

(a) Piazzale Roma: On the island of Venice, within a 10 minute walk to the Santa Lucia train station and vaporetto stop

(b) Tronchetto: On a separate island and you can take the People Mover into the island

(c) Mestre: On the mainland and about a 15 minute train ride into Venice


We decided to park in Mestre and found it to be very convenient with the dogs.  We parked for about 8 Euros per day, walked across the street, bought a ticket for us (4 Euros each) and a ticket for each of the dogs (2 Euros each), and waited for the train to Santa Lucia.  The train leaves every 10 minutes and the ride only takes about 15 minutes into the Santa Lucia train station, where it is very simple to take the vaporetto (or sea bus) to other areas.

Vaporetto signs

Getting on vaporetto with a dog
Vaporetto with dogs Vaporetto with dogs

Getting on a vaporetto with dogs

Getting Around Venice With Dogs

Once in Venice, the best way to get around is to walk or take the vaporetto.  The vaporetto is a sea bus which allows dogs, though dogs must be muzzled on board the vaporetto.  We never took Chewy and Abby on the vaporettos because they tended to be VERY crowded and neither of our dogs do well in crowds, but we saw other folks taking their dogs aboard the sea bus.  If your dog worries about crowds, then I would suggest trying to take the vaporetto either early in the morning or the middle of the day when crowds tend to be less.  Dogs travel free on the vaporettos.


Armonia Apartment Go With Oh Armonia Apartment Go With Oh
Armonia Apartment Go With Oh Armonia Apartment Go With Oh

Armonia Apartment with Go With Oh

Armonia Apartment with Go With Oh

We loved our stay at the Armonia Apartment with Go With Oh and highly recommend it for anyone with pets.  The Armonia Apartment is pet-friendly, large, and with a small terrace area for the dogs to sit outside.  There is a bedroom upstairs and a nice living area with a pull-out sofa bed downstairs. The owner, Guido, was very welcoming and showed us around the area, including showing us to a secret park (see below) that we frequently visited with the dogs.  Best of all, the apartment is in a very quiet neighborhood so it was easy for us to escape the hustle and bustle of Venice in this idyllic spot. 

Abby in a Venice park

Abby at the Jewish ghetto Abby in Venice
Abby in Venice Abby in Venice

Abby in Venice

Parks in Venice

The other reason that we loved the Armonia apartment is its location in the Cannaregio district.  The Cannaregio district encompasses the Jewish ghetto and is also the greenest part of Venice.  The apartment is within a short ten minute walk to three different parks.

Chewy and Abby in Venice Abby and Chewy with gondola
Chewy in Venice Chewy and Abby in Venice

Chewy and Abby in Cannaregio

Because the Cannaregio area is also less touristy, it's easy to get away from the crowds and let the dogs off leash.  Chewy and Abby had a blast exploring the neighborhood!

All in all, though it is a pain to get into Venice, we found it to be much more pet-friendly than we expected it to be, especially since there aren't many green spaces.

* Go With Oh Venice sponsored our stay in Venice at the beautiful Armonia Apartment.  Aside from Venice, Go With Oh also has apartments in many other cities, including Barcelona.  Though Go With Oh doesn't have as large an inventory of pet-friendly accommodations as some of the other big vacation rental companies, we were very impressed with the quality of these houses and appreciated that almost all of their pet-friendly accommodations are within a short walk of a park or a green space.  We highly recommend their site for those visiting one of the Go With Oh cities.  As always, regardless of sponsorships, all opinions are ours and ours alone.

09/18/2012 09:55
Venice looks like a great city to visit with dogs! I'm glad that you guys and Abby and Chewy are having fun.
09/26/2012 11:19
The apartment looks really nice. Abby and Chewy seems to be enjoying the place. Luckily they're allowed on that sea bus. :)
10/19/2012 10:52
Akila and Patrick, I just want to thank you for this amazingly valuable website. The info you provide regarding traveling via the Queen Mary II is priceless. Yours really is one of the very few needles in the mega-haystack that is the internet.

Keep livin' the dream (and please keep bloggin' the blog)! :)
12/06/2012 15:24
Thank you so much Mike!
02/26/2013 02:48
Thanks for the information! It eases my mind. :) I know you said you didn't use the vaporetto, but do you know by any chance if the dogs need a pet passport?
03/05/2013 12:34
They don't need a pet passport once inside Venice but they need one to get into the Schengen areas (for example, if coming in from Croatia to Slovenia.)
04/02/2013 11:15
Taking my dog to Venice! What a beautiful travel dream, thanks for the fab inspiration!
05/29/2015 12:50
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08/20/2015 07:15
People don't organize so often parties, they need a special occasion to have a party, like a brithday, a wedding or a celebration. Now, it is amazing to travel somewhere and participate in a party or a grand festival. The organizers do their best to have a great party, but without a professional event planner things can go wrong. An event planner will know from where to rent the best products, like this party supplies tables linens chairs New York NY service and have a successful party.

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Pet-Friendly Tuscany: Roberto Ciulli Gardens

Chewy at Roberto Ciulli Gardens

Chewy at Roberto Ciulli Park

It has been far, far too long since I've updated this blog, not because of lack of posting material, but because we've been seeing and doing so much.  In the last two months, we've traveled like a whirlwind and the dogs have gone through towns, cities, and countryside.  But, back in October (yes, I know that was almost a year ago, now), we took the dogs to Tuscany and, one afternoon, we explored the Roberto Ciulli Park.

Roberto Ciulli Park Roberto Ciulli Park
Abby at Roberto Ciulli park
Abby at Roberto Ciulli Park Chewy at Roberto Ciulli Park
 Chewy at Roberto Ciulli Park 
 Roberto Ciulli Park  Roberto Ciulli Park

The dogs at Roberto Ciulli Park

The park is located outside of the town of Monticiano and is simply a huge expanse of land with sculptures and artwork facing one of the most stunning views Tuscany has to offer.  On the day we went there, the four of us were the only ones exploring the park . . . and, in the hour we spent there, we rarely saw another car drive by the lonely road.  It's a great place to get some very unique pictures of Tuscany.

Location: Roberto Ciulli Park, off the main road of Strada Vicinale Della Merese in Monticiano (53015) in the region of Tuscany

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08/11/2012 06:00
Fascinating sculptures! So nice the park was uninhabited so you could all enjoy some uninterrupted romp time together :D
Such amazing adventures you are having!
Thanks for the update :D

Waggin at ya,
Roo's recent blog post: Spectator Fare
09/02/2012 15:35
Thanks so much Roo!
09/10/2012 03:25
this is a very good garden and place for dogs and other pets to enjoy. Dogs are the home animals. A quality fun time is require to them to spend a good time.
04/24/2015 03:47
wow! so nice Photo. they looks so pretty. Thank you to share this with us.
04/30/2015 10:55
Didn't know you could go on a ship with pets. Not sure I would even try it.
04/30/2015 16:37
Wow, what a great story the dogs are so gentle and funny! Thanks for sharing this amazing article
07/19/2015 03:30
Amy Tobias
THIS JUST IN!! The QM2 is expanding their kennel!! I have taken the QM2 with my dog this past year and I just received the following email:

As the only kennels at sea, this very popular feature will see an additional 10 spaces added during Queen Mary 2's refit. Further modifications include an enhancement of the owners lounge, a new inside play area and a larger outside walking area. New kennel spaces go on sale today, 15 Jul
08/17/2015 05:00
People who have pets and want to go on holidays with them don't have too many options from where to choose a hotel to stay or restaurants where to eat, which accept pets inside the location. It is better to find a pet-friendly hotel, like these amazing Beavers Bend cabin rentals, where anyone can have a good time.
08/26/2015 04:19
Nice share. I think your website should come up much higher in the search results than where it is showing up right now?.
09/08/2015 01:54
Having a dog is great for your health because every day you have to go outside, to walk a few miles, to jogging and to play with him. But besides playing with your pet you should also find time for your friends. For sure, most of them will enjoy a lovely day outside playing golf, at a wonderful country house club, like the one at http://mistwoodgc.com/.
11/03/2015 05:27
Those sculptures looks really funny. We can see that dogs sniffing around it and running away. It is nice to see these clicks and the photographer did a great job. I have never heard about this park even though it is few miles away from my apartment.
architects in Kerala

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May 2012

Pet-Friendly Rome: Apartment and Parks
May 23, 2012

April 2012

Pet-Friendly Zagreb: Maksimir Park and our Apartment
April 18, 2012

The Are We Insane Moment
April 4, 2012

Pet-Friendly Istria: Parks and Apartment
April 4, 2012

March 2012

Pet-Friendly Switzerland: Sledding and Parks
March 28, 2012

Pet-Friendly London: Parks and Apartment
March 21, 2012

Pet-Friendly Peak District: Cottage and Walks
March 14, 2012

Pet-Friendly Barcelona Parks
March 7, 2012

February 2012

Pet-Friendly Madrid: Parks and Vacation Rental
February 22, 2012

The Unvarnished Truth on Travel with Pets
February 21, 2012

Pet Friendly Brittany Ferries: From England to Spain
February 15, 2012

Pet Friendly England: Cornwall Beaches, Castles, and Moors
February 8, 2012

Pet Friendly England: Cotswolds Walks and Vacation Rental
February 1, 2012

January 2012

Online Pet Food Stores + Mr. Chewy Giveaway
January 25, 2012

December 2011

Pet-Friendly England: Cotswolds Wildlife Park
December 14, 2011

Queen Mary 2 Kennels: Disembarkation
December 7, 2011

November 2011

Queen Mary 2 Kennels: Frequently Asked Questions
November 23, 2011

Queen Mary 2 Kennels: Embarkation
November 16, 2011

How to Take Your Dogs to Europe, Part 2
November 12, 2011

October 2011

How to Take Your Dogs to Europe, part 1
October 26, 2011

Pet Friendly New York: Sheraton Brooklyn
October 21, 2011

September 2011

Traveling With Dogs Isn't Crazy
September 7, 2011

August 2011

Pet-Friendly Savannah: Parks and Cemeteries
August 17, 2011

Pet-Friendly Atlanta: Herbert Taylor Park
August 11, 2011

June 2011

Pet Friendly Hilton Head Restaurants
June 29, 2011

Planning Travel with Dogs
June 1, 2011

April 2011

Hilton Head Beaches
April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Evolution of a Treat
April 20, 2011

April 18, 2011
Akila writes. Patrick takes photos. Chewy eats. Abby runs. We live, love, and travel in this world.
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