Queen Mary 2 Cruise Ship
The Queen Mary 2 is steeped in
a long history of luxury
and the kennels are no exception to that rule. In this post describing sailing days for the dogs in the kennels, I’ll try to answer some of the most common questions we have received on sailing days with dogs.
Chewy and Abby meeting the QM2 Commodore (British for Captain)
Where are the dogs allowed on the ship?
Dogs are only allowed in the kennel area on Deck 12 of the ship. Even if you have a small dog, you cannot let your dog into your cabin or any other area of the ship.
Two large kennels joined together
How large are the kennels?
There are twelve kennels on board the ship with the small kennels large enough to hold an approximately 25 pound dog and each large kennel can comfortably fit a 55 pound dog. (I do not think you would want a dog much bigger than Abby in one of the large kennels.)
Chewy and Abby in two kennels shared together
The kennel walls can be opened so a dog larger than 55 pounds can fit into two large kennels or, as in our case, Chewy and Abby were able to share the same larger kennel space. In addition to the crates, the dogs have a small playroom that can be used during cold, stormy weather, and an outdoor area on board the deck.
All the dogs on the QM2 (Abby's in the background)
On our voyage from Brooklyn to Southampton, there were eight dogs aboard the Queen Mary 2: Chewy, Abby, sweet and quiet Shadow and her boisterous border collie brother Jack, the little Jack Russell Terrier sisters Trouble and Lil’ Bit, the belle of the ball Dixie, and the spunky (and, unfortunately for the ladies, quite the stud) Billy. The vast majority of us were moving to Europe long-term or planning on spending an extended period of time in Europe and didn’t want to subject our dogs to the pain of plane travel.
Rex with Chewy and Abby
Who takes care of the dogs?
Rex, a full-time kennelmaster cares for the dogs throughout their stay aboard the Queen Mary 2. Rex is a dog-lover and he gets to know the dogs very quickly. The dogs always greeted Rex with smiles and wagging tails and we cannot speak highly enough about this wonderful member of the Queen Mary 2’s staff.
All the dogs in their kennels
How much do the kennels cost/how do I book?
These questions are answered in detail
in this post
, but the short answer is that the small kennels cost $500 and the large kennels cost $700. Booking must be made via phone and, usually, at least a year in advance because the kennels are so popular.
Parents hanging out with the dogs in their outside area
How often did we see our dogs?
Every day, the kennel was open from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., and 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. During these hours, even if we were not personally able to get there exactly when the kennels opened, Rex took our dogs out of their crates and let them out into the outside play area if it was sunny or the inside area on cold days.
The dogs hanging out at our feet (and in the chairs)
We got to know our fellow dog owners very well over the week because we all spent the majority of our days hanging out in the kennels. Rex set out chairs every day outside and we sat on the chairs while the dogs hung out at our feet. Often, we worked or chatted with the other owners, and some of the couples alternated out time spent at the kennel, so that the other person could do activities during kennel time.
Patrick and I usually alternated our morning time slots while the other person slept because from Brooklyn to Southampton, the ship sets its clock back by one hour every morning, meaning that every day we were waking up one hour earlier than we had the day before. We always hung out with the dogs at the 11:00 time slot and usually went up to see the dogs for the 3:00 slot and went down for a short while to have afternoon tea before coming back up to feed them dinner.
Chewy drinking from the communal water bowl outside during visiting hours
What do the dogs eat?
Prior to embarkation, Cunard asked us what our dogs eat. We asked them to provide the ultra-premium Orijen food we feed them at home and Merrick wet food which we use in case Abby refuses to eat. I recommend calling Cunard a week before you board to ensure that they received the food request and can stock your dogs’ food. They were able to stock Orijen but we brought our own canned food and dry chicken treats on board. However, any food not eaten by the dogs on board has to remain on the ship because of the UK’s customs limitations on meat products entering its borders.
The food prep area for the dogs
Rex also brings up a plate of boiled chicken and rice from the kitchens for each meal so if you have a picky eater, you can request chicken and rice. On the first day, Abby refused to eat so we asked Rex to put in some chicken into her meal.
Dogs waiting to come in to get fed
On embarkation day, we discussed the dogs’ food preferences with Rex and he prepared their food every day. He also gives them medicine if you so need. He feeds them breakfast as soon as he arrives in the morning and feeds them dinner usually around 5:00 or 5:30. We tried to be at the kennels for both mealtimes so we could make sure that the dogs ate properly, but neither had any trouble eating.
Can I bring my dogs’ favorite treat/blanket/toy, etc.?
Yes. The QM2 provides a plush fleece dog bed for each of the dogs but if your dog would like to have his own blanket or toy, you can bring it up there. We brought our own treats for the dogs and a few toys and a ball which we played with in the inside playroom. The QM2 also had a few dog toys in the playroom.
Where do the dogs “do their business"?
Ahhh, now this is the all important question. The dogs pee and poop in the outside area on the deck. As soon as they do their business, Rex immediately comes out with a mop and squeegee and cleans off the deck, meaning that though a lot of “business” happens on the deck, the deck stays very clean.
To be honest, the first day was a little iffy. (By the way, stop now if you are squeamish about pooping and peeing, but my guess is that if you’re a dog owner, you’ve seen and smelled it all.) Most of the dogs peed on the first day but refused to poop and there was an awful lot of smelly diarrhea and some messes in the cages on the second day morning. By the third day, all the dogs had adjusted quite well and didn’t seem to have any issues.
Chewy hanging out with all his new friends
Do the dogs get along?
All of the dogs on our crossing got along quite well though, by the last day, the more active dogs were getting cabin fever and wanted a good solid run. One of the dog owners had taken the Queen Mary 2 with his dog several times and he said that he only had one crossing where one dog was very temperamental. I would not recommend sailing with your dog if your dog does not get along with other dogs because they are in very close quarters for nearly seven days.
Do the dogs get motion sick?
None of the dogs on our ship got motion sick. In fact, the ship is so large and the stabilizers so good, that we didn’t feel much of the motion at all.
Folks coming to greet Abby and Chewy (they were quite the celebrities) and a view of the fencing
Can dogs get out of the gates?
If you have a teeny-tiny dog, that is a dog under five pounds, it is possible that they could squeeze under the gates, but it would be a tight fit. In the dog run area, Cunard has put glass all around the bottom of the normally open grates so that the dogs cannot stick their noses out.
I would not recommend the ship if you have a fence-jumping dog because the main gates into the dog run area are only about 3 ½ feet tall.
Are cats allowed on the ship?
Cats are allowed on the ship and spend most of the time in their kennels or in the inside playroom. Cats are, for obvious reasons, not allowed onto the outside area. (Note: On crossings when cats are in the kennels, the cats are kept in the inside playroom and the dogs are kept outside, meaning that if it is very cold, you and your dog will stay cold.)
The dogs on their formal day
Did the dogs have fun?
As far as we can tell, yes. They seemed to be very comfortable on board and liked their space and the other dogs. They liked being with us and didn’t mind the unusual atmosphere all that much.
The dogs are quite the celebrities aboard the ship because everyone comes up to Deck 12 at some point to take pictures of them, pet them, and talk to us about how we got our dogs aboard. Some non-dog owners spent almost as much time near the kennels as we did!
On one of the days aboard, Rex gave each of the dogs their own QM2 swag bag with a jacket, food/water bowl, and QM2 crossing certificate. The next day, Rex dressed in his official uniform and we all dressed up in formal attire and the ship’s photographers took pictures of us. Each dog received one picture for free and additional pictures were able for a fee (I think around $25 per picture).
The totally ridiculous sign outside the kennels that did not at all deter people from visiting the "celebrities"
Would you recommend the QM2 kennels?
Absolutely. I think it is the best way to take dogs from North America to Europe and back and only wish that other cruise ships offer this service. The dogs were treated extremely well, we spent a lot of time with them, and we never worried that they would be unduly stressed or harmed from the journey, as we would worry if we had to put them into the cargohold of an airplane.