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!

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

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.

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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May 2012

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May 23, 2012

April 2012

Pet-Friendly Zagreb: Maksimir Park and our Apartment
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April 4, 2012

Pet-Friendly Istria: Parks and Apartment
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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
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January 2012

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January 25, 2012

December 2011

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

Queen Mary 2 Kennels: Disembarkation
December 7, 2011

November 2011

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November 23, 2011

Queen Mary 2 Kennels: Embarkation
November 16, 2011

How to Take Your Dogs to Europe, Part 2
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October 2011

How to Take Your Dogs to Europe, part 1
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Pet Friendly New York: Sheraton Brooklyn
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September 2011

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September 7, 2011

August 2011

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

Pet-Friendly Atlanta: Herbert Taylor Park
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June 2011

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Planning Travel with Dogs
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April 2011

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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.
Chewy's Silver Screen Soiree
Chewy turns ten and we celebrate with a walk on the red carpet.
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Green forests and super-high waterfalls. Chewy and Abby gave the North Georgia mountains four paws up.