Guide/Service Dogs on Cruise Ships! What you need to know.

If you rely on your Guide/Service dog to help you with everyday things and have always wanted to cruise then read on.

So which cruise line can you take your dog with you?  What are the different policies for each one?

Here’s your A-Z guide!


Service dogs are welcome on all ships but not ‘pets’.

It is recommended that you take proof with you, ie, identification cards or other written documentation as evidence of proof as well as the presence of a harness, and/or tags or the credible verbal assurance of the person with a disability using the dog.

You must contact Azamara’s Access Department at the time of booking but no later than 30 days prior to sailing


Carnival permit dogs that are legally defined and individually trained to meet disability-related needs by performance tasks guiding a blind person, alerting a deaf person, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks.

The cruise line warns guests with guide dogs that many of their ports of call has established strict entry requirements for animals, therefore the service animal’s veterinarian must be consulted prior to travel to determine each destination country’s policy regarding the admission of working service dogs.

Carnival asks guests to hand-carry all required documents, along with the working service dog’s current vaccination records as the records will be asked to be submitted once aboard.


Again, service dogs are welcome onboard Celebrity Cruises and you must give them at least 14 days advance notice if you are bringing a service animal onboard.

Costa Cruises

Although animals are strictly not permitted onboard, the exception is for people with a disability or reduced mobility may bring a registered assistance dog onboard.  It is always best to check before booking.

Crystal Cruises

Service animals must be trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.


Again these animals must be specifically trained as service dogs and has been certified by an organisation that is a full member of the ADI (Assistance Dogs International).

Emotional support dogs are not recognised by the above organisations and are not permitted onboard.  

All assistance dogs are carried free of charge.


Service animals are welcome in most locations onboard Disney Cruises, must remain on a lead and under the control of the owner.

Holland America

Qualified service animals are permitted for guests with disabilities.  Guests must contact the Access & Compliance Department to inform them prior to travelling.


Properly trained and certified guide dogs are allowed onboard MSC ships, providing they are in good health and have all the correct and relevant documentation.


Service dogs are accepted that are trained to perform a specific task and guests must book at least two weeks in advance to allow sufficient time to check with each port of call.

P&O Cruises

Registered assistance dogs are accepted onboard providing they have been specifically trained to assist a person with a disability and have been certified by an organisation that is a full member of an accrediting body for assistance dog organisations worldwide.


Service animals are allowed onboard but guests should note that entry regulations for service animals vary by port.

Royal Caribbean

Royal promise to provide small relief areas for any guide dogs you may take onboard with them and ask that guests inform their Special Services team at the time of booking your cruise.


Seabourn only permits service animals onboard, defined as those animals that are individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability: no pets, therapy/companion animals or other animals that do not meet the definition of service animals.

Things to note:

Always check with the cruise line before you book on their individual policies as these can be subject to change.

Check what documentation you need to provide or if you need to belong to a specific organisation.

What your and the cruise lines responsibilities are once the animal is onboard.

Is there any cost involved?

Are any permits etc needed for a specific country?  It is your responsibility to ensure you have all the correct documentation for your service animal before boarding the ship.

There may be restrictions onboard the vessel or in an individual port of call so please check with the cruise line before booking.

Have you taken your service dog onboard a cruise ship before?

If so, please share your experience with me.

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About Me

My name is Lyndy and I have worked in the travel industry for eight years, three years of these working on a cruise ship.  I enjoy cruising and have had many wonderful experiences both as a passenger and as a crew member (but that's another story). I returned from sea in January…

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