Warmer days are finally upon us, as is the time to start planning that long-awaited summer vacation. One common summer vacation choice is a cruise. Cruises are a popular vacation choice because they are affordable, family-friendly, and other a wide variety of activities and destinations. However, can you take your emotional support animal or service animal on a cruise with you?
Emotional Support Animals on Cruises
Emotional Support Animals are protected by the Fair Housing Act, meaning you can live with your emotional support animal regardless of whether you have pet-free housing or not. However, you cannot take emotional support animals out in public or on flights anymore, as they are not protected under the Americans Disability Association (ADA) the way service animals are. This means most cruise ships do not allow emotional support animals.
There are exceptions to the rule, and some cruise ships are pet-friendly. Contact cruise ship companies directly to find out their specific policies on the issue before you book.
Service Dogs on Cruises
Service dogs are protected by the ADA and considered necessary medical equipment. This means that they can be taken virtually anywhere with you, including cruise ships. A service dog is defined as a dog that is trained to perform a specific task in relation to your disability. A psychiatric service dog is a service dog that is trained to perform a task in relation to a mental disability. It is possible that your emotional support animal may qualify as a psychiatric service dog if it meets this requirement.
Other Factors to Consider
Cruise ships are often filled with people and may have narrow hallways to navigate. If you have a large service dog, this may cause some challenges. Make sure to contact the cruise company in advance to learn what limitations you may be facing. Cruise ships also generally request that you keep your service dog on a leash at all times and keep them out of pools, hot tubs, and spas for safety reasons. During your trip, the care and supervision of your service animal is solely your responsibility and not that of cruise staff members. This means you must pack and be prepared with whatever you need to care for your animal during the trip.
If you stop at any beaches along the coast during your trip, check to see if it is okay to bring your emotional support or service animal with you. Some beaches will allow it, while others will not. If you are traveling internationally, having the proper paperwork and vaccinations for your service dog or emotional support animal is essential. Also, try and learn what the policies are of the specific locations you may be visiting, as laws and policies may vary from country to country. Usually, a variety of tests and documentation for rabies, parasites, and other illnesses is required for a dog before international travel.
To wrap up, you can take a service dog with you basically anywhere, but emotional support animals have a lot more limitations and will likely not be allowed onto cruise ships. Before heading out on vacation to your cruise destination, ensure you have the proper service dog documentation. Get a service dog letter of certification from the professionals at United Support Animal today.