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Queen Mary 2

It’s A Dogs Life On The North Atlantic

February 11, 2010

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Queen Mary 2

Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 248 days


Both World Voyages on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria are progressing well and it’s exciting to hear that so many readers are following us on the ships’ Webcams. As I write this, Queen Victoria is in the southern hemisphere heading towards New Zealand and Queen Mary 2 is enjoying the stunning city of Hong Kong. We will of course keep you posted on both voyages, and thanks again for all your feedback and comments on what you’ve seen so far. In this Blog we decided to feature something a little different; Cunard’s “Pets At Sea” programme, but that’s after Cunard’s history, for the week 12 to 18 February:


12 February 1949

Caronia begins her first Caribbean voyage

14 February 1978

QE2 makes her maiden call at Auckland, New Zealand

15 February 2007

Queen Mary 2 crosses the International Dateline for the first time

16 February 2006

Cunard announces the first details of Queen Victoria including her maiden voyage

17 February 1954

Saxonia II is launched by Lady Churchill at John Brown Shipyard, Clydebank and goes in to service on the Canadian emigrant run

17 February 2007

Queen Mary 2 makes her maiden call to Auckland, New Zealand

17 February 2009

Queen Victoria makes her maiden call at Hobart, Tasmania


There are many traditions that Cunard likes to maintain and some things are unique to Cunard like offering a regular transatlantic service. However did you know that you can even travel with your cat or dog when you take a Transatlantic Crossing on Queen Mary 2? It’s a unique service that has been enjoyed by numerous guests for many years on QE2 and now Queen Mary 2. In fact by the time Queen Mary 2 had completed her 100th Transatlantic Crossing in 2008, over 450 pets had crossed the North Atlantic on the liner.


Queen Mary 2’s Kennel Programme is available on all crossings between New York and Southampton in either direction, and is overseen by a full-time Kennel Master, whose responsibilities include feeding and walking guests’ pets as well as cleaning the 12 kennels. Travelling dogs and cats also receive a complimentary gift pack and other animal amenities. The kennels and adjacent indoor and outdoor walking areas are open throughout the day, enabling guests to spend significant time with their pet. Reservations for the kennels may be made at the time of booking, and are based on space availability. Food is provided for all of the animals, but if a guest has a special request for a particular brand, or would prefer to bring their own, they only have to ask.


The Kennel Master currently on Queen Mary 2 is 32 year old Dayle Mercado. From Pampanga in the Philippines, Dayle is married with one son, Kenneth. I recently chatted to him and asked him about his special role on board. He told me; “Since I love pets, my supervisor asked me if I wanted to be a Kennel Master. I was really excited to be given the opportunity so I accepted and spent two months training in kennels, where I learned about how to care for the animals and how to understand their behaviours.”  Here he is at work:


I asked him what the job was like. “Taking care of the animals is not easy, especially during the first and second day of the crossing”, he said. “During this time the animals are still adjusting to being at sea, much in the same way that guests do.  However the animals become settled very quickly and are happy for the remainder of their crossing”.


Dayle said that every day for him is fun but nothing beats the moment when he opens the kennel door first thing in the morning, and all the animals are excited to go out and play. During his time as Kennel Master, Dayle has looked after a wide range of different breeds of dog including, Chihuahuas, Westies, Poodles, German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels, Terriers and many more. 


After a recent crossing, a guest enjoyed the whole experience so much she wrote a Blog about it. Nikki Moustaki, MA, MFA, is a well-known dog trainer, TV and radio personality, and animal expert who splits her time between New York City and Miami Beach with her two rescued Schnauzers, Pepper and Ozzie, her rescued Schnoodle, Pearl, and three parrots. She is the author of 9 books on dogs and 24 books on birds as well as books on topics other than pets. She writes for Dog Fancy Magazine as well as for many national pet websites. Nikki has also been featured on national television and radio shows including the BBC.


Nikki said taking the Transatlantic Crossing on Queen Mary 2 was the voyage of a lifetime especially as neither she nor Pepper were keen to fly. After her initial enquiry, Cunard sent her all the paperwork she needed including details of the international rules of pet travel, as every dog and cat on board must have all of the paperwork for the Pet Passport Travel Scheme.


When Nikki and Pepper arrived at the terminal building at Brooklyn, New York, Chantal Mooiman, Queen Mary 2’s Chief Purser, met them and checked Pepper’s paperwork, and Nikki said they felt like VIP’s as they were escorted onto the ship. As this is the only time the pets are in the guest areas, apart from the Kennels, it was the perfect time for a photo opportunity.



At the kennel on Deck 12 they met Dayle for the first time. “Dayle, was the sweetest guy. He clearly loved the dogs and cats on board and I immediately trusted him. And I don’t trust a lot of people with Pepper”, said Nikki.



She was intrigued to find out that each pet has a life jacket and a staff member assigned to him or her in case of an emergency


Nikki added that; “One night on each of my voyages, Cunard put a “Dog Lovers Meeting” in the Daily Programme. All of the dog lovers on board got together to talk about their dogs on board and their dogs at home. It was very nice.”


Nikki said that she and Pepper enjoyed the photo session for people with their pets. One of the ship’s photographers takes photos of guests with their pets wearing the complimentary Queen Mary 2 coat which she said looked “very cute”.


She offered some advice to guests thinking of travelling with their pets; “The kennel is a great place to spend part of the day if your pet is on board. The view is spectacular. We saw whales one day! Only people who have pets are allowed inside the deck run or the kennel, so your pet is safe, and the kennel is locked tight when the kennel master isn’t there. The kennel is quite a curiosity on board, so be prepared to answer some questions from people stopping by to say hello to the dogs.”



In wrapping up Nikki said; “All in all, we had a spectacular time and I would take this voyage again in a heartbeat. Pepper thinks so too”


If you would like to read Nikki’s full story with more pictures you can use this link to get to her account of the voyage:  http://betterwords.typepad.com/pepperinparis/taking-a-dog-on-the-queen-mary-2.html. She also made a great video which you can see by clicking on this link: –



Thank you Nikki for sharing your story with us and thanks to Harald Franzen for the wonderful pictures of Pepper enjoying his Transatlantic Crossing. I would also like to thank Dayle for taking the time to chat to us.


That’s it for this post but I’ll be back again on Monday with more news from around the Cunard World! Thank you as always for logging on and please do keep those comments and questions coming. Cheers for now, Alastair

  1. Great wee video, well done!

    I think Cunard should make more of the unique elements of the QM2 such as this that she shares with her predecessors, its what make her, and Cunard, special.

  2. Sarah Bennett says:

    What a fab blog and video – thanks for sharing! The dogs look like they have a great time on the ship, i’d love to take my cat, Harry on board one day!

  3. Linda Crooks says:

    Hi Alastair….. loved the story about Pepper…. I agree with Rob Lightbody, this is just one of the many special things that set Cunard apart from other cruise lines…. I sailed on an eastbound transatlantic in late July 2008 and there were 7 dogs on board… I went up to the kennels outdoor area on the second last day of sailing and met 2 of the owners who were sailing back to England after living a few years in western Canada. they were sailing with Angus ( a German Shepherd born in Canada) and his “sister” Tilley, a little black and white Terrier mix (originally from England) I had a wonderful visit with them out on the deck at the kennels and the owners allowed me to take some pictures…. it was one of the highlights of that transatlantic voyage.

    Linda Crooks

  4. Freddie Paynter says:


    Thanks for sharing – I think my dog Bessie would want to go it as much as me! Also, Queen Victoria comes to my home of Christchurch (from Lyttelton) tomorrow – any chance of me coming onboard? Probably not, but I’ll be there when she comes in if you change your mind *wink wink nudge nudge ;)

    Freddie Paynter.

  5. Tom Mc Guinness says:

    What wonderful stories and pictures. I am going on the Southampton to New York return trip on 31 May 14 June 10, and looking forward to it even more now.

    I am paralised from the chest down and completely wheel chair bound,and have been told that the facilities on board for wheel chair users are superb.

    I am sooooooooooooo looking forward to this trip and sharing my experiences with everyone on my return.

  6. Gayle Ruedi says:

    I would very much like to book a passage on the Queen Mary II with my dog (36″) and cat for an extemded stay in the UK and Europe. But I was very disappointed to learn that all of 2011 is booked in terms of accomodating my 2 pets. I would like to book standbyfor a stateroom and the kennels, but this does not seem to be possible. I’m very disappointed and frustrated.

  7. Gayle Ruedi says:

    I wanted to book eastbound transatlantic passage later in 2011 for 2 people and a dog (36″ long) and cat. But I talked with an agent (very nicce and helpful) who told me there were no 2011 crossings from New York to Southampton that could accomodate both the dog and cat. I would like to book standby contingent on kennel space, but I understand you have to have a booking before you can be waitlisted for kennel space. If the kennel space doesn’t come available, penalties for cancellation or changing the booking to a later crossing could be very expensive. It seems like there should be a better way. We’re very disappointed.

  8. Gayle Ruedi says:

    We would like to book eastbound transatlantic passage on the Queen Mary 2 later in 2011 for 2 people plus a dog (36” nose to base of tail) and cat for an extended UK and European vacation. But the customer representative I spoke with (very nice and very helpful) told me there was nothing available for 2011 that could accommodate both the dog and cat. She also explained that you have to have a booking before you can be wait-listed for kennel space. But if kennel space does not come available for that crossing, we would need to change it to a later one. Or if kennel space became available on any other crossing but the one we were booked on, we would take that. In other words, the key factor to a booking is kennel space.

    It seems like there should be a way to be wait-listed for kennel space and a stateroom together. We’re very disappointed.

  9. Nikki says:

    Thank you so much for sharing our journey! Pepper and I are looking forward to another journey, perhaps with my other dogs too. –Nikki Moustaki

  10. Kouroush says:

    My wife and I along with our two german shepherd dogs are hoping to relocate to California from UK. Due to one of our Dog’s kidney problem, she cannot fly so the only way for us to make the journey is by sea. We tried booking the Kennels yesterday and were told that there are no spaces for 2011 and the earliest date is 2012!!!!

    I also ran into the waiting list problem mentioned above and I am not sure how Cunard expect us to make our booking first before we can go on the waiting list when we dont know whick trip there may be any cancellation etc.

    Also, due to the age and health issues we dont feel confident to make a booking for 2 years time!!!!

    This is a nightmare situation and we need to get our babies across some how but dont know how and I am meant to start my new job shortly in US!!!!

    Any ideas/suggestions would be welcomed!!! We dont mind travelling to another country in Europe if there are other options available but we need to get our babies across to California and start our new life there….

    This dream opportunity is rapidly becoming a nightmare scenario for us and the two dogs are ALL my wife and I have and mean the world to us…….



  11. Claire says:

    Kouroush, I completely sympathise,

    We have a very similar problem, we are immigrating to Canada from Scotland and are waiting on our permanent residency being completed, this could take anything from 6 months – over a year (the immigration process has already been over 2 years so far). My dog is an small elderly boxer and I don’t want to fly her. When I called Cunard in Nov 2010 to look into availability of kennel space the first availability was the 16th October 2011 from Southampton to New York. I had to take it, and book myself and sister on as well. However the problem lies if my permanent residency does not come though before the 16th October, I will need to cancel the trip, but know that there will be no more availability until 2012. Unfortunately if this happens we feel another year or so wait is too long for us and we will need to give up on our immigration. As we love our dog too much too leave her.

  12. Monica says:

    Can anyone that has taken one of their dogs on this cruise explain a bit about the exercise the dogs get. Since in this article it states that they actually walk the dogs but in all the blogs and pictures I have seen they only mention that dogs are allowed to be in that small space on the deck.

    I have a large German Sheperd who is very used to getting daily long walks. I’m afraid so little movement for a week will get her overly hyper and nervous.

  13. Cherie Lacy says:

    This web blog really set my mind at ease about the possibility of traveling with our two mini-dachshunds. Flying is a problem for us and I am so relieved to know this is an option. Thanks!

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