When I was researching the possibility of transporting our dogs to the UK via Cunard’s QM2, I couldn’t get any details on how much outdoor space they would have. I knew the ship had undergone a refit in 2015, but there was a mystery to be solved. I filmed a little diddy of the Kennels (with verbal permission from all the owners), so please take a look. Full caveat: I am no film maker and Michael did a quick edit for me – it’s super ‘raw’ GoPro footage.

We were extremely lucky for the week we sailed across the Atlantic from New York to Southampton, June 10th – 18th, 2018 – it was very calm seas. Mostly overcast days mixed with brilliant sunshine and even a few pool/deck days. Unbelievable. I must admit my biggest worry was how the dogs would do in rough seas. Most afternoons were spent chatting with different owners on the deck and chilling with all the dogs.

Dog names on our sailing: Batman, Lily, Albi, Bella, Oscar, Rosco, Iko, Orla, Mandy, Nickel, Molly, Sunny, Terra, Mylie, Munro, Gracie & Maddie (I didn’t get the cats’ names, sorry). Our group had 5 families moving to the UK and/or Europe and many regular QM2 Guests (they go across the pond for the summer), and us: the only year-long travellers.

You can visit your dogs 4x during the day:

  • 8:00 – 10:00 Breakfast Feeding Time
  • 11:00 – 12:00
  • 15:00 – 18:00 Dinner Feeding Time
  • 20:30 – 21:00

We went every time we could, but not all owners did. Oliver & Aaron, our wonderful Kennel Masters would take care of the dogs if you weren’t there, but only upon your permission could your dogs be out of their kennels if you weren’t there yourself. Feeding time was a bit frantic and Munro (usually a slow eater), started inhaling his food, then coughing some of it back up. We got there right at 8am for breakfast and tried to get him fed before the bulk of the dogs were out of their kennels – he just needed some space.

If weather permits it, there is a formal ‘dog promenade’ outside the kennel area (but on the same deck 12). The dogs get a QM2 jacket (swag, which you get to keep) and the photographer comes for a photo shoot. We all leash up then march in a circle a few times on the larger deck area. Many of us cheated and let the dogs off their leashes – it was so nice to run with Munro and Mylie. A bit of freedom and expanded space. It would be great if they could do that for about 20 mins every day.

 

I’ll leave this post with a few observations from our time on the QM2 with our dogs;

  1. We didn’t realize that they were in their kennels for 11.5 hours all night. We thought that the Kennel Masters would check in on them, but we were wrong. this many hours seems a bit of a stretch in our humble opinion.
  2. The kennels are very clean, and the Kennel Maters do a great job at keeping them so.
  3. About have the dogs had an ‘accident’ in their kennels at some point. It could be stress, different surroundings, too many other canines, routine changes, food issues etc. It’s very normal for this to happen aboard.
  4. With so much ‘change’ to deal with, it seems that most of the dogs have extra mental stimulus to deal with, so it tires them out.
  5. On day 6, is when the dogs get a bit squirrely. They need a walk and likely sick of seeing the same crowd day in and day out. Oliver the Kennel Master mentioned that if there are any disagreements between the dogs, it usually happens on this day.

In ‘Dogs on the QM2 – Part One of Four’, I will describe the paperwork you need for your dogs.

In ‘Dogs on the QM2 – Part Two of Four’, I will describe the embarkation process.

In ‘Dogs on the QM2 – Part Four of Four’, I will describe the disembarkation process and how our dogs did after getting off the ship.