Taking Our Dog Coco Aboard QM2 to New York and Beyond

In June 2009  Geoff, Sue & Coco the dog started planning some epic holidays to America – the USA and Canada.

We considered coach tours USA as we sell coach tours for a living, but Coco would not have been able to come with us, plus we wanted to stay a lot longer than a normal holiday to the USA and Canada.  After researching air travel and reading about the trauma that some animals can experience on a long haul flight, we tried to imagine Coco all alone in a cage for 10 hours in a scary cargo hold. We couldn’t bare to think of it, so we booked the Queen Mary (QM2) from Southampton to New York.  Not only did it work out less in total for the three of us, but we all had six days of luxury pampering.

Coco in the snow

Coco in the snow

Watch the Video on YouTube

Coco was very well treated on board and although dogs cannot stay overnight with the owners in their cabins, we get to visit them in their kennels for several hours a day. There is a Kennel Master on every cruise who tucks them in and gives them whatever food you specify. Cats are welcomed too! There’s even freshly baked dog biscuits made every day.

Holidays in America for us British usually mean a long wait in customs and immigration on arrival, but with Coco we sailed through with a smile on arrival at the Brooklyn cruise terminal.  We had more trouble getting a taxi that would accept Coco than we expected, but at last we found one that would take us to the nearest Avis car rental which we had pre-booked.

Soon we were driving through Times Square and down 5th Avenue just to see the lights and grab some New York spirit. It would have been amazing to stay a while, but we had planned to save New York for the way back and we had a lot of driving ahead of us. Syracuse, Toronto then 3000 miles across Canada to Canmore near Banff in the Rockies. But that’s another story.

Enjoy a few more pictures of Coco on board the QM2

Queen Mary dogs will do anything for a biscuit

Queen Mary dogs will do anything for a biscuit

Queen Mary dogs

Getting ready to disem-bark!

Queen Mary dogs

The outdoor area for dogs is quite small but biscuits keep them entertained

Dogs can travel on the Queen Mary

Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. It’s harder to get a taxi if you have a dog!

 

We went with Coco to the USA and Canada for five months from June to November 2009. If you have any questions about this trip or even if you want to book this cruise too, please get in touch or leave a comment below

10 Replies to “Taking Our Dog Coco Aboard QM2 to New York and Beyond”

  1. Kim

    Hi Geoff, thank you for a very helpful and intereting blog! My husband and I are relocating to Chicago from London with our 2 little dogs (Monty-mini schunauzer, and also Coco-lhasa apso) in Aug. And we will be travelling together to US on QM2. I have come across plenty of blogs on the Net re QM2 with dogs on NY-Southhampton crossing, but not a lot about going the other way. In fact, your blog is the first one covering Southampton-NY leg I have spotted so far, and it confirmed our suspicion re cabs on arrival in Red Hook, Brooklyn. We guessed that it might prove difficult to get a cab which would accept dogs. So we are now in touch with a pet chauffer service in NY who will pick us up from the Cruise Terminal and drive us all to Chicago. We have tentatively booked a car to meet us at 7 am at the Terminal on our disembarkation day. Do you think this time is realistic? What time were you able to disembark in NY? And could you please advise whether there were any health inspections and checks for the dogs and their papers on arrival in Brooklyn (our dogs have uptodate pet passports and rabies vaccination). We would really appreciate any advice or help you can give. Thanks in advance and best to you and your Coco. Kim

    Reply
    • Global Coach Tours Post author

      Hi Kim

      Thanks for your comments. I think your pick up time of 7am is a little early. Although the dogs and their owners get priority disembarkation, I recall it was around 8.30am and we all came off the ship at the same time.

      The inspection through US customs after we were off the boat was more of a quick glance at the documents and we were just asked if Coco was healthy. Going back to England it was much tougher and the inspector came onto the boat to look at paperwork BEFORE we were allowed off! I hope that helps

      All the best of luck with the move to Chicago.
      Geoff

      Reply
    • Morgab

      Hi Kim,

      I’m also taking my dog on this cruise and then driving to Chicago. Could you tell me the cost of the pet chauffeur and service you used?

      Kind regards

      Reply
      • Global Coach Tours Post author

        Hi Morg

        I wrote the original article for this blog.
        Hopefully you will get a reply from Kim. In 2009, we used Avis car rental and drove ourselves to upstate New York, but I’ll bet a one way drop off in Chicago would be fine.

        Bon Voyage and best regards

        Geoff

        Reply
        • Morgan

          Thank you so much Geoff,

          A quick enquiry. Are pet owners still first to disembark off the ship in New York? I’m trying to gauge when I should hire the car from Avis as we’ve decided to drive! Also, do you need to bring your dog in a crate for boarding? I was previously told you can just walk onto the ship with the leash so just want to make sure! And lastly, is it just like immigration in an airport when you go through customs? Thanks so much for your previous reply.

          Kind regards,

          Morgan

          Reply
          • Global Coach Tours Post author

            Hi Morgan

            You can walk your dog onto the ship on a leash, no crate needed. You will disembark (bark – no pun intended!) as a group and all walk off the ship together around 8.30am. Immigration and customs is similar to an airport, but if anything, it feels more relaxed.

            Depending on the size of your dog, you will need assistance getting a cab to the Avis office which was just over a mile away in 2009 if it’s in the same location. Cab drivers are not keen on having dogs in their cabs and whilst they are not supposed to refuse a fare, you will need the taxi rank captain to get a cab for you. I choose Avis as their reviews indicated they were dog friendly. Our dog does not shed much, but we still did our own clean at the end of the rental. If there are more than a few dog hairs they may charge extra, so check if and how much when you pick up.

            Best regards
            Geoff

          • Morgan

            Hi Geoff,

            Thank you so much for that quick reply! Last question… Hopefully 🙂 but do the immigration custom lines have two different ports of entry like an airport as in US and non-US citizens? My husband has been granted a us visa to live in America so we want to be prepared for everything! Thanks again so much for your time.

            Morgan

  2. Kay

    Hi! This is great information for us as we are considering emigrating to the US with our 3 dogs. They are all older dogs but in amazing health but we agree with you regarding travelling in a cargo hold of an aircraft. Your lovely dog Coco looks about the size of our Lab – did you pay for a double large kennel? Can you tell me how much time each day the dogs are actually in the cages and how much time they get to be out and walking around? Thank you so much for all the help. Kay

    Reply
    • Global Coach Tours Post author

      Hi Kay
      This is definitely the way to go with dogs! You can spend most of the day with them. Whilst there is not much room to walk around, it’s adequate and the dogs get surprisingly tired.
      We paid for a single kennel both ways as she was borderline for needing the larger one as she was 2 at the time. Now she is 7, Coco would certainly need a large one. They have dividers, so the kennel configuration can be easily changed. You will need to book this many months ahead, perhaps a year ahead! I am a travel agent for Cunard so I can look into this for you and make the booking for your cabin too when you have an idea of dates. My email is geoff@globalcoachtours.com
      Best regards
      Geoff Monk

      Reply

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