April 17, 2006

You can take your best friend on this cruise

Chicago Tribune
People aren’t the only travelers pampered at sea. On one line, pooches and pussycats are, too.
When you’re on a Queen Mary 2 trans-Atlantic cruise enjoying chocolates on your pillow at turn-down, your traveling companion (provided it’s the four-legged kind) will be getting fresh-baked biscuits, a choice of beds and fleece blankets, toys and premium-brand food.
You don a fluffy QM2 bathrobe and your pet gets treated to its own QM2-logoed coat. Add to that a Frisbee, name tag, food dish and scoop; a complimentary portrait with you; a crossing certificate and personalized cruise card, and Fido or Fluffy are in pet heaven. Cats even get their own posts and scratchers.
According to Cunard, taking care of pet business goes back to 1840, when three cats vacationed on Britannia’s maiden voyage. Since then, Cunard has tucked in such celebrity pooches as Rin Tin Tin and played host to circus elephants, canaries, a monkey, even a boa constrictor.
“Tom Mix and Tony (his horse), stars of the 1930s Western series ‘Miracle Rider,’ regularly trotted up the gangway,” noted a Cunard announcement. Tony’s hooves were fitted with special rubber shoes to prevent the horse from slipping.
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s beloved pup even had a lamppost beside the kennels especially installed for it.
For some Cunard passengers, “transporting their pets safely and comfortably is a top priority, and having them cross the Atlantic onboard QM2 is far more desirable than flying them between continents,” Cunard president and managing director Carol Marlow said in the announcement.
QM2’s kennels and outdoor walking areas are open throughout the day; visiting hours are flexible. A full-time kennel master oversees the program, taking charge of daily pet care responsibilities such as feeding, walking and cleaning the ship’s 12 spacious kennels.
Depending on cruise length, it’ll cost between $300 and $400 to give your pet the chance to sail on a ship most ordinary folks only dream about. But, hey, the cost of having the pleasure of your pet’s company on a cruise is priceless. And it sure beats leaving your furry friend home alone.
To learn more: (800) 728-6273 or cunard.com.

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