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Emotional Support Animals No Longer Allowed on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships

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Passports are really the only universally recognized document, but even those can be forged. :cool:

 

And they aren't issued to dogs. This is a dog thread.

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Um, I was referring to toddlers. In my opinion, giant baby strollers are more annoying than small dog strollers

 

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So you prefer to ban children who are in strollers for valid reasons than someone who puts their "baby" in a stroller because it is cute, despite the fact they don't belong on a cruise ship:rolleyes:

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And they aren't issued to dogs. This is a dog thread.

 

Are you sure?

 

I thought this was an ESA thread? Anything goes! :D

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Are you sure?

 

I thought this was an ESA thread? Anything goes! :D

Yea...like kids in giant strollers. They gotta go too. ;p

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Um, I was referring to toddlers. In my opinion, giant baby strollers are more annoying than small dog strollers

 

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Do you mean like the Green Giant's kids?

 

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My son suffers from PTSD after serving in the Middle East he has a true service dog with papers from the VA stating that he needs this animal for support. Yes some people do have fake service dogs for emotional support but not all emotional support animals are fakes. I know quite a few veterans that need the support these dogs give them.

 

Please thank your son for his service and sacrifice.

 

Wouldn’t this dog be a Service Dog?

 

 

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Ditto, on thanking your family and your son for his service.

 

Your son should be fine. This policy does not and can not impact ADA requirements. This is from the ADA website.

 

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

 

Also from the ADA

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

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And for those of you stating that anyone with a certificate for a service dog is a faker, this is not quite correct. While there is no national registry for service animals, and there is no requirement to have a certificate or even to prove training, many extremely old and established, reputable service dog providers (Seeing eye, Dogs4Vets, etc) do provide certification and do belong to industry groups that provide the standards for issuing those certificates.

 

Chief, any guesses on how long before they mess up, violate ADA regulations and end up reversing course? Or do you think they will simply continue to allow animals, with people simply going from claiming Emotional Support to claiming one of the protected tasks?

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Ditto, on thanking your family and your son for his service.

 

Your son should be fine. This policy does not and can not impact ADA requirements. This is from the ADA website.

 

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

 

Also from the ADA

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

Nearly all cruise ships are not registered in the United States and are not required to follow US ADA requirements.

 

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Nearly all cruise ships are not registered in the United States and are not required to follow US ADA requirements.

 

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Well since 2005, the Supreme Court says if they are docking in the US, they are required to comply.

 

Here is an article from this site and an excerpt.

 

https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=9

 

Cruise ships -- even vessels sailing under foreign flags that dock in U.S. ports -- are required to abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act (the law doesn't apply to foreign ports).

 

Beyond that the cruise ticket and their published policies say...

 

e. Special Needs. Any Passenger with mobility, communication or other impairments, or other special or medical needsthat may require medical care or special accommodations during the cruise or CruiseTour, including but not limited tothe use of any service animal, must notify the Carrier of any such condition at the time of booking. Passenger agrees toaccept responsibility and reimburse Carrier for any loss, damage or expense whatsoever related to the presence of anyservice animal brought on board the Vessel or Transport.

 

Royal Caribbean International welcomes service dogs on all ships.* Please note we do not accept pets.

 

A service dog is defined as "any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability." Service dogs are not considered pets.

 

Evidence that a dog is a service dog is helpful but not required (such as identification cards, other written documentation, presence of harnesses and/or tags or the credible verbal assurance of the person with a disability using the dog).

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My son suffers from PTSD after serving in the Middle East he has a true service dog with papers from the VA stating that he needs this animal for support. Yes some people do have fake service dogs for emotional support but not all emotional support animals are fakes. I know quite a few veterans that need the support these dogs give them.

 

 

 

No one is questioning those in true need of a service animal. However, the ADA will have to work with with the corporations that have been initiated with service animals who are just there because the owner is a self serving moron.

 

Documentation, at some point soon, will be federally regulated. Although the ADA will protect the owners reason for the animal. They will have to cary govt. issued license for the animal. This was proposed years ago. And will resurface.

 

It will be a win for everyone. And no person with an official service animal would have any issues, if they are still protected and it safeguards them from imposters.

 

 

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Well since 2005, the Supreme Court says if they are docking in the US, they are required to comply.

 

Here is an article from this site and an excerpt.

 

https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=9

 

Cruise ships -- even vessels sailing under foreign flags that dock in U.S. ports -- are required to abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act (the law doesn't apply to foreign ports).

 

Beyond that the cruise ticket and their published policies say...

 

e. Special Needs. Any Passenger with mobility, communication or other impairments, or other special or medical needsthat may require medical care or special accommodations during the cruise or CruiseTour, including but not limited tothe use of any service animal, must notify the Carrier of any such condition at the time of booking. Passenger agrees toaccept responsibility and reimburse Carrier for any loss, damage or expense whatsoever related to the presence of anyservice animal brought on board the Vessel or Transport.

 

Royal Caribbean International welcomes service dogs on all ships.* Please note we do not accept pets.

 

A service dog is defined as "any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability." Service dogs are not considered pets.

 

Evidence that a dog is a service dog is helpful but not required (such as identification cards, other written documentation, presence of harnesses and/or tags or the credible verbal assurance of the person with a disability using the dog).

That's why I don't rely on news articles to interpret laws. The article is correct, SCOTUS said in 2005 ADA could require cruise ships docking in a US port comply with ADA requirements and mainly this had to do with accessibility and in reality had to do with how cruise lines notify passengers of accessibility issues.

 

However, when ADA wrote the regulations in 2011 they addressed the "emotional support animal" by saying it is not a service animal, they also included a provision that ADA requirements that conflict with the laws of a country of a foriegn registered passenger vessel would be waived to eliminate confusion for the line. One other thing they failed to do is establish a punishment for violations. They also screwed up in when a passanger ship would need to comply, they did not use "dock in US port" in preamble they say depart yet under actual rule they use end at US Port.

 

I believe cruise ships should adhere to ADA requirements, but I wouldn't get on board and argue that you know your ADA rights.

 

 

 

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Two years ago I was on Oasis and a dog ran onto the ice rink during a performance. Dangerous for the performers who are already having to deal with a moving ice rink. I have never seen a dog on a cruise ship before and wondered how this obviously non service dog was allowed onboard. And to have them in the dining room!? Where on land are you allowed to bring a dog (except service dog) in a place where food is served.

 

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All over my town....

 

It's gotten out of control

 

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That's why I don't rely on news articles to interpret laws. The article is correct, SCOTUS said in 2005 ADA could require cruise ships docking in a US port comply with ADA requirements and mainly this had to do with accessibility and in reality had to do with how cruise lines notify passengers of accessibility issues.

 

However, when ADA wrote the regulations in 2011 they addressed the "emotional support animal" by saying it is not a service animal, they also included a provision that ADA requirements that conflict with the laws of a country of a foriegn registered passenger vessel would be waived to eliminate confusion for the line. One other thing they failed to do is establish a punishment for violations. They also screwed up in when a passanger ship would need to comply, they did not use "dock in US port" in preamble they say depart yet under actual rule they use end at US Port.

 

I believe cruise ships should adhere to ADA requirements, but I wouldn't get on board and argue that you know your ADA rights.

 

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Short answer, the response was to the mother of a veteran with PTSD, who has been provided a "service dog". His dog is not an Emotional Support Animal, and is protected by the ADA. I do not believe that the cruise line will, or can. deny him passage with his dog. I believe it could be successfully challenged in court, if they did. I also think the risk associated with the press would be to high to take on the issue.

 

LONG ANSWER

Agreed regarding Emotional Support Animals, see above.

 

Conflict with Foreign Laws

From what was published by the DOT

https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/PVGuidance2_3_11.pdf

 

Your language is a little off. Where you say, "would be waived to eliminate confusion", the written guideline says

 

"*Under section 39.9, a PVO may apply for a conflict of law waiver if the legalrequirement of a foreign government to which the PVO is subject creates a conflict withthe requirements of the Department’s rule.

 

*To be considered a conflict under this section, the foreign provision must be legallymandatory (e.g., a statute or a rule) rather than guidance or a recommendation. It mustexplicitly prohibit something that Part 39 requires or explicitly require something thatPart 39 prohibits."

 

I think we can agree the most relevant section is the last sentence.

 

Since the rulings that put this in place, I am unaware of any cruise line choosing to apply for a waiver from accepting service animals, but there may well be. I also admit that I am making the assumption, they would have to make the existence of such waiver publicly known. Without the waiver, they are required to be compliant.

 

Your last point is also well taken. I have actually seen it described as "Sailing" in US waters.

 

Do you know if there have been any further guidance written since the 2011 document?

 

As far as arguing that I know my ADA rights, I am blessed to not need protection under the ADA. I have argued the rights successfully on multiple occasions, BUT never for or against a cruise line. If you were saying that I shouldn't get on board a ship and argue ADA rights, why would I argue them on board? If you were saying that you couldn't get on board with my argument, that is your right.

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I have a service dog. I think I can honestly speak for people that have legitimate, highly trained service dogs, we love our dogs and the service they provide for us, but we have to have a disability to have one. Most, if not all of us, would be happy to not have the disability and leave our beloved dog at home while we vacationed.

 

 

Yes, these ESA's and fake service dogs make it so hard for us. I know I am and most of the people I know that have real service dogs are VERY respectful of other disabilities like allergies to dogs or (not a disability) fear or dislike of dogs and will try our best to keep our distance.

 

 

It is not easy to train a dog for a cruise. Service dogs are highly trained dogs and part of that training is to not go inside. Now we ask our dogs to go in a litter box. I know my dog, gets so confused.

 

 

And there is a ton of paperwork even to get on the ship, let alone off in any ports. Other countries are not under the ADA and have their own requirements. I have no idea how anyone is getting away with all this, I wouldn't even try to bring a dog/animal in public if it wasn't highly trained, very well groomed, completely vaccinated (documentation is required) and I wasn't disabled. The ship (at least Carnival) does required documentation (not explanation of the disability) of the disability; I have a very general note from my doctor and a handicapped parking placard. However, I do keep more documentation on me in case it is every asked for. According to ADA no one can ask for it, but I will gladly submit it. I think that those of us that are legit are willing to provide what is needed.

 

 

 

My dog, a great dane/lab, is barely noticeable on planes or in restaurant. People notice him when he is walking, but when put in his "spot" either on a plane or under a table, he disappears. Even servers and flight attendants have said they didn't even know he was there. That is a service dog. Also, my service dog trainer has told me, any service dog, no matter the size, should follow the rule of "four on the floor".

 

Your comments are precisely why I get on my soapbox against entitled passengers bringing Little Fluffies with her outfits and stroller on a cruise and passing them off as Emotional Support Animals. You NEED the trained service animal!! I have worried that the people carting their ESA could ruin it for your ability to cruise etc. Therefore, I am really, really glad that RCI is banning them.

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Southwest cracks down on emotional support animalshttps://www.aol.com/article/news/2018/08/15/southwest-airlines-cracks-down-on-emotional-support-animals/23502622/

 

 

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I understand someone having a “Service animal” to assist with a legitimate disability, but an emotional peacock?? Really??

 

 

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These are recognized industry groups that provide excellent training and followup.

 

And the owners know that they don’t have to have the service dog wear a little tag saying they are certified. I worry about the ones that point out the certification as a valid reason to have the dog on board.

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I saw this and came to Cruise Critic to see what was being posted. I can't believe it isn't being discussed so I will start the discussion and say finally, it's about time and I hope it is enforced.

 

https://cruisefever.net/royal-caribbean-banning-emotional-support-animals-from-their-cruise-ships/

 

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Great news!

 

Kudos to RCI for taking this bold step in the industry. Hopefully the other Cruise lines will follow RCI’s lead.

Edited by Lyndonn

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Chief, any guesses on how long before they mess up, violate ADA regulations and end up reversing course? Or do you think they will simply continue to allow animals, with people simply going from claiming Emotional Support to claiming one of the protected tasks?

 

I would hope that this is a progressive step, and one that continues and doesn't reverse course. I think that by forcing those who try to bring non-service animals onboard to go the route of litigation to prove their rights were violated will go a long way towards stopping the abuse. The cruise line has lawyers on retainer, so they are a fixed cost, whether they are defending an ADA case or not, while the litigant has to get a lawyer, pretty expensive vacation for a pet. I think it will be a slow and painful transition, and will not be without bad PR and mistakes, but I think their legal and insurance departments see this as necessary given the problems recently with injuries caused by ESA's on airlines.

 

In line with your arguments about conflict with foreign law, one of the major tenents of the SCOTUS ruling in Spector v. NCL was that since Congress did not specifically mention foreign flag cruise ships in the ADA, that the cruise ship's "internal policies and procedures" are not bound by the ADA. Some of this ruling can be seen in the document you linked regarding what a cruise line can and can't do regarding service animals, basically saying they have to accept them, but they can make restrictions on them (like RCI's stated policy that the animal must be physically on a restraining device (leash), not under "verbal control" as permitted in the ADA rules for application ashore). There is a lot of language there referring to the PVO's "policies", showing that those policies can in fact be more restrictive than the normal application of the ADA within the US.

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I would hope that this is a progressive step, and one that continues and doesn't reverse course.

 

In line with your arguments about conflict with foreign law, one of the major tenents of the SCOTUS ruling in Spector v. NCL was that since Congress did not specifically mention foreign flag cruise ships in the ADA, that the cruise ship's "internal policies and procedures" are not bound by the ADA. Some of this ruling can be seen in the document you linked regarding what a cruise line can and can't do regarding service animals, basically saying they have to accept them, but they can make restrictions on them (like RCI's stated policy that the animal must be physically on a restraining device (leash), not under "verbal control" as permitted in the ADA rules for application ashore). There is a lot of language there referring to the PVO's "policies", showing that those policies can in fact be more restrictive than the normal application of the ADA within the US.

 

Chief, I should have been clearer. What has a broadened acceptance by US businesses, is training and over zealous employees. I am not concerned with someone with an emotional support animal bothering to challenge this, I tend to think that they may blow up the Royal customer support channels but agree they won't invest in a legal challenge. The concern is that someone with a legitimate Service Animal will be denied. If/when that happens, a lawsuit is inevitable, and it will be hard for Royal to defend. We have worked with hotel companies who have been in this exact situation. A manager who refused to allow someone to check in because the hotel doesn't take pets. The person in question is a diabetic, and tells the manager "The dog is to warn me if my sugar drops". The manager says "I'm sorry but unless you can prove that I'm not letting the dog stay". Same manager tells us, I know they were lying. Well unfortunately they were not. The ADA is so specific on what can and can not be asked, that eventually the company ends up with the issue of educating thousands of people, and if one makes that mistake, the cost is high. So you end up telling employees, through policy, if someone says its a service animal you don't argue. The risk analysis ends up being, it's better to take all the false claims, than to mess up the one time it counts.

 

I have always wondered why the cruise lines don't enforce restrictions (as you point out) that can easily be put in place. Restraints, behavior, etc. So many of the situations told on here could be fixed if behavior restrictions were enforced. This is the route that we recommend most often. You can require an animal be removed from the premise, even a true Service Dog, based on behavioral guidelines. If I am understanding you correctly, the cruise lines have even more leeway to enforce behavioral policies.

 

Then there is the issue of people for whom the employees apparently turn a blind eye. The passenger for whom the Casino Host is watching the dog. The only dog I have ever seen on board, in a costume, who belonged to a Pinnacle level member and was greeted by name by the employees. I know I'm jaded, but I wonder will the cruise line tell long time customers with some type of status, "Sorry you can't do that anymore", or will they actually help these valued customers to handle getting the dog on board.

 

In your experience, do yo think they will invest in the training required to truly enforce this?

 

Do you think this is a turn towards putting other behavior policies in place?

 

I know you can't read minds, but you do have experience at how effectively they roll out changes, and I have come to value your insights.

 

I hope this is the start of sincere change. When I read the thoughts of people on this topic, it is so "eyeball test oriented" that I worry employees will use the same logic. Their personal feelings will trump policy, and the resulting issues will cause a softening.

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A very good explanation, but there are other factors.

 

For ition of emotional support animals, not just dogs.. Remember the peacock someone wanted to bring on a plane? So the airlines can deny service, and oddly the airlines are begging the government for some regulations.example, Delta has banned pit bull breeds in the passenger cabin. The larger question here as you pointed out, is the defin

 

It will certainly make passengers think twice. If I fly in, and then denied boarding of the animal. What then happens?

 

Interesting discussion. :D

 

 

That is strange since they are being sued for I believe it was a lab trying to rip another passengers face off.

 

Not positive on the lab part but it was not a pitbull. I don't understand why their rights out weigh ours when traveling. I do not mind a true service dog but sick of these fakers.

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Maybe there is one possible solution to consider. If a passenger needs to take an emotional support animal then they should be charged an extra full fare or even an extra full fare with an additional surcharge for that animal. Let's see how much the passenger is willing to pay extra for their emotional support. Not applicable to true service animals.

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