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Cruising With A Service Dog....everything You Ever Wanted To Know!


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Wanted to share a recommendation. Our November cruise will stop at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private island. This requires a permit from the Bahamas even if I don’t take the dog ashore. The cruise line will expect the permit at embarkation.
 

I’ve obtained the permit in the past, as have many regulars here. It’s valid for a year but for only one entry, so it’s something you don’t need to leave until the last minute.
 

Getting it can be a hassle. You send the application yourself (without needing the vet) and hope it arrives on time in the mail. The turnaround takes weeks, even if you pay $$$$ for two day international delivery when you send the application. Once, that worked for me.

 

Another time I never had a response after two months so my vet helped me fax it in...the sending was no problem. But the receiving of the permit was, because my vet uses a physical fax machine which does not have legal length paper. So it printed out as two pages. The main Bahamian official advised me by email - nope! - it would not be acceptable to staple or tape it. I needed to arrive with my permit on that single 8.5 x 14 sheet. 

 

Eventually I emailed to the Bahamas people another fax number of a friend’s law firm to use, and the legal secretary kindly printed it out for me. Like many businesses, the law firm receives their faxes in email form now using a monthly fee account with a send/receive online service (like efax) instead of having an actual machine. 

 

I’m not willing to pay for an online fax service. Last week, I decided to take the easy way out. https://www.bahamaspetpermit.com/bahamas-pet-import-application/
 

Other people had reported using this service with good results. I can’t say enough good things about Wellington Saunders.  I had the Bahamas permit in PDF form via email from him within a few days and printed a few copies at home (yes! my printer has legal length paper capability). Done! His email communication was frequent start to finish and he included the additional blank IMP1(B) form required - the vet will sign 48 hours before departure. The cost was $57. I would definitely use his service again.

Edited by Caribbean Chris
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1 hour ago, Caribbean Chris said:

Wanted to share a recommendation. Our November cruise will stop at Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line’s private island. This requires a permit from the Bahamas even if I don’t take the dog ashore. The cruise line will expect the permit at embarkation.
 

Other people had reported using this service with good results. I can’t say enough good things about Wellington Saunders.  I had the Bahamas permit in PDF form via email from him within a few days and printed a few copies at home (yes! my printer has legal length paper capability). Done! His email communication was frequent start to finish and he included the additional blank IMP1(B) form required - the vet will sign 48 hours before departure. The cost was $57. I would definitely use his service again.

Thanks for the great information Chris! $57 is a bargain compared to all of the aggravation of trying to get the permit yourself  I had the fax sent back to my husband's office since they can do faxes on legal size paper, but I will definitely use this service next time instead. 

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17 minutes ago, DUTRAVEL said:

Thanks for the great information Chris! $57 is a bargain compared to all of the aggravation of trying to get the permit yourself  I had the fax sent back to my husband's office since they can do faxes on legal size paper, but I will definitely use this service next time instead. 


You’re welcome, Diane. It was such a small thing but seemed like a huge luxury -  I’m still asking in the glow of getting it without any hassles.

 

I wish Wellington had a multi-country business and could solve all my permit problems. But I’ll settle for one country especially since we sail HAL a lot and they go to HMC on most of their Caribbean itineraries. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Has anyone tried obtaining a permit from the CDC for a rabies banned country? Our cruise is stopping a couple of the countries on their list. From what I have read on their website, service dogs are exempt from the ban but we have to apply for a special permit. Can’t seem to get a straight answer from them as to whether we need one if we are not getting off the ship, despite multiple emails to them. 
Definitely going to use Wellington’s service for the Bahamas permit, but this new rabies ban coming into effect is another hurdle I am trying to figure out!

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22 hours ago, ndloewen said:

Has anyone tried obtaining a permit from the CDC for a rabies banned country? Our cruise is stopping a couple of the countries on their list. From what I have read on their website, service dogs are exempt from the ban but we have to apply for a special permit. Can’t seem to get a straight answer from them as to whether we need one if we are not getting off the ship, despite multiple emails to them. 
Definitely going to use Wellington’s service for the Bahamas permit, but this new rabies ban coming into effect is another hurdle I am trying to figure out!

We haven't had to apply for a CDC permit - let us know how it goes.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It has been pretty quiet in here... How is everyone doing? 

 

I'm trying my best to prepare Mila for our cruise in April. We have been working very hard on public access lately since it was kind of pushed to the side during Covid. She has been doing GREAT! I'm about to have ankle surgery on Oct 6 so we won't be able to do much work for a little bit.

 

Just wanted to say hi and I hope everyone is doing well!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/19/2021 at 4:57 PM, Mabbiez said:

It has been pretty quiet in here... How is everyone doing? 

 

I'm trying my best to prepare Mila for our cruise in April. We have been working very hard on public access lately since it was kind of pushed to the side during Covid. She has been doing GREAT! I'm about to have ankle surgery on Oct 6 so we won't be able to do much work for a little bit.

 

Just wanted to say hi and I hope everyone is doing well!

Hello!  It's been years since I've been on any of the boards but so thankful for all of the service dog info I have found here. 

Will this be Mila's first cruise?  

Super nervous about my daughter taking her SD MinJee on our cruise in 3 weeks.  First cruise and not sure what to expect from her since we will be so far out of her element (no land for several days at a time).  We're trying to get her used to the pellet box but so far she is not having it.  😞   Will probably bring our own mulch to mix into the paper pellets.  Also a little nervous about negative comments from other cruises as my daughter has several "invisible" disabilities so she looks just fine to most people.  

Happy we got the Bahamas permits all taken care of and just need to have her Vet sign off on the paperwork 48 hrs before we set sail.  

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15 hours ago, KrystinasMom said:

Hello!  It's been years since I've been on any of the boards but so thankful for all of the service dog info I have found here. 

Will this be Mila's first cruise?  

Super nervous about my daughter taking her SD MinJee on our cruise in 3 weeks.  First cruise and not sure what to expect from her since we will be so far out of her element (no land for several days at a time).  We're trying to get her used to the pellet box but so far she is not having it.  😞   Will probably bring our own mulch to mix into the paper pellets.  Also a little nervous about negative comments from other cruises as my daughter has several "invisible" disabilities so she looks just fine to most people.  

Happy we got the Bahamas permits all taken care of and just need to have her Vet sign off on the paperwork 48 hrs before we set sail.  

The first cruise is always nerve-racking. Your daughter's dog will do fine. What cruise line are you on? I would think that if you bring your own mulch you would be able to get them to remove the pellets entirely. As long as your daughter's dog is well behaved, I don't think you will experience any negative comments. Usually the complaints are about dogs riding around in strollers or eating from the table. I hope you have a great cruise!

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2 hours ago, DUTRAVEL said:

The first cruise is always nerve-racking. Your daughter's dog will do fine. What cruise line are you on? I would think that if you bring your own mulch you would be able to get them to remove the pellets entirely. As long as your daughter's dog is well behaved, I don't think you will experience any negative comments. Usually the complaints are about dogs riding around in strollers or eating from the table. I hope you have a great cruise!

Thanks for the reassurance!  We'll be on the 8 day Carnival Dream.  

How much mulch do others take onboard?  I've only ever seen the really big bags of mulch in the stores so not sure what everyone's taking aboard for their service dogs.  

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21 minutes ago, KrystinasMom said:

Thanks for the reassurance!  We'll be on the 8 day Carnival Dream.  

How much mulch do others take onboard?  I've only ever seen the really big bags of mulch in the stores so not sure what everyone's taking aboard for their service dogs.  

I haven't sailed on Carnival so I don't know anything about their policies. I have only taken my service dog on Celebrity and haven't needed to bring mulch (they provide mulch for their relief boxes). Hopefully someone else can answer questions about Carnival.

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Hi KrystinasMom

Not sure if this helps or not really, but hope it reassures you a little.

I took my Guide dog, Spencer on his first ever cruise 6 weeks ago - just a 3 day section around the UK on Regal Princess, to test the waters with him, and I was super nervous, like you - especially about the spending box and area.

However, since, we went on a five day with him on Sky princess and are back on regal Princess for a 7 day to Spain and France on regal again on 23rd of this month !  I honestly dont think you have anything to worry about. The security and staff at the port terminal were fantastic, and the crew were simply amazing.  they loved having him on board, and passengers loved him too.

 

Within minutes of arriving in our cabin, the steward came to see us, there was a life vest for Spencer to try on, and they also explained about the spending area, and escorted us to it.  it was set off the main public areas, in a lovely airy, and cool staff area.  it was extremely clean, and it was a 6ft x 6ft box, with wood clippings.  there were bags, m gloves, sanitiser, tongs and a bin.  We just cleaned up after him and placed anything into the bin, and crew emptied the bin daily and refreshed  the wood clippings if it was needed.

 

The first day, Spencer would only pee, which worried me slightly, but the second day, he was absolutely fine and spending as usual morning and evening.  He found the wood chips strange at first, as he only ever usually spends on concrete - but I was super chuffed with him, just give your daughters lots of sniffing time in and around the box and encourage him/her onto it, and give him.her lots of praise if he pees or poops, and im sure all will be great.

 

I dont think you need to take mulch with you to be honest, but you could always contact Carnival and let them know your concerns and Im sure they will be happy to work with you.

 

As I say - not Carnival related, but just hope it reassures you a little. Im sure you, your daughter and her beautiful service dog will be treated like little celebrities 🙂 

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Good morning everyone

I wonder if someone could clarify something for me.  On 23rd of this month, we sail on Regal Princess from Southampton (UK) calling at France and Spain and back to Southampton.

 

I am happy that have all the necessary paperwork so far for my guide dog - Service dog agreement with the cruise line, Vaccination records, rabies, training  school ID etc.  I have our PCR day 2 test kits booked and completed what I can on the passenger location form.  I have an appointment with the vet here in the UK on 18th for Spencers AHC (Animal Health Certificate) - what im confused about is - do I need to organise a vet visit before returning to the Uk from our last port of call which is Spain?  we are only in port for around 6-7 hours, and Im not sure if I need to do anything about tapeworm?  Im sure my vet will clarify on. 18th, but if anyone knows in advance, that would be great.

 

I hope everyone is good, and feeling fantastic about being able to finally get back out to sea 🙂 

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7 hours ago, GDTeamSpencer said:

 I have an appointment with the vet here in the UK on 18th for Spencers AHC (Animal Health Certificate) - what im confused about is - do I need to organise a vet visit before returning to the Uk from our last port of call which is Spain?  we are only in port for around 6-7 hours, and Im not sure if I need to do anything about tapeworm?  Im sure my vet will clarify on. 18th, but if anyone knows in advance, that would be great.

 

I hope everyone is good, and feeling fantastic about being able to finally get back out to sea 🙂 

Hi - welcome to the Cruising with a Service Dog forum! I have cruised with my service dog from the UK, but I am from the US and the rules and paperwork are different. 

 

I am by no means an expert, but it might be true that you will need a tapeworm treatment if your cruise is longer than five days (120 hours) to return to the UK. Hopefully, your vet can answer that question or check the DEFRA website.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We haven’t booked any excursions but always take my dog ashore on half Moon Cay just to enjoy the beautiful beach. We usually just walk to a group of the free lounge chairs in a shady area and put a beach towel in between two chairs for her to relax. She loves it, and we also have taken her into the bars on the island. We’ll be back there in just three weeks and can’t wait.

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On 10/4/2021 at 10:07 PM, KrystinasMom said:

Hello!  It's been years since I've been on any of the boards but so thankful for all of the service dog info I have found here. 

Will this be Mila's first cruise?  

Super nervous about my daughter taking her SD MinJee on our cruise in 3 weeks.  First cruise and not sure what to expect from her since we will be so far out of her element (no land for several days at a time).  We're trying to get her used to the pellet box but so far she is not having it.  😞   Will probably bring our own mulch to mix into the paper pellets.  Also a little nervous about negative comments from other cruises as my daughter has several "invisible" disabilities so she looks just fine to most people.  

Happy we got the Bahamas permits all taken care of and just need to have her Vet sign off on the paperwork 48 hrs before we set sail.  

 

Hi! I am sorry I am just now responding to this. I had ankle surgery a couple of weeks ago and I just haven't looked at cruise critic at all!

 

This will also be Mila's first cruise. I have an outdoor "potty box" at my apartment but I haven't had much luck getting her to use it. Part of that is my fault. I think once it gets colder outside we will try more and be more persistent with it. 

 

Try not to worry too much about what people are thinking. I've seen another service dog on a cruise before and everyone was super nice about it. My disability is also invisible and luckily so far I have not had any bad experiences in public. 

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On 10/15/2021 at 3:35 PM, Caribbean Chris said:

We haven’t booked any excursions but always take my dog ashore on half Moon Cay just to enjoy the beautiful beach. We usually just walk to a group of the free lounge chairs in a shady area and put a beach towel in between two chairs for her to relax. She loves it, and we also have taken her into the bars on the island. We’ll be back there in just three weeks and can’t wait.

Thanks for the reply.  Does she love the water?  My daughter's does but I'm not looking forward to a wet dog.  We'll have to make sure she gets out in time to dry before back onboard.    😆  I think our biggest issue, besides the box she's not taken a liking to yet, will be keeping her out of my daughter's bed at night because she always sleeps with her.  Carnival was sure to tell us up front that she is not allowed on ANY furniture.  This is when I wish she didn't shed so much (then maybe she could still sneak on the bed, lol)!  🤷‍♀️

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8 hours ago, KrystinasMom said:

Thanks for the reply.  Does she love the water?  My daughter's does but I'm not looking forward to a wet dog.  We'll have to make sure she gets out in time to dry before back onboard.    😆  I think our biggest issue, besides the box she's not taken a liking to yet, will be keeping her out of my daughter's bed at night because she always sleeps with her.  Carnival was sure to tell us up front that she is not allowed on ANY furniture.  This is when I wish she didn't shed so much (then maybe she could still sneak on the bed, lol)!  🤷‍♀️


My dog, a Labrador, will walk in water at the edge of the ocean a little when we are at a beach but she doesn’t go in deeper (and never into a swimming pool). So I just have to brush sand off her fur when we head for the tender to leave Half Moon Cay.

 

As far as the furniture in the room, we ask the steward the first day to bring a few pool towels which we spread on the sofa seat & back, and we keep them tucked well into the corners  - it keeps the sofa clean and keeps the dog from underfoot. And we always tip extra to the stewards because they may need to do a little extra vacuuming.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just returned from our first cruise since November 2019. We were on a California Coastal cruise on Celebrity Millennium with Ensenada being the only foreign port. We did not need any paperwork for Mexico and there was no inspection of my Service Dog. We did have my Vet sign an Aphis Form 7001 for the cruise line. Everything went smoothly except that the initial relief box was the size of a postage stamp. They quickly built a bigger box and that solved the problem. As an aside, I cannot recommend that a wheelchair user sail on an "M" class ship on Celebrity - accessibility is terrible compared to the "S" and Edge class ships.

 

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Edited by DUTRAVEL
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