Cruise NewsRoyal Caribbean Bans Emotional Support Animals from Their Cruise Ships

Royal Caribbean Bans Emotional Support Animals from Their Cruise Ships

Royal Caribbean has announced that they will no longer allow emotional support animals to sail on any of their 25 cruise ships.

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The cruise line posted the following message informing travel agents of this new change in policy:

“Effective immediately, emotional support animals may not sail onboard our ships, as they are not recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

All Emotional Support Animals noted on reservations prior to July 30, 2018 are protected and will be allowed to sail. A notation advising of a protected emotional support animal will be placed on the reservation by the Access Department.”

This change does not affect service animals. Service dogs are permitted to accompany the person with a disability in all public areas, including dining venues on Royal Caribbean cruise ships. While in public areas, service dogs must be on a leash, harness or other restraining device. Due to health regulations, service dogs are not permitted in pools, whirlpools or spas.

Royal Caribbean defines a service dog 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.

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Guests are responsible for obtaining all required documents for the animal to depart the ship in ports of call and at final destination.

A copy of these permits must be carried on the ship, and a copy left with Guest Relations Desk upon boarding the cruise ship.

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Ben Souza
Ben Souza
Ben is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70 cruises. He is one of USA TODAY's experts for their 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. His writings have appeared and been cited in various media outlets such as Yahoo News, MSN, NPR, CNN, Fox, and ABC News. Ben currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio. Follow Ben on Instagram. Visit Ben Souza on Linkedin. You may email Ben at [email protected].
Cruise NewsRoyal Caribbean Bans Emotional Support Animals from Their Cruise Ships


  1. Now that the first shot has been fired by RCI against these idiots trying to take advantage of a loophole, hopefully the other main stream cruise lines will follow suit and have enough stones to ban “emotional support” pets that do not belong on a cruise ship.

  2. About time! there is a big difference in Service Animals and emotional support _______(fill in the blank,-dog, cat, goat, turkey, etc). I do dislike trying to eat around all the animals no matter how clean the owners like to keep them. I was in line to get pizza and a lady had her ferret around her neck as it was scratching and fur coming off.

    With so many people having allergies to pet dander, I’m surprised this hasn’t been stopped before now.

    I agree this has gotten out of hand. Big THANK YOU to RC for standing up and speaking out.

  3. This truly saddens me as now I will not be allowed to bring onboard my emotional kangaroo support animal with a support skunk in her pouch. To try and walk around the ship without them will be so emotionally draining that I will surely have to have 2 or 3 Jack Daniel’s with lime 2 twists and a can of coke . Please no responses as I am in emotional mourning for this news. Please note I was expecting to bring my baby elephant next year after he/she it is trained to use the square pads that my uncle left me in his will . They were initially Depends but modified for my emotional support animals. Take care and please enjoy this laugh and very happy that Royal Caribbean has started this new ban.

  4. True EMS dogs ARE recognized by the disabilities act. I carry my dogs registration and my doctors prescription for having him. As a former travel agent who has booked 100s of people on cruises….rest assured I will NEVER book RCL again.

    • Scum bags like you are the reason it is not necessary for the pushback against “emotional support animal”, otherwise known as “I want to subject the world to my dog because I’m an egotistical, self-centered pile of refuse”. Please lock yourself in your home and never come out, I’d hate for your emotions to get the better of you!

    • Service dogs are working animals – not pets. They must be trained to perform a task that is directly related to the handler’s disability. The ADA does not recognize dogs who solely provide emotional support or comfort as service animals.Jun 5, 2018

      From ADA service dogs law and I truly have no issue with emotional support animals when it is not abused

    • Mary, I hope you know more about being a TA that you do of the ADA, but I guess that’s why you are no longer a TA. A Doctor’s note is meaningless. Also, the ADA does not register dogs (or other animals. The ADA also does not require service animals to wear a vest or ID tag, and any such vest or tag is also meaningless.

      Question #3. Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?

      Answer: *****NO***** These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws.

  5. Good. We have enough problem on ships. We don’t need animals on board. Perhaps some specialty cruises that cater that clientele would be OK but not a regular cruise. It’s not fair to the passengers or the animals.

  6. About time! I am sick and tired of people bringing “Fido” on a cruise under the disquise of a “comfort pet”. It is probably more like “I don’t want to pay for boarding fees while I am gone”. I have seen “service dogs” the size of a big rat in a baby stoller!! Thank you RCI!

  7. Thank you thank you thank you Royal Caribbean. I have 3 dogs I love very much and no desire for them to go to a home improvement store, grocery store or let alone a CRUISE!!! I was dreading the crazies with dogs on our October cruise….again, thank you!!!

  8. Thank God! It’s about time Common Sense prevailed. Like any good intention “Comfort pets” are out of control and showing up everywhere from Home Depot, to supermarkets. I’m an asthmatic (dogs) and the thought of standing in line next to a German Shepherd would do me in. Besides after working all year to go on a week’s vacation I don’t want to share a pool lounge chair next to “Barney or fluffy” can’t live for a week without your favorite pet? No problem, rent an RV and have a blast.

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