Queen Mary 2 Kennels: Disembarkation

Chewy anxiously awaiting disembarkation

We thought that disembarkation from the Queen Mary 2 would be as stressful and long as embarkation so we prepared all our bags well ahead of time, organized all the puppy stuff, and got to the areas needed as early as possible.  In fact, disembarkation was a snap.  Here’s what we did:

Night before, set luggage outside

The night before disembarkation day, we --- along with all of the passengers onboard the Queen Mary 2 --- left our luggage outside our stateroom with tags attached which listed the priority in which we would disembark.  Because we had the dogs, we were given the highest priority to disembark (yay for dogs!).  We kept a disembarkation bag with clothes for the morning, a water bowl for the dogs, and our electronic equipment.

7:00 a.m. breakfast

We woke up early and ate breakfast at the Kings’ Court

Dixie at Portsmouth QM2

Dixie at the Southampton port

7:30 a.m. meet at kennels

At 7:30 a.m., we met everyone else up at the kennels.  We took the dogs out, let them do their business, and waited until Rex was ready for us to disembark.

Note:  Normally, DEFRA arrives at the QM2 early in the morning to go through all the dogs’ paperwork and scan their microchips but DEFRA is scaling back their operations over this coming year.  DEFRA is now planning on only personally checking 30% of the dogs that enter England via the QM2, meaning that on the vast majority of the cruises, you won’t need to go through any inspection of the paperwork except for what the QM2 steward checked on embarkation day.  Our cruise was the first ever that DEFRA did not personally visit.  Normally, the DEFRA inspection takes about 30 minutes to an hour.


Exiting the QM2

Walking off the ship with the other dogs

8:00 a.m. disembarkation

Disembarkation was a snap.  (Customs/immigration is done during the week for all cruise passengers so we did not need to go through customs/immigration in Southampton.)  As soon as we gathered, Rex led us down the elevators and through the halls to the exit area where we were among the first off the ship. 

Chewy and Abby walking off the ship

The dogs walking off the boarding area

In fact, I think Chewy was the actual first passenger off the ship! 

Chewy and Abby helping track down our luggage

8:05 a.m. collect luggage

The dog owners’ luggage was in a separate area from all the other passengers so we picked up our luggage and walked out the door.

8:07 a.m. get taxi

We walked out the doors of the terminal and found a van taxi which had space for the dogs to lay on the floor and had the taxi driver take us to our rental car office where we picked up a car and headed out into Southampton.

8:20 a.m. finding a park for two very happy dogs to run and stretch their legs

Post-trip at the New Forest


New Forest dogs
The dogs at New Forest

Obviously, once we arrived in England, we could have gone anywhere, but we decided to spend two nights at a hotel within easy reach of Southampton so that we could get a lot of logistical tasks accomplished, such as finding a SIM card for our cell phone, getting an internet MiFi stick, taking the dogs to the vet to get their pet passports filled in, and finding dog food and dog treats for them, before we headed off into the countryside.  Of course, if you are directly heading up to London, you can accomplish all these things there, but we planned to spend our time in England in the Cotswolds and Cornwall, both rural areas, so we needed those two days near a big city.

Ormonde House Hotel

Ormonde House Hotel

We stayed at the Ormonde House Hotel, a quaint bed and breakfast directly across the street from the amazing New Forest.  The New Forest is a huge parkland that is, actually, not very new --- it was used by the old monarchs as hunting and game land and is now protected forestland. 

New Forest New Forest

New Forest

After seven days in tight quarters on the ship, the dogs adored running through the beautiful woods, watching the wild horses roam about the grasslands, and sniffing the cemetery stones in the ancient church.  We, likewise, appreciated the fast Internet, filling breakfast, large room and short walking distance to the small village to eat at the local restaurants.  The hotel is about a thirty minute drive from Southampton so we found it convenient to run our errands and return home in the afternoon to spend time amidst the trees.

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Next: Queen Mary 2 Kennels: Frequently Asked Questions

12/12/2011 04:44
That is so great that your disembarkation went so smoothly! Yay! Luv luv luv the New Forest. What a terrific place for a romp! And that B & B! So quaint and welcoming! :D Great place for peeps and doggies :D Mom always prefers to stay a B & Bs vs. hotels :) Glad you are having such a wonderful first dose of the English countryside! :D

Waggin at ya,
Roo's recent blog post: Meet Auntie Q!
12/14/2011 15:13
Roo, thanks! It was the BEST place for the dogs to unwind after their week on board the ship. And we love the English countryside - it's just amazing.
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07/01/2013 07:24
Jane E
Thanks so much for this. Am planning a long stay in UK and refuse to leave Archie in US. Will be traveling on my own and do not expect it to be easy, but your experience addresses many unknowns and is a great assist.
07/21/2013 16:58
Jane, I think you'll be surprised at how pet-friendly England is. I think you'll love it!
04/23/2017 16:55
Having brought my three dogs to USA from the U.K. Can I just say that there is no comparison to pet friendliness between the two places. We live on Long Island and we have yet to find a place that welcomes dogs off lead - other than dog parks which I dislike as the dog owners seem to have no interest in what their dogs are doing. In the U.K. there is so much open countryside where dogs are welcome and beaches in the winter months usually. Me and my dogs cannot wait to get back. I read with interest your blog about the QM2 and am seriously considering using this way to get my furry friends home. 🐶🐶🐶
01/15/2014 13:41

We are thinking of sailing from New York to Southampton with our cat. Are there separate facilities for cats? Did your dogs cope with you leaving them everyday in their crates? Our cat likes to walk on a leash but he wouldn't be happy with lots of dogs around, is there a separate outside area for cats?
05/07/2014 10:09
Alex, I'm so sorry for the very delayed response on this. There isn't a separate area for cats. The cats and dogs are generally mixed together, with the cats mostly kept indoors. If your cats are not very good with dogs, this may not be a good option.
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Akila writes. Patrick takes photos. Chewy eats. Abby runs. We live, love, and travel in this world.
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