Queen Mary 2 Kennels: Southampton Embarkation

Southampton from the Queen Mary 2

Southampton from the Queen Mary 2

If you've read my whole spiel about embarking in New York on the Queen Mary 2 for the dogs to stay in the kennels, then you'll know that I was worried about how our Southampton embarkation would work out.  Well, Southampton was a breeze!

 Queen Mary 2 Southampton Queen Mary 2 Southampton 
 Queen Mary 2 Southampton  Queen Mary 2 Southampton

Leaving Southampton

Pre-Arrival Tasks

Morning walk: Unlike embarkation on the New York side, Cunard does not give pet travelers early check in on the Southampton side.  But , it turns out that I actually preferred it that way.  We drove into Southampton and walked the dogs at around 12:00 in the afternoon at Green Park, which is directly off the A33.

Drop off rental car and provide luggage to porters:  Patrick dropped me and the dogs off at the Cunard terminal with our luggage and then drove to Hertz to drop off the rental car.  The rental car office is within 10 minutes of the Cunard terminal.

*Note: Please make sure that you set aside enough time to arrive at Southampton.  One family who was supposed to be on our ship with their dog planned to take the train from London to Southampton that morning.  Unfortunately, the train was delayed by almost three hours and they missed boarding and check in.  We stayed about an hour away from Southampton and drove in but there are plenty of lovely hotels right in Southampton where you can spend the night with your dog. 

Jojo with dogs

Jojo, the kennelmaster, and three of Chewy's and Abby's playmates

At the Southampton Cunard Terminal

We arrived at the Southampton Cunard Terminal at around 1:00, which worked perfectly because the ship left port at around 5:00 p.m. 

The Southampton Cruise Terminal is a gorgeous light filled building in steel and gray.  We pulled our car around and the porters helped us take our luggage out and stack them in the various areas.  Unlike New York, the Southampton cruise terminal has a HUGE drop off area for cars so we didn't feel like we were being rushed.  In fact, we were even able to rearrange some of our luggage while the porter helped hold Abby.

I sat on the bottom floor with Chewy and Abby while I waited for Patrick to return from the car office.  The bottom floor is primarily a waiting area and very large, so, it is a good calm place to sit with your dogs if you need a few minutes to get reorganized.

Once Patrick arrived, we took the elevator upstairs.  (Most guests will take the escalators up to the second floor).  The second floor is spacious and brightly lit with plenty of seating.  Since we had the dogs, we went through the Cunard VIP line, where there was no wait, and they checked us into our stateroom very quickly.  We waited for Jojo, the Kennelmaster, to come and bring us up to the kennels.

Chewy and Abby on board the QM2 Chewy on the QM2
Facilities for dogs on the QM2 Kennels on the QM2
Chewy and Abby on the QM2 Dogs on the QM2

Facilities on board the QM2 kennels

On Board the Queen Mary 2

At around 3:00, Jojo took us and one other family with two cats up through the ramp, across the dining room, and up the elevators to the 12th floor kennels.  We got Chewy and Abby settled and went down to have a late lunch and enjoy our room.

By the time we had unpacked, we were ready to go back up to the 12th floor to see the dogs again.

This decision to check in late made the whole day much much less stressful, by the way.  We were only away from the dogs for about an hour or two rather than the five hours when we boarded in New York.  I highly recommend checking in at around 2:00 from Southampton.

Jojo with the dogs Chewy on the QM2
Dogs on the QM2 Dog on the QM2
Dog on the QM2 Cat on the QM2

Chewy's and Abby's fellow boarders

From around 4:00 to 6:00, we hung out with the dogs and explained the dogs' food preferences to Jojo as we watched the ship depart from Southampton (much much less dramatic than the Brooklyn departure with the Statue of Liberty in the background).  The weather was pretty chilly and, unlike the Brooklyn departure where a band played in front of the pool, there were very few people who watched us leave from Southampton.  The dogs ate and then we put them back in their crates. 

This time around, we opted for the early dinner seating which we found to be a much easier schedule to optimize spending time with the dogs.  The kennel visiting hours are:

8:00 - 11:00
12:00 - 12:30
3:00 - 6:00
8:00 - 8:30

We found it easy to go and visit the dogs until 5:30, change for dinner, eat dinner, and come back up at 8:00 to visit them again.  When we had the late dinner seating, we found that we occasionally had to skip the 8:00 visiting hour which made us sad because then we couldn't say good night to the pups!

Next up: disembarkation in New York.

Note: This post was brought to you by the lovely folks at Cunard.  Click here for more information about Cunard.  As always, all opinions on this blog are mine and mine alone, regardless of sponsorship.  We really do think that the Queen Mary 2 is the best way to transport pets overseas!

09/18/2013 08:19
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Akila,

Can't wait to hear about how the return to Brooklyn went. If your US plans still include Asheville, as 30+ year residents we would be glad to share our knowledge of the area.
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07/16/2014 10:46
Hi Akila and Patrick,
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11/08/2014 12:45
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Hi there, have you written a post on disembarking in New York from Southampton yet? I am embarking on this journey with my pup and was wondering if it is stressful getting off the boat in New York and if you still get the VIP service!

Thanks for all the blogs :)

Morgan
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The dogs on the first picture are awesome, and they have such sweet shirts!
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Pet-Friendly Venice with Go With Oh

Chewy and Abby in Venice

Chewy, Abby, and me in Venice

We were told that Venice is one of the world's great pet-friendly cities because there are no cars.  Indeed, pets are everywhere in Venice, though it's primarily a small dog city.  We did a good bit of exploring with Chewy and Abby and we think they really enjoyed their time in the city of canals.

If you want a quick overview of our stay in Venice, check out this short video highlighting our trip with the pups in this beautiful city.

Chewy and Abby Trenitalia Us getting onto Trenitalia train
Us on the Trenitalia Parking lot

Train and parking lot

Arriving in Venice With Pets

Because cars are not allowed in Venice, there are only three main ways to bring pets into Venice:

(1) Park outside the city or in one of the city's parking lots and take the vaporetto (sea boat) or train

(2) Train into the city

(3) Fly into Venice and take a vaporetto (sea boat) or train

 

There are three main parking lots in Venice:

(a) Piazzale Roma: On the island of Venice, within a 10 minute walk to the Santa Lucia train station and vaporetto stop

(b) Tronchetto: On a separate island and you can take the People Mover into the island

(c) Mestre: On the mainland and about a 15 minute train ride into Venice

 

We decided to park in Mestre and found it to be very convenient with the dogs.  We parked for about 8 Euros per day, walked across the street, bought a ticket for us (4 Euros each) and a ticket for each of the dogs (2 Euros each), and waited for the train to Santa Lucia.  The train leaves every 10 minutes and the ride only takes about 15 minutes into the Santa Lucia train station, where it is very simple to take the vaporetto (or sea bus) to other areas.

Vaporetto signs

Getting on vaporetto with a dog
Vaporetto with dogs Vaporetto with dogs

Getting on a vaporetto with dogs

Getting Around Venice With Dogs

Once in Venice, the best way to get around is to walk or take the vaporetto.  The vaporetto is a sea bus which allows dogs, though dogs must be muzzled on board the vaporetto.  We never took Chewy and Abby on the vaporettos because they tended to be VERY crowded and neither of our dogs do well in crowds, but we saw other folks taking their dogs aboard the sea bus.  If your dog worries about crowds, then I would suggest trying to take the vaporetto either early in the morning or the middle of the day when crowds tend to be less.  Dogs travel free on the vaporettos.

 

Armonia Apartment Go With Oh Armonia Apartment Go With Oh
Armonia Apartment Go With Oh Armonia Apartment Go With Oh

Armonia Apartment with Go With Oh

Armonia Apartment with Go With Oh

We loved our stay at the Armonia Apartment with Go With Oh and highly recommend it for anyone with pets.  The Armonia Apartment is pet-friendly, large, and with a small terrace area for the dogs to sit outside.  There is a bedroom upstairs and a nice living area with a pull-out sofa bed downstairs. The owner, Guido, was very welcoming and showed us around the area, including showing us to a secret park (see below) that we frequently visited with the dogs.  Best of all, the apartment is in a very quiet neighborhood so it was easy for us to escape the hustle and bustle of Venice in this idyllic spot. 

Abby in a Venice park

Abby at the Jewish ghetto Abby in Venice
Abby in Venice Abby in Venice

Abby in Venice

Parks in Venice

The other reason that we loved the Armonia apartment is its location in the Cannaregio district.  The Cannaregio district encompasses the Jewish ghetto and is also the greenest part of Venice.  The apartment is within a short ten minute walk to three different parks.

Chewy and Abby in Venice Abby and Chewy with gondola
Chewy in Venice Chewy and Abby in Venice

Chewy and Abby in Cannaregio

Because the Cannaregio area is also less touristy, it's easy to get away from the crowds and let the dogs off leash.  Chewy and Abby had a blast exploring the neighborhood!

All in all, though it is a pain to get into Venice, we found it to be much more pet-friendly than we expected it to be, especially since there aren't many green spaces.

* Go With Oh Venice sponsored our stay in Venice at the beautiful Armonia Apartment.  Aside from Venice, Go With Oh also has apartments in many other cities, including Barcelona.  Though Go With Oh doesn't have as large an inventory of pet-friendly accommodations as some of the other big vacation rental companies, we were very impressed with the quality of these houses and appreciated that almost all of their pet-friendly accommodations are within a short walk of a park or a green space.  We highly recommend their site for those visiting one of the Go With Oh cities.  As always, regardless of sponsorships, all opinions are ours and ours alone.

09/18/2012 09:55
Venice looks like a great city to visit with dogs! I'm glad that you guys and Abby and Chewy are having fun.
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09/26/2012 11:19
The apartment looks really nice. Abby and Chewy seems to be enjoying the place. Luckily they're allowed on that sea bus. :)
10/19/2012 10:52
Mike
Akila and Patrick, I just want to thank you for this amazingly valuable website. The info you provide regarding traveling via the Queen Mary II is priceless. Yours really is one of the very few needles in the mega-haystack that is the internet.

Keep livin' the dream (and please keep bloggin' the blog)! :)
12/06/2012 15:24
Thank you so much Mike!
02/26/2013 02:48
Amy
Thanks for the information! It eases my mind. :) I know you said you didn't use the vaporetto, but do you know by any chance if the dogs need a pet passport?
03/05/2013 12:34
They don't need a pet passport once inside Venice but they need one to get into the Schengen areas (for example, if coming in from Croatia to Slovenia.)
04/02/2013 11:15
Taking my dog to Venice! What a beautiful travel dream, thanks for the fab inspiration!
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Pet-Friendly Tuscany: Roberto Ciulli Gardens

Chewy at Roberto Ciulli Gardens

Chewy at Roberto Ciulli Park

It has been far, far too long since I've updated this blog, not because of lack of posting material, but because we've been seeing and doing so much.  In the last two months, we've traveled like a whirlwind and the dogs have gone through towns, cities, and countryside.  But, back in October (yes, I know that was almost a year ago, now), we took the dogs to Tuscany and, one afternoon, we explored the Roberto Ciulli Park.

Roberto Ciulli Park Roberto Ciulli Park
Abby at Roberto Ciulli park
Abby at Roberto Ciulli Park Chewy at Roberto Ciulli Park
 Chewy at Roberto Ciulli Park 
 Roberto Ciulli Park  Roberto Ciulli Park

The dogs at Roberto Ciulli Park

The park is located outside of the town of Monticiano and is simply a huge expanse of land with sculptures and artwork facing one of the most stunning views Tuscany has to offer.  On the day we went there, the four of us were the only ones exploring the park . . . and, in the hour we spent there, we rarely saw another car drive by the lonely road.  It's a great place to get some very unique pictures of Tuscany.

Location: Roberto Ciulli Park, off the main road of Strada Vicinale Della Merese in Monticiano (53015) in the region of Tuscany

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08/11/2012 06:00
Fascinating sculptures! So nice the park was uninhabited so you could all enjoy some uninterrupted romp time together :D
Such amazing adventures you are having!
Thanks for the update :D

Waggin at ya,
Roo
Roo's recent blog post: Spectator Fare
09/02/2012 15:35
Thanks so much Roo!
09/10/2012 03:25
this is a very good garden and place for dogs and other pets to enjoy. Dogs are the home animals. A quality fun time is require to them to spend a good time.
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Those sculptures looks really funny. We can see that dogs sniffing around it and running away. It is nice to see these clicks and the photographer did a great job. I have never heard about this park even though it is few miles away from my apartment.
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Pet-Friendly Rome: Apartment and Parks

Rome Piazza Navona

Piazza Navona

Ah, Rome . . . magical, wonderful, impossible to hate.  This was one of the cities we were most excited about traveling with Chewy and Abby because we knew that Rome is an incredibly pet-friendly city.  And, yes, it was!

Rome apartment

Rome apartment Rome apartment
Rome apartment Rome apartment

Roman Nest Apartment

We LOVED our Rome apartment.  This gorgeous and spacious two bedroom and two bath apartment included a small kitchen, blazing fast Internet (a rarity in Italy), and a lovely small private garden which was perfect for early morning dog necessities and for us to eat lunch on sunny afternoons.  Surprisingly, there is free street parking right in front of the house so we were able to park our car for the entire stay and used the car to take the dogs to the park every morning (more on the park below.)

To get to the major tourist sites, we took the bus directly across the road from the apartment.  During peak hours, we usually didn't have to wait for the bus for more than five minutes and we were at Piazza Navona and Campo de Fiori within 15 minutes.  In non-peak hours, the bus was not very frequent so keep that in mind when planning your schedule.  The house is a 10 minute walk to Vatican City or you can take the bus and be there in less than 5 minutes.  The metro is down the hill to the right hand side (a bit tricky to find the first time) but very convenient to get to the Colosseum and other major sites on the Metro line. 

Lastly, Maria and her husband were wonderful hosts and made us feel so welcome in our apartment.  They were so excited to meet the dogs and pet them and we absolutely loved staying at their place.  We highly, highly recommend this house as an excellent pet-friendly (and human-friendly) option in Rome.

 

 

Chewy at Villa Doria Pamphilj

Us at the Villa Doria Pamphilj Chewy at Villa Doria Pamphilj
Abby at Villa Doria Pamphilj Water fountain at Villa Doria Pamphilj
Chewy at Villa Doria Pamphilj

Villa Doria Pamphilj

Villa Doria Pamphilj, the largest park in Rome, is a short five minute drive from our Rome apartment and we took the dogs out there every morning for a walk in the beautiful greenspace.  Villa Doria Pamphilj is a dog haven and Chewy and Abby met many, many Roman dogs while we were there.  The only negative about this park is that parking can be a bit tough.  There is one small parking lot at the southern entrance of the park and street parking, but the street is VERY busy so be careful when taking your dogs to this park.

Dog parking

Dog parking in front of a Roman grocery store

A note on general attitudes toward dogs in Rome

Romans love dogs.  Like much of western Europe, dogs are allowed inside the Metro (though not on escalators), in many apartment rentals and hotels, and inside many restaurants.  We found "dog parking" stations across Rome where people parked their dog while shopping inside a non-pet-friendly store. 

However, all this being said, Rome is not a particularly easy city to navigate with dogs, in part because it is so big and bustling and, unlike Barcelona and Madrid, there aren't many neighborhood parks.  Most dogs do their business on the street which can make for some tricky maneuvering (always watch those shoes!) though most locals have a car which they use to bring their dogs to Villa Doria Pamphilj or the Villa Borghese.

As in other parts of Italy, dogs are usually kept off-leash in parks.  If you plan to walk with your dog off-leash, I recommend keeping them on tight voice control because Roman parks and piazzas tend to be busy all day long.

Unfortunately, we didn't have much time in Rome so we weren't able to take Chewy and Abby to visit the Colosseum or any of the other big attractions but we definitely want to take them back with us to beautiful Rome!

05/31/2012 06:48
Hi! I just found your site. We're living in Italy and wanted to start taking our dog with us on trips. I'm so happy to see first-hand tales of your experiences! Can't wait to read more!
jessica lynn's recent blog post: Amalfi Coast, Italy (sneak peek)
07/05/2012 08:29
Jessica, Thanks! We've been very busy the last few months so I haven't had much of a chance to update this site I've got so much good info about traveling in Europe with pets. Italy's such a pet-friendly place, isn't it?
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Colina
Are you still updating this site? I am so interested how everything was in Turkey, how was Germany and France, and some places you stayed. I ask because I will be schlepping .mh dog to southwestern Germany soon. Plus, I like reading about traveling with dogs. Keep it up if you have time. Cheers.
09/02/2012 15:34
Colina, Thanks for your question. We are still updating the site but the last few months have been crazy busy and I haven't had the chance to focus on this site as much as I would like. Turkey actually turned out to be relatively pet-friendly, actually, and I wrote a bit about it on our other site here: http://www.theroadforks.com/worldtrip/turkey/wild_dogs_of_turkey

I'll be writing more about our experiences in Turkey and in France sometime this fall. Thanks for asking!
03/29/2016 00:24
Kristi
Germany and Austria are ridiiiculously dog-friendly... You can take 'em pretty much anywhere, including indoor restaurants and public transportation and a lotta tourist sites. Honestly, their attitude towards doggies is one of the reasons I'm gunning to move there! I'm from New York City, which is pretty dog-friendly, but it constantly pisses me off I can't take her into restaurants or grocery stores or on the subway. The one hilarious thing about Germany/Austria was that the ONE place you can't bring 'em is public parks!! But they're not fenced anyway, so it's not like they could romp safely off-leash.

Questions about Rome (and Italy in general)...
- Do the street dogs ever mess with respectful, fixed, leashed critters?
- Does anyone have any experience regarding the procuring of special-diet dog food? My baby-girl can't have chicken or beef and is on a limited-ingredient "kangaroo" cuisine... Does Italy have Petco-like supply stores with specialty foods and the like?
08/26/2015 06:13
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09/30/2015 02:18
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10/21/2015 00:46
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A simple apartment to rent is all that a tourist wants in a foreign country. After all, if a apartment is equipped with working appliances in the kitchen and maybe an AC device is perfect. At home, you can resort to different services to renovate your house, to clean it, to change something in it, like the air filter cabinets, but here you should be glad that you have found an adequate, clean and very simple apartment to be accommodated during your vacation.
10/22/2015 11:07
Kate
Your accommodation was really nice, you were lucky to find a two bedroom and two bath apartment so close to the city center. Was there an air jet tub in one of the bathrooms? If there was, it surely helped you relax after a full day of visiting Rome.
12/03/2015 07:01
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If you would have visited Rome with your pet ten years ago, things wouldn't have been this great. Now, more and more apartment owners are designing them to be pet-friendly. If you want to know more, you can ask a surveyor Woodlands TX to provide some information regarding the papers you need for this kind of building.
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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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