The world’s 2nd largest cruise company by passenger market share, Royal Caribbean, will no longer allow cruise passengers to bring emotional support animals aboard its ships.
The change is effective immediately, but in case passengers made reservations to sail with their emotional support animals before July 30, 2018 they will still be allowed onboard. Subsequent reservations will not accommodate them.
The cruise line did not immediately respond to issues regarding why this change was made, or whether this policy would apply to other lines owned by parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises, like Celebrity Cruises. The company noted in its blog post that emotional support animals were not protected by Americans with Disabilities Act, unlike service animals like seeing-eye dogs.
A spokesperson for NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line) said that it also did not accept emotional support animals onboard its vessels. Carnival Corporation does not allow emotional support animals either. Like Norwegian, service animals that are trained and certified as defined by U.S. Department of Justice can accompany guests on Carnival ships.
A number of airlines, including American, Alaska, Delta and United, have tightened their rules surrounding this kind of animals, which have been known to relieve themselves and bite passengers on planes. A young girl was injured on a flight of Southwest Airlines in February after an altercation with emotional support dog.