Royal Caribbean will no longer allow emotional support animals on its cruises, the cruise line has confirmed to Travel Agent. Going forward, emotional support animals will not be able to be added to existing or new reservations. Confirmed guests who already have emotional support animals noted in their reservation, however, will still be permitted to bring the animal.
Royal Caribbean also noted that its policy remains the same for service animals traveling with guests that have a physical or non-physical disability.
“We are updating the policy to differentiate emotional support animals from service animals that are trained to perform a function for a person with a disability,” the cruise line explained in a statement provided to Travel Agent. “It is important to us that all of our guests enjoy their vacation, which is why we put into practice this new policy.”
Emotional support animals have been a hot topic in the travel industry lately, particularly with respect to air travel. The major legacy carriers, American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta, have all issued policy updates regarding emotional support animals over the past few months, often with requirements such as advance notice and documentation certifying that the animal is properly trained. The airlines said that the policy changes were necessary due to an uptick in onboard incidents involving emotional support animals, with American reporting a 40 percent jump in such incidents between 2016 and 2017. Service animals, which undergo additional training, typically have different requirements regarding advance notice and documentation under the new policies.