Struggling to figure out the dos and don’ts of ferry travel with your faithful mutt? We’re here to give you the lowdown on everything you need to know, to ensure the whole process is, ahem, smooth sailing…
How Does It Work?
Most ferry companies allow the carriage of pets for a small fee, but every ferry line is a little different. The length and type of crossing will determine exactly how your animal has to be stored.
Below, you can find an outline of exactly what it is you need to know before travelling. We’ve focussed on mainland Europe, Ireland, The Isle of Wight and The Channel Islands. To make it as simple as possible, we’ll go through the info ferry line by ferry line.
More often than not, ferries travelling to Europe only allow dogs travelling within a vehicle, rather than those travelling with passengers on foot. All journeys require your pet to be part of the ‘Pet Passport’ scheme.
With many route between The UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Denmark, Stena Line is a great choice for travel. Pets can either make the journey in your car or in the ship’s kennel facilities, but are not allowed on passenger decks or in cabins, so it’s best to visit them to make sure they’re comfortable.
If you have any more specific questions, you can find all the info you need at Stena Line’s full FAQs.
Similarly to Stena, pets must travel with a vehicle. Here’s a bit more of a breakdown on the specific journeys.
Dover to Calais: Travellers with dogs need to check in at 1 hour 30 minutes before departure. The cost is around £15 per animal.
Hull to The Netherlands: Early check-in is required on this route too, and all animals must be kept in their air-conditioned kennels, for a fee of £17.
Depending on the destination, pets can travel in your car, in the ships kennels or in a pet-friendly cabin – as long as they booked in advance.
- UK – France – £16.50
- France – UK – £24.75
- UK – Spain – £29.50
- Spain – UK – £39.50
No bedding is provided and muzzles are compulsory, so please keep those details in mind when you travel.
You can see the full details on each individual travel routes here.
Pets onboard Condor Ferries must travel with a vehicle, and are required to stay within the vehicle at all times. The cost is £25 for a return journey. As you have to leave your car you must make sure your pet has everything it needs for the crossing, although you can organise visits to the car deck with a member of the crew. Visits are subject to weather conditions. Read more here.
Prices and requirements differ across all routes provided by DFDS, so it’s best to check it out for yourself. You can find all the info just here.
If you’re travelling with a pet, you must make an advance booking and declare animals when making the reservation. Policies vary slightly, but you’ll be advised at the time of booking.
Pets must make the journey in a vehicle, and you can take a maximum of 4 animals with you. More info here.
Dogs crossing the Irish sea with Stena Line can travel free of charge! Again, they must spend the duration of the journey in your car (except on the Belfast to Liverpool crossing, which requires that they be stored in the on-board kennels and costs an additional £15). Full details on
Pets can travel free of charge with either car or foot passengers, but all must be kept in either your car, the kennels or a suitable pet carrier that will be kept on the car deck for the crossing. Here are the details: https://www.irishferries.com/uk-en/frequently-asked-questions/top-10-faqs/pets-ireland-britain-routes/
The Isle of Wight
Dogs travel free on Wightlink Ferries and do not need to be booked in. There are no kennels, so animals need containers or need to be properly restrained. You can also leave your dog in the car, but be aware that you are not allowed to be in the car during crossing. There is also a dedicated pet lounge for those crossing with dogs. Check out the full website: http://www.wightlink.co.uk/go/travelling-by-ferry-with-your-pet/
Again, there’s no charge for dogs on the Red Funnel routes, as long as they abide by the rules of the ship. Here are the full details: https://www.redfunnel.co.uk/en/isle-of-wight-ferry/dog-friendly-travel/
Hovertravel is probably your best option with dogs being permitted to travel with foot passengers. However, they must be kept on a lead and must not go on the passenger seats. There is no charge for dogs, but there will be a penalty fare if dogs foul on the craft, pad or terminal.
The Channel Islands
Pets may travel to the Channel Islands for free if they remain within vehicles. Foot passengers can also bring pets, but they must be housed in an RSPCA approved pet carrier, and will remain on a designated area in the car deck for the crossing. The cost for pets accompanying foot passengers is £10 each way. More info here: https://www.condorferries.co.uk/advice-info/travelling-with-pets/.