Category Archives: Traveling by ferry

A Ferry to Greece

Greece is the place to go during holidays: seaside, culture and excellent food. Why don’t share this pleasure with our “pets friends”?

If your pet is microchipped (or has a tatoo) and has its pet passport, then it fill all requirements to enter the Country.

Flights (at least, from Italy) are not that cheap. But ferries can be a nice alternative. I had travelled twice with Minoan Lines from Italy to Greece as a foot passenger: great experiences. So I have checked on the company’s website to see if pets were allowed on board:

PETSPets travel free of charge in specially designated kennels on the ship’s deck. Pets are not allowed in indoor public areas or cabins. Pet owners are responsible for feeding and pet hygiene. Pet owners are required to have their pet’s valid health papers with them.

I have called the company and they added pets have a dedicated area, “The Dog’s Village”. Fine then.

But, as soon on board, I have realized that the Dog’s Village was occupied by deck passengers and hence dogs could stay exclusively inside their kennels. Furthermore, kennels available were not enough for all dogs on board and they were globally dirty.

On the other hand, tolerance on board was quite high. Even though pets were not allowed to enter inside the ship, many pet owners took their pets in indoor areas and no one ever asked them to respect the rules.

Deck passengers could sleep in indoor areas even with their pets and I have heard many dogs barking from cabins.

Kennels and Dog’s Village were already enough to think that traveling by Minoan Lines with a pet was not a good idea, but the real problem for Argo was.. the toilet. I assume that the Dog’s Village was the area dogs could use as “restroom” but it was completely “out of service”.

The rest of the ship was windy, noisy, crowded. Argo finally did what he needed to but others passengers looked at him (and at me) as we were totally impolite. I wish I could explain them that there was no other solution but I was so ashamed I just wanted to hide myself.

In order to calm down Argo during this 26 hours travel, I have used Bach Flowers Drops. This natural remedy makes that pets are less exited than usual but not sedate. I think now that combination of Bach Flowers, stress and the fact he could not urinate as he needed eventually has some hallucinatory effects: when he was running on the deck he started to bark insistently to a couple, then to everyone, and he seemed to be pretty aggressive. Then he stopped, and returned to be the dog I know.

by Charles Rassaert. All rights reserved.

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Ireland, the place you can’t leave behind

Leaving Ireland with a pet is a nightmare.

Or, better, leaving Ireland with a pet and without a car is almost impossible.

We first called Brittany Ferries because we thought it was pretty obvious to travel by ferry back to France with our dog. I have spoken with someone in the Cork office and the answer has been something like: “Foot passengers can’t bring a dog on board, if you don’t know what to do, well, swim or stray it!”… and she hanged down the phone. Enough to be upset.

I tried with Air Lingus, the only company besides Ryan Air (not pet-friendly by policy) traveling at that time between Ireland and France, but they told that airplanes available to serve that trip were too small to accept pets on board. No way then.

Checked with almost all ferry companies from Ireland to France and it was impossible as foot passenger. Checked with all “rent a car” companies to see if I could rent one in Cork and drop it off in France and it was impossible as well.

We first thought to travel to Belfast, pick up a car in Cork, dropping it off in Belfast, take a ferry to Liverpool as UK ferries allows foot passengers to travel with pets and rent a third car to Dover where someone from my boyfriend’s family would have come to pick us up.

Finally we discover that Stella Lines ferries, serving from Rosslare to Fishguard in Wales, allowed foot passengers with pets.

We rent then a car in Cork, travel with a friend to Rosslare (so that pick up and drop off have been both in Cork), take a Stella Line ferry to Fishguard, rent a car there and take advantage of this forced trip to visit Wales. A stop in Cardiff sleeping at The Big Sleep Hotel, pet friendly, and than driving to Eastbourne (another big sleep in The Big Sleep Hotel) to be ready to drop off the car and take the ferry the day after.

My boyfriend’s family has been equally asked to drive from Paris to Calais, take a ferry to Dover, pick us up and then re-take the ferry back to France.

An odyssey but quite inconsistent in the end. Calling local authorities and ferry companies I discovered that if my Argo was not vaccinated against rabies but we were traveling by car and not planning to return in Ireland or in the UK, then he could have traveled outside the country without that much troubles.

Our trip has been quite nice in the end, but we keep a bad taste in our mouth because of those insistent comments about straying our dog … 

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