Marketwatch.com reports: “Royal Caribbean International, the world’s second largest cruise line by number of passengers, will no longer allow travelers to bring their emotional support animals with them aboard its ships, effective immediately, a cruise industry blog first reported Tuesday.
If passengers made reservations to sail with emotional support animals before July 30, they will still be allowed on board, but subsequent reservations won’t accommodate them.” — Marketwatch report
The cruise line cites that emotional support animals are not recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
What are emotional support animals?
Wikipedia defines them as…”typically dogs, but sometimes cats or other animals, may be used by people with a range of physical, psychiatric, or intellectual disabilities. In order to be prescribed an emotional support animal the person seeking such an animal must have a verifiable disability.”
And what are service animals?
According to ServiceDogCertifications: “The ADA also has a strict definition for service animals. They are defined as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people living with disabilities”.
These tasks may include things like alerting people who are deaf, guiding people who are visually impaired, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during an anxiety attack, reminding someone to take prescription medications, or protecting a person who is experiencing a seizure.
Service dogs are working animals – not pets. They must be trained to perform a task that is directly related to the handler’s disability. The ADA does not recognize dogs who solely provide emotional support or comfort as service animals.” — Service Dog Certifications
Royal Caribbean is not the only company enforcing stricter policies in regards to emotional animals. Southwest Airlines recently enacted the same policy. Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Lines do not accept emotional support animals onboard its ships either.
This may impact cruise goers who seek to take their animals with them. The cruise line feels as though that by denying emotional support animals, they are providing all guests a more enjoyable vacation.