Taking the Stena Line Ferry from Great Britain to Northern Ireland with a dog

While international traveling with pet has been impacted by changes due to Covid-19 and Brexit, those who are still keen to travel with their four-legged friends still have many options.

If you live in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and you want to cross the Irish Sea with your furry pal, then read on.

The Stena Line Ferry

Recently, my dog and I took the ferry headed toward Belfast. We booked our ticket via the Stena Line website and drove up to Cairnryan, a village in Scotland. Cairnryan has a port and from that port we embarked on the Stena Line ferry.

The check-in process is quite straightforward and there’s no need for passports or even pet passports since you are traveling to Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

After waiting for our ferry within the reception building, we boarded the ferry, guided by Stena Line personnel and then parked the car.

In the reception building at the Stena Line port

Securing your pet in the ferry

The Stena Line ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast includes kennels which are located in the car decks. However, it is important to note that these are open kennels within the car deck and are not inside of a dedicated kennel room like the kennels in the Stena Line Hoek of Holland to Harwich ferries.

According to the website, passengers┬ácan pre-book a kennel on the “Stena Plus & Onboard Extras” step of the booking process.

Small pets are permitted onboard if they are secured for the duration of the crossing in a pet traveller case (max. size: 80cm x 52cm x 52cm, pets cannot be taken out of the container anywhere onboard including the outer decks) but must be pre-booked prior to traveling as a limited number of carrier cases are allowed onboard each sailing.

The kennels can be pre-booked at no extra charge or if you prefer, your pet can remain in the vehicle for the duration of the crossing.

Foot passengers may pre-book a kennel or bring small pets onboard at no additional cost if they are secured for the duration of the crossing at all times in their own pet carrier case (max. size: 80cm x 52cm x 52cm) – otherwise passengers will be asked to place the carrier case on the car deck in the dedicated kennel area for the duration of the crossing.

The duration of the crossing ranges from 2 hours and 15 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Once the ferry has reached Belfast, Stena Line personnel will announce that passengers can go to the deck and from there you can be reunited with your pet in either the kennels or in your car.

If your dog is in the car, be sure to provide them with access to water and crack the windows open so they can have some air.

Arriving in Belfast. This is a landmark in the city, where the Titanic was built

While in the outdoor deck kennels, be sure they also have access to water and are comfortable. I would suggest to leave them with a pillow or blanket.

Check out the video below for more information on the Stena Line Ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast.


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