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I take care of a dog on the world's largest cruise ship. Being the Chief Dog Officer is a dream job

18 Jan 2024
Elizabeth Wright

Did you know that there's a dog who lives onboard Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship, Icon of the Seas?

Rover and Allison

Rover is an adorable six-month-old golden retriever who lives onboard the massive cruise ship full-time with her handler Alison Hubble, whose job title is "Rover's Chief of Staff." 

During a recent webinar, Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service for Royal Caribbean International, had the opportunity to chat with Hubble while hanging out in an Icon Loft Suite

Before they began their conversation, however, Freed gave some insight into how the idea of having a dog on a cruise ship was conceptualized. 


Believe it or not, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley thought having a dog onboard would be great for guests and crew. 

Behind Rover herself, Freed claimed that Hubble has the second-best job on the ship! 

Hubble began working with Royal Caribbean six years ago

When Hubble began working with Royal Caribbean, she was in the NextCruise department assisting guests with booking their next Royal Caribbean cruise vacation. 

Prior to this, she worked as a travel advisor on land. She helped people book with multiple cruise lines; however, roughly 80% of the calls were for Royal Caribbean. 

When she began applying for jobs on a cruise ship, which had always been a dream of hers, she only applied to Royal Caribbean. 

One day, she received an email from Royal Caribbean stating that they were searching for a caretaker for a dog living onboard a cruise ship


After putting her application together, Hubble began the rather long interview process in which she spent a lot of time talking about her first dog, an Australian Shepherd.

When she told her mom about the position, who then relayed the information to her sister, she said that Hubble had found her dream job. Her sister, however, replied that she already had one since she was working onboard a cruise ship. 

Her mother then explained the position and how she'd be responsible for a dog on a ship, and her sister quickly changed her mind, stating that the new position was, in fact, her dream job. 

Hubble has been with Rover for roughly one month


Icon of the Seas wasn't the first ship Rover stepped foot on. They began their journey together on Freedom of the Seas

Hubble recalled a day when Rover had a rough time gaining her sea legs!

In case you are wondering, Freed said that they do everything possible to make sure that they're abiding by the American Humane Society's guidelines to ensure that Rover has an amazing life. 

One of the most rewarding parts of her job is seeing how guests and crew react when they spot Rover 


Whenever Hubble and Rover have somewhere to be, she tries to leave a few minutes earlier than she would otherwise have to because everyone stops to pet and love on Rover. 

It's not hard to be obsessed with her, as she has such a great personality. Hubble said that she loves people and toys. She also loves to chase her tail, which is something Hubble hadn't actually seen before. To her, it is hilarious!

Some crew members haven't seen their dogs in months, with most guests having been separated for only a few days; however, everyone's reaction is always the same: everyone lights up when they see Rover. 


While walking through guest areas is important, Hubble does try to spend time with Rover in crew-only areas. She said that it's beautiful to see how crew members interact with her. 

Rover isn't on a strict schedule


Whenever Hubble is asked about when Rover will be available for meet and greets (and rubs), she cannot give a definitive answer. 

Why? Rover's schedule is up to her! It's not uncommon for her to take naps ranging from two to four hours! 

Speaking of sleeping, Rover sleeps with Hubble in her cabin. She is crate-trained and has a second crate in The Bridge, where she can hang out with the Captain, who happens to adore her!

Guests may be able to spot Rover while relaxing at Perfect Day at CocoCay


Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean's private resort-like destination in The Bahamas, is quickly becoming one of Rover's favorite places. 

Here, she can dig all the holes that she wants, as well as blow bubbles in the crystal clear Bahamian waters. 

While she's still a bit hesitant about actually swimming in the ocean, Hubble said she's getting closer with each visit. 

As Icon finally made her way into PortMiami on January 10, Rover was celebrating her six-month birthday


Have you ever attended a birthday party, let alone for a dog, at 6:45am? 

Rover's six-month birthday celebration was complete with the cutest cake, and while Rover couldn't have any herself, she was given some delicious pumpkin cupcakes and plenty of attention! 

While Freed thinks that every Royal Caribbean ship should have a dog onboard, for now, Icon of the Seas is the only ship in the fleet where you can meet a new furry friend. 

Icon of the Seas in Miami

If you're interested in following along with Rover's adventures, you can follow @chiefdogrover on Instagram. It's the official account of the Chief Dog Officer that's run by Hubble!

Elizabeth graduated from New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute with her M.A. in Journalism in May 2023. Growing up, she had the privilege of traveling frequently with her family and fell in love with cruising after sailing on the Oasis of the Seas her freshman year of high school. She wanted to pursue a career that highlighted her passion for travel and strengths as a writer. 

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