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Royal Banning Emotional Support Animals


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I am surprised no one has commented yet on Matt's latest bit of news (or did I miss it?) Royal has made the distinction between certified service animals and what some people claim to be emotional support animals and has banned the latter from all ships. 

Hopefully the people that truly need these great service animals actually have  easy access to certifications for them if that is what will be needed to be approved by RCL before boarding. I can't say I'll miss the little dressed up dogs in strollers, but at the same time I wouldn't want to make  things harder for those who legitimately need the service animals.

Curious as to what everyone thinks. 

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I think there are legitimately people who need emotional support animals and like you I hope they are able to continue to have access to them, however, I think the whole concept has been massively  abused by a lot of people who just want to take their pets along.

We have a running joke about it at my office ... we kidded about "emotional support llama's" come to find out there is such a thing .... WTF ?? Moved on to emotional support dinosaurs as our running gag ... guess what ... that's a thing too ...

 

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38 minutes ago, Skid said:

Royal has made the distinction between certified service animals and what some people claim to be emotional support animals and has banned the latter from all ships. 

Emotional support animals are not recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Royal is following the law to the letter in differentiating emotional support animals from service animals that are trained and certified to perform a function for a person with a disability, such as a blind man walking with his trained eye-seeing dog. They are updating their policy as other travel outlets have done recently.

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1 hour ago, jticarruthers said:

I think there are legitimately people who need emotional support animals and like you I hope they are able to continue to have access to them

Service animals that have been trained to perform a task are still allowed.  Providing comfort/emotional support isn't a task an animal has been trained for, that's the main distinction.

34 minutes ago, monctonguy said:

As per usual......it take a few to ruin it for the rest of us.

Hopefully this is enough to curtail the abusers who are just ordering a vest and certificate online so they can bring Fluffy.  The current laws are meant to make it easier for people with legitimate disabilities and needs to get by without being harassed and challenged constantly.  Businesses aren't allowed to ask what a person's disability is or why they need a service animal, it'd be like asking somebody if they really need that wheelchair or are they just lazy.  People with disabilities put up with enough crap that they shouldn't have to deal with a problem caused by selfish and overly entitled jerks.

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49 minutes ago, monctonguy said:

As per usual......it takes a few to ruin it for the rest of us.

I know, they won't let me bring my emotional support alligator on the air plane anymore.  He used to fit under the seat but I guess since he's 8 feet now the over head was the only place.

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14 minutes ago, jurrjurr said:

On paper they are banning the emotional support animals.  But in practice, will they refuse a Pinnacle level cruiser their pet at the terminal?  Will Royal turn a blind eye to this as they do with the case of water?  It's not worth the time or effort for them to challenge

There will be a set policy on what they ask and how they ask it at the terminal, and they need to stick to that for all guests, or they open themselves up to charges of discriminating against the disabled & ADA violations.  If a Pinnacle guest wants to lie, that's on them.  All they can really do is ask the question.

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1 hour ago, Orange Crush said:

There will be a set policy on what they ask and how they ask it at the terminal, and they need to stick to that for all guests, or they open themselves up to charges of discriminating against the disabled & ADA violations.  If a Pinnacle guest wants to lie, that's on them.  All they can really do is ask the question.

Actually, Royal can require the passenger to prove their disability, which is allowed under the color of law. The burden of proof falls on the passenger and not on Royal.  For example, a blind man with his eye-seeing assisted dog will still need assistance boarding. In this example, when booking and/or during boarding, the passenger will provide the same proof as before the policy change. But, I wouldn't pass the few that would try and either circumvent this policy and/or play childish games. I see it all the time in Guest Services (i.e., those who complain about everything just to either get a fee waived and/or to get something free.).

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Matt got a little publicity in the Fox article: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2018/08/15/emotional-support-animals-face-restrictions-in-southwest-airlines-royal-caribbean-cruises-reports-say.html

"For travel by sea, cruise ships are tightening restrictions on ESAs, with Royal Caribbean prohibiting all emotional support animals aboard its international ships effective immediately, according to Miami's WFOR-TV and the Royal Caribbean blog, an unaffiliated industry site."

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3 hours ago, Orange Crush said:

Providing comfort/emotional support isn't a task an animal has been trained for, that's the main distinction.

I'm not entirely certain this is a valid statement. Without going into the specifics, suffice to say that members of my family have had exposure to such animals (dogs), and when I spoke with the handler he indicated the dogs are specially trained to remain calm at all times, under a variety of circumstances that would normally cause stress to the animal, so that they never reacted in a negative way that could in turn negatively affect the people around it. I was also told that they are not allowed to let just any individual to pat them or engage with them as they walk by, their use was restricted to certain areas and the people within them.

So a true "therapy service" animal is still something that I definitely does require some special training, and may have a certification to back that up. But it certainly doesn't apply to the people who want to bring their "therapy chicken" onto the plane or ship.

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4 hours ago, monctonguy said:

 

I think that in this case its the mass abuse of this service that led to royal taking action my apologies to the people in need but I have had the unfortunate experience of having one of these in a room close to mine that yapped for hours as I found out later while the emotionally needy person was in the pub on the promenade in the business I was in we had a surge of emotional support animals for a while till we required proof of need usually by a doctor and the numbers dwindled quickly I am told the little coats the animals wear are available multiple places on the internet 

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Can anyone explain to me how/ why Royal gets to pick and chose which laws of the United States apply to them and when???

Here they are citing the ADA; yet they don’t feel minimum wage applies to them. Another example, they fly under a Bahamian flag and are really incorporated in Africa yet they have no problem calling the US Coast Guard every time there is a problem at sea even while in International waters. I don’t get it....

The reality is the more Royal has raised their prices the more finicky customers they are going to attract. 

I wish Royal would adopt the same pet policy Cunard uses for its trans Atlantic sailings. You can bring your pet and it’ll cost about $800US. Your pet is boarded in their kennel area, has some type of attendant, and you are only allowed to socialize with your pet in a certain designated room; they are not permitted in any other areas; even staterooms.

 

 

 

 

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17 minutes ago, bobroo said:

Can anyone explain to me how/ why Royal gets to pick and chose which laws of the United States apply to them and when???

Here they are citing the ADA; yet they don’t feel minimum wage applies to them. Another example, they fly under a Bahamian flag and are really incorporated in Africa yet they have no problem calling the US Coast Guard every time there is a problem at sea even while in International waters. I don’t get it....

The reality is the more Royal has raised their prices the more finicky customers they are going to attract. 

I wish Royal would adopt the same pet policy Cunard uses for its trans Atlantic sailings. You can bring your pet and it’ll cost about $800US. Your pet is boarded in their kennel area, has some type of attendant, and you are only allowed to socialize with your pet in a certain designated room; they are not permitted in any other areas; even staterooms.

 

 

 

 

To put it in layman's terms:

a) Royal is also incorporated in the U.S.A. as a foreign corporation. 

b) Any company, not just Royal, can apply the color of law within legal boundaries and even relax them as they see fit within the same legal boundaries. International, Marinetime, Conventions and other laws all play into this. Too much to explain and would probably put some to sleep.

c) It is important to Royal that everyone enjoys their vacation. Hence, this new policy.  At the end, Royal Caribbean’s policy remains the same for service animals traveling with guests that have a physical or non-physical disability.

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People abuse the system all the time.  A former neighbor claimed support animal so he wouldn't have to pay pet rent.  I drove him to pick up his puppy from the breeder.  It wasn't trained at anything, it was a ten week old puppy.   Sure enough though, he didn't have to pay pet fees.  With the talk of more restrictions coming, a year later he signed up for a 4 hour session that provided a whimsical certificate so that he could argue the dog had received professional support animal training.  It was basically a play session with other dogs or so he told me as he encouraged me to follow suit.

There have been many incidents reported on trains, planes and ships where a claimed 'service' or 'support' animal bit someone or otherwise behaved inconsistent with a properly trained service animal.  I imagine there is potential liability if another guest is injured by a fake service animal.   Even if the risk of legal action against Royal is low (or the chance of winning a suit is low), it certainly will create a negative experience for a guest to be impacted and have their vacation ruined by a misbehaving fake service or support animal.

Seeing someone else getting away with it may tempt more to try it.  "Why not bring Fluffy?, they did".

If Royal needs to lean on the ADA to support this change in policy, I'm all for it.  

 

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As someone who has a Certified Therapy Dog, I always found the "emotional support" animal an issue.  Not that people don't need it, but the ones that take advantage have no clue that at one point their animal could end up hurting someone or another animal if they are not fully trained. Our Liberty is a THERAPY Dog, not SERVICE Dog, a distinct difference.  Many people think when I am visiting with Liberty somewhere that she is a service animal. She provides comfort to Air Force personnel, Hospice, children etc and travels sometimes with a group of Therapy dogs.  She had 12 weeks total training with both my husband and myself. Service Dogs are trained for 18 months in a foster home then 2 years before being provided to their new Handler that needs them.  I think it really has gotten out of control and like someone else here said, it takes a few to ruin for others that truly do need an emotional support animal.

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ok aren't the ships confined spaces and the lack of personal sanitation the cause of noro virus with all the people crammed into small spaces now we add dogs cats turkeys hamsters and whatever to the mix where does the litter box go where does the dog poop and pee I have seen a great dane that its owner said was a support dog the smell will become overwhelming and what about fleas and ticks does the ships doctor certify the health of the animal I think not I applaud you Royal for doing the right thing in my humble opinion animals do not belong on cruise ships yes it costs me a lot of money to board my 3 cats and 2 dogs when Im cruising but I accept it as part of cruising it would never occur to me to bring little poopsie or Sylvester on a cruise its not fair to all the passengers with allergies or just don't want to cruise with other peoples pets 

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