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Holland America cruise ship to house Ukrainian refugees

HAL Volendam

The cruise line Holland America has committed to housing roughly 1,500 Ukrainian refugees onboard their ship Volendam. The ship will be docked in Rotterdam Netherlands for the time being.

Holland America will be providing temporary home and shelter for Ukrainian Refugees for approximately three months. This arrangement from Holland America comes on the heels of the Netherlands’ commitment to accommodate 50,000 Ukrainians who fled their homes due to the war and ongoing fighting in Ukraine.

A statement from the president of Holland America Cruises Line, Gus Antorcha, “We are in a unique position to accommodate the immediate need for food and housing, so we felt it was very important to work with the city of Rotterdam and charter this ship.”

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HAL Volendam

Included in the agreement with Holland America, the cruise line will provide three hot meals each day, private cabin accommodations, use of public spaces onboard the ship, fitness facilities, internet access, and housekeeping services to all refugees onboard. Also onboard during this time, will be 650 Holland America crew members.

While Volendam is being used to assist the refugees, it does mean that the ship will be delaying its normally scheduled itineraries that had been set to return on May 15. Holland America will be canceling three of its cruise itineraries, and will resume on July 3rd, in order to accommodate its commitment to offering shelter to refugees. “We are very sorry for the inconvenience this will cause to guests booked on three cancelled cruises. We hope they understand the unprecedented nature of this situation and why we felt it was important to work with the government on this initiative in support of these families in need,” said Antorcha.

The Holland America Group has additionally been working with its team and crew members who are Ukrainian. Team members from Ukraine can receive counseling assistance, free internet service in order to communicate with their family members, as well as scheduling assistance such such as early disembarkation, or an extension to remain in their posts onboard as required.

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Holland America Volendam

(Holland America, Volendam)

The Holland America Group has provided $1 million in emergency funds to provide direct financial assistance and support to team members from Ukraine. The Holland America Line is looking to raise awareness and funds, via its On Deck for a Cause program, a program in which guests on each cruise may take part in a 5K fundraising walk that is non-competitive.

“Our company was founded in Rotterdam around the mission of helping immigrants find a better life. So today we’re proud to be a small part of a similar mission for Ukrainians who have tragically been displaced,” stated Antorcha.

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