If you recall during Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. government leased cruise ships from Carnival cruise line for recovery efforts. Due to conflict in Ukraine, Holland America Line will house Ukrainian refugees in the Netherlands.
TravelPulse.com is reporting, “Holland America Line today revealed that its cruise ship Volendam will provide temporary housing for refugees of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict under an agreement with the City of Rotterdam and the Netherlands’ central government.
Volendam will remain docked in Rotterdam for the next three months to provide interim lodging accommodations to roughly 1,500 refugees of Russia’s ongoing siege of Ukraine as part of the Netherland’s larger commitment to shelter 50,000 Ukrainians who’ve fled the violence in their homeland.
“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,” Holland America Line’s president, Gus Antorcha, said in a statement. “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.”
Under the terms of the government’s agreement to charter the ship, Holland America Line will be providing Volendam’s new occupants with three hot meals each day, private stateroom accommodations, housekeeping services and other standard necessities, along with use of the ship’s public spaces, fitness facilities, internet access, etc. Approximately 650 crew members will work on board to serve guests’ needs for the duration of their stay.
“We are known for our service and hospitality, and our team is ready to welcome our new guests as we would welcome guests into our own home,” said Captain Ryan Whitaker. “It will truly be an honor for us to make Volendam a comfortable and caring environment for these families who have been through so much.”
Through July, the vessel will remain docked at Rotterdam’s cargo port Merwehaven, situated on the north side of the River Maas, which will ensure that the Ukrainian families can easily transit to and from the city to access goods and services during their stay.
Previously, Volendam was scheduled to resume service on May 15, with sailings planned from Rotterdam to Norway, the British Isles and Iceland. To accommodate its new provision of refugee housing, Holland America Line will have to cancel three of the vessel’s planned voyages, returning it to service on July 3 instead. Guests booked aboard the canceled sailings are being notified today and will be accommodated on similar itineraries, the cruise line said.”
Check out one of my Holland America Line YouTube videos below, and click on the link at the bottom of this page to see the full story mentioned in this post.