Holland America Line ship to provide accommodation for Ukraine refugees

Ukraine refugees to be given accommodation on HAL ship

Holland America Line ship Volendam will be used to accommodate refugees from Ukraine as part of an agreement announced by the Netherlands and City of Rotterdam government officials.

The ship will dock in Rotterdam for three months to provide a temporary home for approximately 1,500 Ukrainians, as part of a larger commitment from the Netherlands to accommodate 50,000 people who have fled the war.

Under the agreement to charter Volendam, Holland America Line will provide three hot meals per day, private stateroom accommodations, housekeeping services, use of public spaces, fitness facilities, internet access, and other necessities.

Volendam was scheduled to return to service on 15 May, with voyages from Rotterdam to Norway, the British Isles and Iceland.

To accommodate the three-month commitment, Holland America Line will cancel three of those voyages and resume service on 3 July.

Guests on cancelled cruises are being notified and will be accommodated on similar itineraries, the line added. 

Holland America Line president Gus Antorcha said: “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.

“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.”

Captain Ryan Whitaker added: “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.

“It will truly be an honour for us to make Volendam a comfortable and caring environment for these families who have been through so much.”

Holland America Group has also been working with its staff who are Ukrainian.

A $1 million emergency assistance fund is providing direct financial support and team members from the region also receive counselling assistance and free internet service to communicate with family.

The family foundation of parent company Carnival Corporation’s chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine also announced a pledge of $3 million to charities helping Ukrainian refugees.

Carnival Corporation president and CEO Arnold Donald said: “We stand for peace and our hearts go out to everyone whose lives have been upended by the invasion of Ukraine.

“We have crew members from 145 countries and we sail with guests from nations around the globe, so we feel deeply the impact of this humanitarian crisis and we join many others in supporting relief efforts.”

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