Service Dog Sails into Elite Status with Holland America Line

Holland America Line’s favorite four-legged friend, Joska the service dog, reached a milestone achievement of 700 cruise days on Rotterdam’s current 150th Anniversary Transatlantic Crossing, making her eligible to receive the Platinum Medallion, the highest past-guest award for cruising days. Joska, a 10-year-old black Labrador retriever, is the ultimate globetrotter and spends most of her days cruising on Holland America Line with her owners, Cornelia “Connie” and Cornelis Marinussen, who previously received their Platinum Medallions.

A special ceremony for Joska was held on board Rotterdam Oct. 26 to mark the milestone. Holland America Line President Gus Antorcha and Rotterdam’s Captain Werner Timmers presented Joska with her Platinum Medallion, 5-Star Mariner status (highest level) in the cruise line’s loyalty program and a selection of dog-friendly, Holland America Line-branded gifts.

“Joska is the first service animal to achieve this lofty status and we wanted to honor her with an event that shows her how special she is to everyone in our company,” said Antorcha. “Service animals are always welcome aboard Holland America Line ships, and Joska has become a member of our family. She not only brightens the spirits of everyone on board, but she also allows Connie to do what she loves most, which is to cruise and explore the world.”

The Dutch couple have been cruising with Holland America Line since 2013 and have taken nearly 60 cruises. From Alaska, Hawaii and Canada to Europe, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean, Joska has sailed on more than 50 Holland America Line voyages since joining the Marinussen family in 2014 to assist Cornelia, who is legally blind, and is among the most traveled dogs in the world.


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  1. Margie Karitas February 10, 2023 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    We have raveled on a ship that had a service dog as a passenger. We were surprised to see the dog, but the dog was Well trained, never in the way. It felt so nice to see the whole family. They were as nice as the dog.

  2. Marjorie Gordon October 28, 2022 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful story!
    Thank you for sharing it!
    Congratulations, Joska!

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