Skip To Content
- Blog -
Topic Search

Rotterdam Makes Donation at Tabuaeran

Not long after the start of our Hawaii and Polynesian voyage, both passengers and crew of the ms Rotterdam started collecting items to donate to a school and medical facility on the very small island called Tabuaeran, formerly known as Fanning Island.

The passenger donating part was taken care of by Mr. Richard Smith and the on-board Cruise Critic group at the time. Crew members donated their items through our Human Resources Manager Natalie Ansari. The Rotterdam was scheduled to visit Fanning Island on day 12 of the cruise and although we passed the international dateline just before arriving, we managed to find the beautiful beaches of this remote place belonging to the Kiribati island group.

Ten days of collecting donations from both crew and passengers resulted in a full tender of useful things for the less than 2,000 inhabitants. We gathered over 50 boxes of medical supplies and school material. Some swell and wind did not prevent a dedicated team of housekeeping guys assisted by myself and our Hotel Manager Hans Dernison from sailing towards the locals in need of useful stuff. After all, ships visit the island very rarely.

Boxes of fresh fruit, clothing, books and all items collected by our passengers were dropped off at the pier and transported to the donation booth, not far from the beach. All crew and passengers involved were thanked by the donation committee by handing over some local craftwork to the ship’s staff. After a walk along the beach and a last picture of little girls in nice dresses singing and dancing, the Rotterdam lifted anchor and sailed away to her next destination.

The Rotterdam will return to the island in January 2011. We sure will do some follow up on this successful project. A big thanks to crew and passengers of the Rotterdam during the Hawaii and Polynesian Voyage (22 November – 22 December 2010), who made this event possible.

From left: Chief housekeeper Agnello D’Souza and Richard Smith from Cruise Critic.

From left: Me, Natalie Ansari (HRM), Fanning Island representative, Hans Dernison (Hotel Manager) and Richard Smith, Cruise Critic.

Ronald de Bloeme is Rotterdam’s Safety, Environmental & Health Officer.

  • Rich Smith

    What a great mission write-up and thanks for letting people know of the needs there at Fanning Island and how the HAL ship, employees, corporate office and passengers all contributed and approved many aspects of past, present and future voyages. The follow-up information from everyone during this cruse was so positive and many want to go back again! Some have even made reservations for future cruises in hopes to do it again (better) and help further.

    Note: The information on this blog write-up is identifying me with Cruise Critics, and although I did attend most of the Cruise Critic group meetings on this voyage, I was for the most part just a passenger. Although Cruise Critics does have rules against asking for help and donating to the destinations they visit, the majority of the CC group on this particular sailing really came together to help in anyway possible. My main goal was helping all passengers and HAL staff be informed and answer any questions about Fanning thru my fact finding and mission-work organization: Pacific CARE Missions. I have been fortunate to travel to Fanning Island over 20 times now, and many times allowed to give presentations about Fanning Island on many cruise ships during their voyage, and will always be looking for more opportunities to learn and continue helping everyone. Many Kawrabas (thanks) for allowing everyone to be involved on this particular sailing. RICH SMITH

  • Mary

    Rich what beautiful pictures and it does warm my heart to see the wonderful donations to the island people…… thank you so much for all you do to make this possible…… M

  • Rollin Caristianos

    Great job and great work on this needy and worthwhile mission ! These folks are literally in the most remote part of the world and any and all help is treasured by them. Thanks for all that you are doing to improve their health and their lives, Rollin Caristianos, CCIM

  • Jill Waters

    I have returned recently from this wonderful cruise on the Rotterdam. Tabuaeran (Fanning Island) was the most interesting stop because it was the most remote and least visited so this was a chance to interact with people who are forced to live in a very basic manner, with few services provided. I thought the ship was wonderful in gathering up and transporting supplies to these deserving people and it was great that I, as a passenger, could be part of this effort by buying ahead then contributing a few medical items. On the island I greatly enjoyed a walking tour which visited the medical clinic, the school, the government buildings and some homes. I appreciate that HAL makes stops such as this.


    God richly bless you for the great works done. It’s my prayer and wish that you would partner with us Calvary Rescue Mission to extend your love and assistance to our rural folks in Africa, particularly in Ghana.

  • George & Anamaria Zerdian

    we were very happy to see how much was contributed to the poor in FANNING ISLAND and especially by the ship and crew. We did not see the boxes when we were there, so we are grateful to see these pictures.

  • George & Anamaria Zerdian

    Ronald de Bloeme
    We think it would be a good idea to have RICH SMITH of pacificCAREmissions do a few lecturers on Fanning Island as the HAL Rotterdam ship guest Lecturer in the 12 days before the ship gets to Fanning Island on each cruise.
    we found out entirely by accident a few days before we got to Fanning Island and were able to make some contributions. we plan to make some additional contributions.
    That would give Rich some status on the ship, give him access to the lecture facilities and get hin on the daily schedule for those that are interested. And hopefully it will give him free passage and a free room on multiple cruises to Fanning Island and the other islands his organization supports, many of the islands are on the South Pacific Cruise for Hawaii, Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands.
    just some background on me: I am the retired Chief Scientist and Chief Engineer for the FAA on GPS and Navigation. I have multiple Graduate and undergrad degrees. We were in the deluxe Verandah Suite 7027 on the Nov 22 2010 to dec 22 2010 South Pacific Cruise of Hawaii, Tahiti & and the Marquesas Islands.
    Also, we would like to thank the Rotterdam and its crew and fellow passengers on supporting Fanning Island and Rich Smith and his pacificCAREmission’s work.
    George & Anamaria Zerdian
    7027 H,T & M Is 112210-12-2210 Rotterdam.

  • Rich Smith/Pacific CARE Missions

    January 8, 2011
    The current January 2011 Rotterdam sailing is underway, and I have heard great things from the crew and passengers that the interest is very strong for this present cruise to help Fanning Island again receive more donated supplies from the ship and allot of the passengers. Many people have heard about how great the November 2010 cruise was, and much interest was generated for this present cruise. HAL/ms Rotterdam helped greatly to get the information to the guests and deliver the supplies when the ship visited the island during that cruise. That information is also being presented for the Jan 2011 cruise.
    I was at the Hilo Hawaii Wal Mart yesterday, when the ship was in port, and it was encouraging to see the guests buying extra items to again donate. They seemed to have an extra measure of Joy in the hope to help the people in need at Fanning when they arrive on Jan 14th. So many guest I have heard from have been grateful to HAL and the Rotterdam for having an interest in helping Fanning Island. It is a life saving and life changing need. Bless you all, and smooth sailings!
    Pacific CARE Missions

  • Phil & Sheila Arthur

    We too sailed on this cruise and enjoyed every port with Fanning (Tabuearan) Island being the most unique. I had read about the island (as is my habit) before the cruise and so came prepared with some school supplies which I gave personally to one of ther teachers. I appreciated Rich’s info and also the manner in which Lizabeth and Lisa also made passengers aware of the islanders needs (without any hint of being a solicitation ). Our stop there will be among the very special memories we treasure.

    Again we thoroughly enjoyed sailing with HAL and thank all of the crew who made our cruise so pleasant. This was the 3rd cruise we were on when Lizabeth was the cruise director and she is definitely an outstanding member of your staff. We also enjoyed all of the talks and assistance received from Lisa…she is a keeper! We hope to see them both again.

    Phil & Sheila Arthur


    We were on the Nov/Dec 2010 Rotterdam sailing. Fanning Island was the whole highlight of this trip. The pre arrival talks by Rich Smith, were a big help to all of us passengers on board. The ship to be energized with the antisipation, of arriving at Fanning Island. And boy the experience was fantastic and more than we ever dreamed possible. First it was like a large family get together, with passengers and the Rotterdam crew, all working together. Then learning about the island, most of all Fanning Island itself. The people there welcomed us, as if we were family. They made us feel comfortable and shared thier lovely island with us. It was a true pleasure to see a port stop, that was more like what you always thought the South Pacific should be like. Thank you for allowing us to be part of this experience. Holland America, this is something special, that you are doing. Keep it up. Until next time.

  • rich smith

    […] to see a current short news blog ot the Humanitarian Donation to Fanning Island Jan 2012, please see:

  • Marewea Auatabu

    Thank you so much for helping these people. I am so proud of what you are doing. I am from those three islands Christmas, Fanning and Washington. I lived in Fanning Island for a while and went to Meleangi Tabai Secondary School (MTSS) for 5 years. MTSS is located on Fanning Island but from the other side of the island (Napali). It takes about 45 minutes on boat to where you guys loading your stuffs. I am currently a BYU-H student and I have lots of ideas to do these kinds of project to help my people because I know how hard it could be living in the island like these. However I am just a student and could not do anything for them. I am doing a project called a “Warm Blanket” for one of my classes, so I did some research and happen to find your blog. I am so trilled of what you have done to the people on Fanning Island. Kam bati n rabwa for all that you do.

    Marewea Auatabu

  • Marewea Auatabu

    I would love to help doing some service or if there is anything I could do please do not hesitate to let me know.


  • Laura Alexander

    We will be on the April 2015 Rotterdam sailing. I was planning on bringing some school supplies, sewing supplies, whatever I could dream up, to Fanning on April 26, 2015. Finding this project was a real blessing. That said, I am happy to accept any specific recommendations which are in current, or specific need. We are very eager and blessed to be sailing, and words cannot express how grateful we are that Holland America is continuing to sail to this stop. Glory to God. Laura

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *