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Volendam to Become Temporary Home for Ukrainian Refugees in the Netherlands

Holland America Line’s Volendam will be used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees as part of an agreement announced by 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, part of a larger commitment from the Netherlands to accommodate 50,000 people who fled the war 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,” said Gus Antorcha, president, Holland America Line. “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 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 will be staffed with approximately 650 crew members.

“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.”

Volendam was scheduled to return to service May 15, 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 July 3 instead. Guests on canceled cruises are being notified today and will be accommodated on similar itineraries.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this will cause to guests booked on the three canceled cruises,” Antorcha said. “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.”

Volendam will be docked at Merwehaven, a cargo port on the north side of the River Maas in Rotterdam. Remaining docked will ensure Ukrainian families can transit easily to and from services in Rotterdam.

Holland America Group has already been working with its own team members who are Ukrainian. A $1 million emergency assistance fund provides direct financial support. Team members from the region also receive counseling assistance, free internet service to communicate with family, and scheduling accommodations such as early disembarkation or an extension to remain on board as needed.

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. In addition, Holland America Line will look to raise awareness and funds through its On Deck for a Cause program, in which guests on every cruise may take part in a non-competitive 5K fundraising walk. The money raised will go to Direct Relief.

“We stand for peace and our hearts go out to everyone whose lives have been upended by the invasion of Ukraine,” said Arnold Donald, president and chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation & plc. “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.”

49 Comments
  • karen Gale

    Thankyou ! so generous!

  • john thiessen

    this is great news. some of you are probably not aware that the volendam has a proud history of transporting people from ukraine. in the 1920s, my uncle and his family traveled on that same ship — or is it a newer one using the same name? — from holland (or germany?) to paraguay, along with many other refugees fleeing russia after world war one, the bolshevik revolution and famine forcibly imposed by russia. he later emigrated from paraguay to western canada — with help from my dad, his brother — where his family and many relatives, still live

  • Susan W

    Open hearts open minds. You’re doing God’s work through this.

  • Sandra Lucci

    Thank you for participating in this relief effort! May HAL be blessed for doing this.

  • Jan Day

    Wow! Adds to my heartful appreciation of HAL. So sorry for those who are getting cruises cancelled. But, what an amazing gift of support for the Ukrainian refugee families! I wish all my cancelled cruises had served such generous purpose.

  • Debbie

    More large companies need to follow this example. I applaud your efforts!

  • Larry Hollingsworth

    I hate to see the Volendam reduced to a refugee camp, most likely will be destroyed and need extensive repairs after 3 months of refugees. I will not be taking my July 31 cruise for sure.

  • EL

    Is this the same ship that was used in 1947 to bring refugees to South America after WW2?

  • Audrey Pink

    I wept reading of this spectacular gesture helping these unfortunate people. Having sailed on these wonderful ships, I know the guests will be well taken care of.

  • Kathryn Kalunian

    The best cruise line ever. Always giving back…

  • Magdalena Sundquest

    We admire your decision. Perfect!

    Kind regards,
    Joost and Lenny

  • Dianna

    Congratulation Holland America. What a wonderful act of compassion. We who have so much, a home, a City, family who are safe, stability in our lives can provide the people of Ukraine a temporary reprieve from the horrors of a senseless war. Postponing our trips are least we passengers can do. Holland America knows how to take a terrible day and make it extraordinary.

  • Sally Ann

    I just returned from a Mexican Cruise on the Koningsdam a large ship that has wonderful accommodations. Truthfully, I missed the smaller ships especially the Volendam that I cruised on in 2003.
    I even asked the Service desk if the Volendam was still cruising and was told it was in dry dock. Now I understand why I got that answer.
    Congratulations to Carnaval Corp for your humanitarian effort to help the displaced people of Ukraine.

  • Jane Vanderburgh

    Thank you HAL for this. I sure hope to participate in On Deck for a Cause in September. If our cruise to Norway is cancelled again we are going to choose another HAL cruise. It’s been quite a couple of years, huh?

  • Stephanie Wright

    Thanks you so much for this. We have been your passengers numerous times and we applaud your action.

  • Lyle Miller

    I love Holland America, my go to cruise choice, and this is another reason to cheer HA for it’s desire to help people in need. If you are considering a cruise, look no further than HA and one of their DAM ships for both your best vacation ever AND your opportunity to help those who have had to flee the war!

  • Jean G

    This is an admirable gesture to help the people of Ukraine. I do have a cruise booked on the Volendam for mid-August. I wonder if this humanitarian effort will be extended into August.

  • Nancy Lenox

    Hello, what a beautiful gesture to make the Volendam available to Ukrainian refugees.

  • Mary S Lillie

    My husband and I are very impressed that Holland America is a world humanitarian partner. Reinforces our decisions to travel with HAL!

  • Mary Revell

    This company is amazing and is most certainly the best cruise line. What a wonderful gesture.

  • Janice Bolt

    How wonderful! I’m grateful to HAL for making this important, meaningful decision. Proud to be a part of the Holland America family.

  • Claire walsh

    Keep me informed. Great job. Good people at Hal

  • Deborah Shoniker

    Amazing as always Holland America, City of Rotterdam, and a shout out to Carnival. Caring and kindness , some comfort is so what the Ukrainian people ,need desperately right now. Thank you for your generosity . Bless you all

  • Hester Terluin

    Wat een geweldig idee!

  • Lori and Budd Aplin

    I will support this cruise line in the future. This is the epitome of hospitality, service and compassion.
    Such an awesome display of kindness and putting ❤️ above one’s own profits. Even moreso seeing that they are ALSO taking care of those who had cruises booked for those 3 months. KUDOS!!!

  • Paula Dougherty

    What a wonderful thing to do. Thankyou!! I always thought
    Holland America was the best and now you just proved it totally!

  • Sharon Knapp

    I think this is an amazing and outstanding action by Holland America. Thank you for being a role model for other corporations. Maybe just maybe others will follow with similar decisions. Bravo!

  • Carol Jushka

    This is such a wonderful commitment by Holland America, my favorite cruise ship. The accommodations will be most prized by those to whom they are available. Three cheers for your excellent staff who will be caring for them. The Volendam was the ship I was on for my first cruise.

  • BRENT SHUFFLER

    Congratulations to Holland America for contributing the Volendam to the acute housing crisis for Ukrainian refugees. Having just experienced the Rotterdam as a guest, I am impressed that the fleet is extending full services to the refugees, including services such as Internet connection that would not be complimentary even for paying guests. It is also wonderful to see how many employees of the various cruise-lines under Carnival Corporation, including the Chairman, are contributing personally in various ways to the overall effort of humanitarian services to the millions of refugees displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Once again, cruise-lines are displaying their remarkable adaptability to all sorts of crises and responding with aplomb, restoring hope, kindness and human dignity to those who have endured catastrophe. A stark reminder how privileged we are to be able to enjoy these fine ships in peacetime in wonderful relaxation and hospitality . . . and then to make way for those much less fortunate when a situation like this arises.

  • Ian Walker

    Well done, We sailed on Volendam in March 20004 from Vancouver to Alaska a trip of a lifetime, and it was. A very happy costumer Ian Walker

  • Madeline Thirtle

    What a wonderful thing to be doing for the poor people of Ukraine. Well done Holland America.

    We will be pleased to continue cruising with you again, it will be our 3rd cruise to Alaska in May this year, we have been waiting since 2020.

    Best wishes to all at Holland America.

  • Sandra Amazon

    We are so proud of Holland America
    to take in these war torn refugees and I am sure everyone of your Holland America family agrees.
    These refugees need everything you offer them and we appreciate what you are doing for them too.

  • Trudy Pryor

    Beautiful

  • Henk van Veluw

    What a splendent and thoughtful idea!
    I am a former HAL crew member.

  • John Bentz

    Thank you for accomodating Ukrainian refugees. Regardless of a compensation contract, this is making good use of a temporary shelter that no other companies considered. Thank you again for acting quickly and generously.

  • brad bransford

    What a kind thing to do! We have our first cruise with your company in August! Proud to be a part of your excursions on Eurodam!

  • Billand Micaela

    HAL what an outstanding effort to assist Ukrainian refugees. I am honored to be a loyal customer and look forward to biking my next cruise.

  • Gregory Kniseley

    BRAVO!

  • Leo T. Flynn

    So proud of the entire team at HAL and in Nederlands for supporting 🇺🇦

    Leo T. Flynn Cellar Master Volendam 2009

  • J.A.HOLWERDA

    Heb de reisgeboekt Engeland in de ronte op 29 MEI deze is afgelast totaal geen bericht van de hal gehad over de aflasting niet netjes van de HAL

  • Vreni Meier

    Bravo Holland America!
    What a great gesture to offer the Volendam to the Ukrainian refugees for 3 months. They must be over the moon to receive your wonderful hospitality with superb accommodations and delicious meals.
    We have fond memories as we sailed from Rotterdam to Canada in 1965. We love Canada and HAL, it is our favourite cruise line. We’re at **** and looking forward to sail again to reach *****
    Cheers to HAL !
    Vreni Meier

  • JENNIFER BROWN

    As a first time HAL cruiser in 2019, I very much applaud Volendam and Carnival for allowing this ship to accommodate the displaced Ukrainian refugees.

    I hope they get first-class meals like regular passengers. Kudos!!!

    Once COVID variants have passed like this new present one, I am definitely sailing on HAL again in the Caribbean and partial cruising of the Panama Canal and Eastern Caribbean. It may take until 2024–pending on variants. I very much enjoyed my last cruise in January-February 2019 to the Western Caribbean for 11 days.

  • Brenda YYC

    I am so thrilled to hear my go-to cruise line, Holland America, is sharing their hospitality to help out Ukrainian immigrants. Thank you!! I’m booked for two more cruises with HAL this year.

  • Shirley Fleming

    How generous. I know your guests will be treated with the utmost respect. I have enjoyed my cruises with HAL. Hopefully peace will come soon.

  • Coralyn Gash

    I am glad that the refugees are being helped. But that help is coming from the government, not HAL. Holland America is not donating the Volendam, they are renting it under a contract with the government and making profits from that contract. HAL knew that we would not be sailing, but kept taking reservations, holding our money and allowing us to make ancillary travel arrangements. And now they are simply not responding to requests for rebooking or refund. 10 days after the announcement that our sailing was cancelled, HAL continues to stonewall to provide a refund or a rebooking.

  • Kenneth Muller

    Bravo, Holland America! I work as a service coordinator at the Rotterdam International Secondary School…please let me know how I can enlist our students to help you in your very admirable endeavor! kmu@wolfert.nl.

  • Kenneth Muller

    Bravo, Holland America! I work as a service coordinator at the Rotterdam International Secondary School. Please let me know how our students can help you in this wonderful endeavor. kmu@wolfert.nl.

  • Alex

    Will the charter end now on Sept. 14th and Volendam will sail as planned? Thinking about the cruise on Sept. 24th – please confirm

  • Julie

    Yes, we are getting ready to welcome guests Sept. 24!

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