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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.”


    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

  • 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.

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