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Community Giving: From Saving Eagles to the ALS #IceBucketChallenge

An important part of the culture at Holland America Line is community giving. Whether it’s through the On Deck for a Cause shipboard fundraising program to support six international cancer organizations, making a donation of goods to a local school or orphanage around the world, volunteering time preparing meals during the holidays or getting doused in the famous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, volunteerism plays a vital role in the way Holland America Line operates.

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Paul Gauguin Cruises challenged Holland America Line to take the ALS #IceBucketChallenge and we accepted! Holland America Group CEO Stein Kruse accepted the challenge on behalf of the company. The company is proud to join in the effort to raise awareness for this important cause and will be making a donation to the ALS Association. We extended the challenge to John Oppenheimer CEO of Columbia Hospitality, James Jiambalvo Dean of the Foster School of Business and Brad Tilden CEO of Alaska Airlines. Good luck!

In addition to Stein, Holland America Line’s UK Sales Director Wendy Lahmich took the Ice Bucket Challenge on the roof of Carnival House in Southampton. In the video she’s joined by, from left, Dave Alexander, Sam Withers, Jessica Holding, Emma Stubbs, Katie Brickell, Nathan Emtage, Aaron Myers and Tom McIntyer – all from the HAL UK team!

The shipboard staff got in on the action, too! On a sunny day at Flam, Norway, the team aboard ms Rotterdam took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds for the cause.

Zuiderdam, below, took their Ice Bucket Challenge in beautiful Glacier Bay with Captain Willems, left in the video, and guests getting soaked for a good cause.

Beyond the Ice Bucket Challenge and other unique fundraisers, Holland America Line hosts more than 25 shipboard charity luncheons for nearly 5,000 guests in its homeport cities. Here are some of the recent events held onboard this summer.

Seattle Men’s Chorus & Seattle Women’s Chorus
Westerdam recently hosted the Seattle Men’s Chorus & Seattle Women’s Chorus for their annual Director’s Circle luncheon, and Gerald Bernhoft, Holland America Line’s director Mariner Society and co-host of the event, wrote about the exciting day:

Holland America Line has been a long-standing sponsor of Flying House Productions. FHP is the home of to two of the largest community choruses in America: Seattle Men’s Chorus, founded in 1979, which is also the largest gay men’s chorus in the world with over 350 singing members; and the Seattle Women’s Chorus, which made its premiere on stage in 2002 and has quickly grown to over 300 singers. The ms Westerdam was the stage for the annual Director’s Circle luncheon in August that honors the largest donors to the Seattle Men’s Chorus and Seattle Woman’s Chorus. Prior to lunch in the Vista Dining Room the guests were entertained by members of the two famed choruses. The annual event was a smashing success thanks to the incredible team onboard the ms Westerdam lead by Hotel Director Mark Pells. Almost half of the attending guests were loyal Holland America Line Mariner’s, which made the event that much more fun to co-host.

The Seattle Men’s Chorus & Seattle Women’s Chorus event hosted by Bernhoft, top right, was a smashing success.

The Seattle Men’s Chorus & Seattle Women’s Chorus event hosted by Bernhoft, top right, was a smashing success.

Holland America Line's Mary Beth Wressell, STG Board member, and Mertz.

Holland America Line’s Mary Beth Wressell, STG Board member, and Mertz.

Seattle Theatre Group
Holland America Line hosted a subscriber appreciation luncheon for the Seattle Theatre Group aboard ms Westerdam in August at the Port of Seattle. After the luncheon, guests of the Seattle Theatre Group were invited to a special performance by the Union Street Orchestra in the ship’s main show lounge followed by a tour of the ship.

“We had a fantastic time onboard today,” said P.J. Mertz, a representative from the Seattle Theatre Group. “It was a great opportunity to connect with our most loyal subscribers and to continue our relationship with Holland America Line, who has been a great ally to our organization.”

Canuck Place Children’s Hospice
Holland America Line also hosted a luncheon for the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in August aboard ms Volendam at the port of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The event was attended by Victor De Bonis, chief operating officer of the Vancouver Canucks National League Hockey team, and John Garrett, sports commentator and former Canuck goaltender, who participated on a question-and-answer panel for attendees. Holland America Line has been a supporter of Canuck Place Children’s Hospice since 2005 through sponsorship of the annual Gift of Time Gala and shipboard luncheon events such as this one. After the luncheon, the 120 guests were invited to tour the ship.

Left photo, from left: Garrett; John Ashbridge, Vancouver Canuck's game announcer; and de Bonis.

Left photo, from left: Garrett; John Ashbridge, Vancouver Canuck’s game announcer; and de Bonis.

Crew and officers with Meadows and Archbishop Sartain.

Crew and officers with Meadows and Archbishop Sartain.

Catholic Seafarers’ Center
Holland America Line hosted a “Home from the Sea” fundraiser luncheon for the Catholic Seafarers’ Center in August aboard ms Westerdam at the Port of Seattle. The event was attended by Holland America Line Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Guest Programs Richard Meadows, along with the Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle, and Friar Paul Magnano.

Before the luncheon, attendees gathered for an award ceremony where Catholic Seafarers’ Center representatives honored Judy Clark, a longtime Catholic Seafarers’ Center board member.

Sitka Raptor Center
Animals are in need too, and Holland America Line supports numerous organizations that support our four-legged and two-winged friends. In August, Westerdam donated some medical supplies to the Sitka Raptor Center. The Raptor Center provides medical care to animals found that are injured. Upon recovery they are released back out into their natural environment, however some are unable to be released for various reasons like HALi, the Golden Eagle pictured here. HALi has a birth defect on her beak making it hard to eat, so she is a permanent resident of the Raptor Center. Debbie Reeder, director of the Raptor Center, said that HALi was named after a special sponsor (guess whom?!)…

Reeder and Tijerina with HALi.

Reeder and Tijerina with HALi.

Have you participated in one of Holland America Line’s community giving events onboard or attended a shipboard luncheon? Tell us about it below!

1 Comment
  • Joan Hopke

    Every cruise I take, usually two each year, I have donated to “On Deck for the Cure” and now “Cause” and since 2002 I have been directly donating to the Alaska Raptor Center. In 2012 I had my picture taken with HALi as well! Keep up the good work HAL!

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