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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.

  • Marjorie Gordon

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

  • Connie (Constance) Giroday

    Joska is a Beautiful & Brilliant boy. So hope we meet one day.
    What a beautiful tribute to this family…A true Angel and Holland America Line is amazing for acknowledging this extraordinary achievement. All my love and best wishes to all the family…

  • Paula Mellows

    Well Done Holland America on honouring a very special dog on achieving their milestone journey – congratulations Joska 🐕‍🦺

  • Robyn Feaver

    What a lovely story.
    I love travelling with ‘Holland America.
    My favourite ‘liner to travel with’.
    Have never had a problem, just thoroughly enjoyed!!

  • Richard Kramer

    Joska was definitely a hit with passengers and crew alike. She spent time visiting in the Crows Nest daily so that everyone got their “doggie fix”. Congratulations Joska! Hope to sail with you again!

  • Vickie Zalesky

    We cruised with this couple and their puppy in 2016! We were fortunate on that 42 day Atlantic Adventure cruise to share the stage with them as we received our first metal! Just super nice people!!! Congrats

  • Donna Ohlsen

    This story was in our Australian Sunday paper so Joska is certainly famous. What a beautiful dog she is.

  • Joseph Landau

    I will be sailing on your 35 day San Diego to Honolulu to Tahiti am blind and would like to bring Vino my guide dog. What do I need to know about your requirements in order to accomplish this.

    I realize I will need to bring a supply of his food and arrange port clearances. Where will a relieving station be accommodated? Do I need to complete any Holland forms prior to travel?

  • Terry Hersperger

    Working with service dogs in the past confirms that they certainly have a better than normal
    life as well as make a meaningful contribution to those in need. Labs are a very eligible
    breed to complete this task !

  • Scot

    Great story!

  • Julie

    There is a procedure you need to go through, as some of the ports may also require paperwork. Please call our Accessible Cruising Line: 800–547–8493 or 206–281–3535 (ext. 4514) or TTY: 800–254–8669

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