Students Join Holland America Line for Holiday Fun

Holland America Line crew member dressed as holiday elf helps young students with arts and crafts on board.

‘Tis the season for holiday joy on board and ashore. For fifth- and sixth-grade students from San Diego’s Perkins School, Tuesday, Dec. 5, was especially jolly. They stepped aboard Koningsdam for a day of holiday fun with school staff and the San Diego Harbor Police Foundation. Their mission: To enjoy making Christmas crafts in the art studio, guided by Holland America Line crew who even dressed up as elves for the occasion. Reindeer and snowmen art quickly filled the room while they sang the sounds of the season.

Afterwards, they delighted in New York Pizza and dessert from the gelato bar. However, the biggest surprise was when Santa stopped by with candy canes and Lewie the Lion – our mascot – for each student. They were so excited, with one of them noting it was “the best time in my life. It was a lot of fun doing the art and coloring, and the people [on the ship] liked my art a lot!”

We enjoyed surprising and delighting students from the Perkins School in October as well, when a class came on board Volendam to learn about solar eclipses from University of California San Diego (UCSD) Professor Adam Burgasser, who will also be a guest lecturer on our upcoming solar eclipse cruise.

“The events with Holland America are some of the best,” said Community Policing Sergeant T. D. De La Pena. “You get to see the kids trying to take in everything that’s happening on board the ship. The look on their faces when they see the ship up close is priceless. We are happy to be a part of this special holiday event.”

San Diego students gather on Holland America Line cruise ship, holding Lewie the Lion stuffed animals.
San Diego students enjoy holiday fun and time on board Koningsdam, holding their new Lewie the Lion stuffed animals. Lewie is Holland America Line’s mascot and is available for purchase in onboard gift shops.

One out of every three students at the Perkins School is homeless, and two out of every three are chronically absent. The Perkins School is a place where students can feel safe, and they’re always looking for opportunities to help them have special experiences.

“This is a very special experience,” said Principal Fernando Hernandez. “They are enjoying themselves; they are seeing something they would not otherwise be able to experience. Everyone on the ship is treating them with such attention and respect and the love they all deserve.”

We love surprising and delighting communities in our homeports, and we’re grateful for the time we have spent with the amazing students at Perkins. They make our holidays brighter, too.

Article by Adrienne Carter and Lesley McMillen


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