Holland America Line Guests Donate Nearly Half a Million Dollars for Aid to Ukrainians  

‘On Deck for a Cause’ walks around the world raise money at sea for Direct Relief 

Seattle, Wash., Jan. 31, 2023 — A fundraising effort by cruise line passengers that took place on the high seas around six different continents culminated today with a large donation for Ukrainian relief. Holland America Line President Gus Antorcha presented a check for $450,000 at the Port of San Diego to the global humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief, money raised during the premium cruise line’s On Deck for a Cause campaign.  

For 10 months on every cruise in the line’s 11-ship fleet, guests could make a $25 donation to participate in a fundraising 5K walk during their sailing, in locales ranging from Alaska to Europe and the Panama Canal to Australia.

“Our guests and team members, who love to explore the world, wanted to do something to make a meaningful difference for families in a part of the world that desperately needs humanitarian aid,” Antorcha said. “We knew our guests were generous, but their support has well exceeded our expectations, with donations totaling nearly a half a of a million dollars.”  

Direct Relief is a California-based charity that works in all U.S. states and territories and more than 90 countries around the world to expand access to medicine and healthcare by equipping doctors and nurses with lifesaving medical resources. It has already provided more than 1,000 tons of medical material aid requested by the Ukrainian Health Ministry.  

“We’re grateful to Holland America Line and its guests for this tremendous fundraising effort in which people took time during their vacations to make a difference,” said Thomas Tighe, president and chief executive officer, Direct Relief. “Their support will further help us in providing lifesaving medications to Ukraine, ranging from cancer therapies to treatments for chronic health conditions.”

The check presentation took place at the Port of San Diego. San Diego is Koningsdam’s homeport in the winter, with more than 62,000 guests embarking several Holland America Line ships at the port during the 2022/23 season.  

“We’re proud that so many guests who choose the Port of San Diego were part of this fundraising effort,” said Chairman Rafael Castellanos, Port of San Diego. “Californians alone account for close to 15% of Holland America Line’s guest population, and the money raised is providing timely relief for the crisis in Ukraine.”

The fundraising effort began in March and coincided with a pledge of $3 million to charities helping Ukrainian refugees from the family foundation of parent company Carnival Corporation’s chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine. From April through September 2022, the Dutch government and City of Rotterdam chartered the Holland America Line ship Volendam as part of their larger effort to accommodate 50,000 Ukrainians who fled the war in their homeland.