A cruise ship has been converted into a temporary refugee camp for Ukrainians, with the hope that it will be able to provide some relief during an ongoing crisis.
The “cruise line news” is that Holland America Cruise Line has announced it will be taking in Ukrainian refugees. The cruise line will also be donating $100,000 to the cause.
As part of an agreement with the City of Rotterdam, Carnival-owned Holland America Line would accommodate Ukrainian migrants in the Netherlands. They’ll be housed aboard the Volendam cruise ship, which is now out of commission.
Refugees from Ukraine will be housed in Volendam.
The Holland America Line cruise ship Volendam will be repurposed to house Ukrainian migrants in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. As part of an arrangement with the city, the ship will dock in the city for three months to temporarily house 1,500 Ukrainians.
It’s part of the nation’s larger pledge to house 50,000 persons who have left their native country of Ukraine since February 24, 2022.
Cruise Ship Volendam (Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line)
“We are in a unique position to meet the urgent demand for food and lodging, therefore working with the City of Rotterdam and chartering this ship was extremely crucial to us,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “Our organization was started in Rotterdam with the goal of assisting immigrants in their search for a better life. As a result, we’re happy to be a tiny part of a similar endeavor today for Ukrainians who have been brutally displaced.”
Also read: Costa Magica Offers Refugees from Ukraine a Place to Stay
Those temporarily aboard the Holland America cruise ship will be served three hot meals each day and will be housed in cabins. The refugees will have access to the ship’s amenities, such as public places, exercise centers, internet access, and other requirements.
Captain Ryan Whitaker remarked, “We are recognized for our service and hospitality, and our staff is eager to greet our new visitors as we would welcome them into our own house.” “It will be a true pleasure for us to offer Volendam a welcoming and loving atmosphere for these families who have gone through so much,” says the mayor.
Docked Cruise Ship Volendam (Photo Courtesy: Holland America Line)
The Volendam will stay moored at the Merwehaven freight port on the north bank of the Maas River to provide passengers convenient access to the city.
The Volendam’s return to service has been postponed.
The Volendam has been chartered to assist Ukrainian refugees, which means it will not return to service as planned. The Holland America ship was scheduled to return to Rotterdam on May 15, 2022, with cruises to Norway, the British Isles, and Iceland.
Instead of May 15, the ship will resume passenger service on July 3, 2022. Guests who have been impacted will be advised of their choices and will be given alternative sailings with comparable itineraries.
“We apologize for the trouble this will bring to customers who had reservations on the three canceled cruises,” Antorcha stated. “We hope they see the unusual nature of this situation and why we believed it was critical to collaborate with the government on this project to assist these struggling families.”
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com/Solarisys
The cruise company has been striving to assist individuals who have been affected by the crisis in Eastern Europe, including its own crew members. A $1 million fund has been established to assist and support them financially. Crew from the area may also get counseling, free internet, and aid with housing or a contract extension to stay on board for longer.
“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.”
The Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation has offered $3 million in contributions to groups that assist Ukrainian migrants, according to Carnival Corporation, the firm’s parent corporation. Carnival Cruise Line, a sister company, has also donated $50,000 to World Central Kitchen.