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Ocean Liner History and Stories from the Sea, Past and Present. With an In Depth focus on Holland America Line

2022, March 31: ms Volendam to help with the Refugee Effort in Rotterdam

Good morning, You might find the below Press Release of Interest.

Holland America Line Ship Will Become Temporary Home for Ukrainian Refugees in the Netherlands

Volendam will house and feed up to 1,500 people as part of government’s commitment to help families


Rotterdam, Netherlands, March 31, 2022 — Holland America Line‘s Volendam will be used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees as part of an agreement announced by Netherlands and City of Rotterdam government officials. The ship will dock in Rotterdam for three months to provide a temporary home for approximately 1,500 Ukrainians, part of a larger commitment from the Netherlands to accommodate 50,000 people who fled the war in their homeland.


“We are in a unique position to accommodate the immediate need for food and housing, so we felt it was very important to work with the City of Rotterdam and charter this ship,” said Gus Antorcha, president, Holland America Line. “Our company was founded in Rotterdam around the mission of helping immigrants find a better life. So today we’re proud to be a small part of a similar mission for Ukrainians who have tragically been displaced.”


Under the agreement to charter Volendam, Holland America Line will provide three hot meals per day, private stateroom accommodations, housekeeping services, use of public spaces, fitness facilities, internet access, and other necessities. Volendam will be staffed with approximately 650 crew members.

“We are known for our service and hospitality, and our team is ready to welcome our new guests as we would welcome guests into our own home,” said Captain Ryan Whitaker. “It will truly be an honor for us to make Volendam a comfortable and caring environment for these families who have been through so much.”

Volendam was scheduled to return to service May 15, with voyages from Rotterdam to Norway, the British Isles and Iceland. To accommodate the three-month commitment, Holland America Line will cancel three of those voyages and resume service on July 3 instead. Guests on canceled cruises are being notified today and will be accommodated on similar itineraries.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this will cause to guests booked on the three canceled cruises,” Antorcha said. “We hope they understand the unprecedented nature of this situation and why we felt it was important to work with the government on this initiative in support of these families in need.”

Volendam will be docked at Merwehaven, a cargo port on the north side of the River Maas in Rotterdam. Remaining docked will ensure Ukrainian families can transit easily to and from services in Rotterdam.


Holland America Group has already been working with its own team members who are Ukrainian. A $1 million emergency assistance fund provides direct financial support. Team members from the region also receive counseling assistance, free internet service to communicate with family, and scheduling accommodations such as early disembarkation or an extension to remain on board as needed.


The family foundation of parent company Carnival Corporation’s chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine also announced a pledge of $3 million to charities helping Ukrainian refugees. In addition, Holland America Line will look to raise awareness and funds through its On Deck for a Cause program, in which guests on every cruise may take part in a non-competitive 5K fundraising walk. The money raised will go to Direct Relief.

“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.”


  1. John Sutherland

    April 2, 2022 at 7:12 pm

    Any news of your return to sea Captain Albert?

    • Thank you to Holland America , and to the many people who provide a safe place to these refugees, who have lost everything, are now facing a total void, The traumatic experience to go from normal life into utter loss, destruction, hunger, fear, desertion, and uncertainty, is helped by this generous offer of support and protection . Thank you to all of you !

    • James & Barbara Nagel

      April 3, 2022 at 7:56 pm

      Well done! Very proud of HAL God Bless you and all who serve in this noble effort.

    • Captain Albert

      April 4, 2022 at 8:40 am

      Thank you for asking,

      But no. Still waiting for my USA visa for the Alaskan shups and secondly there are the Covid protocols on board which are not conducive to my work, as I would be moving in between different groups on board to do my work and that might create problems with the Covid protocols. So still at home and hard at work on the books for the 2023 celebrations of 150 years HAL.

      best regards

      Capt. Albert

  2. Holland America once again adds a chapter to its amazing history.
    How nice to read about this effort to help refugees.

  3. Gretchen Dawson

    April 2, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    Kudos to HAL for dedicating the Volendam temporarily for housing of Ukranian refugees. A very worthy cause. Also very commendable is the pledging of $3MM to aid the Ukranian refugees, especially when the cruise industry is just getting over a very dire period without sailing revenues. Thank you HAL!

    We booked four HAL cruises in 2022. We just returned from our first one on the Eurodam and were very happy with the excellent, food, entertainment and service on board. We leave again tomorrow aboard the Nieuw Rotterdam. Very glad to be cruising again!

  4. Hooray for Holland America! It makes me feel proud to know my favourite cruise line has taken on this cause.

  5. Esther Levine Brill

    April 3, 2022 at 4:13 am

    How wonderful to hear of HAL’s kindness, generosity and support

    On another note – when immigrants came to America and were turned away, were their tickets returned or did they lose the money. I know they eventually were required to have enough money on hand to pay for a return journey
    Thank you – you have already helped me so very much

    • Captain Albert

      April 4, 2022 at 8:37 am

      Good morning,

      The official ruling was, that company’s had to provide a return passage for their customers / passengers if they were rejected at Ellis Island or if not emigrants, at immigration on the pier. Most company’s therefore required – officially- that emigrants had money for the return voyage. However this was often conveniently forgotten by the Booking agents far away in the depths of Europe so the shipping company often had to take the gamble. But as emigrant class was mostly empty anyway on the return trip, the cost to house these “un-desirables” was not too great. It was often much harder then to get them back to were they came from upon arrival in Rotterdam or any other port of embarkation.

      I hope this helps

      Best regards

      Capt. Albert

  6. Christopher Benson

    April 3, 2022 at 7:56 am

    What a fantastic humanitarian effort by HAL.
    Perhaps the laid up cruise ships could be sent to suitable ports, provisioned, refuelled and provide the same service. I am sure this would be supported by all European societies and funded by all democratic countries.

  7. colleen davis

    April 3, 2022 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you Holland America for your outstanding service to those in need!!

  8. George Swindell

    April 3, 2022 at 4:56 pm

    Well done !.

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