Ukrainian refugees can stay aboard Holland America Line’s Volendam cruise ship, which is being offered as temporary accommodation for those fleeing the Russian invasion
The shipping company’s Volendam ship will dock in Rotterdam for three months to provide a temporary home for around 1,500 Ukrainians.
Refugees are given their own private rooms and can use the ship’s facilities such as public areas, fitness facilities and housekeeping services, as well as internet access.
The company also said it will crew the 781-foot ship with around 650 crew members and provide refugees with three hot meals a day.
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“We are in a unique position to meet immediate food and housing needs, so we felt it was very important to work with the City of Rotterdam and charter this ship,” said Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line.
“Our company was founded in Rotterdam with the mission to help immigrants find a better life. So today we are proud to be a small part of a similar mission for Ukrainians who have been tragically displaced.”
The cruise ship was originally scheduled to return to service on May 15 with sailings to Norway, the British Isles and Iceland, but three of those have been canceled to accommodate the ship’s three-month commitment.
Instead, Volendam will resume operations on July 3, with similar itineraries being offered to guests scheduled to sail on the canceled cruises.
Commenting on the cancellations, Mr Antorcha said: “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this will cause for guests booked on the three canceled cruises. 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 to support these families in need.”
Offering Volendam as a temporary home isn’t the only contribution the cruise line is making to help Ukrainians.
In addition to establishing a $1 million emergency relief fund, the cruise line is raising funds with an On Deck for a Cause program, which allows guests on each cruise to participate in a non-competitive $5,000 donation walk, with proceeds going to Direct Relief goes.
Meanwhile, the cruise line’s Ukrainian employees will be offered advisory assistance and a free internet service for communication with family, while accommodations are planned to help if needed, be it an early disembarkation or an extension of stay on board.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/travel/cruises/cruise-line-offers-up-ship-26631195 Cruise Line is offering a ship as a temporary home for 1,500 Ukrainian refugees