May 26, 2022
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(CNN) — The journey trade has pitched in to assist house a few of the tens of millions of people that have fled battle in Ukraine over the previous six weeks, with lodges and trip dwelling homeowners throughout Europe providing rooms to these in want.

Now a cruise liner has additionally opened its doorways to the refugees. Holland America Line’s Volendam, a 237-meter lengthy, 10-deck cruise ship docked within the Dutch metropolis of Rotterdam, has been recruited to present momentary refuge for up to 1,500 Ukrainians.

“Our crew sees it as a real honor to make Volendam a snug and caring atmosphere for households who’ve been via a lot,” the ship’s captain, Ryan Whitaker, advised CNN Travel.

Short-term lodging

Volendam will probably be docked in Rotterdam, within the Netherlands, for 3 months.

Courtesy Holland America Line

The Dutch authorities, which has pledged to house up to 50,000 displaced Ukrainians, contacted Holland America in late March to inquire about chartering a ship as momentary lodging.

Volendam had but to re-enter service following the Covid-19 pandemic, however the ship was totally crewed in preparation for a scheduled return to passenger sailings in Could.

Sibrand Hassing, Holland America’s European fleet operations director advised CNN Journey the cruise line was eager to assist, because it was able to “accommodate the rapid want for meals and housing.”

A spokesperson for town of Rotterdam mentioned there’s a “main housing scarcity” within the metropolis, which means particular person housing can not at present be provided to displaced Ukrainians.

“Some refugees had been staying in lodges, however this was not a long-term answer,” mentioned the spokesperson. “That’s why we determined to accommodate a lot of these refugees on this ship for the months to come.”

On April 5, 100 Ukrainians boarded Volendam, with extra folks set to board within the coming days.

Ukrainians staying on Volendam will probably be supplied with three scorching meals a day, and also will have use of the ship’s varied services — together with housekeeping companies, Wi-Fi and a health heart.

“Our onboard group is understood for its service and hospitality and we’re prepared to welcome our new friends as we might welcome friends into our personal properties,” mentioned captain Ryan Whitaker.

Volendam will stay docked at Merwehaven, a cargo port on Rotterdam’s River Maas, for the whole lot of the three-month constitution. These on board can disembark each time they want, together with to attend college.

The Rotterdam spokesperson mentioned metropolis officers are additionally “working exhausting to present training for each Ukrainian little one that has taken refuge in Rotterdam.”

“We count on to attain this aim someplace within the subsequent couple of weeks,” mentioned the spokesperson. “This is not going to happen on board of this ship, however on a location someplace in Rotterdam.”

Medical and social care may also be organized for the Ukrainians by way of native social organizations, together with the Salvation Military.

These on board will probably be inspired to put on masks, in accordance with the Dutch Covid-19 rules. The Rotterdam metropolis spokesperson additionally mentioned the Ukrainians will get a normal well being verify after they board, with anybody experiencing Covid-like signs getting examined. Vaccinations may also be obtainable. Holland America mentioned its crew will observe their ordinary Covid rules.

Volendam’s upcoming cruises have been canceled, with would-be vacationers supplied with different choices. Volendam is ready to return to common service in July. Forthcoming itineraries embrace midnight solar voyages up to the Arctic Circle and excursions of northern European capitals, with tickets costing from about $2,400 per particular person for 2 weeks.

Prime photograph of Volendam courtesy Holland America Line

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