(CNN) – The travel agency has set out to help housing some of the millions of people who have fled the conflict in Ukraine over the past six weeks, with hotels and resorts in Europe offering accommodations. room for the needy.
Now a cruise ship has also opened its doors to refugees. Holland America Line’s Volendam, a 237 -meter -long, 10 -deck cruise ship docked in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, was hired to provide shelter for 1,500 Ukrainians.
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Volendam will be detained in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, for three months.
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The Dutch government, which has promised to house up to 50,000 displaced Ukrainians, contacted Holland America at the end of March to ask about renting a ship that had been volunteering.
Volendam did not re-enter service after Covid-19 infection, but the ship was fully operational in preparation for a return to cruise ships in May.
Sibrand Hassing, director of Holland America’s European fleet, told CNN Travel the cruise line was desperate to help, even though it was in a position to “quickly meet the needs of food and shelter. “
A spokesman for the city of Rotterdam said there was a “large housing estate” in the city, meaning the same housing could not currently be provided to displaced Ukrainians.
“Some refugees are staying in hotels, but this is not a long -term effect,” the statement said. “That’s why we decided to welcome some of these refugees on this ship for months to come.”
On 5 April, 100 Ukrainians landed in Volendam, with many more set to board the ship in the coming days.
Ukrainians living in Volendam will be served three hot meals a day, and will also have access to a variety of facilities – including housekeeping services, Wi -Fi and a fitness center.
“Our team on board is known for its service and hospitality and we are as ready to welcome our new guests as we are to welcome visitors into our own homes,” he said. captain Ryan Whitaker.
Volendam will be held at Merwehaven, a cargo port on Rotterdam’s Maas River, for the duration of the three -month lease. Those on board can leave whenever they want, including attending school.
A Rotterdam spokesman said “city officials are working hard to provide education for every Ukrainian child displaced in Rotterdam.”
“We hope to reach this goal in the next few weeks,” the statement said. “This will not be done on this ship, but somewhere in Rotterdam.”
Health and social care for Ukrainians will also be provided through local community organizations, including the Salvation Army.
Those on board will be encouraged to wear a mask, according to Dutch Covid-19 regulations. The city of Rotterdam also said Ukrainians will have a regular health check-up when they travel, with one that sees Covid-like symptoms being tested. Medications will also be available. Holland America said its troops would follow their Covid rules.
Volendam’s upcoming cruise ships were canceled, as were passengers provided with other options. Volendam will begin returning to regular service in July. Upcoming tours include a midnight day trip to the Arctic Circle and tours of Northern European capitals, with tickets selling from around $ 2,400 per person. for two weeks.
Volendam’s top image is by Holland America Line