Holland America Line’s Volendam has returned to guest cruising operations after a six-month charter with the Dutch government for Ukrainian families.
Two-and-a-half years after the cruise industry pause, Holland America Line’s Volendam has returned to cruising. The ship embarked guests for a 14-day Holy Land and Ancient Kingdoms Explorer itinerary from Trieste (Venice), Italy.
To commemorate the occasion, Holland America Line held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the terminal to open embarkation, attended by the ship’s captain and senior officers, with flag-waving fanfare from team members lined up to greet guests as they boarded.
“This is a milestone day as Volendam embarks on its first full cruise since the industry-wide pause,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “We are thankful for the incredible work of the shipboard team these past six months, caring for Ukrainian families. As we get back to cruising, we are excited to welcome guests on Volendam for a series of longer voyages that include explorations of the Mediterranean, Amazon and South America.”
Volendam has spent the past six months in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, under charter to the City of Rotterdam to house Ukrainian families. The ship was a temporary home for up to 1,500 refugees through the charter, part of a larger commitment from the Netherlands to accommodate 50,000 people who fled the war in their homeland.
Following the Holy Land and Ancient Kingdoms cruise, the ship will sail 14-day itineraries to Greece, Turkey, Italy, Croatia and Montenegro. In late October, the ship will reposition to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to offer a 28-day Amazon Explorer voyage, followed by a series of Caribbean cruises. In January 2023, the ship departs on the 74-day Grand South America and Antarctica Voyage that circumnavigates the continent.