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Rotterdam extends HAL ship charter for Ukrainian refugee housing

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Volendam will house Ukrainian refugees for an additional 10 weeks
The city of Rotterdam is extending its charter of Holland America Line's Volendam through Sept. 14, to house Ukrainian families.

This means six additional cruises are canceled, including ones to Norway, the British Isles and Mediterranean. Passengers will automatically be rebooked on similar itineraries and do not need to contact HAL; the line said it will reach out directly with options.

The city originally chartered the ship through the end of June but has asked to extend for an additional 10 weeks.

Housing for up to 1,500 refugees

Volendam has been home to approximately 1,200 Ukrainians since docking at Rotterdam in early April and will house up to 1,500 refugees through the extended charter.

Under the agreement, Holland America Line is providing hot meals, private stateroom accommodations, housekeeping services, laundry, use of public spaces, fitness facilities, Internet access and other necessities. Volendam is staffed by approximately 650 crew members.

This is part of a larger commitment from the Netherlands to accommodate 50,000 Ukrainians who fled the war in their homeland.

'We are sorry for the inconvenience this will cause to guests booked on Volendam through the summer,' said HAL's Beth Bodensteiner, chief commercial officer. 'We appreciate their continued understanding as we work with the city of Rotterdam on this important mission.'

Sept. 24 return to service

Volendam’s is expected to return to service Sept. 24 in Venice for a 14-day 'Holy Land & Ancient Kingdoms Explorer' cruise. 

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