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Volendam cruise ship
Photograph: MasaPhoto /

This huge cruise ship in Rotterdam is being used to house Ukrainian refugees

The Volendam will provide 1,500 people with a home for up to three months

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

As people all over the world have rallied to do their bit to help the people of Ukraine, so has the travel industry. From housing refugees to shipping humanitarian aid, plenty of travel companies have volunteered to help Ukrainians in their time of need. 

And now an enormous cruise ship docked in Rotterdam is doing its bit, too. The Volendam, a 237-metre-long cruise ship owned by Holland America Line, is opening itself up for Ukrainians fleeing the conflict. 

The Volendam’s ten decks have enough room to provide temporary shelter for 1,500 refugees, but the liner isn’t just housing them. It will also offer refugees three meals a day, as well as giving them access to the ship’s Wi-Fi, housekeeping services and gyms. On-board medical and social care will be organised by the Salvation Army, and the inhabitants will be allowed to come and go as they please. All of which is pretty damn cool, if you ask us. 

So far, the Dutch government has been especially welcoming of refugees from Ukraine. Following a pledge to take in up to 50,000 fleeing the conflict, they’ve helped 1,700 Dutch households volunteer their homes for Ukrainians – and, notably, even volunteered one of the Dutch royal family’s castles

The Volendam has been docked in Rotterdam since Covid put a temporary stop to most cruise travel. It was due to go back into regular service in May, but that has now been delayed until July so that it can provide three months’ safe haven for refugees from Ukraine. A hundred or so Ukrainians have already boarded the Volendam, with more expected in the coming days.

Want to do your bit to help? Here are 22 ways you can support the people of Ukraine right now.

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