Holland America Line Gives Back to Community During Holidays

Cancellation of Cruise Feeds South Florida

By Liam P. Cusack

Holland America Line V.P. of Hotel, Food, and Beverage, Frits Van der Werff, center, directing the food donation to Feeding South Florida.

If a cruise has to be canceled due to technical issues, Holland America Line has shown the industry how to do it properly. First of all, they took care of their passengers. All passengers received a full refund for the price of the cruise, they also received a 100% Future Cruise Credit. Additionally, Holland America staff members assisted passengers with making travel plans. Affected passengers were also given the opportunity to stay on board the ship for one night with drinks compliments of the Captain.

Still Holland America didn’t stop there. The ship was fully provisioned with food for a holiday cruise, instead of letting the food go to waste Holland America Line donated the fresh produce to Feeding South Florida, the largest food bank serving Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. The organization distributes more than 50 million pounds (42 million meals) of food annually to more than 700,000 individuals – 240,190 of whom are children and 110,000 are older adults.

The Nieuw Amsterdam donated 11 pallets of fruits and vegetables, and one of our vendor partners — Freedom Fresh — picked up the food from the ship and delivered it to Feeding South Florida. The ship’s Food and Beverage Director Ron van Vliet and Executive Chef Sinu Pillai, along with Holland America Line’s Vice President of Hotel and Food & Beverage Frits Van der Werff, selected all of the produce and got it all loaded onto the truck for delivery.

Vice President of Hotel, Food, and Beverage Frits Van der Werff oversees food donation.

Feeding South Florida received a wide selection of inventory that had just been loaded for the cruise and would have gone unused. The organization accepted an abundance of vegetables including zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce, bell peppers, mushrooms, squash, kale, carrots, eggplant, cucumber and more! Fruits included starfruit, mango, dragon fruit, grapes, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, kiwis, strawberries and avocado. Fresh herbs and spices also were delivered, including sage, tarragon, dill, thyme, rosemary and basil.

Holland America Line did a great thing. They took care of their passengers, and took care of the community. It’s not often I have the opportunity to report that a company has done the right thing, but when I do, I seize that opportunity.