By Naomi Klouda
The first cruise ship of the summer rolled into Homer on May 20. At 781 feet long, the M/S Volendam is one of Holland America Cruise Line’s largest.
Aboard were 1,300 passengers and 588 crew members, said Homer Port and Harbor Master Bryan Hawkins. Its first American stop was in Kodiak, after heading up the Inside Passage from a South Pacific cruise. Homer was its second stop, where it took on water but no cargo.
Though the ship pulled into dock just as firefighters were finishing up work on the East End Road Fire, Hawkins said he wasn’t asked about the impact of the fire.
As for the swine flu questions harbor officials are obligated to ask, the ship had already undergone an inspection in Kodiak. Hawkins also interviewed the crew to “make sure no one had flu-like illnesses on board.”
Passengers hit town early, with a steady stream of Greyhound buses running from the Spit to various attractions in town. Many took in the sights, shopped on Pioneer Avenue or visited Islands and Ocean Visitors Center. They were docked at Homer from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
According to Holland America, the ship is considered unique in several aspects. Its culinary arts center was featured as a demonstration kitchen in Food and Wine Magazine. The garden theme of the Volendam is reflected in its floral motif throughout the ship’s spacious public rooms and staterooms. “Flowers” can be found in abundance in the forms of floral fabrics and tapestries, as well as huge vases of tropical floral arrangements and chrysanthemums.
The ship’s registered home is in the Netherlands, having been commissioned in 1999. Its passenger capacity is 1,432.
Source: Homer Tribune