This Dog Spent Almost Two Years Of His Life Cruising

Little Joska was rewarded by Holland America, after spending 700 days on one of its ships.

Some animals were able to shine with their courage. Others by unfailing loyalty. But there are some for whom recognition comes through travel. This is the case of Joska, a 10-year-old black Labrador, who recently received the Platinum medal, Holland America Line’s highest distinction. The dog has indeed reached the milestone of 700 days spent cruising during a transatlantic crossing on the ship rotterdam.

A special ceremony was even organized on October 26 to mark this record. On this occasion, Gus Antorcha, the president of Holland America himself, and Werner Timmers, the captain of the rotterdam, presented Joska with her medal. The latter thus obtained the status of “5-Star Mariner”, the highest level of the company’s loyalty program. But how is such a record possible? The answer seems simple: Joska spends most of her time sailing with her two owners, Cornelia “Connie” and Cornelis Marinussen, who are also Platinum Medal winners.

Joska, an exception in the cruise industry

Above all, the canine is not a faithful companion like the others. She is a guide dog for the blind, her owners being both visually impaired. Since 2014, she has accompanied the Dutch couple, great cruise enthusiasts, in their marine peregrinations. “Joska is the first service animal to achieve this status“said Gus Antorcha, in a press release. This award is part of a future year of celebration for the cruise line. Indeed, Holland America Line will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2023.

Joska’s case should remain an exception in the world of cruises. COURTESY OF HOLLAND AMERICA LINE

And Joska’s record is not about to be beaten. Shipowners and shipping companies rarely allow crossings or cruises with a pet. The argument put forward: the health risks. Only guide dogs for the blind can constitute an exception according to the companies (Holland America Line notably applies this rule). In this context, the animals often have to show their credentials, with up-to-date vaccinations and the presentation of a health record.

So few cruise passengers accept our little companions, the British company Cunard is an exception. Its ships not only allow cats and dogs to accompany their masters and mistresses, but also offer services adapted to their needs. The little four-legged travelers can notably have access to a guard in a kennel or to grooming sessions. And thus taste the joys of maritime travel.


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