To mark National Dog Day on Aug. 26, Holland America Line took the opportunity to celebrate the service dogs that cruise onboard its fleet.
According to the company, not all dogs are allowed to cruise; only service animals that are trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability can set sail.
Some service dogs, however, cruise regularly onboard Holland America’s 11-ship fleet, including Joska.
Along with her Dutch owners, who are both legally blind, the black Labrador Retriever have cruised so many times that in October 2022 she received her Platinum Mariner Medallion for reaching more than 700 cruising days onboard.
From Alaska, Hawaii and Canada to Europe, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, Joska has sailed on more than 55 Holland America Line voyages, the brand said, and sits among the most traveled dogs in the world.
To commemorate, a ceremony was held onboard the Rotterdam at the time of the achievement. On the occasion, Joska was presented with a platinum medallion, 5-star mariner status in the cruise line’s loyalty program, and a selection of dog-friendly gifts by Holland America’s president Gus Antorcha and the ship’s captain Werner Timmers.
At 11 years old, Joska is now heading toward retirement, and her owners have a new service dog, Wylou, joining the family.
Joska will continue to cruise with her family as their secondary service dog helping both her mom and dad, working with Wylou to ensure her human parents have a safe and enjoyable cruise, Holland America Line said.
Joska and Wylou are among a special collection of cruising service animals, the company added, brightening the spirits of everyone on board and allowing their owners to do what they love: cruise and explore the world.
Other service animals have traveled with Holland America Line and focus on different areas of need.