This Adorable Service Dog Has Spent 700 Days on Cruise Ships — and Holland America Line Just Recognized Her Status

Joska has been on over 50 Holland America Line cruises since 2014.

The Marinussens and Joska on a Holland America Line cruise ship

John Halpern/Courtesy of Holland America Line 

At a mere 10 years of age, Joska was awarded Holland America Line’s highest past-guest award after having spent 700 days aboard cruises. 

But unlike most cruisers who receive the Platinum Medallion, Joska has four legs. That’s because Joska is a loyal service dog who spends most of her time cruising with her owners, Cornelis and Connie Marinussen, who is legally blind, the cruise line shared with Travel + Leisure.

The black Labrador retriever, who received the high honor during the current 150th-anniversary transatlantic crossing on the Rotterdam, has sailed to destinations around the globe from Alaska and Hawaii to Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, and more. In fact, Joska has sailed on more than 50 Holland America cruises since 2014. 

Joska the service dog on a Holland America Line cruise ship

Courtesy of Holland America Line 

“Joska is the first service animal to achieve this lofty status and we wanted to honor her with an event that shows her how special she is to everyone in our company,” Holland America Line President Gus Antorcha said in a statement shared with T+L. “Registered service animals are always welcome aboard Holland America Line ships, and Joska has become a member of our family. She not only brightens the spirits of everyone on board, but she also allows Connie to do what she loves most, which is to cruise and explore the world.”

To commemorate Joska’s achievement, a special ceremony was held this week where she was given a medal and some dog-friendly Holland America Line-branded gifts.

Platinum Plaque for Joska the service dog

John Halpern/Courtesy of Holland America Line 

Beyond the pup herself, Joska’s Dutch owners have been cruising with Holland America since 2013 and previously received their own Platinum medallions.

Holland America does not allow pets or emotional support animals on board, but does welcome service animals, according to the cruise line.

Travelers who want to bring their pets on board a cruise should consider Cunard, which welcomes pets to stay in one of the ship’s kennels during transatlantic crossings where owners are allowed to visit them.

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