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Holland America Line has become the first cruise line to give their crew members free WhatsApp access so they can connect with their families at no cost.

Just in time for the holidays, all crew members on all 14 cruise ships throughout Holland America Line’s fleet can now use the app.

To keep the lines of communication open, Holland America Line also launched Crew Self-Service (CSS), which gives crew members free access to their personal employment information.

The response from crew members has been overwhelmingly positive with comments like, “This program is helping me save money and making it easy to say hi to my family. Many thanks to our company for this,” and “I’m so happy about this, it’s the perfect service to keep me connected to my family.”

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Through CSS crew members can access their contract details, rotation schedules, see port details, find manning agency contact information and more. An announcements board within CSS enables Holland America Line to communicate directly with all officers and crew electronically even if they don’t have a Holland America Line email address.

“Our crew members are at the heart of our operation, and we know how important it is for them to be able to communicate with their loved ones from anywhere in the world, especially over the holidays,” said Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president. “We’re always looking for ways to ensure our crew know how much we value and appreciate them, and we’re happy to be able to offer WhatsApp along with other new applications like CSS to make communications easier and more efficient for them.”

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