The Adonia was the first cruise ship to enter Havana’s harbor carrying mostly Americans after 48 years and 8 days. The Adonia is still the only ship to sail there under the new agreement between 2 long-estranged governments that have reopened official contact. Royal Caribbean is rumored to be starting cruises to Cuba soon. The Adonia did this under the Carnival name. This cruise line created a new brand, fathom, to participate in this historic occasion. Carnival now has 6 brands, but fathom’s future is uncertain.
The Adonia somewhat reminded me of the Royal Yacht Britannia that Ruth and I boarded via the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2013. Decommissioned as Queen Elizabeth’s ship in 1997, it became a tourist attraction accessed through a shopping center in 2012. I blogged about it on October 7, 2013.
The Adonia was built in France and became a Renaissance cruise ship in 2001. Unfortunately, Renaissance went bankrupt later that same year. The Adonia returned to operation in 2003 but had some troubling incidents, like an engine fire in 2009. It was refitted in 2016 and leased to fathom to become part of international history on May 2, 2016, when it entered Havana’s harbor.
With Ruth and me aboard, The Adonia sailed from Miami on January 8, 2017. We were told that the cruise was fully booked with 704 passengers. We visited Santiago de Cuba near Guantanamo and Cienfuegos before spending 2 days in Havana. Dress was casual and we especially enjoyed the dinner meals. Everyone I talked to loved this experience. One woman waiting for an elevator on the final day told me that she didn’t like cruises but it was “one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
Carnival apparently started fathom to create what it calls impact travel. A bit grandly, it trumpets on its website that this is travel with purpose that transforms lives. The Adonia under the Carnival brand has been taking passengers to the Dominican Republic and Cuba for less than a year. Becca was my conduit for cruise ship line info while aboard. Unfortunately, she gave me some bad news the day before we returned to Miami. There would be only 10 more cruises to Cuba on The Adonia. The last sail would occur on May 28, 2017. After that, this ship would return to England and eventually sail to Bordeaux, France, Seville, Spain, and Iceland.
I don’t know if Carnival will continue these concept cruises on another ship. I hope they do. I also don’t know if the remaining ones are fully booked. Check fathom.org if you’re interested in finding out. Becca did tell me that the Dominican Republic cruises received the highest satisfaction ratings in Carnival’s history.
ps That’s Santiago de Cuba in early evening on the left and Havana near dawn on the right