Carnival’s newest cruise brand, Fathom, has added two Cuba sailing dates for fall 2016 thanks to pent-up demand by travellers choosing to take a cruise vacation to explore Cuba. Fathom is the only U.S. cruise line sailing from the U.S. to one of the most desired destinations in the Caribbean.
The additional cruises will take place the weeks of Sunday, Oct. 9, and Sunday, Nov. 6. For both week-long cruises, Fathom’s Adonia will depart Port Miami on Oct. 9 and Nov. 6 for three destinations in Cuba, including two days in Havana. This is in addition to their regular sailings already scheduled for Oct. 2, 16 and 30 as well as Nov. 13 and 27 (for the cruise leaving Nov. 27 and all subsequent cruises through April, 2017, the first stop will be in Santiago de Cuba before heading to Cienfuegos and Havana). The Adonia will return to Miami on each following Sunday for all of the cruises. (Normally the Adonia sails on alternate weeks to the Dominican Republic and these two additional cruises will replace those sailings.)
“Carnival Corporation made history when Fathom arrived in Havana on May 2 of this year” said Tara Russell, president of Fathom, referring to the first time in more than 40 years a U.S. cruise line has sailed from the U.S. to Cuba. The ‘floating rooms’ will ease some of the pressure on the bursting hotel capacity currently being experienced within the Havana market.
“Since our inaugural voyage we have experienced strong, continued demand from travellers wanting to travel to Cuba with the comfort, convenience and peace of mind that comes with cruising with Fathom.”
I agree. Without a doubt, seeing Cuba via sea is probably the most convenient and efficient way of visiting the largest island in the Caribbean where train service is limited and rental cars can be expensive and scarce. As a result, demand appears to be strong. “We are almost sold out for the year with only a small number of staterooms available for a few remaining fall cruises to Cuba, and we have extremely strong demand for 2017,” Russell notes.
Fathom’s seven-day cruises from Miami to Cuba visit the historic ports of Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba. According to Fathom, in post-cruise surveys, “Fathom guests are giving high marks for a great experience at all three destinations.” The Adonia which is a smaller class of vessel by Caribbean standards, houses 700 travellers, providing a sense of intimacy that is resonating well with guests.
The Carnival experience includes unique shore excursions, featuring several that are included in the overall price of the cruise. Some on-shore highlights include interactions with the island’s famously friendly people, Spanish and French colonial architecture, traditional Cuban music and dance, restaurants with genuine Cuban cuisine, museums, cathedrals, coastal fortresses, the cannons on San Juan Hill, the shores of Cojimar that were Ernest Hemingway’s favourite fishing village, and lively nightlife including the famous Tropicana Club, and much more.
A highly popular element of Fathom’s Cuban cruise vacation is enjoying the island while staying and sailing on the Adonia, with guests appreciating the amenities of a modern hotel and convenience of unpacking their suitcases just once. Another added feature: Fathom takes care of providing traveler visas and medical insurance in Cuba for its guests.
“Our travellers love that Fathom does all of the intricate planning so they can spend more time having a fun and memorable travel experience,” Russell said. “After exploring, our guests can return to the Adonia and relax and rejuvenate with excellent food, entertainment, and a beautiful spa. It is a fantastic way to experience such an enchanting country, and it makes for an unforgettable trip to always remember.”
Prices for seven-day itineraries to Cuba start at $1,599 USD per person, excluding Cuban visas, taxes, fees and port expenses, and include all meals on the ship and lunch while in the three ports, onboard experiences and some on-the-ground activities. Prices will vary by season.
Montreal-based VisitCuba Cruise Editor A.J. Twist wholeheartedly concurs that a cruise around Cuba is an excellent way to visit the country for the first time. His photo of Adonia approaching Havana (above) marks the historic occasion of the the U.S. line’s first visit.