Finally, after over 50 years, a cruise line departing U.S. waters is cruising to Cuba. For several years, Carnival’s newest brand, Fathom Cruises, has been preparing to launch and offer alternating itineraries between the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Final on May 2, 2016 Fathom’s ship, the Adonia, has arrived into Havana, Cuba with great fanfare! This process has not been without some serious challenges. A few weeks ago, a group of passengers who purchased tickets on the first Cuba cruise were told that they would not be able to go to Cuba on that May 1st voyage because the Cuban government would not allow former Cuban citizens to book passage on the new cruise line. The U.S government over the past couple of years has been negotiating trade with Cuba, and this has drudged-up conflict with people who escaped Cuba, and American’s who prefer to not conduct business with a dictatorship-run country. Fathom, owned by Carnival Corporation, was being sued by passengers who were expecting to go to Cuba on their cruise. Carnival leadership worked tirelessly with the Cuban government to allow all passengers who wanted to book passage were allowed. Carnival Corp was ultimately successful in their negotiations with the Cuban government, and the May first cruise was once again allowed to depart from Miami to Havana, Cuba, with a host of excited passengers onboard the Adonia, anticipating this historic event. May 2nd, 2016, Fathom’s Adonia, arrived at Havana on a beautiful, sunny day!
One of the issues some people have with a U.S. – based cruise line visiting Cuba, is because of the dictatorship country and the racists views of the Cuban government. What many people don’t know is that Fathom is no ordinary cruise line bringing fun-loving, vacation-seeking passengers to frolic on the beaches of Havana and explore the city streets littered with fabulously restored and maintained cars from the 50’s. Fathom actually has a well-planned-out mission to make a positive “impact” on the local communities in Cuba by offering unique “Impact Travel” excursions to lift-up the locals and work side-by-side to help create a better quality of life for these Cuban communities. It’s a great experiment to see if a company like Fathom, can make a positive difference in relations between the U.S. and the Cuban government. Similar to the excursions offered by Fathom in the Dominican Republic, where passengers embark of special projects to offer reforestation, the distribution of water purifiers, and projects to assist local entrepreneurs to make a difference in their communities. Fathom’s historic arrival in Havana, Cuba, today May 2nd 2016 may open the door to a partnership between the U.S. and Cuba, that will transform the culture in a positive way.