While still awaiting approval from Cuban authorities, Carnival Corp.’s new Fathom brand is proceeding with plans to sail to the island nation starting in the spring.
“Our intention is for the first trip to depart May 1, if not before,” Fathom President Tara Russell told reporters on a press trip in the Dominican Republic.
The itineraries will likely include three destinations in Cuba — the capital of Havana, Santiago de Cuba in the southeast, and Cienfuegos on the southern coast, she said.
The cruises will offer cultural exchange programs with Cuban artists, small business owners, food producers, musicians and filmmakers. That programming would qualify for the People-to-People licenses authorized by the U.S. Treasury Department to allow travel to Cuba. In July, Carnival Corp. received approvalfrom the U.S. government for Cuba cruises, but was waiting for the OK from Cuban authorities. On Aug. 31, Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald told reporters in a video conference that there was “nothing to report” relating to Cuba approvals.
Fathom was designed as a “social impact” brand offering cruises with volunteer experiences and “impact travel activities” in the Dominican Republic starting in April aboard the 700-passenger Adonia. Shortly after Carnival announced the brand in June, it revealed that it would alternate weekly departures to Cuba.
Russell described Fathom as “a different kind of cruise that combines your love of travel with your desire to make a difference.”
Lead fares initially announced were $2,990 for Cuba and $1,540 for the Dominican Republic, but have come down to $1,600 and $974, respectively, according to the website on Sept. 3. (TravelPulse)