Carnival Heads to Cuba
Cuban authorities have granted approval for Carnival Corporation to begin travel to Cuba starting on May 1, 2016. Following U.S. authorization granted in July 2015, Carnival Corporation is now cleared to operate the 704-passenger MV Adonia to Cuba through its newest brand Fathom. This marks the first time in over 50 years a cruise ship is approved to sail from the United States to Cuba.
Cuban authorities from Havanatur Celimar, various other agencies and Carnival Corporation signed the agreement on Monday. The agreement comes as Barack Obama made history on the same day, becoming the first U.S. president to visit Cuba in 88 years.
MV Adonia is being redeployed from Carnival Corporation's P&O Cruises U.K.
“We are excited about Cuban approval and are ready to take travelers there through an extraordinary guest experience on the beautiful MV Adonia,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “This is a historic opportunity, and we know there is pent-up demand amongst Americans who want to experience Cuba.”
Fathom provides travelers the experience of working with nationals to assist in the development of regional areas. The Fathom brand is expected to see about 40,000 travelers annually that will volunteer and engage in educational and cultural exchanges in local Cuban communities.
Based on extensive market research, Fathom has identified a sizable and growing market of potential social impact travel consumers – approximately one million North Americans who are strongly predisposed, in addition to global travelers already pursuing service-oriented travel experiences worldwide – who will be interested in this type of travel offering.
In addition, the company believes Fathom will attract a significant number of travelers who have never before cruised. According to research, nearly 40 percent of the individuals who will book a social impact trip on Fathom might otherwise never have chosen to cruise.
In April 2016, Carnival will begin inaugural voyages to the Dominican Republic as well, and Fathom will offer both Dominican and Cuban itineraries on a regular basis.
MV Adonia will initially visit Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, three ports of call for which Carnival Corporation has obtained berthing approval. The seven-day itineraries depart from PortMiami on Sundays.
Carnival brands operate 99 ships totaling 216,000 lower berths with 17 new ships scheduled to be delivered between 2016 and 2020.