Inspectors Delay Cuba Cruise Brand's Test Trip
The 700-passenger cruise vessel Adonia, operated by the new Carnival Group "social impact" Cuba travel brand Fathom, has been prohibited from departing on its first cruise due to inoperable fire doors, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement Tuesday.
The Adonia was to leave Sunday for its first weeklong trial cruise to the Dominican Republic, but a Coast Guard inspection found that 30 fire doors tested inoperable. A USCG spokesman told Cruise Critic that the agency was working with Carnival to get the problem corrected before Adonia sails.
"The cruise ship failed several portions of the [inspection] . . . the most serious remaining problem is with numerous sliding fire screen doors that are inoperable," the Coast Guard said.
Fathom said in a statement that "the ship arrived in Miami directly from dry dock and re-fit offshore and underwent rigorous operational tests with the U.S. Coast Guard that took longer than expected. Unfortunately, the company has learned additional testing will be required and as a result must cancel the soft-launch sailing."
The 2001-built Adonia (ex names R Eight, Minerva II, Royal Princess) has been owned and operated by Carnival subsidiaries since 2006, and was transferred to Fathom this month, becoming the brand’s only vessel.
She suffered an engine room fire in 2009 and was renamed and transferred to the P&O Cruises brand in 2011; she was P&O’s smallest vessel.
The United States Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) still prohibits tourism to Cuba, but it has implemented changes to permit American citizens to travel to the country for educational activities, public performances, workshops, exhibitions, support for the Cuban people, and humanitarian projects, among other defined purposes, without prior review. Fathom stresses that its trips are "Travel With Purpose;" its itineraries include activities meeting OFAC's specifications, such as onboard Spanish lessons, cultural exchange with Cuban families, visits to Cuban farms, and "impact workshops," in addition to leisure travel offerings like a visit to the Havana Club Museum of Rum and a tour of Havana's major landmarks.
"Every Fathom journey is based on our sincere belief that the person-to-person connection is among the strongest catalysts for transformation. What sets Fathom apart is the long-term, systematic partnership approach with its partner countries paired with the unique business model that allows for sustained impact and lasting development. Fathom’s scale and global vision reach beyond what the world has ever seen," the firm says in an online description of its orientation and activities.
In March, Carnival won required approval from the Cuban government to begin cruises in May 2016, and it expects that the Adonia will be the first cruise ship to travel from the U.S. to Havana in 50 years.