Carnival Corp.'s Fathom Cruise Line Discontinued as Adonia Returns to P&O Cruises' Fleet

November 24, 2016
Fathom Adonia

(5:00 a.m. EST) -- P&O Cruises' much loved small ship Adonia -- which has been sailing as Fathom in Cuba and the Dominican Republic -- will return to the fleet in summer 2017.

Carnival Corp. transferred the 704-passenger ship from P&O Cruises to Fathom in April this year, offering week-long "social impact" cruises to the two countries.

Carnival Corp. gave no specific reason why the line was ceasing except that other cruise lines in the organisation now offer similar experiences. Earlier this month, the group announced the excursions pioneered by Fathom in the Dominican Republic will be available on all of the group's other lines including P&O Cruises.

Carnival Corp. also confirmed the demise of Fathom did not mean the end of cruises to Cuba and that it had requested approval from the Cuban authorities for other lines in the group to sail to the island.

A Carnival Corp. spokesman said: "We have requested approval from Cuba to sail there with our other brands beginning in June 2017. We plan to continue sailing to Cuba for many years to come based on the success of our first cruises to the country which have proven to extremely successful."

Media sources in the U.S. are reporting that Fathom could be replaced by a 2,000-passenger Fantasy-class ship sailing under the Carnival flag -- subject to Cuban government approval, but this has not been confirmed.

Paul Ludlow, P&O Cruises' senior vice president, said: "The Fathom experience has been expanded across our many Carnival Corp brands sailing to the Dominican Republic and beyond and we are extremely pleased to have Adonia, our well-loved small ship, here for our guests beginning with the summer season, sailing a range of discovery itineraries."

Further comment came from a Carnival Australia spokesperson, who said: "Carnival Corporation has confirmed that Fathom is evolving into a special shore experience for all brands in different parts of the world.

"In our region, P&O Cruises [Australia] is sailing to a number of developing countries in the Pacific, adding real economic value to the places that we visit. Carnival Australia thinks there is potential for Fathom's reach and social impact to extend into our part of the world through a shore-tour experience.

"When Tara Russell, Carnival's global social impact lead and Fathom CEO, was in Australia last month, we took advantage of starting some very embryonic discussions on what this could look like."

Just Back From Carnival's Fathom Adonia in Cuba: Hits & Misses

Fathom became a game-changer for the U.S.-market in July when it became the first cruise line to offer sailings to Cuba from the U.S. in more than 50 years.

The ship called in at Havana, Cienfiegos and Santiago de Cuba on its week-long voyages, offering U.S. citizens the chance to meet and interact with Cubans via the "people-to-people" program.

It also sailed to Amber Cove, in the Dominican Republic, where passengers had the opportunity to work with locals, digging ditches, building houses and helping out on a chocolate farm.

Demand for the Cuba sailings inevitably far outstripped those for the DR -- which is on many regular cruise itineraries -- with Fathom forced to offer deep discounts on many sailings.

Cruise Critic members were not surprised by the announcement, with most stating it was a question of when the line was axed rather than if:

Member The Winddawn said: "The discussion here on CC when Fathom was announced seemed to be that few thought Fathom would survive. This news does not surprise me at all. I certainly did not think Fathom's business model would be successful."

--By Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor