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My Vacation Lady was part of a travel agent group to sail on the Fathom Adonia to Cuba from Oct 2-9, 2016. We were thrilled. We wanted to see Cuba before it changed but we needed to have internet access. This seemed like the best of both worlds!
Fathom is a new cruise line. It’s only been sailing since May of 2016 and only has 1 ship- the Adonia, which alternates itineraries. The Adonia sails from Miami to the Dominican Republic one week and to Cuba the next week. This is NOT your typical ocean cruise liner and is not the right fit for everyone so let me try to explain the concept behind the Fathom.
They believe in Travel With Meaning. Making an Impact. Connecting and immersing yourselves in new things. Engaging with locals and fellow travelers on a much more personal level.
There is no casino. There is no huge Broadway style production shows. There are no games around the pool. It’s about being a traveler, not just a passenger on a cruise ship. The guests are called travelers, not passengers.
There is no entertainment staff but rather Impact Guides. Emily is one that we got to know. Sweet young lady from California with a degree in Anthropology. What does one do with a degree in Anthropology? You become a Fathom Impact Guide, of course. Some were in the Peace Corp. Some have traveled worldwide– I was impressed.
Let’s talk about about sailing to Cuba on the Adonia
Excursions- currently there is at least 1 FREE excursion in each port of call and a few that may be optional (at an additional cost).
On Monday, our first day in Havana, we took the included Old Havana Walking Tour with Lunch. We were met in the cruise terminal by our guides and we walked across the street to the first of the 4 main plazas that we would be visiting. Each of them (Plaza Vieja, San Francisco de Assisi Square, Plaza de Armas and Plaza de Catedral) are all very close by each other and each has their own sense of charm. We had a great lunch at one of the most popular restaurants in Havana.
Monday evening, we took an optional excursion to the Cabaret Parisian at the Hotel Nacional. The other option was the Tropicana Cabaret.
On Tuesday, our 2nd day in Havana, we took the Best of Havana Bus Tour with Lunch. We visited Revolution Square, the Cemetery of Cristobal Colon (where a local guide took us on a tour of this cemetery), the Grand Theatre and then the San Almancenes Market (picture the Straw Market in Nassau). Lunch was fabulous at Bar 1830. The highlight of the day was a visit to a local community center called Muraland, where artists work wonders with scraps of metal to create one of a kind sculptures. We were treated to a bit of singing and dancing by a local band and relaxed for a while with a cool drink.
Since we sailed during Hurricane Matthew, our itinerary had to be adjusted a bit to avoid the storm. Wednesday was a much needed, relaxing day at sea.
On Thursday, we were in Cienfuegos. That is usually only a 1/2 day tour but we were lucky to get a full day tour of this lovely city. The standard included tour is the Pearl of the South with Choral Group which is only 4 hours but we got a full day tour with lunch as a seaside hotel. We wandered around the main square of the city, got a brief overview of some of the statues and we headed off to climb a tower to the top of an old building being renovated. This cost us a CUC or 2 but was well worth it. After climbing to the top of the tower, we were treated to some spectacular views of the city, including seeing our ship docked at the pier. As part of our people to people experience, we were treated to a choral group in the town theater. Our tour continued by bus to the outskirts of town to see some of the beautiful seaside hotels and homes. Lunch was in one of those hotels. The best part of the day was visiting a cigar factory. We weren’t allowed to take any pictures but now we understand why Cuban cigars are so expensive. They are all hand rolled and pressed. What a process! We visited a local art workshop afterwards.
We should have gone to Santiago de Cuba on Friday but due to the Hurricane, Friday was a day at sea and we had another day in Havana on Saturday. The Havana tour was put together in a matter of 2 days to enable all of the travelers on board to explore more of Havana. This time we visited the fishing village of Cojimar, which was Hemingway’s inspiration for Old Man and the Sea.
We then drove through the Vedado district of Havana and visited the the Decorative Art Museum and then John Lennon’s Statue. We got some great shots of John sitting on his bench! This was followed by another great lunch in the Miramar section of Havana. All in all, it was a great way to end our time in Havana!
There were a few things we would have liked to have visited on our own but hopefully, we’ll get a chance to go back to see more of Cuba. There was plenty of time for shopping during out 4 days in Cuba and we brought home some cigars, local art and Cuban coffee.
What is there to do on the ship?
Since almost everyone goes off the ship during the days in Cuba, there is no much going on on board during the days in port. Activities start after you return from your excursions.
I pulled out some of the newsletters to give you a better idea of the daytime and evening entertainment. Some of the daytime activities were:
- Cuban history lectures
- Ports of call talks
- Visual Storytelling (using your smart phone to capture better images)
- Dance classes
- Evening movies
- Wine and paint nights (after a bit of wine- everyone is an artist)
- Bandioke (the Adonia’s version of Karioke)
- Fitness Classes
- Rum tasting
- Cocktail classes
- Game show nights, scavanger hunts
- Cuba Fiesta Night
- Sailaway parties
- Spa and fitness center
The Fathom isn’t your typical ocean cruise liner. While the Adonia is a beautiful ship with all of the cruise ship amenities, the ports of call are the destination rather than the other way around. If you are looking for the party hearty cruise ship with a club that closes when the last person leaves, this ship may not be for you.
Who would be the best travelers to sail on the Fathom Adonia to Cuba?
For many of our fellow travelers, this was a bucket list trip. Of all of the travelers we spoke to, we found that most were very well traveled and Cuba was one of the last places that they hadn’t been. For the most part, our fellow travelers were a bit more sophisticated, a bit older and well educated. There were a few kids on board with their parents and grand parents but there isn’t a kids program, so this is going to be for more self sufficient kids and teens. There were a good number of adult children with their parents and also singles traveling alone.
Keep reading our blog posts for more on the Fathom Adonia. My Vacation Lady can help plan your cruise on the Adonia to Cuba or the Dominican Republic.