Last updated: 01:23 PM ET, Wed July 27 2016

Fathoming a New Kind of Cruising

Fathom’s Ron Fenska offers advice on how to sell the line’s cruises — and whom to target.

Agent@Home | Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Theresa Norton

Fathoming a New Kind of Cruising

Fathom's Adonia approaches Cuba. (photo courtesy of Fathom)

By now, you’ve likely heard about Fathom, the new cruise line from Carnival Corp., which offers volunteer “social impact” activities in the Dominican Republic and immersive experiences in Cuba.

The cruises are operated aboard the Adonia, a 704-passenger ship that moved from Carnival’s British line, P&O Cruises. The décor is reminiscent of an old-school ship, but onboard activities contribute to the immersion philosophy – Spanish lessons, salsa dancing, local band performances, mojito making classes, and workshops on storytelling and local culture.

Fathom is about experiences – what you do and how it changes you. So how do you sell this new style of cruising? Agent@Home asked Ron Fenska, vice president of sales at Fathom, for his advice.

What kind of traveler gravitates toward Fathom?

For the Dominican Republic experience, Fathom attracts people of all ages and from all walks of life, but especially U.S. citizens ages 20 to 55 who are eager to unleash their personal talents and deeply impact the world. Many of these travelers have never considered a traditional cruise vacation. In fact, we estimate that about 80 percent of individuals who will book a Fathom trip have never before cruised on a Carnival Corp. ship. Of those, about half have never been on a cruise at all.

Do the Dominican Republic and Cuba itineraries attract different kinds of travelers?

The Dominican experience is particularly attractive to groups predisposed to social-impact travel, as well as individual travelers – millennials in their 20s and 30s looking to make a difference in the world, parents who want to open their children’s eyes to other parts of the world, and baby boomers eager to find a rewarding way to help other people.

READ MORE: TravelPulse Onboard: Fathom Adonia Review 

Our Dominican travelers are younger than traditional cruisers. The average age is about 34, and about half travel with children.

As Cuba is a more recent addition, we are still learning about that traveler. Based on our initial sailings, the Cuba Fathom traveler more closely aligns with the typical cruiser. The average age skews closer to 50 and above and, with a bit higher price point, the Cuban experience attracts baby boomers and retirees with more discretionary income.

What are the top selling points of Fathom?

For the Dominican Republic, Fathom provides travelers access to a recent category of travel, so it’s a chance to try something new. The voyages provide the perfect experience for people who have been hungry to make a difference in the world and within themselves, but did not know where to begin. Impact activities include a wide range of projects focused on economic development, education and the environment. During three days on the island, travelers can get involved in the projects they feel the most strongly about.

For Cuba, Fathom offers something no other travel provider can match – the opportunity to join the first wave of U.S. travelers to Cuba by sea since the last half century. The beautiful thing about traveling to Cuba by ship is that travelers only have to unpack once. Then they can relax knowing Fathom has handled all the details of sailing hundreds of miles between ports as well as arranging a cultural exchange experience for passengers to learn more about the everyday lives of the Cuban people and their remarkable culture.

How is Fathom booking today? Are the Cuba cruises more in demand than the Dominican itineraries?

As [one of] the first cruise ships to sail to Cuba in more than 50 years, Fathom has experienced strong, pent-up demand. There is some limited availability for Cuba in the fall, but agents should book quickly before the ship is old out. In fact, there are no interior cabins left for five sailings in the fall and the Nov. 13 sailing is completely sold out. In 2017 we have a full charter signed and many larger group bookings in the works.

For the Dominican itineraries, we are seeing bookings grow at a pace we predicted and are pleased with the growing demand. We believed – and are now seeing it happen – that once people started traveling with Fathom and sharing their experiences that public awareness and market demand would grow. The afterglow of the Fathom experience continues to be one of the most powerful marketing “leave-behinds” that our travelers take with them.



SHIP: Adonia

SIZE: 704 passengers; 30,277 gross registered tonnage

ENTERED SERVICE: 2001, refitted in 2006, 2011 and 2016

ITINERARY: Alternating seven-night cruises to Cuba and the Dominican Republic

PRICE: Cuba fares start at $1,899. A recent promotion lowers Dominican lead fares to $499 on departures through Nov. 20.

CONTACT INFO:, 855-932-8466


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Agent@Home Magazine

A version of this article appears in print in the July 2016 issue of Agent@Home Magazine.


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