Last updated: 04:59 PM ET, Tue July 05 2016

First Look At Fathom's Adonia

A P&O classic gets remixed for Carnival Corp.'s new social impact line

Vacation Agent | Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Barry Kaufman

First Look At Fathom's Adonia

The Adonia, the first and thus far only ship in Carnival Corp.’s Fathom fleet, can be a little tricky to get your head around. After all, it still bears the opulent brass and wood-paneled feel of an old-school luxury ship, with a demeanor that speaks of classical comfort. Which is fine, but seems a bit at odds with the line’s millennial-friendly immersion-forward philosophy.

The line’s optics skew modern, fresh and poised to capture that millennial thirst for adventure. The ship? It actually doesn’t look that different from when it was part of Carnival’s P&O Cruises, apart from a fresh coat of blue on the funnel and a new name on the sides.

But that’s actually where the ship shines, as the slightly stodgy interior belies some fun surprises designed to inspire and set the tone for a cruise dedicated to service and exploration. There are the curiosity boxes tucked throughout the ship, offering everything from affirmations (written backward, to be viewed in a mirror) to dance instruction. Then there is the large wall on the fifth deck devoted to postcards you can mail to your future self, adjacent to the shops selling a meticulously sourced collection of responsible and artisan-crafted retail goods.

In short, the Adonia is a beautiful ship, but a Fathom cruise is built around experience – what you do when you get there and who you become when you’re done. In effect, the ship isn’t really the point.

Fanciest and Most Common Accommodations: The ship is equipped with 10 suites located on Decks 6 to 8, which feature wraparound balconies and spacious living spaces separated by a sliding door. The majority of the accommodations are 200-square-foot outside cabins with balconies and dual twin beds.

What’s Included: Buffet dining at The Conservatory, the poolside Lido Café and the sitdown dining at the Ocean Grill, along with several of the impact activities in the Dominican Republic sailings. They fill up quick, so recommend that your clients sign up early.

Best Entertainment: Local bands play regularly on the Lido Deck and in The Crow’s Nest. Nighttime activities range from scavenger hunts to outdoor game nights featuring a formidable giant Jenga stack.

Favorite Excursion: The Dominican Republic sailings are skewed to social impact activities. Tell your clients to sign up for the recycled paper activity. The women of recycling collective RePapel are a delight to get to know, and will work together with your clients to create crafts and repurpose paper.

Excursions on Cuban sailings focus more on cultural immersion, including such activities as dining in paladares and enjoying live music.

Who Goes on This Ship? Fathom states that it has identified a sizable and growing market – approximately 1 million people in North America alone (another approximately 1.6 million people globally) – who are strongly predisposed to this type of social impact travel offering.

The line cites millennials, parents and those 50 and up as strong prospects for this particular type of cruising. Agents on the inaugural cruise suggest selling the itineraries to church groups and volunteer organizations.

Best Cocktail: The Santo Libre, crafted with Dominican label Brugal Anejo rum. Brugal, in addition to being a pretty good rum, does a lot around the island to give back to the Dominican Republic. So you’re not just day drinking, you’re providing revenue to a company that’s making a difference. While day drinking.

Key Selling Points: The small size of Adonia (just 704 passengers), plus the unique nature of the activities on board, creates a real sense of community. Plus, for such a small ship there is a wealth of extras, including a full-service spa, a full gym with panoramic views, a well-stocked library, dual hot tubs adjacent to the pool, a promenade deck for jogging and exquisite cuisine at Ocean Grill from chef Emil Vega.


Cruise line: Fathom Ship: Adonia Size: Capacity of 704 guests in 355 suites and staterooms; 30,277 gross registered tons

Entered Service: 2001,refit in 2006 and 2001

Itinerary: Fathom offers alternating seven-night cruises to Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The Cuba itinerary includes three-and-a-half days of immersive shore excursions in Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos. The Dominican Republic itinerary includes three days of immersion and impact activities in Puerto Plata while the ship is docked at Amber Cove, the cruise facility built by Carnival Corp. Both trips include ground transportaion for impact and immersion activities.

Price: Cuba ranges from $1,800 for an interior cabin in low season to $8,767 for a suite in peak season. Dominican Republic sailings range from $974 for an inside cabin in low season to $ 4,259 for a suite in peak season.

Contact info:, 855-932-8466


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Vacation Agent Magazine

A version of this article appears in print in the June 2016 issue of Vacation Agent Magazine.