Last updated: 02:47 PM ET, Thu November 24 2016

Fathom Cruise Line to Cease Operations By Summer of 2017

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Carnival Cruise Line | Michael Schottey | November 24, 2016

Fathom Cruise Line to Cease Operations By Summer of 2017

Fathom's Adonia will be returned to P&O Cruises after Summer 2017. (Photo by Jason Leppert) 

Fathom's parent company, Carnival Corp., announced on Wednesday that it will be shuttering its social impact cruise line by the summer of 2017 — an announcement coming just months after its first sailing in April of 2016. 

Fathom has just one ship, the Adonia, which is alternating sailings between Cuba and the Dominican Republic. In keeping with Fathom's mission of "impact + travel," the sailings included plenty of socially-conscious volunteering opportunities such as teaching English in local schools, one-on-one opportunities with locals, pouring concrete foundations for homes and helping build water filtration systems. 

The 704-passenger Adonia will be returned to its former operator, P&O Cruises. 

Clues as to why the plug has been pulled on Fathom so quickly are sparse, but some of the reasoning may be found in mixed reviews the company received on its inaugural Cuba voyage in May. Over at Cruise Critic, the review described quite a few "speed bumps," as the brand juggled not only the competing ideas of serving others and helping others serve, but also fighting over regulations with the Cuban government. Similarly, "The Points Guy" found some kinks in the on-shore excursions, but also felt the overall product was on the right track. 

TravelPulse's own Jason Leppert reviewed the Adonia and found that its novelty was mostly found ashore with much to be desired onboard, saying that the historic nature along was worth hopping immediately aboard. 

Although the Adonia will no longer be in service under the Fathom brand and the dedicated Fathom cruises no more, Fathom (as both an idea and concept) will continue. Carnival announced plans to integrate the Fathom concept on existing cruise lines within the company, and TravelPulse's Patrick Clarke revealed what some of those plans will be:

"Beginning this month, guests sailing AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises UK voyages with scheduled calls in Amber Cove will be able to purchase a social impact excursion as they would a traditional shore excursion.

The expansion will include the launch of two new excursion offerings, including the Hands-On Chocolate Experience at a Women's Cooperative and the Volunteer Experience at Recycled Paper & Crafts Entrepreneurship."

With those plans in view, it is possible to look at this recent cancellation of Adonia sailings in a completely different light — that the Fathom mission isn't ending, but expanding in a new and exciting way. The volunteer opportunities will continue. The trips to Cuba will continue, as company officials hope to announce Cuba sailings for one of their other cruise lines in the near future.

The only thing that won't continue is dedicated Fathom-branded sailings, but that might make it more feasible for Fathom's mission to expand and continue. 

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