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All photos by Barry Kaufman
MIAMI -- Speaking from the Lido deck stage of the MV Adonia Sunday, Fathom President Tara Russell was prepared to give a speech about Fathom's core principles of making an impact, changing lives and changing the world.
And while audio difficulties punctuated the speech, what really spelled the end of the prepared speech wound up being the purest expression of the new cruise line's mission statement: raw, emotional excitement.
"Do you know what? We're moving," she said halfway through her speech as the ship's engine's lurched to life and the MV Adonia pulled away from Port Miami.
Her voice cracking with emotion, Russell exclaimed, "We're sailing! You have no idea how badly we've been waiting for this moment." It wasn't just the culmination of two and a half years of labor (in fact, Russell compared the process to being pregnant "a whole lot longer than is comfortable").
It was the realization of a highly ambitious new take on the very notion of cruising. It was also the week-long delayed first voyage of Fathom, after Coast Guard inspections led to the cancellation of the soft launch. But despite the delay, the excitement was palpable as Fathom took its first few leagues on its voyage to change the world.
Speaking at the launch, Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald described the mission as such: "To take some of the human capital that we have access to and really do something with it to do good.
"You never know what difference you're going to make when you touch different people," he continued. "And what Fathom is all about is people to people and having an impact."
That emotional core of Fathom, establishing personal connections and using them to change someone's life, was evident in all of the opening voyage's activities. From the observation deck, a zipline carried hand-written affirmations down attached to shiny red bells. In the Lido deck pool, bottles carried similar messages (plus a few in Spanish to help travelers practice before landing in the Dominican Republic).
The messages in each, delivered via zipline and via bottle, varied, but the theme was constant. Fathom is about empowerment, and the buy-in from the passengers was strong. As one message read: "Be Awesome Today. Also, tomorrow."
"We are pioneering something the world has never seen and I have been on a mission to unleash the superpowers in all of you," Russell said addressing the crowd. "It's not easy to do something the world has never seen. Most people people will tell you that you're crazy. Most people don't believe it can happen."
And with one simple act of a ship pulling out of Miami, Fathom proved that it can.
TravelPulse contributor Barry Kaufman has been a writer and editor for 15 years and a travel junkie since birth. He lives by...
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