Fathom's historic cruise sets sail for Cuba

|
Passengers look on as a tugboat shoots a celebratory stream from a water cannon as the Adonia departs Miami for Havana.
Passengers look on as a tugboat shoots a celebratory stream from a water cannon as the Adonia departs Miami for Havana. Photo Credit: Robert Silk

MIAMI — To a double water gun salute from three accompanying tugboats, Fathom’s Adonia set sail from Miami for Havana at 3:55 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.

The departure marked the first time in the history of the modern cruise industry that a ship has journeyed from the U.S. to Cuba.

Several leisure boats, approximately a half-dozen police boats and one anti-Castro protest boat also made watch from just off Miami’s downtown as the Adonia began the 192-mile journey to Havana. The ship was expected to reach the Cuban capital at approximately 8 a.m. Monday morning.

Speaking to the media a couple of hours before departure, Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said that the company is privileged to be the first to cruise between the former Cold War nemeses. He added his view that the opening of cruise traffic between the U.S. and Cuba would contribute to international understanding and “the human spirit.”

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald addresses the media ahead of the Adonia's departure.
Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald addresses the media ahead of the Adonia's departure. Photo Credit: Robert Silk

“We are humbled to be part of such a significant change,” Donald said.

The Adonia set sail with a full ship of 700 guests. Among them, said Donald, are between 10 and 25 Cuban-born passengers, including Fathom employees, though he didn’t know the precise figure. One of those employees, Carnival Corp. general counsel Arnie Perez, will be the first to disembark when the vessel enters the Port of Havana.

Two weeks ago, Carnival announced that the Fathom line wouldn’t make the trip to Cuba unless the Castro government relented on a law prohibiting native Cubans from entering the country via cruise ships. The Cuban government capitulated to the demand within a week.

Adonia passenger James Townsend, from Chicago, boarded the ship Sunday just one day after his retirement as an insurance agent. 

Anti-Castro government protesters took to the water ahead of Fathom's departure.
Anti-Castro government protesters took to the water ahead of Fathom's departure. Photo Credit: Robert Silk

Townsend’s motivation, he said, was “to be part of this historic event.”

Chattanooga’s Jim Dalton also said he booked passage on the cruise in order to take part in an historic first.

“And I want to see [Cuba] before the Americans screw the place up,” he said.

The Adonia will spend two days in Havana before sailing on to Cienfuegos, Cuba, on Thursday and after that, Cuba’s second city, Santiago.

Comments

From Our Partners

2018 Funjet Logo Webinar
The secret to group vacations with Funjet Vacations
Watch Now
Riviera Nayarit Luxury
Luxury in Riviera Nayarit
Read More
2020 Scenic Emerald Webinar
Reward yourself with Scenic & Emerald Cruises
Register Now

JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI