Archive for the ‘Adonia’ Category

Adonia leaving P&O

[Updated – see below]

I’ve been emailed (thank you Neil Ringan) with information that Adonia is leaving P&O to join Azamara in March 2018. That will leave three of the R ships with Azamara – the other four are with Oceania Cruises. [Update] Here’s a link to the page on the P&O website with the news.

I must admit, I’m shocked by this news. It’s very unusual for a ship to transfer between the two big camps, yet this is what’s happening – P&O is Carnival, of course, while Azamara is in the Royal Caribbean empire. I suppose Azamara must have made them an off they couldn’t refuse – and to be honest, Princess’ last R-ship went to Oceania not that long ago.

I’m also surprised by the date – March 2018. That’s just 6 months away. I had thought that Adonia had cruises scheduled for some date after that. More digging required, I think.

But that’s the news – Adonia is leaving P&O, which can no longer claim to be a ‘small ship’ cruise line in any way.

Update – it looks as if all of Adonia’s existing cruises after D802 have been cancelled, and that cruise might have been changed – it’s now showing as D802A. Subsequent cruises e.g. D803 are no longer available on the P&O website, but can be found on other TA websites.

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There’s a press release on the relevant Carnival Corp. webpage that announces that for Adonia’s 2017/18 Caribbean season – that is, next winter – P&O have contracted with Virgin Atlantic to provide the flights from Manchester and Heathrow to Barbados, and some seats in existing (public) flights from Gatwick. Here’s a link to the relevant page.

I gather that using a carrier other than Thomas Cook or Thomson for these Caribbean cruise flights is quite unusual. It’s not clear what the reason is for the decision – it could be that Virgin Atlantic came in with a great bid, or perhaps the regular airlines had no capacity available. Following her announced release from Fathom, Adonia’s Caribbean programme has been arranged at short notice and later than that for other ships.

While Virgin Atlantic gets a general thumbs-up, one person who commented on this pointed out that on a flight (non-cruise, I believe) to Barbados with Virgin Atlantic a few years ago, the aircraft used was older and not comparable with Virgin Atlantic services to Miami and New York. We’ll know more by this time next year!

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P&O have announced the schedule of cruises that Adonia will undertake following her return from Fathom. The first cruise, a 7 night Western Europe cruise, will start on 16 June, and will be followed by a programme of mainly 7 and 14 night itineraries. The full details aren’t yet available – we don’t know which actual ports will be visited on these cruises – but they will be published on 7 December.

There is one unexpected point, however. Obviously Adonia has got a taste for the Caribbean, because from October and through the winter she will be deployed on Eastern Caribbean fly-cruises. I have a feeling this is a new development.

Then on return to England in March 2018 she will undertake a summer-long programme of cruises to the usual destinations – Western Europe, Western Mediterranean, etc. Interestingly most of these are for either 7 or 14 nights – it looks as if the ‘extended duration’ cruises are being left to Arcadia and Oriana.

It looks as if all the European cruises will depart from Southampton, so no use of regional ports. I can’t help feeling that P&O have missed a trick there.

Here’s link to the ‘pre-announcement page’ on the P&O website.

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There are stories floating around this morning that Fathom will cease offering voyages at the end of summer 2017. Apparently, while the voyages to Cuba became very popular, the ‘social impact’ voyages to the Dominican Republic never found a market. So the line will stop offering voyages. It’s likely that other lines owned by Carnival Corporation – indeed, any number of lines, I would expect – will offer voyages to Cuba, given the way that relations between the US and Cuba have thawed in the last year or so. As regards the efforts in the Dominical Republic it’s suggested that the Fathom concept will continue, but as an add-on to other Carnival lines’ voyages to that country – ‘Fathom’ activities will be available on those voyages.

Adonia will be returned to P&O UK, but there’s no word yet about a set of itineraries for her.

Here’s a link to a story in the Miami Herald about it, and another link to a story on USA Today.

Finally, here’s link to the set of posts I did about Fathom.

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Fathom shifting?

I’ve done a few posts about Fathom, Carnival Corp’s new ‘culturally immersive’ cruise line. They’ve been operating since the spring or early summer, doing alternating week-long cruises to the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

I had become aware that there were some extremely good offers for Dominican Republic cruises. Now Carnival Corp has announced two additional sailings to Cuba in October and November, presumably with equivalent cancellation of planned sailings to the Dominican Republic.

The press release refers to “strong pent-up demand” by passengers for cruises to Cuba. Perhaps Fathom has found its market after all, except that it’s based on Cuban-Americans checking out the old homestead rather than passengers wanting to give something back in the Dominican Republic? How long before Adonia is replaced with something bigger, I wonder? And if that happens, could Adonia return to P&O? The response to the announcement of the new ship that P&O will be getting in 2020 was generally along the lines of “Too big! Bring back Adonia!”

Here’s a link to the press release.

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It’s becoming known that Fathom, Carnival Corp’s experiment in “social impact cruising” is having some problems. Specifically, in filling the voyages to the Dominican Republic. (Adonia, Fathom’s ship, alternates 7 night cruises to the Dominican Republic with similar-length cruises to Cuba.)

The point about the trips to the Dominican Republic is that Fathom passengers are supposed to be giving something back. In an earlier post I said that “passengers disembarking in the Dominican Republic may volunteer to work on various projects – provision of drinking water, agricultural projects and involvement in literacy projects have been mentioned“, although these activities are not mandatory. Nonetheless, I understand that the ‘feel’ of the cruise is set by the availability of these activities.

It seems that Fathom have been struggling to fill Adonia for Dominican Republic cruises (there’s no such problems for the cruises to Cuba). I’ve heard (from various different sources) that prices for the 7 night cruises have at times been as low as $250 per person. Now, however, I gather that Fathom is changing its marketing. It will increasingly target churches and private schools, because these are two places that, to put it crudely, are interested in “good works”. Ron Fenska, Fathom’s vice-president of sales, is reported as saying “There is no shortage of different types of groups that travel“. Fathom’s problem so far, I suppose, has been to get to those specific groups.

Well, I wish them luck – it’s a bold and innovative venture. But there must be bean-counters back at Carnival Corp’s HQ in Miami who are wondering. Adonia is an R-ship, and her sisters (sailing with Princess, Azamara and Oceania) are all marketed as luxury ships with prices to match.  It’s hard to find an exact match, but as an example an 8 night ‘around Britain’ cruise on Pacific Princess (another R-ship) is listed at £1399 per person – yes, GBP – for an Inside Cabin, and I don’t think that includes air fares. Yet Fathom are currently advertising an inside cabin on Adonia for $499. I wonder how long Carnival Corp will support that? – especially as a 7 night cruise to Cuba this autumn seems to be on sale for $1200 per person (in an inside cabin).

Here’s a link to an article about Fathom’s new marketing and sales strategy.

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Carnival Corp announced yesterday that Adonia would have her stay in the Caribbean sailing for fathom extended until the end of December 2017. I think that means an additional year – I believe the previously-announced sailings were only until the end of this year, 2016. The Carnival Corp press release says “Due to growing demand, Fathom adds sailing dates to Cuba and Dominican Republic, offering cultural immersion and educational, environmental and economic development impact activities“.

It also says “Fathom also appeals to travelers as a meaningful way to experience personal growth while making purposeful and engaging contributions to the world“, so it looks as if the doubts I expressed about fathom’s ‘social impact travel’ business model were wrong.

Here’s a link to the Carnival Corp press release.

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