Tourism & Cruises

Carnival adding more Cuban sazón to activities on Cuba cruise

Carnival Corp.’s Adonia in port in Havana during the ship’s inaugural sailing to the island.
Carnival Corp.’s Adonia in port in Havana during the ship’s inaugural sailing to the island. Carnival Corp.

Carnival Corporation’s Cuba cruise will get an extra shot of Cuban flavor, the cruise company announced Wednesday, thanks to cultural updates that will bring a local Havana shop on board and additional programming on the island’s history.

“We have been listening to our travelers and creating new experiences on board based on their feedback to facilitate rich immersion and to provide more robust insight into the culture and people of Cuba,” said Tara Russell, president of Carnival Corp.’s social-impact Fathom brand, which sails to Cuba from Miami every other week, in a statement.

The 704-passenger Adonia will now feature a new retailer, Old Havana local design store Clandestina, which sells products meant to showcase Cuban ingenuity. The shop will offer items from its Vintrashe Collection, featuring toys made from recycled plastic and decorated by hand. It will also sell T-shirts and handbags designed by local artists.

“Each time Fathom travelers purchase our products, they support independent entrepreneurship,” said Idania del Rio, co-founder and owner of Clandestina, via a press release. “They are taking home a unique design product that is ‘authentically Cuban.’ ”

The gift shop will be the first Clandestina store outside the island. Previously, Fathom sold silk-screened T-shirts from Clandestina in the ship’s gift shop.

We have been listening to our travelers and creating new experiences on board based on their feedback to facilitate rich immersion and to provide more robust insight into the culture and people of Cuba.

Tara Russell, president of Fathom

Also coming on board from the island will be bands from Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos, the three ports of call. The line is also adding historical lessons on the three ports and on the island pre-Revolution, during Spanish colonialism before the 1950s.

Though Americans are prohibited by U.S. law from visiting Cuba purely for tourism, they are allowed to go to the island for cultural immersion trips.

Interactive games, including a Havana architecture bingo game and another on Cuban coffee, are also joining the lineup. Tickets for the cruise start at $1,899 per person, including taxes and fees.

The ship has been sailing to the island since May 1, after Carnival Corp. gained approval from the Cuban government to become the first U.S. cruise company to sail to the island in more than 50 years. Since then, Fathom has been making week-long voyages to the island — with alternate weeks in the Dominican Republic — that included some Cuban programming, including salsa lessons, two Cuban bands and mojitos galore.

The line said after its inaugural voyage that it would work to improve programming after guests complained of not enough people-to-people experiences.

“We have things we absolutely need to tweak and improve,” Russell told the Miami Herald at the time. “We don’t believe we are fully baked. There are pros and cons in being the first.”

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