Carnival Unexpectedly Launches a Tenth Cruise Brand

AdonistouchedupCarnival Corporation is a massive company with numerous cruise brands under their wing including: Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, and a few others. The tenth brand will be called simply, Fathom, and the ship to start-off this new cruise venture, Adonia, was taken from another one of Carnival’s brands, P&O Cruises, which caters mostly to passengers from the UK. The Adonia is a 30,000 ton vessel built at Chantiers de L’Atlantique in St. Nazaire, France in 2001, originally for Renaissance Cruises. The Adonia was one of eight ships built for Renaissance Cruises and she was originally named “R Eight”, because she was the last of eight ships built for the line, which filFathomLogo6ed bankruptcy in late 2001. The vessel has had several names with different cruise lines including: Minerva II and Royal Princess. In 2011 the Royal Princess was transferred out of the Princess Cruises’ fleet to operate with a sister company P&O Cruises and renamed Adonia.

AdoniastairsIt’s not unexpected for Carnival Corporation to launch a new cruise brand, however; it is unexpected for Carnival to have launched a unique cruise company like Fathom, which will engage in humanitarian efforts.   Fathom will engage in “social impact travel”, offering to passengers the exclusive opportunities to reach out a helping hand in the cruise ports to help the less fortunate, and offer ongoing assistance with educational programs in third-world communities. Another way to explain what Fathom does is Volunteer Tourism.  Many companies, tour operators and faith-based ministries have been conducting “volunteer tourism” for many years, in fact as the author of this article, I can say that since 1997 we have conducted several projects which we called a Cruise With A Purpose. I even wrote a book about the details of a Cruise With A Purpose and included several case studies as examples of what we did and how we did it. You can order my book Cruise With A Purpose at the following link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/barry-vaudrin/cruise-with-a-purpose/paperback/product-4394329.html

Adonisinterior4The Social Impact travel company Fathom, will begin it’s impact cruise series partnering with well-established organizations like Entrena and IDDI, or Instituto Dominicano De Desarrollo Integral, Inc.   Fathom’s first mission will be to the Dominican Republic, where the Adonia will dock in Amber Cove, Puerto Plata for three days. Carnival Corporation spent 85 Million Dollars on Amber Cove, so that various cruise lines under the Carnival Corporation banner will be able to dock there. This area is fascinating because it is where parts of the first Jurassic Park movie was filmed. This is a very exciting project because now cruise passengers have an entirely new port to visit and explore.   Amber Cove in Puerto Plata is also the perfect region for Fathom to reach out to the local people, and make a long-lasting and positive impact in the various nearby communities. For Carnival Corporation to develop the concept of Fathom, it shows that even a mega company like Carnival has a heart. Launching in April of 2016, Fathom’s first ship the Adonis, departs from Miami to the Dominican Republic with roughly 700 passengers eager to make a difference in the lives of people in the Puerto AdonislibraryPlata area. Reservations can be made by visiting the Fathom website at www.fathom.org.

Cruise pricing aboard the Adonis with Fathom will start at $1,540 per person, and a portion of the cruise cost will go to the non-profit organizations that Fathom is working directly with in the Dominican Republic. Onboard the Adonis, passengers will enjoy a very traditional, upscale, luxurious environment with a fabulous grand staircase, fine wood paneling, and wonderful dining. It will be interesting to mix social impact immersion activities with a luxurious onboard experience. Passengers will go from a luxuriously appointed ship, to immersing themselves in a third-world country environment where some people may struggle daily with what to eat.   It’s that contrast that will be a fascinating social experiment.   Typically those who enjoy an upscale lifestyle tend to avoid placing themselves in an environment where they may see extreme poverty. Passengers onboard the Adonis will attend lectures and classes to prepare them for their outreach experience in the port. Some passengers may assist students in how to speak conversational English, while other passengers may help out in a factory that manufactures chocolate. Fresh water is a desperate need in the Dominican Republic, so Fathom passengers will be instrumental in the construction of water filters to be adonisloungedistributed to families and individuals throughout the community.

Fathom is truly making a long-term investment with this project to make a difference and make a positive impact in the communities in Puerto Plata and the surrounding areas. A long-lasting impact is the only way to have a successful outreach in areas like Puerto Plata, so that the efforts to stand along-side the local people will be an ongoing, purposeful activity for many years to come.

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Cruise Vacation Myths

Cruises are for old people

DocWhen the cruise vacation industry was in its infancy, the majority of passengers were the elderly demographic. It was once said that cruising is for old people and their parents. The reason cruise ships carried most older passengers was because they had more time, often being retired, and they had more money to spend in their retirement. Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, it was true that cruise ships carried mostly retired vacationers, but then a new cruise line came on the scene that changed that perception. Carnival Cruise Lines was the first cruise line to reach out to middle America, young couples who wanted to have fun and families with children. Other cruise lines began to market specifically to young couples and families by offering shorter cruises, more competitive pricing, exciting ports, and a host of great entertainment onboard for all ages. The median age use to be 65 years, and by the late 70’s early 80’s that median age started to drop down to 45-50 years. Today, the median age is about 35 – 48 years.

I’ll be confined onboard 

FreedomMany people who have never set foot on a cruise ship may have an image of being confined to a “boat” and therefore choose land-based vacations like trips to Cancun, Las Vegas, or Florida. These people who share this image of cruising would be blown away by how large today’s average cruise ships are. The average cruise ship carries 3,000 passengers and has a mass of around 90,000 tons. To put it into perspective, the size of today’s cruise ship, imagine a giant skyscraper like New York’s Empire State Building, flip it on it’s side and shove it down the freeway at 20 miles per hour. Or perhaps consider this, the average cruise ship is often larger than most buildings in your town…even the big ones. A cruise ship today is larger than most land-based resorts or hotels. The Allure of the Seas, for example, is the largest cruise ship today at over 240,000 tons, and even has seven unique neighborhoods, so she is virtually a city at sea. When you go to the movies in your hometown, and as you’re sitting there waiting for your movie to begin, the show lounges on most cruise ships are often more than twice the size of the average movie theater, and have the latest in stage equipment and technology that rivals even Broadway production shows. Most of today’s cruise ships now have from 5-25 different restaurants onboard. Additionally, passengers are not entirely “confined” to a boat, rather, the average seven-night cruise stops in 3-4 different ports where passengers can explore exotic beaches, embark on fascinating tours, and enjoy unique cultures.

I will get bored

SkyBarMaybe in the old days when cruise ships were 18,000 tons and had only one dining room and a small lounge for music and entertainment for 500 passengers. Today, cruise lines have mastered the art of entertaining passengers with more activities, entertainment venues, numerous dining options, and interesting activities and amenities that will mesmerize even the most HDHD passenger. Cruise lines are tapping into amazing technologies that allow passengers to experience simulated sky diving, incredible water parks and slides, simulated surfing, ice skating rinks, rock-climbing walls, zip lines, rope courses, even robotic bar tenders. A new cruise ship coming out in 2016, the Carnival Vista, will have a device never before seen on land or at sea called a SkyRide, where a passenger can sit in a pod and peddle around an 800 foot long track suspended over the top of the ship. As far as entertainment, today’s cruise ships have started to offer “branded” entertainment like Blue Man Group, Second City, Nickelodeon, Dr. Suess, Dreamworks, Disney, Legends In Concert, and Cirque Dreams to name a few. The Quantum of the Seas has an interesting glass capsule that about 15 passengers can get in and with a giant hydraulic boom, raise that pod 300 feet above the sea for those lucky passengers to enjoy the view. Not only does the modern cruise ship offer more entertainment options than most land-based resorts, but these ships are mobile and carry passengers to fascinating new ports of call nearly every day.

I will get seasick

getawayThe one thing that is true is that even the largest cruise ships float on the ocean, and sometimes the ocean makes these ships sway from side to side or front to back. The ships are also cruising across the ocean at 15-25 miles per hour producing a relative feel of movement. That being said, most passengers find the often gentle movement of the ship to be soothing, especially at night when the movement of the ship lulls passengers to sleep like being in a baby cradle. Today’s cruise ships are also much larger than the cruise ships in the past and have the latest in high-tech hydrodynamics making the ship’s movement more subtle and controlled. I tell people, that if they do not get sick riding in a car, then most likely they will be fine with the movement of the ship. Sometimes it may take a few hours to a day or so to get your sea legs, and there are a few ways to prevent from getting seasick. One popular old sailor’s trick is to eat an apple and salt crackers to relieve a queasy stomach. If the motion upsets your sense of balance, then I recommend SeaBands that you put around your wrists that presses down on pressure points that can help with inner ear motion sensitivity. Ginger gum is also an excellent option to relieve stomach issues. I recommend these options before using medications that can make you sleepy, therefore hindering your cruise enjoyment. It’s also wise to refrain from too much alcohol consumption until you get your sea legs.

Where’s the Midnight Buffet?

BuffetIn the early days of cruising, passengers could expect nearly every night, a midnight buffet, with an extraordinary amount of food and desserts. For the most part, the “Midnight Buffet” is extinct, however; there is usually late-night snacks and foods up in the Lido Deck area so no one goes to bed hungry. Today’s cruise ships have a designated Lido Buffet area that the ships in the past did not have. These Lido Buffets are great alternatives to eating in the dining room, for those who want to grab a quick bite or snack, rather than the sit-down restaurant experience with a waiter etc.

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The First Purpose-Built Cruise Ship Might Surprise You

WilheimThe cruise vacation industry has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry with massive 240,000 ton cruise ships with amenities and features like rock-climbing walls, water parks, ice skating rinks, and even a glass module that raises passengers 300 feet into the air just for the view.   It is commonly known that the birth of the cruise industry started in the late 60’s and early 70’s, but a piece of nearly forgotten history shows that the first purpose-built cruise ship was actually launched in 1938. A grand scheme called Kraft durch Freude (KdF) or in English, “Strength Through Joy” was developed by Hitler’s propaganda experts to offer cruise vacations for the average German workers. The Wilheim Gustloff was built for this Strength Through Joy cruise program and launched in 1938. This ship was painted white, had beautifully appointed public rooms and dining areas, and all of her staterooms were equal so no one had a larger or more luxurious cabin. She looked like a cruise ship, rather than the typical ocean liner. Most of the ocean liners in that time period had dark or black hulls. Additionally, the Wilheim Gustloff had only one funnel, when most of the ships in that day had at least two funnels. Designed very specifically for pleasure, games, fun and fine dining, the Wilheim Gustloff was perhaps before her time, but clearly is the first passenger ship to be designed exclusively for leisure cruises. The ship took cruise passengers to Spain, Norway and Italy.

Unfortunately, during World War II, in January 1945, working as a hospital ship, the Nazi regimes Wilheim Gustloff, was sunk with a massive loss of life, where around 9,340 people perished. It was truly one of the worst maritime disasters in history that was far more devastating than the Titanic accident in 1912. The story of the Wilheim Gustloff is not as well known because of the dark Nazi regime, and was buried in the chaos of World War II.

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Cruise Mates’ Paul Motter

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A couple years ago while cruising Alaska aboard the Oosterdam, I met up with Cruise Journalist, Paul Motter and had the great opportunity to interview him about his career working with the cruise industry.  Paul runs the website Cruisemates.com and still gets the chance to cruise once in a while.  Please listen to this podcast interview with Paul.

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Introducing the Inventor of Carnival Vista’s SkyRide

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Scott Olson, Inventor

Carnival Cruise Lines is constructing their largest ship to date, called the Carnival Vista which launches in May of 2016.  At 133,500 GRT and 1,055 feet in length, Carnival Vista will be a giant, with numerous amenities and activities offered for the first time at sea, including the SkyRide which is a bicycle-like device that hangs under a special track, allowing ‘riders’ to peddle their way along an 850 foot long track, where in most spots is 20-40 feet above the highest deck for incredible views of the ship and the sea below.  It’s a thrill-ride that passengers on the Carnival Vista will line-up to perhaps race their friends on one of two tracks that are side-by-side.

Find out the details of this fascinating SkyRide right from the mouth of Scott Olson, the Inventor of this ingenious device, by listening to this podcast: (Click on the following Link to listen to the podcast show) http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/audioPop.jsp?episodeId=968646&cmd=apop

Please make sure to subscribe to our podcast through iTunes at the following link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cruising-authority/id269034309?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4   That way you won’t miss any of our programs…you might want to browse through some of our older shows too.

Below is the video of our interview with Scott Olson.

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Interview with Cruise Journalist, Marcia Raffel Levin

MarciaphotoIntroducing an interview with Cruise Journalist, Marcia Raffel Levin, whom I had the opportunity to interview in December aboard the Costa Mediterranean.  Marcia has been writing for the cruise industry since the early eighties, and she has written for Porthole Magazine, Cruise Critic and many other print and online media.  In December of 2014, a few of us Cruise Journalists cruised aboard the Costa Mediterranean to the Caribbean on a unique 11-night itinerary.

Please click on the link below to listen to the podcast.  Be sure to subscribe to our podcast by visiting http://www.cruisetalkshow.com or look for Cruising Authority on iTunes.  You can see our content and videos from our Costa Mediterranea experience: http://www.cruisetalkshow.com/id192.html

http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/audioPop.jsp?episodeId=963758&cmd=apop

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Professor Bel & Shon Ford at St Cloud State University

Enjoy Cruising Authority’s latest podcast where we talk with Professor Bel at St Cloud State University and Shon Ford who will be signing-on aboard the Pride of America soon.  This is our first podcast in a long time.  We plan to be dedicated to airing new episodes every Thursday, so please register to our RSS Feed on iTunes or this “like” this blog.

http://www.talkshoe.com/talkshoe/web/audioPop.jsp?episodeId=961674&cmd=apop

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