Fathom cruises provided me with the opportunity to visit Cuba in June so I took advantage of it. Fathom is a new cruise line that Carnival Cruises created with one of their older ships in the P& O line. She was originally a Renaissance ship the R8 and honestly she looks lovely. Her capacity is around 800 although she was not full on our cruise which of course is great for the passengers.
We sailed from Miami May 29 and the itinerary included 2 days in Havana, 1 in Cienfuegos and one in Santiago de Cuba. Embarkation was smooth with plenty of check in stations. I did discovered that I was given incorrect information from the Seattle office in that every person needs to complete the affidavit when I was told one per cabin. It wasn’t a problem because the terminal staff had copies we could complete. We also discovered that we can check 2 boxes on the affidavit- one that says we are with a Fathom sponsored tour on shore and one that says self guided touring, meaning we can wander around alone with no issues. This is huge! For photography enthusiasts it means we have time to talk to the locals and wander the back streets without a schedule. The reservations office needs to make this clear before guests board to eliminate extra paperwork and allow for planning free time.
Havana is quite the city. It reminded me of a more colorful East Berlin in the 1970’s. Dilapidated beautiful old buildings and rutted sidewalks and cobbled streets are the first thing you see on sail in and we got a closer look walking the streets. Having said that there is an air of old elegance in the architecture that is stunning. Everywhere you looked the glory days shone through if you let them. A major effort to renovate a lot of the area within the public areas is proceeding with a goal of 2019 when there will be a celebration. Meanwhile the people will continue to live in close quarters in buildings that would be condemned in some US cities.
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