Fathom Travel- Adonia’s Maiden Voyage
My husband Dan and I, were supposed to be on Fathom Travel- Adonia’s maiden voyage cruise to the Dominican Republic. We were psyched to be part of parent company, Carnival Corporation’ s “Travel with Purpose” and Impact Travel adventure, which included the opportunity to make a difference.
After checking in at the Port of Miami, receiving our keys, and saying good-bye to our luggage, we started to get excited.
Our friend, TV Producer Debbie Mitchell, was also going to be on the trip with us. While we waited to board the ship, Mitchell and I started working on our video project, all about the experience of Fathom Travel Adonia’s maiden voyage.
Adonia was scheduled to leave the Port of Miami at 4PM Sunday April 10, 2016. At about 3PM, Tara Russell, founder, president & global impact lead, Fathom Travel appeared on a podium in front of her baby, the newly retrofitted Adonia.
Microphone in hand, Russell was about to make the announcement we’d all been waiting for. “Let’s get on board and get this party started!” but those were not the words, that came out of her mouth.
This isn’t an exact quote, but Russell did say something more like this….”We’re very sorry, but there is a small delay with our departure. There are busses outside ready to take all of you on some Miami adventures, while we get things ready on board.”
Ok, this isn’t the end of the world. I’m a patient traveler. But the next thing I knew, I’d found myself in the Florida Everglades on an air boat ride, searching for alligators.
Ok, I grew up in Miami and had never been to Everglades Safari, so this was an unexpected treat. I’m looking on the bright side as you can tell.
Three hours later, after spotting a few alligators and learning all about pythons, we were back at the Port of Miami, eager to get off the bus and more than ready to board the beautiful Adonia. Instead, Fathom’s Director of Sales, Jason Maltais boarded our bus, and apologetically told us that, the ship would not be sailing this evening.
HUUUGE SIGHS all around. What was going on? No one really knew for sure.
What we did know, was that our luggage had been taken off the boat and was now on conveyor belts for us to grab, and bring over to the busses which were now headed to two separate hotels.
Half of the 500 or so passengers were being taken to the Doubletree Miami, and my group was now en route to the Holiday Inn, Hialeah.
OK. I’m still rolling with the punches.
Holiday Inn Hialeah was not EXACTLY the place, that I would have ever chosen while visiting South Florida, but it had just been renovated and was very nice. I was pleasantly surprised.
Additionally, the staff at Holiday Inn, headed up by General Manager Glen Vuilleumier, could not have been more ready nor more welcoming, with the few hours advance notice they’d been given.
There was a dinner buffet waiting for us and the rooms were clean, comfy and pretty.
The next morning, we passengers awakened to notes under our hotel room doors explaining that we would have a late checkout (1:00PM) and that we should gather in the lobby at 11:00AM for an announcement from Fathom. At breakfast (which was provided), many of us speculated as to what was going on.
Rumors swirled about that the US Coast Guard was not allowing the ship to leave, due to door seals being improperly installed.
The 11 o’clock announcement came and was simply put, “Adonia wasn’t leaving Miami… just yet.”
Moans. Groans. Sighs. “Come back here at 1 o’clock for another update,” said Jason Maltais, Director of Sales for Fathom Travel.
Lunch was provided at noon and the 1:00 PM update was more of the same.
No news is good news, we had hoped.
Maltais explained that as soon as there was something concrete to report, we’d be alerted. It was all very unsettling and vague. Upon reflection, this was probably the time that Fathom’s team used to gather their troops, and organize the logistics of what to do with 500 passengers who had been planning on cruising to the DR, but would not be doing that at all.
At 2:15 PM, Jason gave us the heartbreaking news- Watch video to watch the announcement.
The maiden voyage, set to be a soft launch (official launch April 17) was comprised MOSTLY of travel agents, writers and bloggers, who were eager to set sail and partake in this exciting new journey.
Now, this resourceful group of travelers were forced to scramble and figure out their next moves.
Most took it in stride, and we were all happy to hear that Fathom would be reimbursing everyone for their out-of-pocket travel expenses. Fathom also offered to pay for an extra nights lodging, incidental travel needs and food.
Dan and I, our untanned heads held low, flew home to NYC a few hours later. It wasn’t until the sad plane ride home, that we realized we’d be returning home to cold weather, after planning and dreaming about this trip for months.
Part of those plans included our purchasing special protective clothing to ward off mosquitoes, spraying our other clothes with permethrin, packing our drones, cameras, electronic equipment, sunscreen, hats and more. We had worked out our business schedules to accommodate the trip. We weren’t so happy now.
I am positive that this is not the outcome that Fathom wanted. They wanted it to be a magical start to a new way to travel with purpose and this must have been a nightmare for them to have to cancel the maiden voyage of Adonia. We were very impressed with the way Fathom treated us, and felt really badly for them.
Although I am still not certain of what exactly what went wrong with this voyage, there is one thing do know.
I don’t have to unpack, or wash a lot of dirty laundry.
Thanks to everyone who worked tirelessly to turn this challenge into a positive experience. I intend to set sail on another Fathom Travel voyage… sooner than later.
If you’d like to know more about Fathom Impact+Travel, AND get a discount for your own Impact Adventure cruise to Dominican Republic, please click this link:
My special OFFER CODE (1510) will give you a discount of up to $150 dollars per person on cruises to the Dominican Republic depending on your travel dates.
|Sept, Oct, Nov||$50/pp|