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Fathom beefs up Cuba programming, adds local merchandise on board

Fathom beefs up Cuba programming, adds local merchandise on board
Fathom added more on-board programming for its Cuba itinerary plus Cuban-made merchandise from a local design store, Clandestina, aboard Adonia.

The changes result from passenger feedback and are aimed at giving more robust insight into the culture and people of Cuba, according to Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corp.

Adonia's shipboard Experience Guides will be giving seminars about each destination, including a Havana overview, the history and highlights of Cienfuegos and the culture, people and revolutionary history of Santiago de Cuba, the birthplace of Castro's 26th of July Movement.

Other topics cover Cuba's pre-revolutionary history, including Spanish colonialism and pirates, while a bingo game imparts information about Havana's architectural styles, from Baroque mansions to contemporary offices. Another game brings out the important role of coffee, the island's leading export.

Cuban bands will join the sailings from Havana to Cienfuegos and Cienfuegos to Santiago de Cuba, playing classic and contemporary hits as well as original compositions.

Through a partnership with Clandestina, a Cuban design store in Old Havana, Adonia will feature local merchandise, including clothing, toys, handbags, posters and other design products. The shipboard gift shop is the first store outside Cuba to sell Clandestina items.

The designer brand is known for its signature Vintrashe Collection, which features toys made from recycled plastic and decorated by hand, as well as T-shirts and handbags designed by local artists and made of second-hand fabrics and up-cycle techniques by a team of seamstresses in a rural town.

'Each time Fathom travelers purchase our products, they support independent entrepreneurship,' said Idania del Rio, co-founder an owner of Clandestina.

Prices for seven-day itineraries to Cuba start at $1,899 per person, excluding Cuban visas, taxes, fees and port expenses and including all meals on the ship and lunch while in the three ports, on-board experiences and on-the-ground activities. Fares vary by season.