Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Carnival using Fathom to open up Cuba as a destination

Carnival is coming to Cuba in a roundabout way. The company will sail to Cuba in 2016 from Miami using its brand-new Fathom brand. This makes sense from a strategic standpoint and a political one as well.

First it enhances Fathom's unique selling point. The brand, which is focused on service and environmental oriented travel, can position themselves as one of the first opportunities for many Americans to visit and help in Cuba. The island has welcomed plenty of relief workers over the years, but this will open things to a wider and more diverse group of volunteers. Carnival can also use the smaller Fathom ships to build up its infrastructure on the island in anticipation of its other larger ships coming in the next few years.

Politically, using Fathom works in both Cuba and the United States. The brand is focused on education and giving back. This should work well with the State Department's gradual easing of restrictions. Fathom's passengers won't just be there to drink mojitos and take pictures of old classic cars. This should also appease any Cuban fears of the island being overrun with "ugly" Americans looking to change the country (and politics) overnight.

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