Last updated: 04:12 PM ET, Thu June 04 2015

Carnival Launches Volunteer Cruising with New Brand

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Carnival Cruise Line | Theresa Norton | June 04, 2015

Carnival Launches Volunteer Cruising with New Brand

PHOTO: Volunteers plant trees at a cacao nursery. (Courtesy of fathom)

Carnival Corp. has launched a new cruise brand that offers volunteer travel experiences in the Dominican Republic.

The new brand — called fathom, with a lower-case “f” — will launch in April with seven-day voyages from Miami aboard the Adonia, a 710-passenger vessel redeployed from Carnival Corp.’s P&O Cruises. fathom will operate independently as Carnival Corp.’s 10th cruise brand.

Passengers will pay cruise fares starting at $1,540 per person for an outside cabin. While sailing to the Caribbean island, guests will attend onboard “readiness experiences,” such as an orientation to the Dominican Republic, conversational Spanish lessons, activity training, workshops, personal enrichment and more. On island, three on-shore social impact activities are included in the Puerto Plata area, where Carnival Corp. plans to open its Amber Cove cruise development in October.

Passengers can choose which causes they will work on, and opportunities include helping cultivate cacao plants and helping a women’s cooperative produce artisan chocolates; teaching English in schools or to adults; or helping build water filters using clay.

The volunteer activities were developed in partnership with two Dominican partners, Entrena and Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral Inc. Also, a portion of every ticket's purchase price will go to those organizations to cover supplies, travel, personnel to assist with the activities, and funding to support the organizations’ missions.

“fathom will cater to a growing market of consumers who want to have a positive impact on people’s lives, and aren’t always sure where to begin,” said Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald. “We believe travel is a meaningful way to allow for personal growth while making purposeful and engaging contributions to the world.”

Carnival Corp. says the Dominic Republic was chosen as the first destination because the average household income is about US$6,000 a year and more than 2 million Dominicans do not have access to piped water.

The president of fathom is Tara Russell, who Donald described as a “social entrepreneur” who founded Create Common Good, a food production social enterprise.

“Travelers will work in partnership with proven, trusted local organizations on the ground to amplify their missions for far greater, sustained impact,” Russell said.

Volunteer tourism is a growing segment of the vacation market. Carnival Corp. said extensive market research shows that about 1 million North Americans are interested in pursuing service-oriented travel experiences. In addition, the company believes fathom will attract a significant number of travelers who have never before cruised. According to research, nearly 40 percent of the individuals who will book a social impact trip on fathom might otherwise never have chosen to cruise.

“During the past 10 years, in countless conversations I have had with people eager to serve others and make meaningful societal contributions, there has been a common theme — people struggle to know where they fit in and often people have challenges finding trusted, easy ways to make a difference,” Russell said.


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