Last updated: 12:25 PM ET, Thu March 10 2016

Cruise Planners On a Mission To Make a Difference

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Cruise Planners | Lisa Iannucci | March 10, 2016

Cruise Planners On a Mission To Make a Difference

PHOTO: The Fathom Adonia, where Cruise Planners is booking clients for volunteer work in the Dominican Republic. (photo courtesy of Carnival)

In the past, cruising typically meant R&R on a boat, then exploring a destination, followed by a return trip home.

Today, travelers are combining their love of travel with a desire to make a difference, using their time aboard to train for volunteer activities. Approximately 1.6 million volunteer tourists are spending more than $2 billion each year on volun-tourism trips.

Cruise Planners is abundantly familiar with the trend and has actively involved itself in this mission.

Last year, Carnival Corp.’s Fathom brand of ships, whose mission is to “enrich the life of the traveler and work alongside locals as they tackle community needs,” announced social impact activities in the Dominican Republic.

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Cruise Planners works with Fathom to book travelers on seven-day volunteer cruises from Miami to the Dominican Republic and to Cuba beginning in the spring.

The beautiful Dominican Republic is also a country where the average household income is approximately $6,000 a year, and more than two million Dominicans do not have access to piped water.

The round-trip voyage to Cuba — a country that is now open to American tourists after decades of politically based travel restrictions — lets cruisers engage in activities that support the Cuban people. Passengers can visit any of the multiple destinations that Cruise Planners offers, including Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba, while they work to increase the economic activity and can also see the impact of education on the local youth by visiting a grade school and participating in the day’s instruction.

In the Dominican Republic, passengers will have a choice as to what they want to participate in, including painting houses, cleaning and planting fruit trees and helping special needs patients at a nearby physical and rehabilitation therapy center by participating in games and making orthopedic devices. In addition, passengers can stay with a host family and help them improve their English skills.

Some of the activities are physical, including cultivating cacao plants and organic fertilizer at a nursery or crafting and building water filters, while others are more classroom oriented.

Cruises are still about fun, however and travelers will explore what makes the Dominican a popular tourism destination spot, including the beaches, Amber Cove and the Puerto Plata region, along with restaurants and night spots.

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Cruise Planners will book volun-tourists on the Adonia, a ship that carries only 710 passengers. Other vacation activities on board include golf in a practice cage, shuffleboard, the Crystal Pool, Oasis Spa, gymnasium, steam room and a Lido deck where travelers can play cards or just relax, feeling good about making a difference.

Travelers may reserve a spot on future Fathom sailings by calling Cruise Planners. Prices for the seven-day trip to the Dominican Republic start at $1,540 per person, which includes onboard social impact immersion experiences and three on-shore social impact activities and related supplies, taxes, fees and port expenses.


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