Carnival Corporation today introduced an entirely new cruise line – fathom – and category dedicated to what it calls “social impact travel.” Travelers onboard will cruise to a destination in need to partner up with locals and volunteer to better the community in various ways. Follow our social media channels to see live coverage from today’s earlier announcement: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter
Carnival Corp plans to redeploy P&O Cruises’ 710-passenger Adonia under the new fathom brand with the Dominican Republic set as the first impoverished destination. Cruises will embark starting in April 2016 on weeklong voyages departing from Miami, Florida.
Carnival explains, “depending on their passions, interests and skills, travelers will have the opportunity to choose from a range of social impact activities and experiences both onboard and onshore.”
“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 Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. “We believe travel is a meaningful way to allow for personal growth while making purposeful and engaging contributions to the world. We are so pleased that fathom will give travelers a unique opportunity to work alongside local people as part of a larger scale effort that will demonstrably improve lives. Both our travelers and the local citizens will learn and benefit from the opportunity to serve together.”
Tara Russell, Founder and Chairman of Create Common Good (www.createcommongood.org), a food production social enterprise, was chosen to lead the unique cruise brand. She has been working on developing the design and business model for fathom since 2013, and she will now act as the President of fathom and as Global Impact Lead for Carnival Corp. Russell describes the cruise line in depth below:
“We created fathom to meet the real hunger in the world for purpose, while at the same time tackling profound social issues through a sustainable business model. We harness the assets and resources of the world’s largest travel and leisure company and combine them with the talents and hearts of those working in social enterprises around the world.
“Travelers will work in partnership with proven, trusted local organizations on the ground to amplify their missions for far greater, sustained impact. Because fathom will bring hundreds of travelers to a destination on a regular basis, fathom can achieve focused and holistic, collaborative contributions in a broad region of the country – allowing fathom travelers to make a collective, transformative impact that they know will extend far beyond their involvement. They also will know they played an important role in ensuring the region flourishes. We are excited about making the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic our first partner destination, and we are optimistic about taking all that is being built in and through fathom to other global destinations and to the broader Carnival corporate family.
“fathom will mobilize, educate and equip up to 700 travelers on every trip allowing for thousands of impact activity days per week – and tens of thousands of travelers a year to communities of promise, providing unprecedented scale for impact. fathom has been built differently, having worked carefully to ensure any and all efforts fathom travelers engage with are authentically impactful, scalable and sustainable. fathom‘s scale allows the opportunity to continuously innovate in the social impact space, while achieving holistic, transformational societal contributions that will help a broad region flourish.”
Carnival Corp says there is a growing market of travel consumers interested in social impact, including around 1-million North Americans, plus international citizens. fathom is also set to appeal to travelers who may have never cruised before but who are interested in this new form of global outreach.
The company expects to target the following groups:
- Millennials – people in their 20s and 30s looking to make a difference in the world;
- Parents seeking a way to open their children’s eyes to other parts of the world in a meaningful way (approximately half of travelers are expected to be families); and
- Adults 50+ years of age eager to find rewarding ways to help other people apart from writing a check.
“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,” said Russell. “fathom exists to address this desire and to create enduring, life-changing impact, both in the communities where fathom operates, and in the lives of the travelers who embark on one of our journeys, allowing for unique impact experiences before, during and after the trip.”
First Destination: Dominican Republic
fathom chose the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic based on several factors according to the cruise line: genuine needs, infrastructure to support social initiatives, enthusiasm for the fathom concept by locals at all layers of society including country officials, its location (proximity to Miami and Amber Cove, the new Dominican destination being launched by Carnival Corporation in October 2015), and its innate beauty.
The brand has worked closely with locals, government officials and regional organizations to arrange the most effective way to positively impact the country. Part or every ticket price will cover participatory experiences, supplies, travel, personnel, and overall missions funding.
The initial onboard fathom experience will include one to two sea days that feature social impact preparation such as orientations, Spanish lessons, activity training, creative workshops and personal enrichment.
Flexible schedules can be personalized with the opportunity to select from a variety of social impact activities focused on education, the environment and economic development. Activities will last from a few hours to several days suitable to varying ages, skill and degrees of physical exertion. Such activities are described by fathom below:
- Economic Development: Help cultivate cacao plants and organic fertilizer at a nursery and assist a local women’s cooperative in producing artisan chocolates. This activity is designed to produce high-quality plants to increase farmers’ yields through sustainable practices and – importantly – create income opportunities for rural women. Over time, this activity will allow the cooperative to increase their workforce so the cooperative can achieve economic independence.
- Educational: Work side by side with Dominican school teachers in classrooms to teach English skills and help boost students’ academic performance; and participate in adult-learning programs to teach small groups of local community members conversational English to help improve their ability to qualify for jobs that provide a higher level of income.
- Environmental: Provide hands-on support to craft and build water filters – using clay, a natural resource found locally – and deliver those filters to families throughout the community to provide healthy drinking water. With limited piped water supply, this will make a meaningful difference in the quality of people’s lives throughout the region.
“Together we aim to help communities and travelers flourish by providing immersive, life-changing experiences for travelers and allowing our partner communities to prosper,” said Russell.
When not involved in social impact, travelers will also have the chance to explore points of interest like beaches and participate in recreational activities available to the other Carnival Corp brands including visits to Amber Cove and the Puerto Plata region.
Onboard, experiences will be tailored to this specific travel category with the ship serving as a comfortable home-base for participants. fathom says passengers can expect, “specialized, purposeful retail options and amenities, as well as geographically inspired menus, music, and additional onboard cultural immersion.”
Reservations for fathom cruises can be made by calling any travel agent or visiting www.fathom.org or by calling 1-855-9fathom.
According to fathom, prices for the seven-day trip to the Dominican Republic start at $1,540 per person, which includes an exterior cabin with a window, all meals on the ship, onboard social impact immersion experiences, three on-shore social impact activities and related supplies, taxes, fees, and port expenses. Prices will vary by season.
Furthermore, fathom says there will be four pricing levels, based on cabin configuration and location – interior cabins, exterior cabins with a window, exterior balcony cabins and suites. Additional recreational activities, cabin upgrades, and dining and beverage packages will be priced separately. Travelers may begin tailoring their trip in fall 2015 (e.g., impact activities selection, cabin selections, etc.).
For more information on fathom, visit the cruise line’s website here.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: FATHOM