Cruises were once known for all-you-can-eat buffets and ultimate lazing as you sailed from port to port, squeezing in some sightseeing along the way. But Carnival, the largest cruise line in the world, is hoping to change that with its new “impact travel” brand launched Thursday: fathom (and yes, that’s with a lowercase "f").
The seven-day trips offered by fathom will serve as “volunteer vacations," with a focus on serving the communities they visit. Fathom’s first cruises will depart from Miami in April 2016 and head to the Dominican Republic on the 710-passenger ship Adonia.
In the Dominican Republic, passengers will be able to take part in traditional excursions such as windsurfing or hiking. But they’ll also have a chance to participate in “social impact” activities like teaching English in Dominican schools, working in a local women’s cooperative to produce artisan chocolates and helping build water filters for families in need.
“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,” said Tara Russell, president of the newly-formed brand. “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.”
According to Carnival, fathom will cater to a variety of demographics: people in their 20s and 30s who want to make a difference, parents who want to show their children other parts of the world “in a meaningful way,” and adults ages 50 and up who want rewarding ways to give back aside from just writing a check.
The weeklong trips will start at $1,540 per person, which includes all meals aboard the ship, volunteer activities, taxes and fees. But you could pay more depending on when you travel and what upgrades you add to your cabin or additional recreation activities you add to your trip. Spots are available for booking at fathom.org.