Many travelers want to take meaningful vacations that allow them to give back and make a positive impact on the world around them. Giving back doesn’t have to mean totally giving up creature comforts or pursuing your own interests on vacation, though. It’s possible to combine doing good and having a good time in the same vacation experience.
Carnival Corporation has launched a new brand that makes it easy to make a difference on vacations. Called fathom, this new Carnival brand will offer seven-day cruises from the port of Miami. On these social impact cruise vacations, travelers can work alongside local organizations to make a difference in communities. Guests can also spend some of their time relaxing on the beach, hiking and doing fun excursions as well.
Travelers want to give back on vacation, but sometimes they’re not sure how to make it happen. Carnival Corporation recognized this need and in true ground-breaking fashion, launched a brand that will enable cruise passengers to make a difference on their vacations and assist local communities in a sustainable way. It’s outstanding to see such a major travel company take the lead in developing social impact travel opportunities that are both meaningful and affordable for families.
“fathom will cater to an underserved 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.” On fathom vacations, travelers will have the opportunity to work alongside local leaders and community members in impactful and rewarding ways.
Seasoned social entrepreneur, Tara Russell, is the president of fathom and serves as the corporation’s Global Impact Lead. Carnival’s fathom brand will begin sailing next year and its first destination will be the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic. fathom will bring about 700 people a week to the Puerto Plata area to work on meaningful projects. These educational, environmental, and economic development activities can vary in length from several hours to multiple days. fathom has also recently received permission from the U.S. government to lead “people-to-people” cruises to Cuba as well, with sailings scheduled to begin next year.
If you’re seeking a meaningful vacation that also offers opportunities for guest camaraderie and fun experiences, here are five reasons to travel with fathom:
1. Vacation Flexibility. Many voluntourism trips are entirely devoted to giving back. While this 24/7 experience can be great for those who want to devote their entire vacation to volunteering, many travelers may have spouses, children or friends who want to relax and take a break on their vacation. A fathom vacation solves this problem. Every day, cruise guests can choose to take part in any of fathom’s wide array of recreational activities and social impact experiences. Vacationers can create their own individual daily schedules, deciding when they want to participate and how much they want to do.
2. Hand-Picked Local Organizations. Finding excellent local organizations with strong community ties can be difficult. A substantial amount of research and vetting is required to uncover the right groups and understand what is needed in the local community. Traveling with fathom eliminates this need for legwork and research. The brand has worked closely with country officials and all sections of society to identify the best local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community groups to work with in the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
3. Lasting Impact. The focus of a volunteer vacation is on helping others because it truly making a difference, not simply because it feels good. It’s important for impact travel to be both sustainable and authentic. This is an issue fathom has solved by identifying projects with a real community need. In addition, since fathom brings as many as 700 guests every week – volunteers can continually build on the work of those who have come before and complete larger scale projects. By working with leading NGO partners in the Dominican Republic and Cuba and consistently bringing large numbers of guests to the region to work on projects, vacationers can be confident that their efforts will be meaningful and will achieve measurable, positive results.
4. Seamless Logistics. Transportation, logistics and other details can be major issues for families and other travelers who want to give back. Vacationers can relax with fathom, knowing that all the details are well managed. Cruise passengers will board the ship in Miami and sail to Carnival’s new Amber Cove port in Puerto Plata, preparing for their in-country experience on their first one or two days at sea. Once in Puerto Plata, vacationers will live onboard the ship and participate in the wide range of social impact and recreational activities fathom has available. Three meals daily, all ground transportation to activities and other logistical arrangements will be provided by fathom. The company will also offer seamless logistics in Cuba, although complete itinerary details are not available at this time pending approval by the Cuban government.
5. Great Accommodations. While many travelers want to give back, some are concerned about the need to stay in local villages and sub-par accommodations on their volunteer trip. There are no such worries on a fathom vacation, however. Carnival Corporation has chosen the 710-passenger Adonia, a small ship formerly under the P&O Cruises brand, to be the new fathom flagship. Cabins onboard the Adonia are comfortable with flat-screen televisions and plenty of storage space. As on any cruise ship, there are multiple dining and guest entertainment areas on the Adonia including a pool, gym, games area and a full library. There’s even a doctor available onboard the ship.
Parents will be happy to know that the fathom experience is well-suited for families with children ages 8 and up. In fact, fathom expects about half of its guests to be families who want to make a difference and share this meaningful travel experience with their kids. Special third- and fourth-person in cabin rates are available for children sharing a stateroom with parents and other family members.
For more information about fathom and their impact travel vacations, visit www.fathom.org