IT is one of a kind. A brand new cruise line with a focus on volunteer tourism for travellers with a strong social conscience. Named fathom (with a small f) the new line is the latest addition to the giant Carnival Corporation’s cruise portfolio.
fathom will start with one ship, the 710-passenger vessel Adonia which will transfer from Carnival stable mate P&O Cruises in the United Kingdom.
The volunteer cruises will run weekly from Miami (Florida) to Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic from April next year. On board cruisers will learn Spanish (the lingua franca on the Caribbean island), undergo two days of intensive training in volunteer activities such as teaching English to school children, to building water-filtration systems, and cultivating plants.
australiancruisingnews.com’s editor Veronica Matheson says the new cruise line comes at a time when travellers are searching for feel good experiences from meaningful grass-root contact with communities around the world.
Carnival CEO Arnold Donald says, “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.”
Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry sees fathom as a ground-breaking move for the tourism industry. “We know from our own experience in the Pacific Islands that cruise ships are uniquely able to take travellers to remote areas and to generate much-needed economic opportunities for island communities.
“Our guests are always eager to engage with the communities we visit and to help wherever needed, as we have just seen in Vanuatu in the wake of Cyclone Pam.”
Freshly trained passengers on Adonia will spend up to three days working with residents and local volunteer organisations in the Dominican Republic to tackle economic, environmental and educational issues, using the skills they acquired on board Adonia to leave a meaningful impact.
Broadway theatre productions, glitzy casinos, and signature restaurants, will take a back seat to low key activities on these cruises,
Until now no cruise ship has been dedicated to volunteer tourism, though some shipping lines, including Crystal Cruises and Lindblad, offer passengers land tours that help needy communities.