Carnival Corporation announced a new “social impact travel” cruise line today called fathom. The new brand will focus on “transformative, holistic impact and long-term sustainable development” starting in April of 2016 with seven night voyages from Miami to the Dominican Republic aboard the 710-passenger ADONIA, currently sailing for Carnival’s UK-based P&O division.
The 710-guest MV ADONIA currently sails for P&O Cruises. Photo courtesy of P&O Cruises.
Announced today at a press conference in Washington Heights, NY, Carnival’s new fathom brand will offer consumers a chance to participate in social impact activities both on board and ashore.
The company’s first destination will be the Dominican Republic, a country known for its spectacular beauty but also a country where the average household income is approximately $6,000 USD a year and more than two million residents do not have access to piped water.
Culled from today’s announcement:
“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 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.”
Social entrepreneur Tara Russell, Founder and Chairman of Create Common Good (www.createcommongood.org), a food production social enterprise, will serve as President of fathom and as Global Impact Lead for Carnival Corporation. Russell established and led the team that has been working on the design and business model for fathom since late 2013.
“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 Russell. “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,” Russell said. “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,” said Russell. “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.”
Based on extensive market research, fathom has identified a sizable and growing market of potential social impact travel consumers – approximately one million North Americans who are strongly predisposed, in addition to global travelers already pursuing service-oriented travel experiences worldwide – who will be interested in this type of travel offering.
The company expects to be particularly popular among:
· 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.
The new brand selected the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic as its first impact destination based on a number of factors: 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), its innate beauty. The fathom team worked closely with local Dominicans, resident Dominican business and educational leaders, Dominican government officials and leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the country to fully understand the societal needs and determine the best way for fathom to participate in addressing those needs.
A portion of every ticket purchase price will go directly to fathom partner organizations to cover on-the-ground activities in the Dominican Republic, including supplies, travel, personnel to assist with the activities and funding to support the partner organizations’ overall missions. This sustained partnership between fathom and its impact partners allows these organizations to have predictable revenue streams to even further amplify their missions.
The fathom journey is a carefully designed, holistic impact journey and will begin with one to two days at sea preparing hearts and minds for the on-the-ground experience, including a wide variety of fun and engaging impact-readiness experiences, ranging from an orientation to the Dominican Republic, conversational Spanish lessons, impact activity training, creative workshops, personal enrichment and much more.
Impact activities will vary in length from a few hours to multiple days. Depending on their passions and skills, travelers may spend up to three days on causes they care about, working alongside locals and fathom partner organizations on one or more projects suitable for a wide range of ages, levels of skill and amounts of physical activity.
When not participating in social impact activities, travelers will enjoy exploring the beauty of the region, experiencing the many Dominican beaches and sites of interest, or participating in any one of an array of different recreational activities available to the entire family of Carnival Corporation brands visiting Amber Cove and the Puerto Plata region.
The onboard experience will be customized to this unique travel market, including specialized, purposeful retail options and amenities, as well as geographically inspired menus, music, and additional onboard cultural immersion. While docked in the Dominican Republic, the fathom ship will serve as a comfortable, convenient home-base for travelers.
Travelers may reserve a spot on future fathom sailings by calling any travel agent or visiting www.fathom.org or by calling 1-855-9fathom. 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.
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.).
The future of social impact in Carnival Corporation
In addition to leading the new fathom brand, Russell will work with Carnival Corporation’s nine other brands in her role as Global Impact Lead on social impact strategies and opportunities.
“With fathom, we are building one-of-a-kind, collaborative community social impact models and experiences and a solid network of reputable local and global NGO partnerships that, once established, can be considered for replication across global regions and company brands,” said Russell. “As fathom grows and evolves, we will continue exploring additional fathom destinations and experiences and identify powerful brand partnerships we can establish, both within the Carnival Corporate family, and also more broadly outside the corporation with other like-minded impact brands.”
Carnival’s nine other other cruise brands include: Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard and P&O Cruises (Australia), P&O Cruises (UK) operating 100 ships with 219,000 lower berths. Eight more ships are to be delivered between 2016 and 2018.
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
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