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Fathom, the one-ship Carnival experiment, turns to God for survival

Orlando – When people book a cruise, they generally want a vacation: sleeping in, pool time, plentiful drinks, lavish dinners.

Fathom, the one-ship Carnival experiment in “social-impact travel” for travellers who want to make a difference, is definitely not for them.

Instead, it targets people who want to visit the Dominican Republic and Cuba to help local communities via social work and cultural exchange. All Carnival has to do now, however, is find a way to reach these philanthropically minded folks. As it turns out, replacing the Love Boat crowd isn’t terribly easy.

Fathom’s 704-guest MV Adonia alternates its seven-day stints in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, with week-long cruises to destinations in Cuba, finding more customer interest in that long-verboten island where the focus is on cultural exchange and not volunteer labour. In May, Fathom enabled Carnival to become the first US cruise line to offer Cuba itineraries from Florida.

On a Fathom trip, passengers seek “meaningful travel experiences to enrich the life of the traveller and work alongside locals as they tackle community needs”, the company says, calling it a travel segment more than a cruise segment. But since its launch a year ago, Fathom has cut prices, and its parent company’s chief executive told analysts of the early trouble in reaching potential customers. As of last week, Fathom has completed a half dozen sailings to each destination.

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July 12, 2016

Category: DR News |

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Last updated January 14, 2018 at 12:43 AM
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