While Crystal Cruises line is expanding its ‘voluntourism’ program offering new shore excursions to its travellers, its competitor Carnival Corporation & PLC launches a cruise line that is specifically dedicated to volunteer tourism. This very first specialized cruise line is called fathom – with lower-case ‘f’ - and was been launched on June 4th. For those who have never heard of this type of travelling, volunteer tourism enables travellers to enjoy a different type of vacation. The objective is to travel while taking part in humanitarian and conservational activities in communities that may be in need. This kind of travelling may not be as relaxing as a traditional cruise but it is probably a more rewarding journey since it enables travellers to meet the locals, share with them, learn deeply about their culture and help them in their daily tasks.
Starting in April 2016 the fathom line will run weekly itineraries year-round from Miami to Amber Cove, Dominican Republic. As for now, the Dominican Republic and Cuba are the only destinations that are offered on the 7-day cruise.
The journey to the Dominican Republic starts with a 2-day intensive training while cruising to Amber Cove. Travellers will gain skills and notions that will be needed when helping the communities. Those skills can either refer to how to teach English, how to build water-filtration devices out of clay or even how to cultivate cacao plants. Workshops, lectures or Dominican movies projections are also activities in which passengers can take part of when they are not learning skills. The line’s main concentration is to provide an experience that is focused on sustainability, community and volunteer work. The onboard experience is not said to be less fun but different. Once in port passengers will spend up to three days helping the communities where they will be able to put in practice the skills gained onboard.
As for now, the fathom fleet is comprised of just one ship, the 710-passenger Adonia formerly part of the P&O Cruises fleet. The aim of the new cruise line, which actually prefers to call itself a ‘social impact travel’ rather than a cruise line, is to develop a positive impact on three different areas including economic development, education and environment. If the cruise line’s objective is successfully achieved within a few years, the line may also expand its destinations worldwide and work with other communities.
As for the experience, passengers will be able to personalize it expecting a relatively inclusive fare. The first cruise is projected to sail on April 2016 so if this offer appeals to you, you should not wait long to inquire for more information.