Carnival Cruise Line Promotes ‘Voluntourism’

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Carnival has launched a new brand, fathom (purposely lowercased) to provide passengers with an opportunity to volunteer and build community while vacationing abroad.

According to a 2008 report from Tourism Research & Marketing (TRAM), nearly two million people vacation to volunteer, spending about $2 billion. As part of this growing travel trend – becoming known as “voluntourism” – Carnival has selected the Dominican Republic as the company’s first destination. The Dominican Republic is a country known for its spectacular beauty but the average household income among its citizens is approximately $6,000 USD a year. And more than two million Dominicans do not have access to piped water. “We believe this concept will enhance sustainable development efforts to foster widespread prosperity among Dominican communities by improving lives, creating hope for the future, and providing profound and meaningful experiences for fathom and for all Carnival Corporation passengers,” said Carnival in a statement.

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The seven-day voyage aboard the MV Adonia, a 710-passenger vessel, will depart from Port Miami to the Dominican Republic beginning in April 2016. Prices 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. Additionally, a portion of every ticket purchase price will go directly to fathom partner organizations Entrena and the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral, Inc., to cover on-the-ground activities in the Dominican Republic.

According to a Carnival news statement, “Depending on their passions, interests and skills, travelers will have the opportunity to choose from a range of social impact activities and experiences, both onboard and onshore. The fathom experience focuses on education, environment, and economic development and begins with one to two days at sea, preparing hearts and minds for the days to come. The experience includes a wide variety of fun and engaging impact-readiness activities, ranging from a Dominican Republic orientation, conversational Spanish lessons, impact activity training, creative workshops, personal enrichment, and much more.”

“When passengers are not participating in social impact activities, they’ll have the option to explore the beauty of the region, experience the many Dominican beaches and sites of interest, or participate in any one of the different recreational activities available while visiting Amber Cove and the Puerto Plata region,” Carnival explains in the same statement.

With a $5 million contribution to the Big Brothers & Big Sisters organization,  $2 million to victims of the Nepal earthquake, and $8 million to St. Jude Hospital, Carnival Cruise Lines is no stranger to implementing social good in deserving communities around the world. “Carnival’s mission is to marry social needs with market demand while creating a business model that lasts. We are living in times when the corporate world must connect with the social enterprise world,” said Tara Russell, Carnival’s Global Impact Lead. fathom will emphasize that changing the world is fun. “As travelers escape the day-to-day, they can also make a difference,” Russell adds.

To reserve a spot on future fathom sailings, call any travel agent, visit or call 1-855-9fathom.