Fathom cruises offer a cruise ship experience, and a week of volunteering at your destination.
Cruise ships are often absurdly opulent; taking a cruise is an opportunity to experiment in new levels of self-indulgence.
But Carnival Cruise Lines are now offering a special concept in cruising that turns the tide on what cruising is all about.
Debuting a new brand, fathom, Carnival Corp is offering trips from Miami to the Dominica Republic beginning in April of 2016, and travelers will do volunteer work in the Dominican when they arrive.
The seven-day trip will include training workshops on board, and when travelers reach Puerto Plata in the Dominican, they will be given a choice of asks including teaching English or building and repairing infrastructure. Carnival plans to make the trips on a regular basis to have “sustained impact and lasting development’’ on the region, according to the statement from Carnival.
Why is Carnival offering this cruise, which can bring more than 700 passengers to the region?
First, in can attract a new demographic to cruising, which is people who want to give back. The reason Carnival would do that is research from the Cruise Lines International Association shows 62 percent of all cruise ship passengers take repeat cruises. Getting newcomers onto the ships will likely lead to repeat business.
Second, cruising is often an activity for people who are older, many of them retired. The average age of a cruise ship passenger is 49, according to the CLIA. Carnival, as well as other cruise lines, are trying to attract a younger audience. Carnival believes at least 40 percent of its fathom line travelers will be new to cruising and half of them will be families looking to cruise, then give back to others.
While cruise lines in the past have offered one-shot volunteer opportunities as part of their package of on-site activities at cruise stops. But “for a cruise company to actually dedicate one ship to this, year-round, is extraordinary,’’ said CruiseCritic.com editor in chief Carolyn Spencer Brown to the Associated Press.
Fathom is being led by President Tara Russell, who is founder and chairman of the nonprofit Create Common Good, which trains poor people for jobs in the food service industry. Her plan for fathom is to “mobilize, educate and equip 700 travelers on every trip allowing for thousands of impactive activity days per week, and tens of thousands of travelers a year”.
Ticket prices for the fathom trips begin at $1,540 per person.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.