fathom logoCarnival Corporation is launching a new brand, promising to create a new travel category. Called fathom (lower case), the new company will offer what it calls “social impact travel.”

According to Carnival, Fathom will cater to a “vastly underserved market of consumers” who want to have a positive impact on people’s lives by offering meaningful experiences working alongside locals helping them tackle community needs. Thus, the new company will give travelers an opportunity to work directly with people in unique, scalable ways to improve their lives.

In practical terms this means that starting in April 2016 these consumers will be able book seven-day cruises with Fathom’s ship, the 710-passenger Adonia, and sail to the company’s port in the Dominican Republic, Amber Cove, where they will have the opportunity to choose from a range of activities and experiences both onboard and ashore.

P&O Adonia

Leading this effort will be Tara Russell, founder and chairman of Create Common Good, a food production social enterprise. She has been named president of fathom.

The plan calls for bringing hundreds of travelers to the destination on a regular basis and tens of thousands a year.

According to Carnival, fathom has identified a sizeable and growing market of potential social impact travelers -- approximately 1 million North Americans, in addition to global travelers seeking a service-oriented experience. And nearly 40 percent of these individuals who are expected to book have never taken a cruise before.

Fathom has initially identified two impact partners in the Dominican Republic – Entrena and the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral -- and will work alongside these organizations across the northern region.

A portion of every ticket purchased will go directly to partner organizations to cover on-the-ground activities, including travel, supplies, personnel to assist with the activities and funding to support the organizations’ overall mission.

For passengers, impact activities ashore will vary from a few hours to multiple days for a wide range of ages, skill levels and amount of physical activity.

Passengers volunteering

Sample activities may include economic development, such as helping to cultivate cacao plants at a nursery and assist a local women’s cooperative producing artisan chocolates. Other activities are educational, working alongside Dominican teachers in classrooms to teach English skills or participating in adult learning programs to teach conversational English to help improve their ability to quality for jobs and provide a higher level of income.

There is also an environmental aspect providing hands-on support to craft and build water filters, using clay – a local resource – and deliver those filters to families to provide healthy drinking water. In addition will be participation in reforestation projects, from cultivating seedlings to planting trees in protected areas.

When not participating in social impact activities, travelers can enjoy exploring the region and participate in any of the different recreational activities available to all the Carnival brands visiting Amber Cove.

Fathom will accept reservations staring starting this month and prices begin at $1,540 per person for an exterior cabin with a window, all meals onboard, social impact immersion experiences onboard, three on-shore social impact activities and related supplies, taxes, fees and port expenses.

The 2001-built Adonia will be transferred from Carnival’s P&O Cruises brand in the UK for the start-up of the operation.

Carnival said that the root of the fathom word refers to a pair out outstretched arms, symbolizing the company’s fundamental premise that travel can create good in the world.