Fathom, the pioneer in social impact travel and Carnival Corporation’s 10th and newest brand, returned from its inaugural voyage to its impact destination, the Dominican Republic, on Sunday, April 24. Fathom’s inaugural voyage was a major success as hundreds of guests joined Fathom for a unique weeklong journey that left a lasting impact on each of them, as well as an immediate impact on people in need in the Dominican Republic.
“Feedback from our guests during the voyage was extremely positive,” said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation. “This first voyage provided more evidence there is a growing market of guests who want to make a positive, direct impact when traveling. Fathom gave our guests a unique way to leave an impression on a very personal level within the community, as well as have an extraordinarily rewarding experience.”
Launched in June 2015, Fathom provides the opportunity to travel with like-minded people, become immersed in another culture and work alongside its people to create enduring social impact. What sets Fathom apart is the long-term, systematic partnership approach and unique business model of traveling every other week to the Dominican Republic – a combination that creates sustained and lasting impact.
“Our brand has been on an incredible journey, from the idea’s conception over two years ago through today,” said Russell. “We set out to do something special with Fathom by introducing the world to a unique type of travel – travel with purpose. I want to personally thank everyone who stood alongside Fathom, and had a hand in getting us to where we are today. Without your support, we would not be where we are today.”
Making a Sustainable Impact
Fathom selected the Dominican Republic as its first impact destination, as it is a country of great beauty and rich culture but also a country with great needs. The average household income is less than $6,000 and more than 3 million Dominicans do not have access to piped water. Yet the country has much potential – its natural resources are plentiful, it has a good infrastructure that can allow for positive impact, and its people are motivated to create better lives for them and their families.
Impact activities in the Dominican Republic include a wide range of projects focused on economic development, education and the environment. During the inaugural voyage, guests, depending on their individual passions and skills, participated in projects they felt most strongly about, and worked directly alongside local people and Fathom’s partner organizations.
“We have already accomplished a lot in a short period of time – but there is still much to do,” added Russell. “While we celebrated and introduced the unique Fathom experience to our guests last week, we are looking forward to taking our guests every other week to the Dominican to continue making a profound and lasting impact for people in the country.”
Working with its impact partners Entrena and the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral, Inc. (IDDI), Fathom and its guests in less than one week’s time, made an immediate impact including:
Student English Conversation & Learning / Community English Conversation & Learning:
· Impact: Nearly 650 students and community members benefited from effective foreign language interaction with native English speakers.
· Why It Matters: English proficiency is the largest driver of employment success in the Dominican Republic economy.
Reforestation & Nursery
· Impact: Planted more than 2,400 trees.
· Why It Matters: With time, this will lead to more nutrient-rich soil, reduction in soil loss, improved localized air and water quality, an increase in localized biodiversity, and higher agricultural yields.
Water Filter Production
· Impact: Produced 50 water filters.
· Why It Matters: In the Dominican Republic, more than 3 million residents do not have access to piped water. This access provides a significant reduction in waterborne illness instances, and indirect benefits include better work and school attendance.
Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative
· Impact: Cleaned more than 200 pounds of cacao nibs and wrapped more than 6,000 chocolate bars.
· Why It Matters: By helping improve production and increase sales, it allows the organization to hire more local women, and provide critical income in a region with limited employment opportunities.
Recycled Paper and Crafts Entrepreneurship
· Impact: Nearly 600 sheets of paper produced.
· Why It Matters: Guests’ support helps provide critical income to the women, and ultimately allows them to expand their business. It also helps overall employee morale.
Concrete Floors in Community Homes
· Impact: Poured concrete floors for two homes directly positively effecting 20 people.
· Why It Matters: In the homes of poorer communities, the common basic dirt floors are a genuine health risk. The new floors provided a healthier and safer living environment for families.
Making Time for Leisure
When not participating in social impact projects, Fathom guests experienced fun and memorable recreational, leisure and sightseeing activities in the Dominican Republic. Whether exploring ancient ruins, interacting with the abundant marine life in the clear water, or lounging along the sun-soaked stretches of surf and sand, guests made the most of their experiences in the Dominican Republic.
The MV Adonia docked at Carnival Corporation’s newest port Amber Cove, located in the Puerto Plata region, where guests had access to select shore excursions. The port offers numerous sea and landside experiences, including several beach getaways, kayak, paddle board and snorkeling tours, ATV-like terracross buggy expeditions, Puerto Plata tours, helicopter rides, fishing trips, horseback riding, deep sea fishing tours and catamaran sailings.
Guests discovered that impact travel is far more than a seven-day experience. On the return trip, Fathom helped guests with ways they can stay involved by bringing the knowledge, inspiration and insight back to their home communities.
Prices for the seven-day trips to the Dominican Republic start at $974 per person, excluding taxes, fees and port expenses and including all meals on the ship, onboard social impact immersion experiences, three on-shore social impact activities and related supplies. Prices will vary by season. To secure a spot on future sailings, a fully refundable $300 per person deposit is required for all cabin categories and occupancy levels. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure.