-- Carnival Corp. unveiled plans today for a new brand: fathom. Aimed primarily at cruisers who want to add an element of so-called voluntourism to their trips, the first sailing will take place in April 2016.
The company calls the fathom brand "social impact travel." Passengers will participate in activities focused on education, the environment and economic development, the company said.
The first sailing for fathom, which Carnival spells with a lowercase "f," is from Miami to the Dominican Republic. Passengers could choose to work in a school alongside a Dominican teacher to assist students with English language skills, or they might choose to build water filters using local clay and then deliver those filters to families throughout the community to provide healthy drinking water.
There are select "volunteer" options that cost extra: for example, spending the night at an environmental impact activity two hours from the port, the cruise line said.
The company believes it will attract a new customer base with a departure from the traditional cruise itinerary and shore excursions, citing market research the indicates one million North Americans already pursuing service-oriented travel experiences.
The new brand will launch on the ship MV Adonia, previously part of Carnival Corp's U..-based P&O Cruises. It's a 710-passenger vessel that will undergo an update prior to the fathom brand's first sailing.