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The Carnival Corporation is cruising into public service.

In an unprecedented social pioneering initiative, Carnival, the world’s largest cruise company, is transforming the industry into a profound global partnership for civic responsibility.

It’s a cutting-edge concept for the cruise ship business and a welcomed change for passengers who want to engage in volunteerism and help disadvantaged regions during their vacation.

Carnival Corporation has created an extraordinary “social impact” travel experience that will offer passengers opportunities to work alongside local residents as they address community needs.

Carnival’s new brand, called Fathom, will launch in April 2016 and will operate as a standalone brand, the 10th global brand in the Carnival Corporation fleet.

African Americans who enjoy cruising may be interested to learn that Carnival’s first destination under the Fathom brand will be the Dominican Republic. It’s an island of color known for its spectacular beauty and popularity with cruisers, but it’s also a country where the average household income is approximately $6,000 USD a year and more than two million Dominicans do not have access to piped water.

Some are already referring to Fathom as a social justice vacation – and the concept couldn’t come at a better time as financial resources for humanitarian efforts are dying up worldwide.

“Fathom will cater to a growing market of consumers who want to have a positive impact on people’s lives, and aren’t always sure where to begin,” Arnold Donald the first African American CEO of Carnival Corporation, said in a statement. “We believe travel is a meaningful way to allow for personal growth while making purposeful and engaging contributions to the world.”

“We are so pleased that Fathom will give travelers a unique opportunity to work alongside local people as part of a larger scale effort that will demonstrably improve lives,” Donald added. “Both our travelers and the local citizens will learn and benefit from the opportunity to serve together.”

Beginning in April 2016, according to Carnival officials, Fathom will embark on seven-day voyages from Miami aboard the MV Adonia, a 710-passenger vessel, for the start-up of the new operation. 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.

Carnival officials said Donald hired Tara Russell, Founder and Chairman of Create Common Good, a food production social enterprise, to lead the Fathom effort. Russell will serve as President of Fathom and as Global Impact Lead for Carnival Corporation. Russell established and led the team that has been working on the design and business model for Fathom since late 2013.

“We created Fathom to meet the real hunger in the world for purpose, while at the same time tackling profound social issues through a sustainable business model,” Russell said in a statement. “We harness the assets and resources of the world’s largest travel and leisure company and combine them with the talents and hearts of those working in social enterprises around the world.”

“We are excited about making the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic our first partner destination, and we are optimistic about taking all that is being built in and through Fathom to other global destinations and to the broader Carnival corporate family,” Russell said.

Today, Donald, 60, leads the world’s largest cruise line with 120,000 employees and 100 ships for the 10.5 million passengers who cruise with Carnival each year.

Cruise Control: Carnival Fathom Adds Social Justice To Traditional Vacations  was originally published on

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