With so many accidents and injuries in port and on the high seas, it’s easy for the public to focus on solely the negative media surrounding the cruise industry. However, our cruise ship lawyers were pleasantly surprised to learn that the world’s largest cruise company, Carnival Corp., has taken a monumental step in the right direction by introducing a new and, quite frankly, unique cruise brand that will offer passengers a very different kind of cruising experience than they were previously accustomed to.
According to news reports, Carnival has announced plans to launch a revolutionary new cruise line called “fathom” (lower case), which aims to offer cruisers week-long “social impact travel” experiences. The first of its kind, fathom, which is poised to debut in 2016, will cater to passengers who wish to have a positive impact on the lives of those less fortunate – and the world in general. These cruises will offer meaningful sailings to developing countries, during which time passengers can work with locals and help tackle community problems and, in turn, improve their quality of living. Participants can choose from a range of volunteer services, including environmental preservation, education, and community projects, such as establishing water filtration systems and teaching English at local schools.
“fathom will cater to an under-served market of consumers who want to have a positive impact on people’s lives, and aren’t always sure where to begin,” explained Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald. “We believe travel is a meaningful way to allow for personal growth while making purposeful and engaging contributions in the world.”
The fathom initiative is scheduled to kick off with a single cruise ship, the 710-passenger Adonia, which currently sails under another Carnival brand, the UK-based P&O Cruises. For now, the Adonia will be based out of Miami and will sail to the Dominican Republic. Passengers will have three days in port to participate in the humanitarian work before the vessel heads back to Miami.
While an impressive feat, this is quite a deviation from the traditional cruising experience most travelers are accustomed to, which these days, focuses mostly on innovative onboard features and the “bigger means better” approach to sailing. It is rather humbling to see a multibillion-dollar corporation like Carnival, which has previously been criticized for its history of cruise passenger accidents, crimes, and mishaps (who could forget the Carnival Triumph fire back in 2013 or the Costa Concordia tragedy in 2012), invest in such a fulfilling and selfless endeavor.
Yet, we can’t help but wonder if this is all too good to be true. Check out our next blog for more of our firm’s insight on the ‘fathom’ project.