Tourism & Cruises

It just got easier to volunteer while on a cruise vacation in the Dominican Republic

In this May 2, 2016 file photo, Carnival's Fathom cruise line ship Adonia arrives from Miami in Havana, Cuba. The Cuban itinerary, with its educational and cultural experiences, is not a typical cruise vacation, and feedback from passengers and travel agents about the Fathom's first few trips has been slightly mixed.
In this May 2, 2016 file photo, Carnival's Fathom cruise line ship Adonia arrives from Miami in Havana, Cuba. The Cuban itinerary, with its educational and cultural experiences, is not a typical cruise vacation, and feedback from passengers and travel agents about the Fathom's first few trips has been slightly mixed. AP

A vacation with a purpose is becoming such a popular option for travelers that Carnival Corp. is expanding its “voluntourism” excursions from its social impact Fathom brand to six other lines across its fleet.

Beginning this month, when travelers arrive at Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, they will be able to choose from two shore excursions previously only available via Fathom, the Doral-based cruise company announced Wednesday.

The excursions are now available to cruisers on AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Fathom, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises (UK).

Fathom, Carnival’s new social impact brand that sails on every-other-week voyages from Miami to the Dominican Republic and Cuba, pioneered the concept of fusing volunteering and vacation during a cruise voyage. The line has been sailing to the two countries on its 704-passenger Adonia since May.

"The feedback from our travelers and our local Dominican partners who have participated in Fathom's social impact experiences in the Dominican Republic has been overwhelmingly positive and mutually beneficial," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corp. "Our travelers repeatedly tell us the activities and alongside interaction with the local Dominican people is very fulfilling, rekindling their hope and passion and inspiring a whole new perspective on life."

The two new excursions are a hands-on visit to a locally-run chocolate factory where travelers will be part of the production process and a visit with artisans at a recycling business where cruisers will work to create recycled products alongside business owners. Guests can also choose from more than 40 other excursions that include the more traditional sight-seeing and snorkeling options.

Fathom travelers still get a wider array of options. They can choose from about a dozen social impact trips in the Dominican Republic, including teaching English and pouring concrete in local homes.

The shift in excursions may mediate reduced traffic to the Dominican Republic via Fathom. The line announced in September that it would swap out two trips to the Dominican Republic in October and November for Cuba sailings instead. According to the company, demand for Cuba trips has been very strong, while demand for trips to the Dominican Republic is still growing.

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