Carnival’s ‘Noble’ Fathom Experiment Is Coming To An End

Open Jaw

The ‘noble’ experiment of Carnival social impact brand Fathom will come to an end next June.

Carnival Corp. has confirmed that the one-ship line will cease to exist when the 704-pax Adonia returns to the fleet of Carnival’s P&O Cruises next spring.

The ship will continue sailing its Cuba and Dominican Republic itineraries through May. But Carnival maintains that the Fathom name and spirit will live on through a branded experience of offering volunteer activities as shore excursions on several of its brands.

Carnival Corp. announced the creation of Fathom in June of 2015. At the time, CEO Arnold Donald said the goal was to reach new-to-cruise clients and cruisers who wished to leave a positive impact on the destinations visited.  Over time, he said, Fathom would drive “real, meaningful change for the better in a community.”

Donald told the Miami Herald last year: “If for some reason it doesn’t work, then the worst thing that happens is we tried something that’s a little noble.”

Fathom has been sailing for just 7 months now. Despite praise for its efforts and positive reviews from some cruisers, the brand has struggled to find a market. Its Dominican Republic cruises had trouble attracting near the $1,500 per person that was originally asked, and reports suggests fares on those cruises have dropped as low as $199  per person.

However, Fathom did have one major impact on Carnival in its brief existence. A month after the initial announcement of D.R. cruises, the company revealed it had received permission from the U.S. government to use the ship for sailings to Cuba under the approved “people to people” category.

The cruises were different from the D.R. version, with strong cultural exchanges but without the volunteer efforts like teaching English, producing water filters and building concrete floors for homes.

Those cruises have been very popular and Carnival remains the only line with permission from Cuba to sail from the U.S.

Before yesterday’s news, Carnival had announced that Fathom-branded shore excursions would be offered to cruisers on other CCL brands visiting its new Amber Cover port in the D.R.

So the Fathom name will live on, even if one of the most interesting mass-market cruise experiments in recent memory will not.



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