As our bus bounced along the rutted roads of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, Fathom president Tara Russell earnestly reiterated the new cruise line’s premise and slogan.
“This is a different kind of cruise that combines your love of travel with your desire to make a difference,” said Russell, who also serves as global impact lead for Carnival Corporation & plc.
Carnival first announced Fathom’s debut in June, along with its mission (to gather like-minded individuals to produce scalable social impact) and its maiden destination: Puerto Plata. Reactions generally have been positive, but some members of the travel industry hesitate to show approval — and instead, speculate about the true intentions of a giant conglomerate such as Carnival.
But, as I learned during a whirlwind sampler of its on-ground impact activities, Fathom is the real deal. It’s the first brand to enter the uncharted territory of social-impact cruising.
This story originally ran in the 09/28/15 issue of Explorer magazine. Photos are by Valerie Chen and courtesy of Fathom, respectively.