MIAMI — How about a little good-doing with your cruise?
Carnival Corp. recently unveiled a brand called fathom, highlighting not its revolutionary new ship, onboard offerings or plethora of dining establishments. Instead, the buzzwords were "sustained impact," "lasting development" and "global vision."
The world's largest cruise company, based in Doral, west of Miami, even shied away from using the six-letter word.
"It's so different that we don't call it a cruise," said Tara Russell, fathom president and Carnvival Corporation's new head of global impact.
In what the company is calling "social impact travel," fathom will take passengers on seven-day journeys from PortMiami to the Dominican Republic starting in April of 2016 for trips that include volunteer activities with established organizations on the ground.
The new venture will use a 710-passenger ship built in 2001 that is currently deployed as P&O Cruises' Adonia in the United Kingdom. The vessel was the last of the eight "R class" ships built for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises.
Russell said the company expects interest from three key customer groups: older millennials who have some disposable income; families with kids eight and older who are looking for meaningful vacation experiences and older adults who have been in the workforce for decades.
And the company expects that audience will be willing to pay a premium for the experience: Prices start at $1,540 per person, more than twice as much as the lowest price for a weeklong Caribbean cruise on Princess Cruises in late 2016.
Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corp., said the main goal of fathom is to do good by "driving, over time, real meaningful change for the better in a community."
But, he said, there are other benefits.
"We access new people who otherwise might not have cruised. We repurpose a vessel, extending its life, lowering costs associated with it, driving better revenue," he said. "There's just a whole lot of additional benefits, the halo effect that will come with it."