As Fathom’s social impact shore excursions are rolled out across Carnival Corporation fleets, Katherine Lawrey takes a look at three that are on offer in the Dominican Republic with Carnival Cruise Line
There’s a clear global travel trend towards more meaningful, engaging experiences that take people deep into the heart of a destination, encouraging rich human connections between travellers and local people.
Carnival Corporation’s Fathom brand had pioneered an audacious new style of cruising, dedicated to social impact activities on shore.
But now that P&O Cruises’ Adonia – which has been sailing as Fathom in Cuba and the Dominican Republic – will return to the fleet in summer 2017, Fathom’s particular brand of socially responsible shore excursions are being rolled out to other brands in the Carnival fleet.
Beginning in November 2016, certain Fathom experiences on the ground in the Dominican Republic were made available as experiential excursions in the Dominican Republic to travellers onboard six other Carnival Corporation brands that call on Amber Cove, including Carnival Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises and Aida Cruises.
They include, for example, a Hands On Chocolate Experience at Chocal (59.99pp). This is a five-hour immersive cultural experience, to assist some enterprising women in their micro business. Cruise passengers take a 40-minute bus transfer from Amber Cove port to the small community of Altamira. This is the home of “Chocal”, a tiny organic-chocolate factory run by a group of local women committed to earning an income while remaining close to their families. Tour guests have the opportunity to get their hands dirty with the cultivation of the cacao plant, preparing the organic soil and planting the cacao seeds in the local nursery. Then they help produce and package the chocolate bars.
Erin Johnson, marketing director, UK & Ireland, Carnival Cruise Line, says: “It’s a rewarding day in the company of friendly local women who appreciate the support and it gives our guests both a relaxing experience and a chance to give back to a local community.”
A second option is the Give Back with Purpose Community Tour in Puerto Plata. This five-hour tour, offered when ships dock in Amber Cove, has no minimum age so all are welcome ($49.99 adult; $39.99 child). The tour starts with a visit to Martha’s Home orphanage, to learn about its mission. The tour also visits a rural community to learn how to make homemade cassava bread and lunch is taken in a local restaurant.
A third option at Amber Cove is the Volunteer Experience at Recycled Paper & Crafts ($59.99pp). This four-hour tour introduces cruise guests to a recycling micro-business where local women are creating a new industry utilizing recycled goods. Guests travel to the little village of El Javillar, where an enterprising group of women have committed to reducing the waste in the province. The RePapel co-op, a Recycled Paper & Crafts initiative, has taught the women to be artisans and produce stationery and gift items made of natural, recycled products. The volunteers work side by side with the women, discovering all aspects of the programe.
Johnson added: “We are excited that our Carnival UK guests are now able to participate in meaningful activities in the Dominican Republic designed to address the economic, educational and environmental health of the community.”