I posted the news on the blog this morning that Carnival Corporation has received approval to operate cruises between the USA and Cuba. Carnival plans to enter the market with its new Fathom Travel brand in May 2016. In June Carnival announced that it is launching its 10th cruise brand, Fathom, with a very unique focus – social impact travel. As I noted when I covered the brand launch, Fathom is focused on making a lasting social impact, not just taking a typical cruise.


Carnival is uniquely positioned to be first in Cuba specifically because of the Fathom brand and it’s focus on impact travel. The community development and social impact projects that Fathom and its guests are dedicated to dovetail nicely with the 12 categories of authorized travel to Cuba that will now be granted general licenses under the relaxed rules announced in January. The categories are:

  • Family visits.
  • Official government business.
  • Journalism.
  • Professional research and meetings.
  • Educational activities.
  • Religious activities.
  • Public performances, clinics, workshops, exhibitions and athletic competitions.
  • “Support for the Cuban people.”
  • Humanitarian projects.
  • Activities of private foundations or research for educational institutes.
  • Exporting or importing information or “information materials.”
  • Travel related to some authorized export transactions.

As Tara Russell, President of Fathom Travel and Carnival Corporation’s Global Impact Lead put it in today’s press release, “we’re incredibly excited and humbled by this potential opportunity to help travelers experience the amazing beauty and culture of Cuba, while being able to provide educational and cultural exchange activities that will benefit both the traveler and the Cuban people. After establishing the Dominican Republic as our first partner destination, Cuba represents an important step for us to expand our ability to offer meaningful and enriching experiences to purpose-driven travelers. Our goal remains the same for both destinations – to enable travelers to immerse, learn, serve and flourish while making enduring, sustainable contributions on a scalable and systematic basis. We are looking forward to building what we intend to be a beautiful and lasting friendship with the Cuban people.”

Fathom’s focus on positive social impact from purpose driven travel is the right one for cruising’s first entry into Cuba from the USA, and it’s exciting to watch it develop. You can book travel with Fathom now. Prices for seven-day trips to the Dominican Republic start at $1,540 per person, which includes an exterior cabin with a view, all meals on the ship, onboard social impact immersion experiences, three on-shore social impact activities and related supplies, taxes, fees, and port expenses. Prices will vary by season. Prices for seven-day itineraries to Cuba start at $2,990 per person, excluding taxes, port and other government and related fees, and including all meals on the ship, onboard social impact immersion experiences and certain on-the-ground cultural immersion activities.

-MJ, July 7, 2015