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  • Writer's pictureJason Leppert

Fathom: A Cruise Line with Purpose Needs Direction

PHOTO: Fathom’s former Adonia in Havana, Cuba. (photo by Jason Leppert)

When I experienced Fathom, the brand still had a dedicated cruise ship, the Adonia. Now, the ship has left, and Fathom is no longer a traditional cruise line. Looking at its current website, it appears a bit in limbo, but its future remains very bright.

Fathom is personal to me and my wife. I couldn’t attend the brand’s initial announcement when it was made in New York City in June 2015, so I sent my then-girlfriend to cover the event in my stead. We both recall the concept of sailing to an impoverished nation, the Dominican Republic, and volunteering to help its people a wonderful one that would be rewarding for both parties.

Unfortunately, neither one of us got to experience the original program in person. However, I did get to sail onboard once the line had added Cuba into the mix. To be one of the first United States citizens permitted to cruise there in decades—with my best friend of Cuban ancestry no less—was indeed a treat.

To be sure, the product was imperfect. Fathom and the Adonia honesty did not mix. The ship had received a light overlay with new logos and some fresh branding, but it was mostly still a P&O Cruises vessel trying to be something it wasn’t—a modest vessel serving a modest purpose.

Now, online, gone are mentions of the Adonia, which has since returned to its former P&O operator. For Fathom to succeed with its own ship, it would likely have needed one custom-built for the brand, but now it might actually be in a better place to continue if only the website was a bit clearer on what the new direction was. Instead, it’s just a teaser of more to come.

An intro video’s overlay text reads, “We believe in closing the distance. Connecting. Uniting. Inspiring. In a world that’s far too divided. Welcome to the next season at Fathom. Inspiring and connecting more travelers than ever before. Always hungry to see more. Experience more. Feel more. Inspired by the wonder of the ocean. We live to act, not just travel. Let’s do something unexpected, together. Our first chapter was incredible. But there’s so much more to come. Moments. Connections. Possibilities.”

Other than links to partner organizations and a timeline of the great work Fathom has already done, there is only mention now of how Fathom will continue on to service those in need through not just one cruise line and singular cruise ship but all of Carnival Corporation’s remaining nine brands and over 100 ships. That’s fantastic.

Except, the only link to one of those other brands and ships, Holland America Line’s Koningsdam, goes to a 10-day Caribbean itinerary listing that heads to the Dominican Republic, but there’s no direction beyond that. Only upon bringing up the shore excursion listing do two Cruise with Purpose tours at Amber Cove in cooperation with Fathom come up: Cacao & Women’s Chocolate Cooperative and Recycled Paper & Crafts Entrepreneurship.

For more information, the Fathom website prompts those interested to enter their email addresses to find out where the brand is going next. I—and I’m sure anyone who believes in helping the less fortunate—want the brand to do well, but it needs to do a far better job at pointing potential volunteers to all the Carnival brands, ships and opportunities available in which to do so.

After all, with the entire corporate fleet now at its disposal, P&O’s Adonia included, Fathom has the potential to reach far and wide, even well beyond the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

This post first appeared on TravelPulse.



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