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Carnival Nixes Social-Impact Cruises in the Caribbean

Carnival Corporation has announced that the company is pulling the plug on Fathom cruises, a one-ship line introduced just last year.

The point of the brand was to offer "social-impact cruises," incorporating sightseeing as well as volunteer projects and cultural exchange, with stops in the Dominican Republic and Cuba.

Carnival was hoping to capitalize on the possibly overhyped voluntourism trend, while also meeting the "people-to-people" travel rules that require Americans visiting Cuba to engage in activities that fit into one of 12 categories promoting cultural exchange, education, or charitable assistance.  

As a matter of fact, Fathom became the first cruise line regularly traveling between the U.S. and Cuba in more than 50 years. 

Demand for the line's Dominican sailings, however, was low, which might have contributed to Carnival's decision to scrap it. 

The company has requested approval from Cuba to cruise to the island with other brands, and says the "Fathom experience" will live on as a slate of socially conscious shoreside excursions.