Carnival’s voluntourism brand still awaits Cuban government approval

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PUERTO PLATA, Dominican Republic — Fathom, Carnival Corp.’s new mission-cruising brand, is still waiting for Cuban governmental approval to begin operations next May, Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said.

In a video conference with journalists here to see Carnival’s Amber Cove port project, Donald said the company has been in contact with Cuban authorities.

“At this time we have nothing to report on the approvals,” Donald said.

Fathom plans to alternate weekly visits to the Dominican Republic with trips to Cuba. Next April, Fathom’s 710-passenger ship will begin sailing from Miami to Amber Cove, where the ship will dock overnight for several days while guests carry out projects such as water-filtration improvements and language instruction.

Donald said the economy in the northern part of the island is a mix of wealth and poverty that will benefit from Fathom’s guest efforts. “You’ll pass by some areas that are pretty poverty-stricken and then some that are pretty well-developed,” he said.

Fathom has won approvals from the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments to carry U.S. citizens to Cuba by offering purposeful travel as provided in Treasury Department regulations.

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