Q & A: All About fathom, the First Voluntourism Cruise Line

June 4, 2015 | By | 10 Comments

fathom, the first voluntourism cruise line

The launch of a new cruise line is exciting news, and Carnival Corporation’s new fathom, the first cruise brand dedicated to voluntourism, is no exception.

The new cruise line will offer sailings weekly out of Miami to Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic onboard Adonia, a 710-passenger ship Carnival Corp. is transferring from fathom’s U.K. brand, P&O Cruises next April. Carnival made the announcement today at the Union Palace Theater in New York to media and travel agents, introducing everyone to the new brand — and its president, Tara Russell.

Here’s a peek at the new company, how it came about and what passengers can expect on a fathom cruise.

Why will fathom begin with the Dominican Republic?

Tara Russell, fathom’s president, told us that her team looked at working with a number of countries but ultimately decided to begin working with the DR because there are genuine needs there: The average annual household income in the Dominican Republic is about $6,000, and 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, according to Carnival. The Dominican Republic also offers safety and security for volunteers and has an infrastructure in place that will support long-term social impact.

Read on for more

    Steal of the Week: Miami Hotel + Bahamas Cruise from $399

    June 4, 2015 | By | No Comments

    piggy bank sailing worldwide
    Everyone is looking for the deal of the century. So how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Check the Lido Deck each week to get the scoop on our favorite deals — then grab the phone and pack your bags.
    THE DEAL: CruiseCheap.com is offering a four-night Bahamas cruise onboard Norwegian Sky, plus a two-night pre-cruise hotel stay in Miami from just $399 per person.
    WHAT WE LOVE: Enjoy a full land-and-sea vacation in the late summer days of August to September. Through CruiseCheap.com, book a two-night stay in Miami’s chic South Beach at the Hilton Garden Inn with transfers to and from the hotel (and breakfast). Then sail to the Bahamas onboard a Norwegian ship with a whopping three port stops in five days. Starting from $67 per person, per night, this six-night vacation package is a super-affordable getaway for the family before the fall. With included transfers and even a coupon booklet for onboard discounts, the only cost you need to worry about is flights to and from Miami.
    Compare flight prices with our sister site TripAdvisor’s meta-search tool.
    WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: Sky is an older ship, and the all-inclusive model (drinks included) won’t take effect until next year. Hurricane season is still a factor to be aware of when booking a cruise between June and November. If you don’t like to sweat, traveling to Florida and the Bahamas in late summer is probably not for you. If none of those things phase you, book soon for best availability.
    HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on these deals (including that pesky fine print), click here.
    See the latest from our 2015 Hurricane Zone.
    Looking for cruises for under $75 or even $50 a day? We’ve got ’em listed on our Cheap Cruises page.
    Get great cruise deals — and exclusive member offers — delivered weekly to your inbox.

      Cruise Tip of the Week: Up Your Main Dining Room Experience

      June 3, 2015 | By | No Comments

      dining experience

      Tip: Why pay for a specialty restaurant when the main dining room is included in your fare? That’s how many cruisers feel when deciding how to use their spending money onboard. If you’d rather splurge on shore excursions or the spa, that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself at dinner. Don’t be afraid to make special requests. Cruise ship kitchens are more equipped with ingredients and prepared for special requests than you might think. Just try to give the wait staff a heads up in advance.

      Full Article: Read 7 more tips for the best main dining room experience.

      Want More?: Check out our related links below for more info, tips and advice.

      What to Expect on a Cruise: The Main Dining Room

      Flexible vs. Traditional Dining

      15 Best Cruise Ship Alternative Restaurants

      Stay tuned for more Cruise Tips of the Week — revealed every Wednesday!

        Just Back From Allure of the Seas: Hits & Misses

        June 2, 2015 | By | 8 Comments

        Allure of the Seas

        The world’s biggest cruise ship came out of dry dock in mid-May, after an 18-day refurbishment that gave it new restaurants, cabins, shops and a brand-new Suite Lounge.

        I hadn’t sailed on Allure – one of Cruise Critic’s most popular ships – before the refit. But after a weeklong voyage round-trip from Barcelona, where I took questions in a six-day live chat, I know that ship’s fans were concerned about two things: Dynamic Dining (which has been delayed) and suite changes.

        I’m still torn over whether catering to suite guests is the right thing to do. If you’re going to create something for your top spending passengers, shouldn’t you do something for the vast majority of other passengers? I feel they could consider this, especially for the most loyal tier: the Pinnacle passengers.

        Here are the specifics of what new features enhance sailing on Allure of the Seas – and what don’t.



        As if there were not enough dining options onboard Allure already, Allure sees two new ones: Coastal Kitchen and Sabor Taqueria; Izumi has also been tweaked. The three-deck dining room has also been redecorated and renamed, effectively becoming three different spaces, ahead of the delayed roll out of Dynamic Dining.

        Read on for more

          Member Review of the Week: Last-Minute Cruise of a Lifetime

          June 2, 2015 | By | 1 Comment


          Cruise Ship: Pride of America

          Itinerary: Hawaii

          Member: wegian2933

          Background: Wegian2933 couldn’t have envisioned a more perfect cruise vacation, booked only weeks before departure. Between the wonderful service, new friends, fun Hawaii-themed activities and cozy penthouse suite, the ship felt more like a home that was hard to leave behind. ­Read on to see what made it the cruise of a lifetime.

          Onboard Highlight: Dinner on the balcony of their penthouse suite.

          Port Highlight: Pearl Harbor.

          Don’t Miss: Cagney’s Steakhouse, which wegian2933 felt was worth the $29.95 surcharge.

          Watch Out For: Motion sickness in Kona, even if you’re not prone to it.

          More: Read wegian2933’s full review for more details about the ship and ports of call.

          For their efforts, wegian2933, mnimen, Alaskapat, Purple Rooster and legaljen196 receive Cruise Critic logo items.

          Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week.

          Read more reviews or write your own cruise review.

          See THOUSANDS of professional photos of Pride of America

            June 2015 Desktop Wallpaper: Alaska Season is Underway

            June 1, 2015 | By | 1 Comment

            Cruise ship in Glacier Bay, Alaska

            Get your June 2015 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper!

            The Alaska cruise ship season is underway, with thousands heading north to get their fix of fjords, glaciers, whales and other wildlife. We hope this picture of a cruise ship in Glacier Bay has you dreaming of your next 49er foray.

            Here’s how to put this photo on your computer or tablet:

            1. Click on the following links to get the size that you want. Each link will open a new window (or tab) displaying the wallpaper, in the appropriate format for your screen size.

            2. For the desktop versions, right-click on the image, and choose the option that says, “Set as Desktop Background”, “Use as Desktop Picture,” or something similar. The wording depends on your browser. Mac users should ctrl-click and save the photo on their computer in the “Pictures” folder.

            3. If the image does not fit your desktop background neatly, you may have to go to your preference panel (on a Mac: System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop; on Windows: Control Panel > Display > Desktop) and choose”Fit to screen” as the display mode of your background image.

            4. For tablet, open the link and center the photo on your phone so it fills the screen. Take a photo and save it on your device. Then go to your Settings and find your Wallpaper (on an iPhone, this is under “Wallpapers & Brightness.” Set the saved calendar photo as your wallpaper.

            2560 x 1440 | 1920 x 1200 | Tablet

            Hot on the Forums: When Is It Time to Break Up With Your Cruise Line?

            May 29, 2015 | By | 3 Comments

            beach breakup

            Yesterday I wrote a Dear John letter to the cruise line I’ve chosen for my personal vacations for the past several years. Some shocking policy changes were a last straw for me and I finally had to say enough is enough; I’m moving on.

            It seems that someone is always reaching a breaking point and jumping ship (figuratively, of course) for another cruise company. The good news for the cruise lines is there’s always a new customer to be had. The bad news is that it takes a while for a broken-hearted former customer to recover.

            We turned to Cruise Critic’s Community Forum to find out what is driving once-loyal passengers away from the cruise lines they once loved.

            Read on for more

              It’s Definitely You: A Dear John Letter to a Cruise Line

              May 28, 2015 | By | 29 Comments

              Dear John

              Have you noticed this year that many cruise lines have been raising fees and revising policies, giving priority to suite class passengers and changing loyalty programs? We have. (Follow our Cruise News for more details.) In fact, we’ve noticed dissatisfaction on the Cruise Critic boards – and occasionally here in our own office. Sometimes there’s nothing left to do… but break up.

              I’m breaking up with you. It’s not you. It’s me.

              Well, actually, it is you. You’ve changed. You’re not the same cruise line I fell in love with.

              The day we met was love at first sight. I’d been with enough other cruise lines to know I had met my match. You weren’t like the other lines. You didn’t require the same things of me as they did. I could be myself with you. No fancy dress required and it didn’t matter to you if I stayed in an inside cabin or a top suite, you treated all your passengers the same. We were perfect together.

              But lately you’ve been distant. You’re pulling back, taking things away you once offered freely.

              It’s not me… it’s definitely you…

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              • About the Lido Deck

                The Lido Deck is written by Cruise Critic's editorial staff, reporting from ships and ports around the world. The daily blog covers cruise news, reviews, advice, and hot topics from the Cruise Critic message boards. Please note: When commenting, Cruise Critic's community guidelines apply.

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