(1:48 p.m. EST) -- Caribbean ports affected by the 2017 hurricanes are back up and running, but Princess Cruises and social impact company Fathom are offering an opportunity for passengers to give back to communities still in need.
In spring 2018, two Princess cruise ships will host a group of Fathom travelers who will volunteer in select ports of call, through supply drop-offs, community rebuilding and other relief efforts. Princess' inaugural Fathom group cruise, which is already sold out, kicks off January 20 onboard Crown Princess.
The new cruises include Regal Princess on March 18 and Caribbean Princess on May 26. Both will sail roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale and call at St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Princess' private island in the Bahamas, Princess Cays. A spokesperson for Princess told Cruise Critic the Fathom group will range from 100 to 200 people, depending on the sailing, to ensure a more personalized experience.
Below is a breakdown of the volunteer activities available in each port.
- St. Thomas: A donation drop of more than 2,000 items for young families working with and supporting the St. Thomas Department of Health, Maternal and Child Health and St. Thomas Boys & Girls Club, with help from Baby Zone NYC and Aerostream in Miami.
- St. Maarten: Assistance in efforts needed by the tourism association, including the St. Maarten Nature Foundation and The National Institute of Arts.
"I've always believed there is an appetite among travelers to combine their passion for adventure with their desire for meaning, purpose and deep connection," Tara Russell, Fathom president & Carnival Corporation global impact lead, said in a Princess statement. "Now more than ever, our friends in the Caribbean need us to show up to support kids and families as they return to school and build normalcy in their daily lives. These cruises offer guests a transformative opportunity to make an impact in these communities."
Upon booking with the Fathom group, cruisers will receive onboard credits, details on exclusive shore excursions, and invitations to Fathom onboard programming, networking and cocktail events.
Passengers can book through Princess or by visiting Fathom's website directly. After you book, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the group.
Fathom operated a defunct, one-ship cruise line under Princess' parent company, Carnival Corporation & PLC, from June 2015 to June 2017. Fathom will continue to offer volunteer shore excursions on the company's other cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line.
--By Gina Kramer, Editor