Fathom was the brainchild of Tara Russell, who in 2013 suggested to longtime friend and Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald that voluntourism could offer great potential in the cruise space. Donald agreed and persuaded Russell to take on the venture as president of Fathom, under the Carnival Corp. umbrella.
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Fathom, which was the only cruise line in the world to sail full volunteer cruises year-round, sailed to the Dominican Republic and Cuba from April 2016 through June 2017, when Carnival brought the experiment to an end.
For a short while, the brand continued to exist in the form of Fathom-branded voluntourism shore excursions that cruisers could book on Carnival Cruise Line ships, and through Fathom-branded charters of select Princess Cruises sailings. These ceased to exist as well in 2019.