More Details on “Volunteer” Cruises to Cuba

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Earlier this year Carnival announced they would start offering volunturism cruises to Cuba in 2016 on their new line fathom. Regular cruises are still prohibited because of the embargo on tourism-only trips.

When I heard this I had pictured Doctors Without Borders for laymen or a ship full of Habitat for Humanity folks. But it turns out the volunteer work and social impact is, not surprisingly, economic development and social encouragement.

fathom cruise to cuba activities

excerpt from first two days of activities

Put cynically, the point of this voluntourism cruise is to buy stuff and clap at performances. 🙂

Now that’s not quite fair as that’s the point of many cruises (including my one and only diastrous one) and the fathom cruises do sound like they’ll provide more insight into the local life and neighborhoods than you’d get on any other Caribbean cruise. I just had a laugh at some of the phrasing.

Of the 24 activities which includes meeting with local Cuba professionals, visiting local Cuban artisits, and visiting communities, 19 provide a social impact related to “encourages independent economic activity” or “encourages economic development and micro-enterprise.”

Still, if you were interested in touring Cuba in the near future this more modest skill requirement is helpful. And you will get to visit 3 different ports on the 6 day cruise — Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba.

Double occupancy rates will start at $1,800 per person in the low season with an extra $500 in taxes and fees. Getting a Suite Stateroom during the peak summer season will run you $8,250 + taxes and fees.

Would you go?

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