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Making a direct impact - helping students learn English is among the activities Fathom's Dominican Republic program offers. Fathom president Tara Russell is pictured

Cruise pro Zarmati personally vets Fathom's social impact experiences

When Fathom hosts travel agents aboard Adonia in Florida this week, Maurice Zarmati will be able to convey what it's like to take part in the line's social impact activities because he's done them.

The sales and marketing consultant brought in to work with major retail distribution channels, and Bill Diebenow, newly appointed director of sales, affinity and national accounts, were on the ground in the Dominican Republic last week.

They joined Fathom's product team in trying out the various volunteering programs to see how they could be fine-tuned.

Over two days their activities included teaching English in a small community, making ceramic water filters, participating in an arts and crafts collective, learning about reforestation and joining a family in their home for a typical meal—rice, beans, chicken, avocado and fruit.

'My life has been enriched,' Zarmati said. 'It really opened my eyes about this world they live in. It's very different from how we are living in the United States. It makes me feel how fortunate I am.'

According to Zarmati, the Dominicans welcome the Fathom visitors 'with open arms. They want to learn, and they want us to see their lives so we hopefully can help them better their quality of life.'

For travelers who want to make a difference in the places they visit, 'You're directly involved,' Zarmati added. 'You're standing next to someone who's making a water filter from clay.'

The Carnival Corp. & plc veteran senior sales executive also expressed enthusiasm about Amber Cove, where Fathom will be alongside during its Dominican Republic cruises. He deemed the port 'remarkable.'

Adonia, currently sailing for P&O Cruises before its transfer to Adonia in the spring, will call at Port Canaveral and PortMiami this week, giving the opportunity for US travel agents to see the ship.

'It's enjoyed a very good reputation for product delivery,' Zarmati said of the 710-passenger vessel, adding it gets high satisfaction ratings from passengers and offers many balcony accommodations.

Two hundred travel agents are expected to visit, split between the Canaveral and Miami calls. They'll be hosted by David Drier, vp fleet operations and sales; Zarmati, Diebenow and sales team members from the Carnival Corp. family. In Miami, they'll be addressed by Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corp.

In addition, this week the Fathom begins a nine-city road show to visit agents in San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale, Dallas, Atlanta, New York City, Houston, BC's Surrey and Vancouver, and Toronto, Ontario.

Zarmati said the major retailers he deals with consider Fathom 'a very interesting concept and are welcoming more information.'

His assessment, now that he's personally experienced the activities, is that travelers can feel they're making a direct impact.

'This is a wonderful way to give back and still enjoy a cruise vacation,' Zarmati said.

 

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