Why We Love Fathom’s Impact Travel

Fathom’s Impact Travel Opens Up New Opportunities

Fathom’s impact travel offers an exhilarating new model for cruising.  Three weeks after cruising with them, we’re still high from the experience. What Fathom provides will restore the intoxicating joy you experienced when you first discovered travel.

Fathom Adonia docked in Amber Cover, Dominican Republic

Fathom Adonia docked in Amber Cover, Dominican Republic

We sailed to Dominican Republic from Miami aboard Fathom’s single ship. The 710-passenger Adonia was formerly the smallest ship in the P&O fleet. Fathom’s impact travel program in the Dominican Republic is one of two cruise options offered. On alternating weeks, Fathom guests visit three ports in Cuba on a people-to-people cultural exchange program.

Once in port at Puerto Plata (the only stop, and a 3-day stay) participants can work alongside (not on behalf of) locals in sustainable projects. Your efforts help improve the local environment, educational programs, and economic development. Adonia docked at Carnival’s brand-new terminal at Amber Cove, on the less-developed northern coast of the Dominican Republic (DR).

Fathom’s Onboard Activities

During the two-day voyage to the DR, cruisers have a chance to bond with each other in unique ways. We participated in a photography class titled “Visual Storytelling.” The members of our group learned  about each other through a playful icebreaker class called ‘The Story of You”. We also got to improve our Spanish skills, learning basic phrases so we could communicate with DR locals.

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Passengers can also join shipboard yoga and meditation classes. Plus, Fathom provides training and preparation for the onshore impact activities. Naturally,  you can also choose to relax by the pool or visit the spa.

The class and workshop facilitators did an excellent job of involving everyone while still helping guest feel comfortable. Some passengers told us that they repeated certain classes which had special meaning to them.

Fellow passengers and Fathom staff

Mark can strike up a conversation with anyone at any time, from seniors to teens. I’m usually a bit more of an introvert. But both of us found it easy to make friends among our fellow Fathom cruisers. A common interest in community service, along with class activities, made things click very easily.

fathom cohort leader

Our cohort leader Michelle describing what it means to be a Fathom traveler.

To encourage a sense of community among passengers, Fathom has employed several “Cohort Team Leaders,” These young people work with a small group throughout the cruise. We enjoyed our leader, Michelle, who had worked with the Peace Corp in Peru. She also is a pole dancer…no, not the kind in a bar on the outskirts of town, but a woman who does this for fitness and fun!

Fathom Impact Activities in the Dominican Republic

Fathom gives travelers a choice of several onshore impact activities. They work with existing organizations who have been on the ground locally for years. The groups IDDI and Entrena did a remarkable job with excellent local guides.  The local leaders on these expeditions were polite, friendly, and dedicated.

fathom travel reforestation

Dale planting seedlings. Part of the reforestation project.

Fathom’s partnership with local NGO’s and other organizations has yielded gratifying results . Our fellow passengers of all ages, ability and experience levels told us how much they enjoyed impact travel experiences. Many were already planning a second Fathom cruise before the first one ended.

Comparing Fathom with other cruise experiences

Mark and I have sailed on too many Caribbean cruises to count. We fondly remember details here and there: enjoying a beer onshore in Oranjestad; relaxing in the placid sea downstream from Dunns River Falls in Jamaica; exploring the old town of Puerto Rico, and a wonderful Christmas Day at sea.

But many of our Caribbean memories have faded over the years. In contrast, Impact Travel with Fathom will stay with us forever. We gained a rich insight into the Dominican Republic culture plus a real sense of interpersonal connection. We still remember sixth-grader Livinia’s radiant smile when she mastered reciting the alphabet in English!

Fathom Impact Travel

Mark using flash cards to teach English to Livinia who is in the 6th grade.

LGBT cruisers are a perfect match for Fathom’s impact travel. So many of us who identify as LGBT place a high value on the hallmarks of impact travel like community and sharing. Mark and I loved this joyful, feel-good way to have fun and make a difference at the same time.

We plan to write in more detail later about the ship and our onshore activities. For now, we want to say thank you to Fathom for this life-affirming adventure. Kudos for inventing a whole new way to cruise.’

 

*Note: Mark and Dale traveled as guests of Fathom. Read our disclosure policy here. From Mark: “Our gay opinions can’t be bought. We say and write exactly what we think. We’re capable of throwing shade when necessary, but when we say something good, we mean it.”