Have you been hearing the buzz about fathom impact travel, a new innovative cruise line from Carnival Cruises? I’ll be honest, I’d never been on a cruise and didn’t really know if it was for me. My adventures with fathom impact travel changed that BIGTIME.
Fathom is a unique experience where you as the traveler become a part of a community on board as well as in the country you visit. I was lucky enough to be on the inaugural cruise to the Dominican Republic. Not only are you offered a variety of activities to experience the Dominican like a tourist but the bigger and more important part of the fathom travel experience is choosing from several impact activities where you’re working alongside local Dominicans, learning about their lifestyle and helping them to make a sustainable future for themselves. The DR is a beautiful island but it’s also an emerging country where education, poverty and lack of jobs is a real issue. What Carnival and fathom have done for a big part of the untapped population on the North Coast is provide thousands of jobs and help to sustain existing coops that employ hundreds of people. It’s a win-win. As you may recall, it’s very important to me to give back when traveling. So this experience was perfect for me.
A little bit about the ship, cruise experience and more on the impact activities from a first time cruiser:
The fathom ship, The Adonia, isn’t one of those enormous ships you may think of when you hear the word cruise. It holds just over 700 passengers, that’s it. The ship has just been redone and I thought it was very nice – classic casual. The food on board was terrific. There was a buffet for the quick bite, a casual sit down dining room for those who like service and, finally, a higher-end restaurant for a little more chi chi experience. All dining options offer a variety of things to eat, of course, with a bit of a Dominican spin!
This week long experience also wasn’t a big boozy trip like I envision some cruises to be. You sail to the Dominican Republic in a day and a half, then spend three days experiencing the island (still staying on board, which I loved…no repacking!!) and then another day and a half sailing back to Miami. During the days we were docked most people weren’t even on board the ship. Now, having said that, of course there are bars and plenty of options for a nice cocktail. AND surprising to me, very reasonable.
In keeping with IMPACT TRAVEL and giving back, you will find environmentally and socially aware products on board too. Things from toiletries to items sold in the duty free shops were all about this. I bought two amazing items myself – a Bajalia bracelet made by women in developing regions – providing them jobs and a Krochet Kids top made by families in developing countries supported by this international non-profit.
On board programming offered was about community building, learning about the DR, teaching you to be a great global citizen and health and wellness. And, of course, there was also plenty of entertainment for any and all. The impact activities offered once in the Dominican Republic were things like reforestation, teaching English, water filtration production, recycled paper and chocolate women’s coops, etc. There is something for everyone here. Some activities are more hands on but more strenuous and others are perfect for less active people.
Things that I didn’t know or expect about cruising and the fathom travel experience. Next trip, I would do two impact activities in one day and one more on another. This would leave more time to explore the DR on my own or do additional excursions. I had no clue about wifi being so difficult to connect to or the extreme expense of it, so buyer beware and plan to unplug on board. Never having cruised before, I was concerned about motion sickness. I was completely fine but some were affected by it. Apparently, there are these awesome motion sickness bands that almost immediately alleviate the symptoms. Finally, I could have planned and packed better for some of the impact activities so look into this more carefully.
I was a guest on the inaugural Fathom voyage to the Dominican Republic but at a price point starting at $499, I’d say this experience is priceless!