Fathom social impact travel is paving the way for a new type of cruise experience, taking travelers on a quest of personal and community development in the Dominican Republic. Everything about this trip has been carefully designed to help enrich the experience of the traveler, create a positive impact in the communities of the Dominican Republic and ignite a passion for giving back in the world. We loved our trip with Fathom, and here are a few of the reasons why.
The Fathom Team
Everyone in the Fathom team is stellar. From the moment you walk on to the ship you’re greeted with a million smiles. With the enthusiasm of a camp counselor, each member of the team was more than willing to answer our questions and address any concerns. Hearing the background some team members had in development work made us feel more comfortable in Fathom’s ability to have a true impact. They were also super open to feedback and suggestions for how to make the trip even better.
The Beautiful Dominican Republic
While choosing the Dominican Republic as a destination country probably had more to do with the local need than anything else, it didn’t hurt that the country is so easy on the eyes. While our time there was limited, it’s definitely on our bucket list to come back to. The coastline is gorgeous and the lush, tropical interior feels like instant adventure. Some travelers took a half day and rented a car to explore more of the region. If you have some downtime between activities, this seems like a great option.
Test the Volunteering Waters
As nonprofit professionals we’re well aware of the pitfalls of voluntourism and have written about our take on the impact of Fathom. But one thing you can’t deny is that Fathom opens the door to travelers that have never volunteered before. If you’ve volunteered long-term you may be wondering what effect a few days can have on someone. During our trip we saw travelers moved to tears and even one inspired to make a spontaneous speech expressing her gratitude. Those few days moved people, and even if only a few take that spirit back home and do something good, there will be a positive ripple in the world.
Opportunity to Connect with Locals
One challenging aspect to traveling on a cruise is finding a way to connect with locals. If you stay within the port area, you’ll only be interacting with locals who work at the shops and nearby restaurants. Traveling with Fathom provides an opportunity to enter a developing community and see how the locals really live. Being able to witness the social issues of a country firsthand gives you a much better understand of a place than if you’d stayed in a resort. Getting to speak with locals firsthand, even if its just through body language and smiles, is one of the best parts of traveling abroad and guaranteed to leave you with lasting memories.
Meet Lifelong Friends
It’s no surprise that spending time with strangers while giving back will build a stronger bond than, say, kicking it by the pool. After all, Jules and I met and fell in love while working at a nonprofit. Feeling good about giving back is contagious and just puts people in a good mood. Couple that with the diverse background of the travelers on the ship and you’re guaranteed some pretty meaningful conversations and the development of some lifelong friends.
Perfect for Families
Fathom does a great job of appealing to travelers of all ages, but it seems like a perfect trip for families. Not only are there about a million kid-friendly activities on the ship to occupy the little ones while you kick back with a cocktail, but the on-shore impact activities are a great opportunity for kids to learn and grow. These activities expose children not only to impoverished communities, but also the community members that are working hard to make a better life for themselves and their families. What’s more inspiring to a young girl than seeing a group of badass Dominicanas running a successful business and changing their community? I know I’d want my future children to have this kind of experience at a young age.
Activities Onboard the Adonia
Kids aren’t the only ones who get to have a little fun on the Fathom ship. The onboard programming offers a pretty much non-stop schedule of activities. Some are for personal health and wellness, others (like wine & paint night) are just plain fun. But many of the activities are there to support the theme of giving back. Core activities like “Getting to Know the DR” and “Being a Fathom Traveler” give travelers a bit more insight into the local context and our role during our time in the country. Optional activities like “Raising the Next Generation of Changemakers” and “Social innovation in Action” give travelers ideas about how to take this passion for social impact back to their daily lives.
The Inspiring Library
The library aboard the Adonia is a-mazing. And I’m not just saying that as a personal bookworm and library lover. Throughout the ship there were conversations about how incredible the book selection was. At least half a dozen people asked us if we had checked out the library yet (uh duh, day 1!). The selection of books on the Adonia’s library has been carefully curated to inspire, educate and motivate you to do good in the world. From the gorgeous photo books featuring Fathom’s two destinations, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, to nonfiction on social entrepreneurship and innovation, the selection was a perfect backdrop to the theme of the trip.
Support Social Business Shop
Throughout the ship were carefully placed, little details highlighting the theme of intentional living and giving back. The shop on board was one area in particular where this really stood out. Forget the usual cruise gift shop, this little store is filled with items supplied by social businesses around the world. From clothing and handbags to beauty products, most of the items in the store have a story behind them. It feels good knowing that your money is going toward helping somebody in need.
It’s been hard to fit everything into just 9 categories, because we haven’t even had the chance to talk about the delicious food, inspiring artwork carefully curated around the boat, along with many more amazing features. I guess you’re just going to have to take our word for it and jump on board to find out for yourself!
Don’t Forget To Move was invited to visit this Fathom cruise as guests. As always, the views and opinions expressed in this article are our own and in no way influenced by the fact that we received a complimentary trip.