We embarked on our first cruise ever this week. Packed our bags, traveled to Miami in order to set sail for a first time amazing experience. For those not already aware, we aren’t cruise people per se. That being said, the cruise experience is quite lovely, and particularly the Fathom cruise by Adonia. It’s a tenth the size of a normal cruise ship, and incredibly intimate with fellow social impact travelers.
Fathom became the first cruise ship to dedicate it’s mission to making a social impact. Many picturesque places around the world need help from first world countries. While it’s nice to passively contribute economic stimulus through tourism, we personally always feel that we can do more. We always bring clothes, and toys when we travel to benefit kids and needy locals. The Fathom experience is an entirely different, unique, and amazing thing all together.
The crowd is much more laid back and adventure oriented and we got the sense of community and family through being in a tight knit community for seven days. You see the same people walking around, and get into conversation, and invite each other to dinner. It’s an amazing experience!
While aboard Fathom we will have the opportunity to make a hands on Social impact with locals in the Dominican Republic. We’re personally overjoyed that there is an organized, fun, leisurely, and most importantly, socially responsible cruise for those that want it. The ethos of the ship’s social responsibility is evident from it’s general mission, down to it’s included toiletries.
It’s a great experience to take a family on, and participate alongside your kids, making the world a better place. We also noticed there was a large proportion of “young” travelers like ourselves. It’s an opportunity to get away, and leave feeling wholesome instead of purely hedonistic. Life’s about perspective, and mixing some R&R with healing the world leaves both the soul, and the body with a nice tan that’s hard to shake.
We’re going to take you for a ride along our journey with Fathom to the Dominican Republic. Since it’s a brand new cruise, there’s not a lot of information not published yet. By reading this article, you’ll get a preview into what to expect, what to pack, and what to pre plan. You’ll know everything short of going and doing it yourself.
The Fathom ship by Adonia departs from the Port of Miami around 16:30, and heads directly to the Dominican Republic. To be safe, we arrived a day early, and stayed at the Mariott Hotel close to the airport. That ensured that we had enough time in case of delays etc to decompress before departing. We wanted to experience Miami a little bit, so this ended up being a worthwhile layover.
There are literally an overwhelming amount of restaurants to choose from in Miami. We decided since we were going to be dining Latin inspired cuisine for a week, something else would do. We can’t pass up good Italian food and decided to give Vero A shot. We lucked out to say the least. A 10 USD Uber ride brought us to Vero. Vero is a quaint, medium size family style restaurant, where the aim is to create the unordinary. Those wanting an Olive Garden style, uber typical dish should steer clear. The aim of Vero is really to create edible art. The staff was extremely friendly, and welcoming. We felt that we were sitting at the table of relatives, enjoying wine, telling stories, and taking in the warm breezes. Decor was on point and matched the most authentic Italian ambiance. We might as well have been in Tuscany. Check their menu out here. You wont be disappointed if Italian is your cup of Vino.
Embarking on Fathom
Fathom works directly with local entrepreneurs, families in need, and with the government to bridge the gap for foreigners. It’s really an efficient and great idea to guide the social impact where it’s needed most. The ships organizers have already identified areas of need that are the greatest. This allows for great efficiency and ease for tourists to sign up for the social impact they most identify with. Though the social impact of all actives are great, some are more obvious and others more obscure. Some will leave you exhausted through manual labor, and others you’ll still have to hit the gym. The ships impact guides will help you decide and go into further detail once on board.
A Tip not worth passing up
Regardless of what you choose to spend your time in the Dominican Republic doing, you need to book very far in advance. Do yourself a favor and take this tip. As soon as you book the trip, make sure to make your arrangements for the impact that best suits you, and your family. Many of the popular trips fill up weeks in advance, and there’s no place for disappointment, heads up!
The Fathom app can also be downloaded and serves as a central console for planning your impact, receiving announcements and scheduling on board activities.
Also, taxis from the airport charge a flat rate of 25 USD to the Port of Miami. We chose to take an uber and paid only 10 USD, not bank breaking, but worth the mention. Also, be sure to clarify your terminal number a day in advance, they constantly change, ours did.
Fathom at First Glance
First encounters with staff were exceptional and pleasant. They were eager to help us along, and make us feel welcome. After settling in we were eager to hit the pool which was pleasant. It was relatively intimate, and did the trick. We grabbed a drink and caught some rays while being pampered with hors deoveres.
The joys of sailing are no secret to those fortunate to have done it. Open ocean air, aqua blue water, abundance of sunshine, and the feeling of freedom are a few. There’s something raw about being on a ship, sailing through a field of blue water to a remote destination. It gives you time to think, and process what your purpose is. We felt like explorers from an ancient land reaching far to discover new territory and interesting people. A cool realization that got us excited for the activities on land.
The Voyage from Miami to the Dominican Republic will endure for approximately a day and a half. It’s really a blessing that it takes some time to arrive at the final port destination. The Caribbean Sea is truly a paradise in it’s own right. Temperate ocean air of around 82F/28C and a fresh breeze make it a perfect lounging environment. The voyage gave us time to relax, settle in, get some exercise and meet some of the other Social Impact Travelers.
We were lucky enough to see a 22 degree halo around the sun while relaxing at the pool. This type of halo is very rare, and only occurs with the right amount of humidity which forms ice crystals. These ice crystals form a halo around the sun. An amazing experience and a good omen to the voyage.
We woke up refreshed our first morning and enjoyed an amazing meal. The food was buffet style, and there were choices to eat healthy, or go all out. We kept it light knowing that some exercise was on the itinerary. Then we took to the gym, and did an hour of stretching, strength training and cardio. It’s important to prepare and stay fit while at sea. If choosing intensive, deep impact activities, it’s easy to get exhausted. Plus, we felt better about a little over indulgence, with some exercise to balance out the calories. We also went for a run on the upper jogging loop which overlooks the pool. It was a cool sensation to visualize the water going by at almost 20 mph while you’re running the opposite direction. It offered me the sensation that I was running super fast.
We were spoiled and refreshed by the saltwater pool on the upper deck and caught some rays to decompress. We were surprised to note that the pools are saltwater which are better for your skin, and the environment.
There’s a bunch of other activities to stay busy while on voyage to the destination port. Large scale group games on deck, movie nights, dance lessons, a live band, and language/cultural emersion to name a few. It’s really easy to stay busy the entire time on the ship should you choose. It was so nice to hear the band playing live music during many popular deck times. This gave us a chance to rock out, have some drinks, and be present letting the time pass.
Taking it all in
So far this has been an amazing and eye opening experience, even before making landfall. We’ve taken away many things, and are immediately left with a sense of gratitude. Grateful to be on the open seas, with cool like minded people, uniting through our stoke for life, and making a social impact. It feels so different and really positive. We are even more conscious about leaving the places we visit better than we left. We have a responsibility to equalize our effects on the places we visit as conscious travelers.
To be honest, being from a very popular tourist destination as my home, I had preconceived notions about cruises. I’ve never previously gravitated towards group travel, nonetheless uber organized, and sometimes super kooky cruise life. However this trip has already felt so much different than what my judgements have already been. Maybe because this cruise is geared completely different than other ones, and is the first of its kind. Either way, every experience in life is subjective to what you make of it. You could be sitting, lounging, and vegetating the whole trip, or get involved and prepare to make an impact. We were able to workout, eat healthy, enrich ourselves culturally, all while aboard a 450 person vessel at sea, which never felt crowded. This is proof that it’s possible to be an adventurer and a leisure travel simultaneously. If you have kids, need a different type of luxury trip, or just want to get involved, than this is the trip for you too. We’re super stoked that our first trip on a cruise has been through Fathom, and wouldn’t ever consider a traditional cruise after this experience.
Stay tuned for my next article which will cover all Social Impact Activities in greater depth.
Note: Although all opinions expressed are my own, this life changing experience was made possible in part by Fathom and Adonia.