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making an impact on a fathom cruise

Fathom Travel recycling

Thanks to Fathom for partnering with me on this sponsored post. All
opinions are, as always, 100% mine.

Fathom’s 704-passenger vessel, the Adonia returned from its inaugural voyage to the Dominican Republic last Sunday and, according to my friends who were on the trip, it was an amazing experience. I’ve been following along closely because I’m hoping to go in June.

Fathom is Carnival Corporation’s latest brand and what makes it so special is that it’s dedicated to social impact travel. Voluntourism is one of the fastest-growing trends right now, and it’s one in which I’m especially interested. In fact, I recently wrote a piece for USA Today’s 10Best about it and, of course, included Fathom.

Fathom Travel lesson

“We have already accomplished a lot in a short period of time – but there is still much to do,” said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation. “While we celebrated and introduced the unique Fathom experience to our guests last week, we are looking forward to taking our guests every other week to the Dominican Republic to continue making a profound and lasting impact for people in the country.”

Fathom Travel Cacao Nursery

Working with its impact partners Entrena and the Instituto Dominicano de Desarrollo Integral, Inc. (IDDI), Fathom and its guests made an immediate impact in a number of areas:

Student English Conversation & Learning / Community English Conversation & Learning:

  • Impact: Nearly 650 students and community members benefited from effective foreign language interaction with native English speakers.
  • Why It Matters: English proficiency is the largest driver of employment success in the Dominican Republic economy.

Reforestation & Nursery

  • Impact: Planted more than 2,400 trees.
  • Why It Matters: With time, this will lead to more nutrient-rich soil, reduction in soil loss, improved localized air and water quality, an increase in localized biodiversity, and higher agricultural yields.

Water Filter Production

  • Impact: Produced 50 water filters.
  • Why It Matters: In the Dominican Republic, more than 3 million residents do not have access to piped water. This access provides a significant reduction in waterborne illness instances, and indirect benefits include better work and school attendance.

Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative

  • Impact: Cleaned more than 200 pounds of cacao nibs and wrapped more than 6,000 chocolate bars.
  • Why It Matters: By helping improve production and increase sales, it allows the organization to hire more local women, and provide critical income in a region with limited employment opportunities.

Recycled Paper and Crafts Entrepreneurship

  • Impact: Nearly 600 sheets of paper produced.
  • Why It Matters: Guests’ support helps provide critical income to the women, and ultimately allows them to expand their business. It also helps overall employee morale.

Concrete Floors in Community Homes 

  • Impact: Poured concrete floors for two homes directly positively effecting 20 people.
  • Why It Matters: In the homes of poorer communities, the common basic dirt floors are a genuine health risk. The new floors provided a healthier and safer living environment for families.

Although guests spent a lot of time working on these projects, they also had time to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Puerto Plata as well as recreational activities like catamaran sailings, deep sea fishing tours, , and snorkeling.

Fathom Travel beach

According to my friend, Tammilee Anderson Tillison of Tammilee Tips, “Traveling on a Fathom cruise is unlike any other cruise experience. As a traveler you go in expecting to learn about the Dominican Republic but by the end of the cruise you also learn a lot about yourself. This cruise challenges you to push yourself, to be bold, to travel deep and try new things.”

I followed Tammilee’s posts and photos on Facebook, and they made me want to get involved. Michael and I vacationed in the Dominican Republic years ago, before the kids were born, and this would be a really meaningful way to go back to a country we loved and make a difference.

Fathom departs every other week to the Dominican Republic from Miami. Its cruises are seven days long but their impact is long-lasting and sustainable.

For more information and to book your own social impact journey to the Dominican Republic, visit Fathom.org.



  1. We’re sailing with Fathom in a little over a week and couldn’t be more excited to be a part in continuing in the great work!

  2. Sheesh, this is awesome. Also I love the GypsyNesters so I’ll be tuning into their adventure too!
    I had never heard about Fathom.

  3. Fantastic that they have incorporate travel with volunteer work! I think this is such a great idea! There are so many people that can be helped and people are more likely to jump on board with this as they get to experience the best of both worlds!

  4. WOw how wonderful. I love that they not only get the benefits of a beautiful place to visit but also get to help. I love that it’s the best of both worlds in one.

  5. What a great way to help those in need. It sounds like they’re already making a huge impact.

  6. Interesting to learn more about Fathom. I’d like to do a voluntourism trip during my life after 50. I always thought of joining the Peace Corps after college but it’s never too late.

  7. I’ve heard of Voluntourism, but had never heard of Fathom! What a great idea!

  8. I love the idea of giving back on vacation. While we were in Africa we brought supplies for the local schools. It wasn’t a lot, but the kids got to see something beyond the lodge we stayed at. Seeing the other parts of a culture can make you appreciate what you have.

  9. I loved your last post on voluntourism. I had never heard of it until then. This is such a great idea and I look forward to reading about your trip!

  10. This is an intriguing way to make a difference. I am going to pin it for future reference. I’m mulling over the best way to do voluntourism for us.

  11. This is new to me as well. What a great opportunity to help others and also see a beautiful place in the process.

  12. Wow, I never heard about Fathom before. Loved that vid. Getting the best of both world for sure by doing great work and enjoying the beauty too! Thanks for sharing this. Looks wonderful!

  13. I had heard a little about this but didn’t realize what it was called. Would be fun to give back a little!

  14. This is such an interesting concept! It sounds like quite an adventure and for a good cause!

  15. Those are the kinds of travel experiences that change who you are for the better. I love this!

  16. OMG! I so want to do this! Just sitting on a beach doesn’t sound that enticing, making a difference truly sounds like my kind of vacay!

  17. This is something I want to do!! I am all about helping others while experiencing a different place/culture! I don’t like the fine dine and luxury style trips!

  18. I love collaborative efforts where people you make a difference. Good to know about this one.

  19. Ashley Sparks Mullins says:

    This sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing. Visiting a new place and making a difference sounds like a great trip to me.

  20. I love this idea- combining fun with service. I’ve been hearing great things about these cruises and was scheduled to go on one this year. However with my Dad being really sick, I will have to postpone it. I’m excited to learn more about Fathom, thank you!

  21. What a great experience! I would love to do something like this. Enjoy a vacation or getaway in a beauitful area but also have the chance to make a difference!!

  22. Lois – love this post – putting it on the MySideof50 FB page tomorrow!

  23. Wow, did not realize how important it is to learn English in other countries

  24. Now why hasn’t this made a bigger splash?!? I love the idea of going away to help other people. So many great options it’s almost impossible to decide!!

  25. Excellent work! If only we would all pitch in!

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