What is Fathom Impact Travel and #TravelDeep? (Part 1)

family sunset aboard Fathom Adonia

Beautiful sunset at sea aboard the Fathom Adonia.

I just got home from a vacation unlike any other I’ve taken. My family and I travel as much as we can and we’ve been on a lot of adventures over the last several years. But last week we flew to Miami and boarded a ship that took us on a journey we won’t soon forget.

Fathom Impact Travel invited several travel writers to join the other passengers and crew aboard the Adonia, a 700-passenger ship that sails every other week to the Dominican Republic. My husband, daughter and son joined me to experience a family vacation with a twist. While we would definitely see a beautiful country and do some typical tourist-type activities on our own, the main reason we were going to the Dominican Republic was to make a positive difference for those who live there.

child in Puerto Plata

There’s a lot I want to share with you and I’m going to break it down into a series of posts, but just to let you know (spoiler alert) we had an extraordinary time. I’m still trying to process everything. It was fun, rewarding, hard work, exhausting, uplifting, sobering, emotional and beautiful. We grew together as family, we changed a bit individually and we experienced the country in a way we never would have on any other vacation. We were able to relax and be tourists, too…so really – it was a combination of a regular vacation (hello – we were on a cruise ship!) and cultural immersion/mission work.

Before I dive in with some of the nuts and bolts of what this trip is all about and what it includes, I’d like to thank Fathom for the experience. While we paid for our air travel to Miami and many activities on the ground and extras on the ship, Fathom covered our stateroom, food and impact activities so that we could see first-hand what the new Fathom #traveldeep experience was like.

Fathom, the newest brand under the Carnival Corporation and plc umbrellais a new kind of cruise that combines the love of travel with the desire to make a difference. We were on the sixth sailing to the Dominican Republic (the also sail to Cuba every other week) so the concept and experience are still quite new for staff and travelers alike.

reforestation with IDDI

Planting trees as part of the Reforestation Impact Activity with Fathom. Made a new friend with IDDI.

Fathom calls the concept travel with a purpose – the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Dominican culture while working alongside its people to create enduring social impact. To achieve that, they have set up several impact activities, led by impact guides that you meet on the ship as well as community partners from NGO’s including IDDI and Entrena on the ground. You select three you want to experience while the ship is docked at Puerto Plata’s port for two full days and 2 half days including:

  • Reforestation
  • Community English
  • Repapel – Recycled paper and crafts entrepeneurship
  • Cacao & Women’s Chocolate Cooperative
  • Water filters
  • Concrete Floors in Community Homes
  • CAMS – Creative Art, Music and Sports (offered during the summer), Student English (offered during the school year)
Fathom Spanish phrases class

Taking a Spanish Phrases class on board to prepare for teaching Community English in the Dominican Republic.

Impact guides offer training through classes offered on the ship while you sail to the Dominican Republic. We took hour-long sessions on topics such as Spanish Phrases, Empowering English Tutoring, Visual Storytelling, Getting to Know the Dominican Republic, and Raising the Next Generation of Changemakers so we could prepare for our on-ground experiences.

Fathom Adonia pool

While sailing to Amber Cove, the port in Puerto Plata, we also enjoyed the Adonia’s many amenities including a swimming pool, fitness center, spa (that offered massages, hair, nails, facials and even acupuncture), multiple lounges and a wine bar, gift shops and dining areas. She also has a full library that was always a buzz with activity. Lots of games, puzzles, computers, comfortable chairs and couches were available as well as great books for all ages including many copies of The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind – the ship’s book club pick that many travelers read and discussed in groups during the cruise! We checked out a set of dominoes (a popular Dominican past time) to play many times on the ship until we purchased a set of our while sight seeing in Puerto Plata.

Fathom Adonia scavenger hunt

Late night scavenger hunt aboard the Adonia. Our team won!

They also offered fun, fitness activities like yoga, meditation and dance classes (we learned the Merengue and Bachata). You could take a wine and paint class, cocktail class, watch late night movies on the top deck and listen to the Adonia’s band – The Craze, as well as several Dominican Republic bands who came aboard while we were at port. Scheduled activities like scavenger hunts (not to brag or anything – but our team won the first one!), fitness seminars and bandioke (karioke with a live band) were also popular.

fuseball on Fathom Adonia

Annie playing Fuseball with new friends aboard The Adonia.

Because of the requirements of the work experienced on-ground, you have to be eight years old or older to go on this cruise. Some of the impact activities require you to be even older because of the type of work being performed. On our sailing we had a lot of kids, pre-teens and teenagers on board, which I think is great. There isn’t a kids game room or any children’s programming per say, but my kids participated in many of the age-appropriate activities offered and had a great time. I do feel like there could be more offered for the younger cruisers, though. This may be something they look at adding on future sailings.

What do you think about Fathom Impact Travel so far? Do you have any questions? Be sure to leave them in the comments section…I’d love to feature answers to them in an upcoming post. Visit Still Living The Dream to learn more about our Fathom experience coming soon!

I was invited by Fathom to sail on the Adonia to the Dominican Republic and experience impact activities with my family. While the main cruise (food, travel, room and impact activities) were provided to me at no cost, as always – all opinions expressed are my own. I gladly paid for air travel to the port, gratuities, on our own activities, taxis, souvenirs that supported some of the groups we helped while in the Dominican Republic, some food and beverages as well as other expenses on my own. 

Hydrating with BODYARMOR SuperDrink

still living the dream - BODYARMOR

My kids participate in a lot of sports. Lacrosse, soccer and swim team are a few outdoor sports they are involved with right now. Living in Houston, where it stays hot and humid most of the year, we have to be mindful about keeping hydrated during these activities. It’s an ongoing challenge for all of us.

I have a hard time keeping down fluids when I run, so I struggle with finding a balance between staying hydrated and keeping cramps and nausea at bay. My kids…well – they are just lazy! They get pretty warm at lacrosse games, especially my son who wears chest pads and a helmet, but “forget” to drink fluids. I’m usually on the sidelines screaming “Hydrate!” as much as I’m yelling “Go team!”

still living the dream - lacrosse

We usually stick to water because I’m not a big fan of all the artificial ingredients in some sports drinks and my kids really don’t like the way they taste. I mean, if I’m going to the trouble of working out to keep healthy – I’d rather not load up on a bunch of chemicals while I’m actually doing it! Sometimes water just isn’t enough though. During one a sprint triathlon last summer when it hit record high temps in H-Town….heat was a real issue. I realized during that race that I needed electrolytes in a big way so I alternated between drinking water and the sports drink they gave out at all the water stations.

I was recently given the opportunity to try out a new sports drink line by BODYARMOR. SuperDrink by BODYARMOR has natural flavoring (no artificial sweeteners or color) and provides hydration with a combo of potassium blended electrolytes, 10% coconut water and B vitamins. Sounded good to me, but would the kids like it?

At last weekend’s swim meet, my son and daughter both gave them a try. BODYARMOR SuperDrink comes in 8 flavors. We tested 6 of them: Strawberry Banana, Mixed Berry, Orange Mango, Fruit Punch, Blackout Berry and Tropical Punch. The verdict? They loved the taste (and I did, too!)

They are light and refreshing. Sweet…but not too sweet. After I drank one I felt – well…hydrated! My daughter’s favorite was Strawberry Banana. Jackson liked all the berry flavors. I’m partial to the Orange Mango.

still living the dream - swim

I don’t always say this after trying out a new fitness related product, but BODYARMOR SuperDrink is going to become a staple in our house. The 16 oz bottles are perfect for throwing in the gym bag and I think it’s cool that they are also gluten free and don’t contain caffeine. I did a search online at DrinkBODYARMOR.com and they carry these sport drinks at Kroger, Target and HEB, all places close to my house. Check out the site to see where to get them by where you live. And while you’re online, be sure to print this BODYARMOR coupon (I did!) so you can save some cash while keeping cool this summer.

Be well. Be safe. Be fierce.

I was given samples of BODYARMOR SuperDrink for free in order to review. I received no compensation for this post and all opinions stated are my own. 

 

 

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