Fathom is a cruise line owned by Carnival. It’s moderate luxury and a moderately priced fare. But it’s different in that it involves volunteerism. It is for those that want to make a difference. Right now it travels to the Dominican Republic and will be going to Cuba in the future. You will sail aboard the Adonia, an older vessel that has been totally revamped. I just recently had the pleasure of touring this vessel and it did surprise me. The decor was elegant but homey. You didn’t feel like you were losing anything – except the casino as there is none.
When you get to the Dominican Republic the ship is your hotel so you unpack once and enjoy! You can make a difference educationally, environmentally, with economic development or special opportunities. There are up to three impact activities included in each Fathom journey.
During the school year you can go to the schools and help children with their English reading and conversation. You can also help lower income adults with their English and conversation. This will help these students to be productive adults and work in the tourism industry which helps their county so much.
As a Fathom traveler you can help with Creative Arts, Music and Sports too. You can be part of an innovative summer program designed to develop creativity, athletic ability, and life skills in a safe and fun environment. In the mountains above Puerto Plata, a three-day camp is located in a rural community with cooler temperatures, a more picturesque setting, and more expansive facilities than urban schools can offer. The well-planned programs include videos, joint dramatic presentations by students and Fathom travelers, hands-on arts and crafts activities, and a full day devoted to sports and nutrition. The result is the ideal combination of learning and fun, both for the students and for you.
You can help a child create a three-dimensional environmental model from recycled items, or a map of the world using flip-chart paper and old travel magazines. You can share information about your own home town and take part in a student-created dramatic presentation. You can participate in a mini-Olympics event where every child gets a medal, either for physical feats or for perseverance. You’ll watch the students improve their confidence levels, their English skills, and their potential for academic performance. And you’ll share in their victories, every step of the way.
Environmentally you can help with water filter production where you help them make filters made of clay, which mean far fewer children and adults will miss school or work due to water-borne illnesses. You’ll have the opportunity to work alongside established organizations and local artisans in the entire filter-making process: gathering and mixing the raw materials, working the clay, shaping and firing the filters, testing the quality of the finished product, and distributing the finished filters to needy families. In this family-friendly activity, even smaller children will find ways to do their part. There is a $20 per person surcharge for participation in this program
You can also participate in local reforestation efforts designed to improve the livelihoods of Dominican families, restore degraded land, and contribute to forest and wildlife conservation throughout the region. Working with schools and local communities, you can participate in activities that range from the simple potting of tree seedlings and transporting plants, to assisting local Dominicans with establishing and managing tree nurseries, to the more strenuous efforts of cultivation and planting. Thanks to the small-group nature of these reforestation activities, you’ll gain firsthand experience in transforming a community by working to protect and extend its natural resources.
The poorest half of the Dominican Republic’s population receives less than one-fifth of the country’s annual GDP. But the economic opportunities are there. And so is the willingness to take advantage of them. One local women’s cooperative is actively involved in the cultivation of organic chocolate (cacao) plants, an important source of income for the Puerto Plata region. As a Fathom™ traveler, you can participate in the complete production cycle: from planting and cultivating the organic cacao trees, to preparing the raw materials, to producing and packaging the final product for sale. By helping to improve production and increase sales, you’ll also be helping the organization to thrive so it can hire more local women, providing critical income in a region with limited employment opportunities.
Another group of enterprising Dominican women have formed an association to create and sell arts and crafts from locally recycled paper. In addition to participating in the entire paper recycling process, you’ll have the opportunity to support all aspects of the association’s program, including creating new products for sale, expanding the association’s distribution network, and helping to establish a more formal process for taking their products to market. This support provides critical income and will ultimately allow the women to expand their association as their business grows.
As a Fathom traveler, you can have a positive, hands-on impact on both programs, not only helping the women benefit from steady sources of income but also contributing to increased English skills that can help them sell their products more effectively.
In addition you’ll have the opportunity to help improve the lives and health of the Dominican people from the ground up. Literally for a small charge of $20 per person. In the homes of poorer communities, the common basic dirt floors are a genuine health risk. They pick up dust during the dry season and retain dampness and puddles in the rainy season. And they’re impossible to clean, which means that anything spilled on the floor or tracked into the house, however unhygienic, tends to stay put.
Every month, homes in a different small area of a community will be chosen to be upgraded with new concrete floors. And, if you can’t see yourself pouring concrete, there are plenty of other tasks at hand: painting the house, fixing broken furniture, cleaning and improving the outside surroundings, making improvements to common areas in the community, or planting fruit trees as part of a beautification effort that can also provide long-term nutritional benefits. The overall project will also include the addition of latrines and mosquito screens to reduce the prevalence of waste-borne and mosquito-borne diseases. You’ll work alongside the homeowners and other members of the surrounding community, including children and teenagers, helping them create surroundings they’ll be proud to maintain and take care of.
Don’t worry, not everything is work. You can also play and take advantage of everything all other cruises offer.
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Cruiser’s Travel LLC