Last updated: 04:54 PM ET, Tue July 05 2016

Making An Impact

Fathom passengers play a part in creating a brighter future for those struggling with poverty

Vacation Agent | Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Barry Kaufman

Making An Impact

[PHOTOCAPTION]PHOTO: Volunteering at a cacao nursery as part of the fathom brand. "(courtesy Carnival Corp./Fathom)[/PHOTOCAPTION]

More than just a cruise line, Fathom defines itself as the social impact cruise line. It does so through a series of social impact activities available to travelers as part of its sailings to the Dominican Republic, ranging from pouring concrete floors to aiding in reforestation efforts. These activities allow passengers to play a small part in creating a brighter future for an area struggling with poverty, education and public health issues.

Just beyond the opulent gates of Carnival Corp.’s Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, the city of Puerto Plata hums along, coupling a rich culture with poverty and deep need.

That’s where Fathom comes in, providing “human capital” (e.g., helpful cruisers) to assist on-the-ground non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in their mission to improve the lives of Puerto Plata’s citizens. That’s actually a crucial distinction to make, as Fathom does not offer charity – instead, it offers warm bodies to help the Dominican Republic help itself.

For their part, Fathom passengers provide assistance to the people of Puerto Plata, and receive an enriching experience in return.

Here are some examples.

Reforestation/Nursery: This is actually two separate activities, and you may not find out which one you’ll participate in until you get there. Hosted by the nonprofit organization Dominican Institute for Integral Development, Inc., this activity is designed to rebuild forests lost to development. The reforestation activity takes you into the jungle to plant a new grove of mangrove trees, while the nursery activity combines a hike through the woods with an afternoon spent planting palm tree seedlings and seeding various trees in the onsite greenhouse.

Paper Recycling: This activity brings you to the home of RePapel, a group of vivacious Dominican women who will guide you through the process of recycling paper, from tearing up waste paper, to washing it in a giant drum, to actually rolling out your own sheet of fresh recycled paper. Do not be surprised if a song and dance number breaks out – the women of RePapel love what they do and are not afraid to show it.

Community and Student English: These are two different impact activities, but the mission is the same. In student English, you’ll join a group that visits a local school to teach English and interact with the bright young children of Puerto Plata.

In community English, you’ll be paired with a family and join them in their home as you guide them through basic English greetings and get a taste of what life is like for Dominican families. Some basic Spanish would be helpful, and onboard classes are a huge help for those struggling with the language.

Other impact activities include helping lay concrete floors in homes that don’t have any, creating filters to provide clean water, and even helping a local women’s cooperative to create mouth-watering chocolate.


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Vacation Agent Magazine

A version of this article appears in print in the June 2016 issue of Vacation Agent Magazine.


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