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Fathom – The Difference a Year Makes

A look at Fathom’s impact ashore in the Dominican Republic

By Craig Zabransky

Her smile never faded even as she started to wipe a tear from her face. The Fathom cruise passenger relived the very moment that touched her heart during a prior cruise. She shared each and every descriptive detail of her embrace and how this one hug with a local recipient of a new water filter changed her. This moment became the very reason she decided to book another cruise aboard Adonia for a Fathom cruise to the Dominican Republic. No one in the room seemed even slightly surprised by the outpouring of emotion. Everyone understood and most shared similar stories.

Normally a meeting of repeat passengers on a cruise ship is a cocktail party containing discussions on favorite adventures in exotic port of calls or the best cruise ships and itineraries, which are all great conversations. Yet on Fathom the reunion was a chance to share how travel made an impact not just on the locals, but an impact on its passengers.

The stories continued when another women shared and spoke of returning more than three times to the woman’s cooperative Chocal and assisting in the chocolate-making process. Next, a young girl recounted going to a local school with her family for a cultural immersion and English interactions. Another passenger highlighted the chance to complete a concrete floor for a family. The lightly facilitated session offered a view into the success of the transformative travel offered by the cruise brand and the very essence of the goal of Fathom when it first set sail in April 2016.

By the Numbers

The inaugural Fathom sailing to the Puerto Plata region of the Dominican Republic began a new mass-scale social impact travel concept prepared to have an impact beyond the cruise industry. Optimism and excitement filled the cabins as Adonia (on loan from P&O Cruises) left Miami bound for history in the making.

After 25 sailings to the Dominican Republic, essentially every other week for a year (Fathom rotated Cuba sailings the other weeks), we can start to understand the impact beyond one cruise and one passenger, but focus on the macro level. As Fathom evolves and prepares for its next phase, we can measure the magnitude and review the results from its Impact Excursions.

On each sailing, cruise-specific as well as cumulative numbers are updated and shared with passengers who attend the final cohort session. Let’s see what a year accomplished.*

  • The Reforestation & Nursery excursion totaled 84 trips to various reforestation sites by 2,464 travelers. The efforts produced 29,031 seeds planted and 16,590 seedlings transplanted from nurseries into the Dominican soil. Passengers helped reforest 12.29 total acres of land.
  • The Cacao and Women’s Chocolate Cooperative excursion totaled 133 visits to Chocal by 4,419 travelers. The efforts produced 15,186 pounds of nibs cleaned, which translated to 152,994 finished chocolate bars, 125,913 products prepared for sale, and 29,920 cacao seeds planted in the nursery that services Chocal.
  • Recycled Paper and Crafts Entrepreneurship excursion totaled 134 visits to RePapel by 3,801 travelers. The efforts….

*All Fathom Travel Impact Excursions totals are as of April 16, 2017. Sailings continued until June 2017.


Photo: Fathom


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