Select Traveler

NOV-DEC 2016

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22 selecttraveler.com N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 Good w ks ÒA longsidedness" means taking part in volunteer activities that are chosen by the local commu- nities to create a lasting impact; it's helping people in a way they need to create lasting results. I was introduced to this unusual con- cept when my husband, Graham, and I were invited on a seven-day trip to Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic with Fathom Cruises and Islands in the Sun Cruises and Tours. I was one of the fi rst voyagers to experience Fathom, a new travel concept conceived by company founder Tara Russell and Carnival Corporation. The brand is focused on "impact travel." Cruisers who sail aboard the 704-passenger Adonia will take part in people-to-peo- ple experiences and service projects in places such as Cuba and the province of Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. LITTLE HAVANA'S CUBAN COOL Our fi rst morning, we met up with the rest of the Islands in the Sun group to explore Miami's Little Havana neighborhood before boarding Adonia later in the day. We started out with a treat none of us were expecting: El Palacio de los Jugos, a small ethnic market on the out- skirts of Little Havana. The tantalizing smell of roasting pork belly and Cuban rice cooking for lunch wafted toward us as we walked through the market to the juice bar. Many in our group tried something new and sipped on mamey juice, a cross between peach and sweet potato in fl avor that was creamy but not too sweet. After getting off to a great start we explored many of the iconic spots around the Cuban neighborhood: Ramon Puig's for guayabara shirts; the original cigar shop, Cuba Tobacco Cigar Company; and, of course, Domino Park. We walked along Calle Ocho, a street where the sidewalks and buildings are decorated with colorful street art, as is the whole neigh- borhood. Everywhere we looked buzzed with life: the clacking of dominoes and chess games in Domino Park, locals talking and laugh- ing together or vendors along the streets hawking their wares "Cocos! Manies tostados!" or "Coconuts! Roasted peanuts!" My favorite Miami experience was trying authentic Cuban coffee. We stopped at a stand on Calle Ocho where we were given a tiny card- board cup, smaller than a shot glass. At fi rst I was a little doubtful of this tiny brew, but I soon realized that just that small amount packs a punch. I loved it so much that I was tempted to drink a grande-size serving. BREAKING OUT OF THE BOX We boarded the Adonia around lunchtime and headed to our suite before enjoying our lunch with views of the Miami skyline as the back- drop. Immediately, we noticed a difference from other cruise ships: It's clear Fathom focuses on individuals. This care shined through little touches, like the use of fair-trade amenities or the sign outside our door where we opted to share quick facts about ourselves, like our superpowers and spirit animals. We set sail early that evening and enjoyed a launch party, done the Fathom way. After an inspiring talk from Tara Russell, we got to ex- plore the ship in depth for the fi rst time with a scavenger hunt and plenty of opportunities to meet and interact with our fellow travelers. Although the Adonia doesn't have a casino, a theater or any of the other over-the-top features of larger ships, we still found plenty to do during our day at sea with the different sessions led by Fathom's "im- pact guides." These staffers were our points of contact during the trip and led information sessions and many of the onboard activities. In our fi rst session, we learned what it meant to be a Fathom traveler: learning empathy through travel and new experiences. Another session Graham Opposite page: Victorian architecture and patriotism are showcased in Puerto Plata's central park. BY ASHLEY RICKS A group of men enjoying a game of chess in Little Havana's Domino Park By Graham Ricks and good times THIS FATHOM CRUISE TO THE DOMINICAN HAD BOTH

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