#PCTImpact: Our Pre-Trip Thoughts & Expectations

Here we are just two days away from setting sail on what promises to be an unforgettable journey. Here are the raw thoughts of our six travelers – their expectations, apprehensions and what they’re looking forward to the most on the upcoming voyage.

meetchrisCHRIS GRUM: “I want to get on the ship RIGHT NOW! I love cruising and always get excited in the days prior to a voyage, but the feelings I’m having right now are much more complex than a normal sailing.

I don’t have any real reservations or feelings of apprehension prior to the trip. I’m looking forward to being on a smaller ship for a change, as most of my recent cruises have been on some of the largest ships out there. I’m also excited to be among the first to try a new cruise line. This is a company in its infancy. Sure, there will probably be some hiccups along the way. But we, with our feedback, get to play a part in helping to shape the future of this company and that’s very exciting to me.”

SCOTT McALISTER: “To say I am excited about this upcoming adventure would be a huge understatement. The opportunity to experience a wonderful cruise vacation AND volunteer helping people in the Dominican Republic is a combination of two things I have been blessed to participate in over the years, and now both at the same time.

I have always believed that cruising is one of the best value vacations around. You pack and unpack fewer times and your hotel takes you to interesting ports. I also learned at an early age that I enjoyed volunteering and having a positive impact on others. It was over 30 years ago when I found myself volunteering with our local chapter of the American Heart Association, helping to coordinate the annual fundraising gala. Thirty years later I am still blessed to be able to volunteer with great organizations such as Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo® Special Attractions Committee and the Armed Forces Appreciation Committee, Pasadena Strawberry Festival, Woodlands Church – Disaster Relief Ministry, and others over the past few years.

While in the Dominican Republic, I look forward to volunteering with the rest of the Premier Custom Travel staff as well as a few of our clients who are traveling with us and Wine to Water, making water filters out of local clay and giving them to local families, allowing them to buy food and other necessities now that they no longer must buy safe bottled drinking water. There are other impact activities we will be participating in while there, but this is the one I most excited about.

I know our time in the Dominican Republic will help change the lives of many people but I would be naive to think it will not change our lives too. At this time, we just cannot fully understand how much our lives will be changed by this simple act.”

MICHELLE McALISTER: “I keep daydreaming about the experiences that await me in the Dominican Republic.  As a school teacher, I am always looking for opportunities to use my summer experiences in my classroom. I anticipate my adventures on the beautiful Adonia will not only impact me personally, but will allow me to impact my students upon my return.  I am looking forward to interacting with the Dominican people and learning more about their culture.”

MELISSA WATKINS: “I can’t believe I am going to the Dominican Republic on a Fathom Impact Cruise!  This is my first time to leave the U.S. (I was too young to remember Puerto Rico), and it’s my first cruise.  We are two days away from leaving the dock in Miami.  I am super excited to go, but I also have a plethora of concerns going through my head.  I know things will be just fine, and that I shouldn’t worry so much (as my well-traveled companions keep telling me), but I just have to.  If I don’t go through all the things that are worrying me now, I will be a complete nervous wreck when we leave.  Not that I won’t be nervous, but it will be that different kind of nervous–the giddy feeling you get as you set off on an adventure tinged with a bit of “What am I getting myself in to?” kind of nervous.

Here is what I have cycling through my brain right now:

  • How many outfits do I pack?  Am I packing too much?
  • Will I need a light jacket or a waterproof jacket? It’s been raining there for over a week.  What if it continues?
  • How does the laundry service work?  Are they going to shrink my clothes?
  • How large are the rooms?  Will my big suitcase just end up in the way?
  • How much money do I need to bring with me?
  • How bad are the mosquitoes?  They certainly do love me!  Am I taking the right kind of repellant?
  • Am I going to get sea sick?  Should I put on a patch before we go just in case?
  • What about my food allergies?  I know I don’t need to worry on the ship, but what about when we eat with the locals?  I don’t want to offend anyone by not eating what they make.
  • What if there is a hurricane?  We are only going to one port, so it’s not like we can just skip it.
  • Will I be able to communicate with the Dominicans?
  • Will I actually help them, or will I just end up slowing down production?
  • When will I get my schedule of activities?  Will it be correct?
  • How much free time do we get each evening? Will I have time to relax and just take in everything that I see and do?
  • Will I have time to document what I see and my experiences as I go, so I can reflect on it later?
  • Will I take away curriculum related things that I can later use in my classroom?
  • Is 3 days enough for me to feel like I made an impact?

Many of these concerns are frivolous, I know.  I’m over-thinking things, as usual.  Some of my concerns will be answered as soon as I can board the ship.   Others, once we arrive in the D.R.  Of course, there are concerns I have that can’t be answered at all until it is over.Wait!  It hasn’t even started yet.  I don’t want it to be over any time soon!  I want to meet people.  I want to see the wide open ocean.  I want to savor some delicious foods.  I want to make chocolate.  I want to deliver a water filter.  I want to buy some recycled stationery.  I want to go sight-seeing and buy some souvenirs.  Maybe if I keep thinking about all the things I want to see, do, and experience while on this cruise and in the D.R., then maybe I can calm down and stop worrying about things beyond my control.  It will all be just fine.

I hope.”

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MEGAN ANNECHARICO: “With just a couple of days left before we leave, I’m wondering how I’m gonna get everything done! I’m excited out of my mind to be going on this amazing trip. I am a bit apprehensive since this will be the smallest ship on which I’ve ever sailed. But it looks beautiful from the pictures and I’m sure it will feel like home once we arrive on Sunday.”

When looking ahead to our seven days on the Adonia, I’m most looking forward to spending time with this fantastic group of people. But when it comes to our impact activities, I’m cannot wait to be a part of making those clay water filters. Seeing a video about those filters was the final straw in convincing me to sign up for this expedition and I hope it lives up to my expectations.”

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LOU ANNECHARICO: “I’m excited about the trip and the fact that this will be so different from any cruise we’ve taken before. I can’t wait to meet the people in the Dominican Republic and see what we can do to help them better their lives. I’m especially looking forward to the reforestation program that we’re doing – it’s thrilling to be able to do something that will leave a lasting legacy.

I understand that this trip includes some “classroom” type experiences or interactive sessions onboard the ship. I hope that these are beneficial and help me expand my knowledge of both myself and the region in which we are traveling.”


Throughout our journey, we’ll post our thoughts on the ship, the excursions and the impact we’ve had on the Dominican Republic (and in turn, the impact it has had on us).

All of our updates (including these blogs) will be available in one place:


You can learn more about our bloggers here: http://www.premiercustomtravel.com/blog1/?p=3523

Have questions or comments for us? Either comment on these blog posts below or send us feedback at impactquestions@premiercustomtravel.com