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Reading at Sea: The Best Library on the Water

When I read that a hotel has a “gym” or a “library” I tend to insert those quotation marks around the words in my mind. I know that what a hotel considers a gym is usually a dirty old yoga mat and a half broken treadmill. A hotel library is a more likely collection of 3 discarded copies of Eat, Pray, Love and about 10 crappy romance novels, if I’m lucky. When researching the layout of the Fathom Adonia boat before sailing to the Dominican Republic, I saw that they had a library. I even noticed that it took up a decent amount of space on the blueprint, but that did not stop me from packing several books and loading up my Kindle.

I like big books and I cannot lie

I love physical books. I know it seems crazy to bring both a Kindle and actual books, but there is something about the weight of the book and even dealing with pages blowing in the wind that makes reading by the water so much more enjoyable for me. I knew I’d be spending some quality time by the boat’s pool, and I wanted to have at least one physical book to keep me company. I used up precious suitcase space for those books because I had no faith in this boat’s library.

The Fathom Adonia Library is no freaking joke

Fathom Adonia Library

Fathom Adonia Library

Ok, turns out, the Fathom Adonia library is legit. The walls are lined with neatly organized books with hardly any repeats at all. It’s not just some haphazard shelves with whatever books former passengers happened to leave behind. The library has actual sections, separating classic fiction from contemporary, biographies from memoirs, and atlases from children’s books. There is even a librarian on duty for several hours each day.

Sidenote: Librarian on a boat that sails around the Caribbean? Talk about dream job.

This is basically how I felt when I saw just how serious this boat’s library was:

Be still my beating bookworm heart

When I entered the library for the first time, my heart did that little excited flutter I get every time I find a particularly amazing bookstore or library. A large portion of my time during my two weeks aboard the Fathom Adonia was spent just hanging out in that small but beautiful room. I tossed my Kindle aside and checked out books from the Adonia collection.

I then commenced the awkward bookworm social shuffle.

Fellow avid readers know what I’m talking about. It’s that strange socialization strategy where you read a book in a very public space, preferably surrounded by empty but inviting-looking chairs, allowing yourself to simultaneously read and look halfway available for some sort of social interaction. It’s a delicate balance.
Of course, I also spent time hopping between armchairs and couches in the library itself. What I loved about this library was that it was not too terribly quiet. The environment was conducive to reading, of course, but you could also have a quiet conversation without feeling like someone was going to shush you. The librarian even hosts a book club!

More than just books

In addition to the respectable book collection, the library also housed a few of computers for anyone who wanted to access the internet (for a fee) as well as a great collection of board games. Board games and books! It’s a traveling nerd’s dream land! You can check out the games or play them right in the library, so one night I enjoyed taking Clue to a larger lounge to spread out and solve a murder with my new friends and another night I learned how to play Catan while huddled over a table in the library.


Game night in the library? Don’t mind if I do. 

My only regret is that I didn’t have more time to explore the book collection, particularly the section dedicated to books about Cuba and the Dominican Republic. If you are planning a trip with Fathom, trust me, you can leave the books at home and rest assured that you will have plenty to read while aboard.


Disclaimer: I received a complimentary trip with Fathom Travel in exchange for writing about my experiences. All opinions are my own. In fact, I liked my cruise to the Dominican Republic so much that I chose to purchase a spot on the cruise to Cuba. I do receive some affiliate earnings if you choose to book a cruise through me, but you also get a discount. 

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