Travelin’Sober Man: Sober Cruising

By Bob Kocher

Have you ever considered taking a cruise? For a variety of reasons, many people in recovery have been reluctant to try this. Several years ago, one cruise line’s television ads focused almost entirely on trays full of cocktails – that would be enough to put off anyone in recovery! However, beginning about five years ago, most cruise lines have taken an about face when it comes to alcohol. These shipping lines are anxious not to have liability issues. In addition, they are promoting family cruises that include programs for adolescents and children in hopes of building family-friendly business for their future.

The fact is, today you rarely see anyone inebriated on cruise ships – that is unless you are cruising on spring break or choosing a three- to four-day cruise with a majority of people between the ages of 18 and 35 who have partying as their primary focus. Even on these cruises, the companies are very particular about exercising tight security if any nonsense is brewing.

Most ships now have Friends of Bill (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings almost every day. Over the years, attendance at these meetings has increased. Someone invariably pokes their head in the door and utters, “Who is this Bill guy, anyway?”

The most pleasurable way for someone in recovery to cruise is to take a Sober Conference at Sea. The programs for these recovery-oriented conferences include: regular Twelve Step meetings, speaker meetings and other activities for the group. Groups of sober friends often travel together, and everyone makes new friends during the trip.

There is sobriety safety in traveling together. In addition, on sober trips people seem to share more deeply with each other – perhaps some do because they imagine they will never see their fellow travelers again. However, many return to these “traveling meetings away from home” groups on later trips.

In addition to the Twelve Step meetings, every night there are a variety of fun activities – dancing, entertainment, comedy performances and Las Vegas-style shows. If you want to stay in shape as you enjoy all the great food on board, full exercise equipment is available in the fitness centers, along with state-of-the-art spas.

Sound interesting? You won’t be disappointed. In Recovery Magazine is sponsoring a Western Caribbean sober cruise out of Houston, Texas, December 5 through 12, 2015. The cruise ship sails to Cozumel, Belize and Honduras. Special tours exclusive to our sober group and a pre-cruise stay near the Houston Space Center are also available. This Sober Conference at Sea will feature Mark Lundholm from San Jose, California. Mark is a hilarious comedian in long-term sobriety with a great message. He has toured 50 states and ten foreign countries. His “worked-there-ruined-that” style of humor is so much more than a comedy show. It is a storytelling experience that explores the human journey into darkness with honesty, heartwarming moments and a strong message of hope. Arizona therapist Gigi Veasey, Executive Director of Alcohol Recovery Solutions, Inc. and a private practitioner specializing in grief and loss, will offer CEUs for attendance at her interesting workshops. In addition, Kim Welsh, the publisher of In Recovery Magazine, will share her moving recovery story. Shore tours include swimming with stingrays, dolphins and sharks, plus great snorkeling. Other surprises during the trip will make this a fun and inspiring journey for all who attend.

Come alone or with a friend or spouse. Put a group together, join the fun and support the important work of In Recovery Magazine. This promises to be a terrific cruise – don’t miss it! For more information, check out the TravelSober website at, call 805.927.6910 or email us at And remember, travel safe and TravelSober.

Bob Kocher has spent over 22 years in the travel industry as an agency owner, group planner, guide and salesman. He has led more than 125 groups worldwide – in Russia, South America, the Caribbean, Alaska, Greece and the Mediterranean. For information about all aspects of sober travel, visit his website at

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