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How to get $3,200 to spend onboard your cruise by sailing with friends

Cruising with friends can be tremendous fun as you explore the world in comfort together – and now you can even make money by getting your pals along for the ride.

Virgin Voyages has positioned itself as the light-hearted new kid on the cruise block ever since its arrival – having a good time with fellow “sailors” is at the core of all things Virgin, whether that’s hitting the spa together, tucking into pool-side eats or braving it in the tattoo parlour.

What’s more, vacationmakers now can get rich quickly (well, in onboard credit) by encouraging friends to join them on the high seas.

For a limited time only, Virgin Voyages is offering cruisers $200 in onboard credit per cabin booked if you get your chums to book a sailing.

It’s not just a one-trick pony, though – you could bag up to $3,200 to spend on board if 16 cabins are booked thanks to you.

All you need to do is share your personal link (found in your account after you book) to get that sweet, sweet dollar to spend during your time onboard.

The benefits won’t just apply to you – each referred cabin will get $200 to spend on board, too. Talk about quid(s) pro quo.

You haven’t got long – the Virgin Voyages deal expires on June 30, 2022, so get recommending!

Do be sure to check the terms and conditions, though – the referral programme is not available for existing sailors who are linked in the “Sail With Friends” program.

Virgin Voyages: Advantages of cruises with friends

The perks of sailing with friends on a Virgin Voyages cruise don’t stop there. If your friendship group is big enough to comprise 10 cabins or more you can become a “Circle” (no, not in a weird culty way).

Passengers in Circles (which can be as many as 150 passengers) benefit from additional perks, including onboard credit to spend on extras like shore excursions, drinks, spa treatments, personal training and onboard retail.

“Sailor Loot” – as Virgin likes to call onboard credit – amounts are based on paid cabin category. This comes to $50 per room for Insider/Sea View cabins, $100 per room for Sea Terrace cabins and $200 per room for All RockStar Quarters. Well, another mojito then please!

There are also advantages to sailing as a Circle when it comes to dining, cocktail parties and shore excursions.

Circles can prearrange group dining experiences, for instance. If there are 15 or fewer of you, the troops can dine altogether and have Virgin’s dining experts check ahead for the best night and restaurant to fit your needs. If you’re a group of 16 or more your arrival times will be staggered.

These big groups can also enjoy a cocktail party in Virgin’s private or semi-private venues onboard for that super VIP feeling. Premium packages ($35pp for one hour, $50pp for two) include spirits, cocktails, beer and wine while standard ($25pp for one hour, $40 for two) includes beer and wine.

Circles can also organize shore excursions ahead of time and sort out all sorts of unique activities, whether it’s a bar crawl around the ship or a fun learning experience around photography.

Dos and don'ts

How to cruise with friends

Cruising with friends in such large groups can be tricky so we’ve rounded up some top tips to help you get the most out of your gang getaway.

Do hang out before the cruise

If new faces are joining the group it might well be wise to organize a pre-sailing get-together so you can see how you all gel in advance of the vacation.

You might discover a new-found gem of a companion… or you might identify someone you’d rather not sit next to at lunch.

Don’t spend all your time together

If you’re traveling with your partner within the friendship group do try and enjoy at least a night together doing your own thing, or perhaps do a shore excursion for just the two of you. If you’re a solo traveler in the bunch maybe strike out alone one day.

This way you can have a breather from the group to avoid any potential frictions escalating from over-saturation plus you’ll all have different stories to relay when you meet back up!

Do sort out finances before you cruise

It’s likely your budgets will vary so do establish how bills will be divided in advance to avoid any nasty shocks when someone else’s “Let’s split it” sees you paying for five cocktails and two wines you didn’t have.

Food-wise, of course, it’s a breeze onboard Virgin Voyages as there are 20-plus restaurants included in your cruise fare as well as filtered still and sparkling water, non-pressed juices, sodas, teas and drip coffee.

Drinks are reasonably priced but prepaying could work out best – if you purchase a $300 prepaid bar tab Virgin will top you off with an extra $50 to spend at any bar onboard or at The Beach Club at Bimini. You can even buy drinks for your friends out of this if you’re feeling generous!

Don’t be a poor communicator

Everyone knows that vacationing in a group can be tricky logistically – one person’s idea of on-time can be very different to another’s or maybe you fancy a burger and they want sushi.

Be sure to communicate with the group your plans for the day – whether you’re up for doing something together or not or where you want to dine – ahead of time. Also, try not to be late – especially for trips to the shore, the ship won’t wait for you if you’re late!

Fortunately, the Virgin Voyages app makes organisation a cinch – you can book dining, onboard activities and shore excursions on there, check-in and join virtual queues. You can even shake your phone to order champagne!

Right, we’re off to find 16 friends.

Set Sail

Western Caribbean Charm with Virgin Voyages

Duration: 6 nights

Where: Miami | Roátan | Costa Maya | Beach Club at Bimini | Miami

Ship: Valiant Lady

Price: From $1,963.50 per cabin

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Published 06.21.22