Benefits from Investment

1 March 2011


A website designed to help holidaymakers find the best deal for their cruise break has benefited from a £100,000 investment. was launched by former DFDS Seaways online marketing manager Tom Fotheringham at the start of the year, and hopes to use the £96,000 provided by the fund to boost its internet and media profile.


The site offers the chance to browse deals from various holiday providers, and to post their pictures and stories in the community section.


Fotheringham said: "No one has really explored the market in this way before. I want us to become one of the top 25 travel websites in the UK and one of the top three cruise sites.


"Because the site is so transparent, people can save money and share the link with their friends." gives users access to up to 10,000 deals, and Fotheringham hopes to roll out the site in other countries in future months.


The cruise market is set to hit 1.75 million passengers this year and two million by 2014 according to the Passenger Shipping Association, and Fotheringham said first-time cruisers account are a growing part of that market. The website's Facebook account has attracted more than 45,000 followers in its first six weeks.


He said: "It's starting to appeal more to younger people. It's one of the few growing travel markets, largely because most things are included in the price."


The Benton-based two-person company is also developing a late deal section, in which people able to make last-minute trips can fill spaces on cruise ships at a heavy discount.


The investment came from the Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund.


Stephen Price, of Northstar Ventures which manages the fund, said the "highly experienced and motivated team" would help the company become "a travel industry leader in the very near future". He said: "CruiseCompare's business model replicates the now familiar price comparison format.


"However, until CruiseCompare came along, no one had been able to deliver a truly independent, easy to use, impartial and consumer-friendly price comparison website for this particular market."