Travel On in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria is preparing to take on the big cruise agencies by setting up a club for customers.

Travel On Board is designed to entice new and regular customers to the growing sector.

Shop owner Karen Forrester said although the big cruise clubs have a presence in the region, she feels it is a good market to focus on as demand is high.

Travel On Board features ­exclusive cruise deals, early booking incentives and advice on different types of cruise. The agency has put a blackboard outside the shop advertising the club and it has already ­attracted new customers.

Travel On agents Abbie Carr and Kelly Sanderson are co-ordinating the cruise club on behalf of the Worldchoice agency.

Forrester said: “We are ­already doing some cruise but it is up-and-coming and, with more ships being built, we need to be competitive in this market.

“With a group of committed cruisers to offer deals to, we have more purchasing power with the operators than any individual ever could.”

She added: “Staff are also going on ship visits and, although it is difficult to get to ports in the south, Liverpool is close and is being developed.”

Forrester said the agency, which is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators Specialist Travel Agents, is also signed up to Worldchoice’s CruiseChoice, which negotiates rates and group allocations for members.