The world’s largest independent cruise port operator Global Ports Holding is taking a stake in German cruise specialist OTA Dreamlines for €13 million.

At the same time Dreamlines has raised €45 million in series E funding led by Princeville Global.

The funds will be used by Dreamlines for further international growth and to complete the take over of UK specialist agent Cruise 1st.

The acquisition will make Dreamlines the world’s second largest online travel agent for cruise bookings.

It has already established itself as the market leader in Germany and Australia.

With an organic growth rate of about 40% a year, Dreamlines is growing significantly faster than any competitor and is targeting exceeding €1 billion in annual booking value in the medium-term, according to a GPH statement to the London Stock Exchange today.

“This will give Dreamlines a significant market share in the global cruise industry, creating an unmatched offering and convenience to global cruise customers, and a highly valuable platform for its shareholders,” the statement said.

Founded in 2012, Dreamlines operates in 12 countries around the world and has tripled booking volumes over the last three years.

The company is based in Hamburg, where the majority of its 600 staff are based.

GPH said the deal will allow the ports operator to deepen its understanding of passengers’ “whole cruise experience as we continue to build our knowledge and expertise in B2C service and product offerings around cruise ports.

“The partnership will allow GPH to work with Dreamlines on ways to promote its cruise ports and destinations to cruise customers worldwide as well as explore the potential for the development of additional retail and service opportunities, particularly pre and post cruise, which in the medium term could enhance and broaden our ancillary revenues.

“We believe that this partnership has significant potential given GPH’s international network of currently 14 cruise ports welcoming 7.3 million passengers a year.|

GPH CEO Emre Sayin said: “Dreamlines is a global leader in its field; its attractive digital and sales force capabilities will strengthen our knowledge and expertise within the fast-growing global cruise market.

“Over time we expect the partnership will allow us to further enhance our ancillary revenue streams through the development of new cruise passenger products and services, in line with one of our key strategic pillars.

“GPH and Dreamlines hold unique and complementary positions within the global cruise market; both companies stand out in their respective market due to their international footprint. We look forward to working together to develop ways to enhance each customer’s experience.”

Dreamlines founder and CEO Felix Schneider added: “Together with Global Ports Holding and our cruise line partners we will improve the experience for passengers around the globe even further.

“As the fastest growing cruise online travel agency and largest cruise port operator Dreamlines and Global Ports Holding are a perfect fit to meet the passenger’s demand for unique cruises.”