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Cruise118 eyes expansion after investment by US travel giant

Cruise118 is to launch the cruises.com domain name into the UK market and recruit 25 sales consultants on the back of a new partnership with arguably the world’s largest distributor of cruises.

American giant World Travel Holidays has acquired an undisclosed stake in Cruise118, the online agent set up by James Cole and Mal Barritt in 2008, which they claim is the UK’s fastest-growing retail business.

Cole said the investment would allow Cruise118, which also operates the brands sixstarcruises.co.uk and cruisefromuk.co.uk, “to grow even quicker and much more profitably”.

“Over the next month, we’ll be bringing the cruises.com brand into the UK market. It’s one of the best URLs you can get – it’s exactly what people are typing into Google so we expect to get a lot of traffic.”

World Travel Holdings owns other brands such as cruisesonly.com, cruisesinc.com and rooms.com, all of which Cruise118 might make use of in the UK.

It also plans to develop more third-party fulfilment partnerships, emulating World Travel Holdings’ success with companies such as Continental, Delta and Priceline in the US.

“We already power travelsupermarket.com’s cruise business, but we will be looking to do much more of that,” said Cole.

He said the expansion meant the business needed more experienced cruise sales consultants, either at its head office in Lancashire or working from home.

“This deal marks another step-change in our growth,” he said. “There’s an extremely good fit between both our businesses.”

Cole and Barritt maintain the majority share in the business.

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