Cruise.co.uk has acquired a German cruise OTA, claiming the deal makes it the number-one online cruise retailer in Europe.
The company has bought Kreuzfahrtberater.de for €25 million. It means Cruise.co.uk will operate in the two largest cruise markets in Europe and will create a “differentiated European leader in a large, growing and fragmented market”, according to chief executive Seamus Conlon.
Combined cruise sales will be about €250m, making it the largest cruise agency in Europe.
Its websites, Cruise.co.uk, Cruises.uk, Kreuzfahrtberater. de and Seascanner.com, have combined annual traffic of more than 37.5 million visits and feature more than 260,000 customer reviews and opinions.
Conlon said: “The cruise market is set for major expansion in the next few years with 65 ships set to enter the market, including new entrants Virgin and Ritz-Carlton.
“This transaction allows us to diversify our business by moving into a new large cruising market and represents a major step forward in Cruise.co.uk achieving its strategic aim of becoming the leading pan-European cruise online travel agency.”
Conlon said he would integrate the two companies’ IT platforms, with Cruise.co.uk benefiting from Kreuzfahrtberater’s online booking technology and the German site benefiting from Cruise.co.uk’s social media technology and know-how.
The businesses will not combine commercial deals, as the sites sell different cruise lines.
Kreuzfahrtberater.de was founded 12 years ago and employs more than 60 staff. Its three founders will remain a part of the management team.