Travel technology giant Worldspan has developed its first online cruise holidays booking engine for travel agents.
The move follows the launch of similar products from rival technology firms in recent months and illustrates the continued growth of the cruise market.
The online service, Worldspancruise.com, will include holidays with a string of leading cruise companies including P&O Cruises, Ocean Village Holidays, Fred Olsen, Cunard, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises.
A further 13 operators and cruiselines are expected to be added to the system in the near future.
The Passenger Shipping Association estimates a 17% increase in the number of UK holidaymakers taking a cruise holiday in 2006. The figure of 1.25 million people is expected to grow to 1.5 million by 2008.
Graham Nichols, Worldspan vice president and general manager for EMEAA, said: “This excellent product is the result of intensive consultations with leading cruise and tour operators, trade associations, cruise specialist travel agents and TravelTradeX, which runs under the Association of British Travel Agents.
“By extending this superior industry-wide service to all Worldspan agents, we are helping our agency partners create new revenue streams, while supporting the industry’s goal of continued innovation and investment in cruise marketing.”