The cruise experience is so damn opaque that few can figure out what exactly is the right experience, especially amid all the schmaltzy marketing.
Cruiseable is a new startup aimed at matching those who want a cruise ship vacation to the experience that fits them. On the face of it, it doesn’t sound that disruptive. But anyone familiar with the cruise industry may recognise how useful this app and site might be, especially when set against the highly profitable $38 billion cruise sector.
Most cruise booking sites are not that great. Cruise.com, Cruises.com, Cruiseone.com, Onlycruises.com have a 90s design and are mostly built by agencies. Most use third-party providers that serve tiny images and the same templated interface. Cruisable has built a CMS for writers, and reverse-engineered the cruise discovery and booking process.
Launching initially on iPad and web, CEO, co-founder and veteran journalist J.D. Lasica, says Cruiseable’s platform can be customised and tailored to suit a variety of choices, to discover, plan and book cruise vacations.
The combination here is between community content (which rates vacations), travel journalism and photos of the cruises themselves. It contains 500+ original travel guides, ship reviews and consumer articles created by Cruiseable editors and writers. Think TripAdvisor plus journalism for cruises.
Co-founder and CTO Giacomo Balli, says they “reverse-engineered the cruise experience to remove the pain points.”
The company’s business model is based on booking commissions, advertising, licensing technology and targeted offers from merchants.
Consumers can talk with a cruise advisor, certified by the Cruise Lines International Association, who has expert knowledge of a cruise or destination.
The company has raised about $200,000 in angel investment so far.
Investors include Don Dodge, a developer advocate at Google, and Andrej Targosz of Coders Mill. Its Advisory Board includes Dodge as well as a former director of engineering at Trip Advisor, a former vice president of marketing at Virgin America and a former mobile executive at Orbitz.
Cruiseable’s booking engine supports 30 cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Princess, Disney, Holland America, Celebrity, Viking, Silversea, Regent Seven Seas and several other luxury cruise, river cruise and adventure cruise lines.