Cruises, for the uninitiated, are trips on a boat where you eat too much, watch an Abba musical, and get the stomach flu. But they can be so much more and that’s why Cruise.me launched: to prove that cruising isn’t just for old folks and masochists.
The creators, Stephen Chip and Nindy Dhiens, first built AbbeyLabs in South Florida. The team realized that a) South Florida is a cruise capital and b) there weren’t a lot of younger people on the cruises. In order to fix this they created a service that lets you find cheap cruises and try cruising as a vacation alternative.
I first wrote about the project in 2013. The partners have worked on the product for two years and are now offering an interactive map of cool cruises for not much money. The team also has solid partnerships with cruise line owners.
“Word spread fast, prelaunch, and a number of big players in the space reached out to us regarding our technology,” said Chip. “A major cruise line approached us about licensing our platform, as well as a large cruise agency and others. We were really pleased because it confirmed that there was a demand for our innovative technology in the cruise space.”
The company created the service after they acquired the name Cruise.me in a “spirited auction.” They knew they wanted to fix the cruise industry but didn’t know how. Then they figured out that all they needed was a map and a streamlined system for reservations. Because the booking systems were so primitive, anything better was a massive improvement.
“To our team, displaying ports on a map seemed so obvious and just made sense. All of the team struggled with booking cruises on other OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) prior to starting Cruise.me so we all knew first hand how difficult the experience was,” he said. “Disorienting navigation and a clumsy user experience. We set out to right ship with things that didn’t work. And after a lot of iteration, and a solid road map, we arrived at today, launching Cruise.me.”
The company is self-funded and launches today. You and your young friends can hop on, find a boat, and go on a long lazy cruise on the deep blue sea without fear or trepidation – but with the occasional stomach distress.