Cruiseable aims to bring mobile & social innovation to the cruise sector
Startup launches with cruise deals, travel journalism & a community platform
SAN FRANCISCO, March 23, 2015 — Cruiseable, a startup with roots in Silicon Valley, today announced the launch of its website with a pledge to bring mobile and social innovation to the $38 billion cruise sector.
The company, which describes itself as a travel company, cruise discovery engine and online travel publication, made the bicoastal announcement at its offices in San Francisco and Miami.
The Cruiseable.com website and upcoming iOS mobile app “offer a groundbreaking new approach to help people discover, plan and book cruise vacations,” Lasica said.
Cruiseable combines state-of-the-art filtering technology with community content, travel journalism and high-quality photos. The startup brings together information from three sources in a way that no other site or app does, Lasica said:
- Original content, including 500 original travel guides, ship reviews and consumer articles created by Cruiseable editors and writers that are deeply researched, personality-infused and authoritative.
- More than 10,000 high-quality photos from more than 200 tourism organizations and cruise lines alongside travel updates curated and vetted by the Cruiseable team.
- Community content such as photos, videos, tips and short reviews contributed or curated by cruise passengers.
The goal, said co-founder and chief technical officer Giacomo Balli, is to provide people with an end-to-end cruise experience, from discovery to booking to shore excursions to sharing onboard experiences to afterglow.
“Exploring cruises online should be fun and a delight, not a frustrating chore," Balli said. "We’ve reverse-engineered the cruise experience to remove the pain points.”
Tech roots in a sector ripe for innovation
For too long, its founders say, the travel industry has been a black box, with secretive business arrangements that don't hold up in the age of social media.
"We're trying to build the most transparent brand in the travel industry," vowed Lasica, an entrepreneur, journalist and technologist who co-founded Ourmedia, the world’s first free video hosting site, a month before YouTube.
Cruiseable began development a year ago, shortly before tech startup CruiseWise folded shop and was acquired by TripAdvisor. Cruiseable sees a similar big market opportunity in the multibillion-dollar cruise sector, with Lasica calling it “the last large travel vertical ripe for disruption.”
The company’s business model is based on lucrative booking commissions, advertising, licensing technology and targeted offers from merchants.
In keeping with its roots in Silicon Valley – its first meetings were held in Mountain View and first pitch session held at Google headquarters – Cruiseable has begun posting regular updates of its programming bugs and features roadmap.
Its algorithm awards every user with a “CruiseClout” score based on community participation. Creating a Visual List – a photo album with text annotations – or sharing items through social media or hearting an article or photo all increase your score.
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 is currently offering a $50 onboard credit for any cruise booked.
The company, a Delaware C Corp., is currently seeking additional angel or early-stage VC investors. Early investors include Don Dodge of Google Ventures 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 cruise executive at Expedia.
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.
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On the Web: https://cruiseable.com
On Twitter: @cruiseable