Cruise lines will go online with Web site | AspenTimes.com

Cruise lines will go online with Web site

Aspen Times Staff Report

Aspen isn’t the place most people would expect to sample the experience provided by cruise lines.

But, due to the magic of the Internet, an Aspen-based startup business will offer just such an opportunity. Tom Martin’s Market InSite will maintain a Web site, due to go online in about four months, where a prospective traveler can go to find out enough about cruise lines to make an informed decision on which to choose.

VirtualCruise.com, a Web site created by Martin and co-founder Jeff Andrew, will provide free access to all the information needed to select a cruise vacation without paying a commission to a travel agent, Martin said. The site will enable visitors to link to sites maintained by each of the cruise lines, and even to book reservations directly among those offering direct booking.

The service is free to both the client and the cruise line. Martin said he wants to raise about $1.5 million from local investors and spread the word with a round of national advertising before going online.

Martin discovered that existing resources on the Web for cruise information are “cumbersome and disappointing.” He said VirtualCruise.com will enable a prospective buyer to find out whether a particular cruise attracts the kind of people with whom he or she would like to spend time.

“What the Internet enables is research,” Martin said. “That’s what people need to discern one cruise line’s flavor from another.” He said he expects the site’s clients to be “just about anybody who’s a cybercitizen interested in cruising.”

VirtualCruise.com is one of several Web properties that Market InSite is developing. The others are in the planning stage, Martin said.


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