Italian cruiseline Costa Cruises has signed a three-year partnership with Ryanair it hopes will attract internet-savvy new-to-cruise clients.
The agreement means consumers can now click through from Ryanair's website to book a cruise-only deal on any Costa voyage.
Costa Cruises UK managing director Marco Rosa said eight bookings had been made between the link going live last week and the official launch on Monday this week.
Rosa said the deal was prompted by Ryanair, which wanted to add a cruise line to its partner list. The link has launched on Ryanair's UK website, but will be rolled out across Europe.
He said: "Ryanair is a good partner for us. More than 50 of their routes from the UK and Europe connect to Costa's departure ports and many British people prefer low-cost carriers if they are flying short haul."
Rosa said the Ryanair deal provides an important new distribution channel and wouldn't affect Costa's relationship with agents.
He said: "Agents account for 95% of our business. Of course we do not want to damage that business and I don't believe this will. They will get special deals, as do cruise agents, but we will not get prices that undercut the trade.
"Rather than taking business from other channels, we hope this will attract people who have never cruised and who are happy to book on-line." There's a telephone number on the site for those who need assistance while booking.
Ryanair director of commercial revenue Sinead Finn said Costa passengers would not get a higher baggage allowance. Ryanair levies a £4.75 check-in fee and £9.50 per bag up to 15kg charge on passengers with hold luggage.
Rosa said: "Ryanair is still the cheapest option, even if you have to pay for baggage."
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