Cruise Ireland

Helping a boat hire company ensure that booking holidays is plain sailing for its customers with a hosting infrastructure that has increased organic traffic by 40%.

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We all know that when booking a holiday online, you want to two main things from the website you’re booking through. Firstly, a secure booking platform that will keep your data safe. Secondly, a hassle-free experience that bodes well for the holiday to follow.

That’s what Cruise Ireland needed from their website when they first started working with us. The company is based in Markethill, County Armagh, and boasts a fleet of 115 boats for hire on Lough Erne and the River Shannon, operating out of marinas at Carrick-On-Shannon, Banagher and Bellanaleck.

Their website has to handle secure, speedy and real-time bookings for those boats to ensure the hiring process operates smoothly and efficiently for customers and Cruise Ireland’s management.

What We Did

We provided Cruise Ireland with the hosting infrastructure to support the secure and reliable booking system their business demanded. 

To achieve the level of security mentioned above, the site is delivered through AOSSL (Always On SSL). This offers reassurance to customers that their transactions are safe and secure, and that they are dealing with a reputable business. SSL is also recognised by Google as a ranking signal, which means it helps to bring extra customers to the website, too. 

We developed a booking system that intuitively recommends alternative options in the event that the dates or boats requested are fully booked. That core booking engine has not changed much since its initial deployment more than 10 years ago and has served Cruise Ireland well through a period of sustained growth. Much of that growth was in the German market, which accounts for 70% of all the company’s bookings.

With Cruise Ireland keen to improve their offering for their customer base in Germany, we later devised and implemented a duplicate website dedicated to the German market. We developed and deployed Cruise Ireland’s new domain. Instead of hosting the domain ourselves, we sourced a date centre presence in Germany. That meant finding a reliable provider to host a virtual machine with a German IP address.  After researching the market, we found Hetzer to be highly reputable and opted for them. 

The only downsides to this were that they did not offer a backup service as standard and only offered Ubuntu 14.04, whereas the original Cruise Ireland site was hosted on an Ubuntu 12.04 server.  To get around these problems, we engineered the new Ubuntu 14.04 server to host the application that was previously fully supported in Ubuntu 12.04.  This required tireless debugging from both a hosting and a development perspective.

We implemented our own backup solution. The virtual server’s contents are backed up to a server in Belfast on a daily basis.  We also monitor all critical services on this server just like any other server hosted on TIbus’ infrastructure.


The hosting infrastructure we put in place has served Cruise Ireland well as their business has gone from strength to strength.

Partnering with a German web host gave the duplicate website the best possible chance of ranking highly on and being seen by Cruise Ireland’s German customer base. It has also enabled the company to build an independent brand in Germany.

In the time since the German-hosted site went live, combined organic traffic across the two websites has increased by 40%. That’s vindication of our commitment to always to finding the most suitable hosting set-up for our customers, even if that means sending all or part of that custom elsewhere.

“We go back a long way with Tibus, around 15 years to when we were we were first building a website with booking functionality. We worked together well to get the right digital infrastructure in place for the business and continue to do so.”

John Morton, Managing Director