Sounding a bit like Travelzoo or CruiseCompete, UK-based CruiseCompare, claiming to be the first cruise comparison engine in that market, has launched a new “Cruise Flash Sale” section similar to that of Groupon, the company said, where discounts will only be available for a limited period of seven days.

Each week, the site will offer its member’s discounts of up to 50% off short & long cruises to destinations including the Mediterranean & Caribbean from many of the leading cruise lines.

The North East based company was founded in early 2011, by Tom Fotheringham, formerly digital marketing executive for DFDS Seaways.

The Jeremie VC fund backed business has now attracted 400,000 active users to its website since being founded at the start of the year.

Managing Director Danielle Fear said: “Our funding is supporting major new website features in 2011 like the flash sale, which will support our desire to become the market leader in this space.”

According to Fear, the company has gained a strong email base and more than 45,000 Facebook fans in a short time. She said that cruise consumers want luxury goods and experiences, but they want the best deals. “Our model taps into the late booking trend, which enables cruise lines to offer cruise departures behind the rate of sale, or ensure they have a strong forward booking for 2012.”

A lot of other travel brands charge for exposure, but we only get paid on results so it’s completely risk free. The offers are hand-picked to ensure they are exclusive within the marketplace.

For the launch we have teamed up with travel newsletter cheapflights to ensure we reach millions of younger and first time cruisers.

CruiseCompare does not directly sell cruise holidays, but does publish prices and deals online from numerous cruise brands and travel operators.

Apart from daily publishing over 10,000 cruise deals for comparison by consumers each day, CruiseCompare also includes additional travel information for consumers on cruise news, cruise ship facts and destination guides