Kayak.com, which began as a sophisticated online search engine for airfare and expanded to hotel and rental car searches, is making a plunge into cruise travel.

The Norwalk company launched its cruise service last week, enabling its Web site visitors to search multiple cruise sites for prices and itineraries.

"About 80 percent of our users come to our site for air, followed by hotel and rental car, so cruises were the next logical step," said Kellie Pelletier, Kayak's vice president of communications.

The cruise feature went live a week ago, and by 5 p.m. of the first day more than 5,000 users had conducted searches, Pelletier said.

Cruises are perhaps the most challenging category of online travel search services to offer customers, Pelletier said.

"There are so any factors that go into booking a cruise," she said, adding that itineraries are so varied, as are length of cruises and cabin classes.

"We really simplified the process," Pelletier said.

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