Originally constructed in 1959, Panache was completely transformed in 1998 from a Dutch freight barge to a boutique hotel barge operated by European Waterways. What really distinguishes this vessel from its peers is space: While other barges of similar size often accommodate twice as many guests, the two-deck Panache was designed for just 12 passengers.
What We Love
Comfy Lounges: You can relax in elegant leather armchairs in the saloon, or head to the sun deck to lounge in the whirlpool and watch the castles and countryside pass by.
Bicycles on Board: Each passenger has access to a bicycle, an ideal way to see the landscape surrounding the canals at your own pace.
Best Known For
French Gastronomy: The chef prepares Michelin-starred quality French cuisine on this ship, with memorable lunches and dinners that include the finest French wines and local specialties. (Picture roast duck, crêpes suzette, and a cheese board).
Quality Tours: A knowledgeable guide leads for-purchase tours to a variety of attractions such as a chocolate museum in Strasbourg, or to the Alsacien countryside where you can go hot-air ballooning.
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Who It's Best For
Social Older Couples: You'll likely cruise with a crowd of 50-year-olds and up who love to chat.
Charter Groups: The ship's intimate size makes it a great choice for a group of 12 friends or family members who'd like the ship to themselves, spending a week in Champagne, Alsace, or Holland.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Close Quarters: You'll share every experience with others on board, and while this is rarely a problem as the barge attracts like-minded passengers, there’s no escape if you don’t get along.
Gary Buchanan is a UK-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written multiple books about cruising.
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Panache at a Glance
- Line: European Waterways
- Number of Passengers: 12
- Ship Size: Small
- Launch Date: 1959
- Refurbish Date: 1998