Hotel Barge PANACHE - Barging in France, Holland, and Belgium. Barge charters for the European waterways

Cruising Holland, Belgium, and France

Facts About The Barge Panache

The hotel barge Panache is a Dutch-designed barge built in 1959 originally used for transporting commercial freight. Today, the 128-foot Panache is now a 12-passenger, luxury hotel barge cruising the European waterways of Holland, Belgium, and France.

Hotel Barge Panache layout diagram deck plan. Barge cruises on the European waterways

129 feet long
12 passengers / 6 staterooms
6 crew
Air conditioning & Central heating
WiFi (subject to local reception)
Spa pool / Hot tub on sundeck
12 Touring bikes
2 Air conditioned minivans

Barge Specifics

Your Crew On Board

Accommodation On Board

Maximum 12 passengers / 6 Junior Suites

All suites can be configured with twin beds or a double bed. All cabin’s have fitted wardrobes, 2 bedside tables with reading lamps, a writing desk & chair, and a TV screen for playing DVDs.

All Junior Suites have an en-suite bathroom which runs the length of the cabin and is accessed through a sliding door. Each has an extractor fan, WC, and the showers have sliding doors. There are 2 wash basins with mirrors and cupboard storage below each sink with 4 shelves. All are supplied with L’Occitaine washing gel, hand soap, shampoo, towels, hair dryer, bathrobes and slippers.

Cabin Sizes

Each junior suite is similar in size measuring 12ft 6” (3.8m) x 11ft 6” (3.5m) equating to 150ft² (13.9m²) except the Berlioz suite is slightly larger extending to 12ft 7" (3.9m).

All the en-suite bathrooms are 11ft 6” (3.5m) x 3ft 2” (1m) and are included in the cabin sizes detailed above.

The height in all cabins is 6ft 8” (2.03m).

Each cabin has 1 large window measuring 3ft 8” (1.1m) x 1ft 6” (45cm), which cannot be opened.

Bed sizes: As a double bed 5ft 5” (1.65m) x 6ft (1.85m) and as single beds, each measures 2ft 8” (80cm) x 6ft (1.85m).

All sizes are approximate.

Climate Control

Each cabin has individually controlled heating / cooling units.

Computer and Telephone

Complimentary Wi-Fi is available on board for guests bringing their own appliances. Connectivity can be limited in remote locations.

There is no passenger telephone on Panache.


The currency in Holland, Belgium, and France is the Euro. Panache is unable to accept credit or debit cards on board.

Cycling & Walking

You are welcome to walk or cycle using the on-board bicycles as often as you wish.

There are 12 all-terrain bikes and cycle helmets are provided. Children’s bikes and child bike seats can be arranged if required. Please contact Paradise Connections at least 8 weeks prior to your departure.

Dining Room & Saloon

The comfortable and spacious saloon is approximately 600ft² (55.7m²) and is entered from the outside deck through double wooden doors and 4 steps with hand-rails.

The room is bright & airy and has 9 large panoramic windows on each side. It is divided by a glass partition, giving separate lounge and dining areas.

The lounge is furnished with a large, U-shaped, leather Chesterfield which seats 10 guests. There are also 2 armchairs and a large glass coffee table. There is a library of books, CDs and DVDs, and an open sit-up bar with 2 stools.

The dining area has a large table seating up to 12 guests at single sittings.

From the saloon there are 7 steps to the cabin area where Ravel and Debussy are located. There are 4 additional steps down to the level of the 4 other Junior Suites.


The barge is wired for 220 and 240 volts (not 110 volts). We recommend you bring an adapter for your particular appliance, which corresponds to the standard French 2-pin plugs. If you wish to use your electrical appliance on board, please speak to a crew member on arrival to ensure it is suitable for the barge’s electrical system.

We cannot be held responsible for unforeseen voltage fluctuations which sometimes occur when swapping from one voltage system to another


Panache has 2 vehicles for excursions and transfers. A 9-seater, long wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter, and an 8-seater Mercedes Vito. Both vehicles are air-conditioned and the seating capacity detailed includes the driver in each.

For charter bookings, the itinerary can be adapted to suit your group’s particular needs. If a destination or excursion is within a reasonable distance of the barge, we will do everything we can to arrange it. Please speak with Paradise Connections in advance of your cruise and we can pre-arrange with the Captain.

Any guests not wishing to participate in an excursion are welcome to remain on the barge.

Facilities On Board

Food & Drink

All meals on board are freshly prepared by your chef and most meals are a set-menu (there is no choice available). International and regional cuisine is featured.

We are able to arrange special meals, e.g. vegetarian / no fish / vegan etc, and we are able to cater for any preferences or allergies. However it is most important that we are notified of any specific requirements at least 8 weeks prior to your departure date. Failure to notify Paradise Connections in advance of your cruise may result in disappointment on board.

There is no assigned seating for meals and the dining room on board Panache seats all guests at a single sitting.

Breakfast: Your day on Panache starts with a Continental breakfast with fresh breads & pastries, cereals, freshly-squeezed orange juice, and hot beverages. Hot options are cooked to order.

Lunch: Uusually buffet style with colourful salads, patés and cold meats accompanied by hot soup or entrée, delicious deserts and a selection of regional cheeses accompanied by quality wines selected by the chef.

Dinner: Always a gastronomic adventure created by your talented chef. A taste of regional cuisine by candlelight, complemented by fine wines, followed by a selection of regional cheeses, coffee, and liqueurs.

Captain’s farewell dinner: Held on the last night of your cruise. Guests may choose to dress slightly more formal.

Drinks included in the cruise price: Non-alcoholic beverages and regular or decaffeinated tea and coffee, whole or low fat milk, are offered with all meals. The well-stocked bar is open 24 hours, which includes wines, spirits, beers, and soft drinks. All wines are provided with meals and there is a Champagne welcome on arrival.

Drinks not included in the cruise price: Some brands of Champagnes (with the exception of the Captain’s reception) and special vintage wines, however these can be purchased in advance of your cruise at cost price, please speak to Paradise Connections. We do not recommend specific beverage orders unless you are chartering the whole barge.

Hot Air Balooning

Hot Air Ballooning is usually available when cruising in the French Champagne region. It is not suitable when cruising in Alsace.

Please contact Paradise Connections in advance of your cruise if you wish to book, this is a popular activity and it is often too late to book during the week of your cruise.

Flights usually last for approximately 1 hour and are weather dependent. The cost is approximately 230 Euros per person and this should be paid directly to the balloon company on the day of the flight (they do accept credit cards).


We recommend you bring sufficient clean clothing for your cruise as there are no laundry facilities on board. However, the crew may be able to assist in an emergency on a request basis.

Luggage / What To Pack

Please try and fit everything for your cruise into one reasonably sized suitcase per person. Soft bags are preferable. There is only enough space on the barge and minibuses for up to 12 suitcases and 12 pieces of hand luggage.

Practical comfort and casual clothing is the norm aboard Panache and for most excursions. The dress code for dinner is relaxed and informal. For the Captain’s Farewell Dinner on the final evening, guests often dress-up, which is optional.

The weather is hottest in June, July, and August when temperatures often reach the mid 30s°C / top 80s°F.

Suggested things to pack:


Please let us know in advance of your cruise if you require frequent or ongoing medical attention.

The crew are unable to administer medicines but can accompany you to a chemist for you to purchase any necessary medicines. Due to your cruise often being in a rural location, we recommend you bring all necessary medication with you.

Doctors are usually not far away for an urgent consultation and the Emergency Services can be called if required.

Problem During Your Cruise

If you have a problem during your cruise, please give us the immediate opportunity to make things right. Please bring any concern to the private attention of your Captain who will often be able to solve any issue immediately.

Restricted Mobility

Please let Paradise Connections know in advance of your cruise if you have a physical disability and require any assistance.

Panache has a gangplank with rope handrails each side to access the barge and there are 4 steps between the deck and the Saloon.

From the Saloon to the cabin area (Ravel and Debussy) there are 7 steps. We recommend these 2 cabins for passengers with any mobility issues, however they are not wheelchair friendly.

There are 4 additional steps down to the level of the remaining 4 Junior Suites. (A total of 11 steps between the Saloon and cabins).

There are adequate handrails throughout.

Wheelchairs cannot be used on-board and can only be used to assist on excursions where there are often cobbled streets. Sometimes rough ground may hinder a wheelchair.

If you would like us to provide a wheelchair for your arrival, please notify Paradise Connections at least 8 weeks before arrival. There is a small hire charge of approximately €120 which should be paid directly to the barge Captain on arrival.

Safety & Security

Once you are on board, your Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures. Safety Instructions are detailed on the last page of this document.

Please note that we cannot be responsible for any valuables that you bring on board. We strongly recommend that you do not bring valuables with you unless required and that you ensure that all valuables are covered by your travel insurance.

Safes are provided in each cabin on board Panache. The cabin doors are not usually locked for safety reasons.


We have a strict non-smoking policy for safety reasons and for the comfort of your fellow passengers.

If you would like to smoke we request that you smoke outside or on the deck away from other guests.


The Sundeck on Panache is 375ft² (34.8m²) and for al-fresco dining and relaxing there is a large table and 12 chairs. There are large parasols providing shade. The heated hot tub seats 4 guests and measures 5ft x 7ft (1.5m x 2.1m).

Themed Cruises

Biking, Family, Golf, Walking, and Wine Appreciation cruise itineraries are available for charter groups, please ask Paradise Connections for more details.

Special interest cruises often have a supplement, for details please visit Panache's Itinerary page and Rates page.


Gratuities are not included in the cruise fare. Tipping is entirely discretionary but is greatly appreciated by the crew if you are fully satisfied with the level of service on board. As a guideline, the average tip given by our guests from around the world is approximately 5% of the Cruise Fare.

The usual way to give the tip is to give the amount in cash as one lump sum to the Captain / Cruise Director on the last day of the cruise. They will distribute the amount equally amongst the crew.

Euros or Dollars are equally appreciated. ATMs are accessible for cash withdrawal on most itineraries during the cruise and the crew can advise where these are located.


For details of the Panache vehicles, please see “Excursions”, above. The transfer duration on Panache cruises is approximately one hour.


The tap water on board Panache is potable and bottled water is available.

Safety Instructions On Board Panache

On arrival the Captain will talk you through the Cruise Safety Procedures on board.In addition, it is important that all passengers are familiar with the safety instructions detailed below.

Please ask a member of the crew on board if you require any further safety advice

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