Cruise firm doubles turnover to hit £20m

By Tim Aldred

06 Dec 2023

Panache Cruises team

Chorley-based Panache Cruises has reached the £20m turnover milestone for 2023, more than doubling last year's £8.2m.

The compant was founded by James Cole in 2020 during the pandemic, and earlier this topped the UBS Fast Growth 50 Index in the North of England after reporting a compound annual growth rate of 404 per cent.

Since the start of 2023, Panache Cruises has also grown its workforce from 31 to 55 and is looking to reach 100 by 2026.

In the last year the company has more than doubled the number of bookings to more than 2,000, with the average booking value surpassing £10,000.

The company’s top 40 customers have spent over £4m on nearly 300 cruises in three years.

James said: "2023 has been a landmark year but our success can’t be measured by numbers alone. We’ve invested £200,000 in our new headquarters at Strawberry Fields Digital Hub in Chorley and expanded our operations into the US with the opening of a new office in Texas."

Panache Cruises has also introduced a number of employee benefits, including free lunches made by celebrity chef Lashuan Pryce, and an extra employer contribution to staff pensions.

Cole said one of his proudest achievements has been to have at least 10 apprentices in the business by the end of 2023, with plans to invest in over 100 apprenticeships by 2030.

“Since establishing Panache Cruises, it’s always been a personal passion of mine to invest in and develop young talent,” he said. “Being able to take on young colleagues who have the aptitude to not only do a great job but also want to learn too, is a ‘win win’ for all.”

Cole has over 25 years of experience in cruising and was the driver behind some of the UK’s largest cruise brands, including Cruise118, Six Star Cruises and River Voyages. During his career he has retailed over £1bn of cruise holidays.

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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