Life On Board The Barge: Exploring European Waterways’ Panache

European Waterways Panache In Lutzelbourg. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
During our barge adventure, we enjoyed local specialties on board Panache. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Earlier this week, I told you about the culturally immersive experiences on our European Waterways‘ barge adventure through Alsace and Lorraine. Some of our meals on board were also cultural experiences.

In Lutzelbourg, for example, we enjoyed an Alsatian Charcuterie, characterized by an assortment of pork and meat, served with potatoes and Choucroute (sauerkraut).

On one evening, we enjoyed an Alsatian Charcuterie on board Panache. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

The dinner was accompanied by local beverages such as Alsatian wines and Picon bière. The latter was a mix of Kronenbourg 1664, a 5.5 percent pale lager first brewed in France in 1952, and Picon, a French orange bitter liqueur. Refreshing and delicious.

Alsatian wines were served on board as well as wines from other regions in France, all complimentary. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

All six of us on board raved about the dining, particularly lunches and dinners with complimentary fine wines and cheeses. We even dined ashore one evening, compliments of European Waterways.

Panache transits one of the many locks during our six-day adventure. The sun deck, which is visible, features a jacuzzi and seating for sunning, lunches and dinners. @ 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Panache featured an outdoor sun deck, with seating for outdoor sunning and lounging as well as lunches and dinners — and a jacuzzi. Bicycles, which I’ll write about in a future post, were available and offered for use free of charge.

European Waterways Panache. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Inside Panache, comfortable and cozy. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Step down one deck to a living-room-like area with complimentary bar, open 24/7, and the dining room.

Panache featured a DVD library (there were televisions in staterooms), book-lending library, music and a few games. Free WiFi was offered, and during our week, it functioned well. One thing I missed, however, was specialty coffees.

European Waterways Panache. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
The dining room set for breakfast. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Though staterooms on nearly all barges are necessarily smallish, Panache gave us about 150 square feet, with a queen-sized bed, plenty of storage, desk, television, bathroom with dual vanity and shower. One of our fellow passengers from Australia said he booked on the basis that Panache’s staterooms were relatively large by barge standards.

Not super spacious as some suites on ocean-going cruise vessels, but certainly large enough for six days on the canal. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Bathrooms featured dual vanities, L’Occitane bath amenities and showers with abundant hot water. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

We spent little time in our stateroom, sleeping only, and were out on deck or along the canals cycling during the day. It did not take long before we started thinking of Panache as our home away from home, and indeed stepping on board, we always received a warm welcome back.

European Waterways Panache. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle
Always a warm welcome back following walking or cycling ashore or the complimentary guided tours. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

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