By Ron Stern, Travel Photojournalist
It’s morning and the crew of the Panache, one of the fleet of luxury barges with European Waterways, has just departed Amsterdam on its way to Alkmaar. This will be the first stop on its slow-moving voyage through the Dutch countryside along Holland’s canals. On board, guests revel in the experience as they enjoy great food, Fine wines and million dollar views along the way.
The Panache is a floating luxury hotel and completely redefines the term barge. This includes 12 comfortable guest cabins with in-room double sinks and oversized showers, a lounge with large panoramic windows, a sun deck with a spa pool, and a dozen bicycles for exploring. Add to that a crew of 6 attending to your every need, daily excursions, wine and cheese presentations, and a chef who delights in preparing delicious, international cuisine, and you begin to understand why these sorts of vacations are widely popular.
April is tulip season and visitors eager to view Holland’s colorful flowers have booked months in advance to visit the most popular destinations in the Netherlands. After the Panache docks, Alkmaar guests can explore this typical Dutch maritime village of colorful windmills, traditional shops and a museum. Here, you’ll see how Gouda and other cheeses are made, browse thousands of wooden shoes and watch as local artisans show you how the clogs are created.
Back on board, Chef Frank Schaart, as much of an artist as he is a chef, is preparing lunch for the guests. Today’s offering consists of Asian shrimp salad, avocado and mango compote and poffertjes with honey. These multi-course menus are meant to be savored slowly, accompanied by fine wines and good conversation.
This is just the beginning of your week-long itinerary, packed with exciting adventures. To learn more, visit www.gobarging.com.
FTC Disclosure: This was a sponsored trip. All opinions herein are the author’s