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Luxury Cruise Retailer on Track for Major Growth

A Chorley-based digital business which started selling luxury cruises at the height of the pandemic, is set for a stellar new year.

Panache Cruises' success has been driven forward thanks to a second round of funding from Rosebud Finance. The product is provided by Lancashire County Developments Ltd, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lancashire County Council (LCC) and is brought forward by GC Business Finance.

Founded by James Cole in July 2020, Panache Cruises crafts luxury cruise holidays for travellers looking for a bespoke experience. 

The company's team of 40 – grown from 14 at the beginning of the year – is based across the world, but its hub remains in Chorley.

In September 2021, Panache Cruises first received support from Rosebud, when it secured a loan to facilitate a move to Strawberry Fields Digital Hub in Chorley. The business, 14 months on, has outgrown its current premises and is moving to a new larger office on the same site.

The second round of funding brings the total amount lent to Panache Cruises to £500,000. It marks the highest level of support that the funding vehicle has provided to a Lancashire business.

Alongside the move to a larger office, the loan from Rosebud will be invested in new marketing initiatives and recruitment to ensure the business can keep up with growing demand. 

Panache Cruises has already experienced significant success, achieving a turnover of over £10m in 2022. The firm's Top 40 customers have spent £3m with the company and booked more than 220 holidays.

Despite launching when global travel came to a halt, Cole believes there is "lots of potential in the luxury travel market". 

He said: "Following the pandemic, we’re seeing a shift in the priorities of travellers. Primarily, they are seeking the reassurance that all aspects will be dealt with, which is what we can provide with our bespoke service at Panache Cruises. 

"There's also a sense that people are making up for lost time, with greater demand to travel further, reach more destinations, and stay in more luxurious rooms."

He added: "We're happy to have worked with Jonathan and the Rosebud team and are grateful for their support as we establish our business. We're also proud of our Lancashire roots, so it made sense to work with a Lancashire-focused finance provider."

Jonathan Nelson, senior loan manager at Rosebud, said: "For us, supporting Panache Cruises made total sense. This is a Lancashire business that has got off to a great start, despite the circumstances seeming to go against them. James' bravery to take a risk in 2020 has truly paid off, and we’re pleased to have been on this journey with him and the team."

Cllr Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth, Lancashire County Council, said: "This is a brilliant success story not just for James and his team, but for our county as a whole. Panache Cruises has embraced modern working, with team members being based worldwide, whilst retaining its Lancashire roots. We'll be following Panache Cruises closely over the coming years and look forward to seeing significant growth."