James Cole, Founder & Managing Director Panache Cruises

James Cole is one the UK’s best-known and respected cruise retailers and began his career in cruise more than 23 years ago when he worked as Product & Commercial Manager with Airtours Sun Cruises.

In his early career he helped set up The Cruise Store for MyTravel, a dedicated cruise retailer, which grew to £120m in sales in 3 years and, following the coming together of MyTravel and Thomas Cook in 2007, he then merged their two cruise businesses into a £300m entity which at the time was the UK’s largest cruise retailer in the UK. Since then James has been the driving force behind many of the UK’s largest cruise brands, including: Cruise118, Six Star Cruises and River Voyages. During his highly entrepreneurial career he has retailed over £1bn of cruise holidays.

James launched Panache Cruises in July 2020 at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, using the period of lock down to develop his business plans and establish the business.

Initially employing a team of 15 in the North West, and the intention of employing over 100 employees in the coming years, the business promises to offer an unrivalled level of personal service to those wishing to cruise in luxury, offering customers a 24/7 ‘nothing is too much trouble service.’

The company’s inventory of cruises offers over 7,000 itineraries, visiting over 1,000 ports of call with 20 of the world’s leading luxury cruise lines who specialise in Elite Ocean, River, Expedition, and Yacht-style cruising, including: Regent Seven Seas, Oceania, Silversea, Seabourn, Crystal, Azamara, Celebrity, Scenic, Emerald, Uniworld, Hurtigruten, Aurora Expeditions, Riviera, Avalon and
SeaDream Yacht Club.

James was born and continues to live in Bolton and was a former pupil of Parklands High School in Chorley and Runshaw College in Leyland. He later became an MBA graduate and Honorary Fellow of the University of Central Lancashire.

James is married to Heather and has three children.